Justice Scalia spoke at Acton Institute

Back in 1997 Justice Scalia addressed Acton Institute’s 7th Anniversary Dinner in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He titled his remarks “On Interpreting the Constitution”.  He explained his originalist approach to Constitutional law, and the severe drawbacks that he saw with any alternative method of interpretation.

You can get the audio HERE.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Acton Institute. (I do that on purpose.)

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  2. momoften says:

    Thank you!

  3. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thank you! It sounds very interesting!

    I just encountered a recollection of Justice Scalia’s appearance speaking with Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution in late 2012 at the Federalist Society, in which Robert Kraychik writes, “Explaining the challenges to the doctrine of judicial restraint and good faith application of the law with its original intent, Scalia invoked The Lord Of The Rings for a fantasy analogy. Describing the alternative view of the Constitution as pliable document onto which one’s political views can be projected as ‘seductive,’ he recalled the temptation of the power of the One Ring.” (He has an except from this meeting at his YouTube account, but it does not include the Tolkien reference.)

  4. WYMiriam says:

    Any possibility anyone can help out a troglodyte and post a link to a transcript? Please? And thank you!

  5. Nicolas Bellord says:

    I listened to this just to see whether I would recognise his voice as we had not spoken to each other since we were both teenagers! But I went on to find it fascinating. I was pleased to note that in his theory that the USA is ahead of most European countries in having an older written constitution he did not mention that we in the UK have none! Seriously though the point he made at the end of his talk was very apposite: namely that Judges should be appointed because they are good lawyers but in fact with the triumph of non-originalists Judges in the USA are chosen for their political opinions. Here in the UK the manner in which Judges are chosen is wrapped in mystery and up to now have in theory at least been on their competence as lawyers. I fear that under the changes started with Tony Blair whereby we have a Ministry of Justice and a much more politicised Lord Chancellor we may follow the USA eventually.

  6. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Browsing around a bit, I take it this is the source of the excerpt and recollection to which I referred above:


    Meanwhile, speaking of Tolkien:


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