Not Mere Rhetoric: On Wasting or Claiming Your Legacy, Justice Scalia
84 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2011
Date Written: January 1, 2003
The thesis of the article is that the Court’s enterprise is centered on preserving community through an ethics of warranted trust, and that Scalia’s rhetoric often rejects such an ethic. A modern democratic citizen, along with his whole community, instead finds himself in the situation of necessary trust in democratic institutions like the Supreme Court. The willingness of a political community ultimately to place its trust in authority is partially dependent on that authority’s commitment to, and skill at, creating a convincing argument. The practice of rhetoric recognizes the dynamics of a relation of trust: the rhetor must put his or her own character up for judgment, he or she must create a situation of warranted trust by doing the homework on the matter at hand which Aristotle labeled invention, and he or she must demonstrate respect for the personhood—sacredness, if you will—of those who constitute his audiences by paying attention to who they are and what matters to them.
Keywords: Justice Scalia, Supreme Court Justices, rhetoric
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