McGeorge School of Law

McGeorge Professors Mootz, Slocum Publish New University of Chicago Press Book on Justice Scalia

March 27, 2019

The cover of the book Justice Scalia: Rhetoric and the Rule of Law.

The cover of the book Justice Scalia: Rhetoric and the Rule of Law.

University of Chicago Press has just published Justice Scalia: Rhetoric and the Rule of Law by McGeorge professors Brian G. Slocum (Editor) and Francis J. Mootz III (Editor).

The book project began with a conference in May 2016 hosted at McGeorge. The participants at that conference became contributors to the book, and the chapters reflect broad and diverse perspectives: from rhetoric to philosophy, linguistics to critical race theory, and constitutional theory to politics.

In this edited collection, leading scholars from law, political science, philosophy, rhetoric, and linguistics look at the ways Scalia framed and stated his arguments. Focusing on rhetorical strategies rather than the logic or validity of Scalia’s legal arguments, the contributors collectively reveal that Scalia enacted his conservative vision of the law through his rhetorical framing.

The list of contributors includes: Brian H. Bix (University of Minnesota Law School); Peter Brooks (Princeton University); Mary Anne Case (University of Chicago Law School) Abbe R. Gluck (Yale University Law School); Victoria F. Nourse (Georgetown Law Center); Darien Shanske (University of California–Davis); Scott Soames (USC School of Philosophy); and Lawrence M. Solan (Brooklyn Law School). Professors Mootz and Slocum also contributed chapters to the book.

The book’s introduction by the editors begins with “Justice Antonin Scalia is universally acknowledged to be the single most important figure in the emergence of the “new textualist” approach to statutory interpretation and the “new originalist” approach to constitutional interpretation. He authored numerous opinions during his thirty years as associate justice of the Supreme Court, and published articles and books that defended his judicial practice. He was well known for his vigorous advocacy, particularly in his many stinging dissents that challenged the Court’s jurisprudential methodology.”

Professors Slocum and Mootz regularly write on jurisprudential topics. Professor Mootz's article, Judging Well, was published in Washington University Jurisprudence Review last year. Professor Slocum's essay, “Avoiding” Judicial Activism: The Supreme Court’s Unconvincing Efforts to Restrict the Scope of the Avoidance Canon, was published as an Online Feature by the New York University Law Review earlier this month.

About the Editors

Professor Francis J. Mootz III is a widely recognized authority on the philosophy of legal interpretation. His interdisciplinary scholarship explores the relationships between law and contemporary European philosophy, with a focus on the hermeneutical and rhetorical traditions. He is the author of Rhetorical Knowledge in Legal Practice and Critical Legal Theory (2006) (translated into Portuguese) and has edited and contributed to a number of books relating to jurisprudential topics. He has been a regular presenter at academic symposia in Europe, Africa, and South America. He also teaches and writes in traditional doctrinal areas such as contracts, sales, insurance law and employment law.

Professor Brian Slocum, PhD, is an award-winning scholar and teacher with recognized expertise in administrative law, contracts, immigration law, statutory interpretation, and law and language. Professor Slocum is the author of "Ordinary Meaning: A Theory of the Most Fundamental Principle of Legal Interpretation" (University of Chicago Press), and the editor of "Inference, Intention and 'Ordinary Meaning': What jurists can learn about legal interpretation from linguistics and philosophy" (University of Chicago Press). His numerous and frequently cited articles have been published in top journals, including William & Mary Law Review, Ratio Juris, Northwestern University Law Review, Florida State University Law Review, Statute Law Review (Oxford University Press), and Maryland Law Review