Saturday, June 30, 2012
I have just received a copy of “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts” (Thomson/West) by Justice Antonin Scalia and professional wordsmith Bryan Garner. As the title hints, the book reflects a conservative textualist approach. Since Bryan Garner has not delved into the world of interpreting substantive law in the past, I assume that the policy ideas come from Justice Scalia.
Some of the book’s statements reflect standard rules on statutory interpretation—for example, “A pronoun, relative pronoun, or demonstrative adjective refers to the nearest reasonable antecedent.” (p, 145). Other pronouncements are vintage Scalia—for example, rejecting the notion that legislative committee reports are worthwhile aids in statutory construction. (p. 369) The writing style is a bit formal and not as lively as a typical Scalia opinion.
When some reviews of the book appear, I will post links.