Justices as “Sacred Symbols”: Antonin Scalia and the Cultural Life of the Law

Brian Christopher Jones, Austin Sarat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
202 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Perhaps no single judge in recent years has embodied the intricacies and difficulties of the cultural life of the law as much as American Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. While common law judges have traditionally acquired status—and cultural relevance—from the significance, eloquence and forcefulness of their judicial opinions, Justice Scalia took an altogether different route. Both on and off the bench, he pushed the limits of legal and political legitimacy. He did this through a strict adherence to what we call a “judicial mandate,” flamboyant but engaging writing, biting humor and widespread marketing of his originalist and textualist interpretative theories. This article chronicles these features of Scalia’s jurisprudence and public life more generally, ultimately characterising the late justice as a “sacred symbol” in American legal and political circles, and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-23
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of American Legal Studies
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2017

Fingerprint

symbol
justice
Law
common law
humor
jurisprudence
Supreme Court
legitimacy
marketing

Keywords

  • Antonin Scalia
  • Sacred symbol
  • Supreme Court
  • Originalism
  • Textualism
  • Law and Culture

Cite this

Jones, Brian Christopher ; Sarat, Austin. / Justices as “Sacred Symbols” : Antonin Scalia and the Cultural Life of the Law. In: British Journal of American Legal Studies. 2017 ; Vol. 6, No. 1. pp. 7-23.
@article{b74acc4462824bcd8e390772980ff612,
title = "Justices as “Sacred Symbols”: Antonin Scalia and the Cultural Life of the Law",
abstract = "Perhaps no single judge in recent years has embodied the intricacies and difficulties of the cultural life of the law as much as American Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. While common law judges have traditionally acquired status—and cultural relevance—from the significance, eloquence and forcefulness of their judicial opinions, Justice Scalia took an altogether different route. Both on and off the bench, he pushed the limits of legal and political legitimacy. He did this through a strict adherence to what we call a “judicial mandate,” flamboyant but engaging writing, biting humor and widespread marketing of his originalist and textualist interpretative theories. This article chronicles these features of Scalia’s jurisprudence and public life more generally, ultimately characterising the late justice as a “sacred symbol” in American legal and political circles, and beyond.",
keywords = "Antonin Scalia, Sacred symbol, Supreme Court, Originalism, Textualism, Law and Culture",
author = "Jones, {Brian Christopher} and Austin Sarat",
note = "Funding: none.",
year = "2017",
month = "5",
day = "24",
doi = "10.1515/bjals-2017-0002",
language = "English",
volume = "6",
pages = "7--23",
journal = "British Journal of American Legal Studies",
issn = "2049-4092",
publisher = "De Gruyter Open Ltd.",
number = "1",

}

Justices as “Sacred Symbols” : Antonin Scalia and the Cultural Life of the Law. / Jones, Brian Christopher; Sarat, Austin.

In: British Journal of American Legal Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1, 24.05.2017, p. 7-23.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Justices as “Sacred Symbols”

T2 - Antonin Scalia and the Cultural Life of the Law

AU - Jones, Brian Christopher

AU - Sarat, Austin

N1 - Funding: none.

PY - 2017/5/24

Y1 - 2017/5/24

N2 - Perhaps no single judge in recent years has embodied the intricacies and difficulties of the cultural life of the law as much as American Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. While common law judges have traditionally acquired status—and cultural relevance—from the significance, eloquence and forcefulness of their judicial opinions, Justice Scalia took an altogether different route. Both on and off the bench, he pushed the limits of legal and political legitimacy. He did this through a strict adherence to what we call a “judicial mandate,” flamboyant but engaging writing, biting humor and widespread marketing of his originalist and textualist interpretative theories. This article chronicles these features of Scalia’s jurisprudence and public life more generally, ultimately characterising the late justice as a “sacred symbol” in American legal and political circles, and beyond.

AB - Perhaps no single judge in recent years has embodied the intricacies and difficulties of the cultural life of the law as much as American Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. While common law judges have traditionally acquired status—and cultural relevance—from the significance, eloquence and forcefulness of their judicial opinions, Justice Scalia took an altogether different route. Both on and off the bench, he pushed the limits of legal and political legitimacy. He did this through a strict adherence to what we call a “judicial mandate,” flamboyant but engaging writing, biting humor and widespread marketing of his originalist and textualist interpretative theories. This article chronicles these features of Scalia’s jurisprudence and public life more generally, ultimately characterising the late justice as a “sacred symbol” in American legal and political circles, and beyond.

KW - Antonin Scalia

KW - Sacred symbol

KW - Supreme Court

KW - Originalism

KW - Textualism

KW - Law and Culture

U2 - 10.1515/bjals-2017-0002

DO - 10.1515/bjals-2017-0002

M3 - Article

VL - 6

SP - 7

EP - 23

JO - British Journal of American Legal Studies

JF - British Journal of American Legal Studies

SN - 2049-4092

IS - 1

ER -