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Oh, No He Didn't! Scalia-Posner War of Words Continues

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

Maybe you didn't watch Justice Antonin Scalia's interview with Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler yesterday. Maybe you thought, "What could Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner say about their new book that I haven't heard in the last three months?"

Perhaps you've heard that ol' Nino and Judge Richard Posner have a little tiff over Posner's less-than-favorable review of the Justice's new book, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Text. Posner -- he's a court of appeals judge, isn't he -- wrote a lengthy review of the book for The New Republic, arguing that cases are decided by judges' personal and political values and preferences, not the legal rules and canons of interpretation that Scalia and Garner promote, Huffington Post reports.

And the Seventh Circuit jurist accused the longest-serving justice on the bench of using legislative history -- gasp! -- in his 2008 Heller opinion, which struck down the D.C. gun ban.

In the land of strict construction, those are fighting words.

Scalia's response? "To say that I used legislative history is simply, to put it bluntly, a lie." Justice Scalia further claimed that Judge Posner was only able to make such an assertion because he was writing in a non-legal publication, Reuters reports. "You can get away with it in The New Republic, I suppose, but not to a legal audience," he said.

(Oh, what's that you say? You want to watch this video? Lucky for you, it's online.)

What should happen now that this war of words has escalated from "he's not really a strict constructionist" to "he's a liar"? We've identified a few options:

  1. Posner could respond to Scalia's "liar, liar, pants on fire" theory with the time-honored, "I'm rubber, you're glue" maxim.
  2. The two could resolve this dispute in a dignified manner befitting two respected jurists, (e.g., arm wrestling or a tickle fight).
  3. They could agree to disagree and just move on.

We know what you're thinking: Option 2 is the winner! Then you realize that it wouldn't be broadcast due to Scalia's concern that cameras in court would misinform Americans. It doesn't seem as compelling without cheering fans and ESPN commentary, does it?.

Maybe it's just time for the two to move on from this squabble?

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