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Tuesday, March 06, 2007 

Nino = Hamilton?

While strolling through the ample law section of Raynor Library (the non-law library at Marquette), I spotted a new book on the shelf. I'm that big of a nerd that I would notice a new item in a section. I've walked through it often. The book is called The Political Thought of Justice Antonin Scalia. The subtitle is "A Hamiltonian on the Supreme Court. " Author James Staab thinks that Justice Scalia has an intellectual ally in Founding Father and Aaron Burr bullet depository Alexander Hamilton.

I haven't gotten far enough into the meat of the book to make any substantive comments or criticisms of it, but the introduction quotes a fairly famous Scalia quote to back up the point...
Scalia urged the members of the audience - "as Hamilton would have urged you - to keep in mind that the federal government is not bad but good. The trick is to use it wisely."
That was from a speech in 1982 at a conference on federalism. I'm looking forward to getting deeper into this book in the coming weeks.

The introduction also contained an explanations of six of the major schools of legal conservatism. If you are one of those people who lumps everyone that's to the Right of Justice O'Connor into one big pile, then you need to read this section. I'm not a big legal theory guru, but I think that people should understand the differences between the philosophies of Judge Richard Posner, Professor Randy Barnett, and Justice Clarence Thomas. In case you want to look them up on your own, the six schools that Staab discusses are Burkean traditionalism, conservative pragmatism, Legal Process, libertarianism, natural law, and originalism. Google at your leisure.

Expect a book report in the future. Maybe I'll even get a pizza for it.

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