Justice Scalia and the Art of Rhetoric

28 Constitutional Commentary 287 (Fall 2012)

4 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2011 Last revised: 5 Oct 2017

See all articles by Jeffrey M. Shaman

Jeffrey M. Shaman

DePaul University - College of Law

Date Written: September 23, 2011


This article examines Justice Scalia's judicial opinions from a literary perspective rather than a legal one to demonstrate that he is a master of metaphor and other belletristic flourishes. Focusing on the style rather than the substance of his writing, the article uses examples from various Scalia opinions to illustrate that he wields a wicked poison pen, peppers his opinions with creative lists of examples, and is wont to drop in a bon mot here and there, not to mention an arcane foreign phrase that sends lesser mortals rushing to their Latin, French, or German dictionaries. Along the way, the article reveals some fascinating information about the tropes and allusions that Justice Scalia uses. And between the lines, the article offers criticism of Scalia's conservative philosophy.

Keywords: Justice Scalia, Supreme Court, Constitutional Law, Literary Criticism

JEL Classification: K19, K39

Suggested Citation

Shaman, Jeffrey M., Justice Scalia and the Art of Rhetoric (September 23, 2011). 28 Constitutional Commentary 287 (Fall 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1932914 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1932914

Jeffrey M. Shaman (Contact Author)

DePaul University - College of Law ( email )

25 E. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL Cook County 60604-2287
United States

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