The Political Thought of Justice Antonin Scalia: A Hamiltonian on the Supreme Court

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The Political Thought of Antonin Scalia: A Hamiltonian on the Supreme Court traces Justice Antonin Scalia's jurisprudence back to the political and constitutional thought of Alexander Hamilton. Not only is there substantial agreement between these two men in the areas of constitutional interpretation, federalism, separation of powers, executive and judicial power, but the two men also have similar temperaments: bold, decisive, and principled. By examining the congruence in thought between Hamilton and Scalia, it is hoped that a better and deeper understanding of Justice Scalia's jurisprudence will be achieved. While an abundance of scholarship has been written on Justice Scalia, no one has systematically examined his political philosophy. This book also draws out the important differences between Justice Scalia's jurisprudence and that of the other conservative members of the Court_the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas.

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About the Author:

James B. Staab is a professor of political science at the University of Central Missouri.

Review:

Professor Staab has produced a carefully crafted, nuanced portrait of Antonin Scalia―the U.S. Supreme Court's most colorful and influential conservative justice. Comparing Scalia to an equally intriguing American character―Alexander Hamilton― is as original as it is brilliant! (Barbara A. Perry, Sweet Briar College)

James Staab's comprehensive review of Justice Scalia's approach to judging argues that Scalia is a Hamiltonian and forthrightly grapples with Scalia's departures from Hamilton's nationalism. The first major work to move beyond the simplicities of calling Scalia a conservative or a textualist, instead locating Scalia's jurisprudence in American political thought, Staab's book is an invaluable contribution to understanding one of the most important justices on today's Supreme Court. (Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School)

In an increasingly crowded field of judicial biographies of Justice Scalia, Professor Staab's book stands out. His factual, intellectual, and sophisticated analysis of the Justice's Hamiltonian Weltanschauung deserves close attention by all seriously desirous of understanding Scalia's uniquely challenging jurisprudence. (Henry J. Abraham, the James Hart Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia and author of Justices, Presidents, and Senators)

This highly sophisticated attempt to link the jurisprudence of Justice Antonin Scalia to the thought of Alexander Hamilton shows the inadequacy of traditional conservative labels. . . . Of definite value for upper-division undergraduates and above . . . [and] essential for law collections. (CHOICE)

In the 200-year-history of the Supreme Court, no sitting justice has been the subject of such an extensive scholarly literature, as has Scalia. Through countless articles and numerous book-length treatments a contentious sub-literature has formed that attempts to explain his jurisprudence and effect on the law. ... one can only be intrigued by a book that describes Scalia as a Hamiltonian. (Journal of Law & Politics)

... an insightful and very readable analysis of Justice Scalia's jurisprudence, particularly with respect to federalism and separation of powers. Students and specialists alike will find the work useful and illuminating. (David M. O'Brien, University of Virginia; author of Constitutional Law and Politics)

This is a first-rate work of scholarship, analysis, and clear writing. (Appellate Practice Journal)

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