The legacy of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Originalism

What We Talk About When We Talk About Originalism

Law and the Supreme Court justices who interpret it.
Feb. 20 2016 10:25 AM

Amicus: The Contradictions of Antonin Scalia

Why the version of originalism practiced by the late Supreme Court Justice had its limits. And why he was one of the best mentors a young lawyer could hope for.

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Listen to Episode 38 of Slate’s Amicus:

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In the week since the sudden death of the larger-than-life Supreme Court justice, there’s been a lot of commentary about Antonin Scalia’s trademark principle of originalism. It’s often taken for granted that originalism is a philosophy that’s inherently conservative. But on this episode of Amicus, legal scholar Akhil Reed Amar—Sterling Professor of Law at Yale—explains why politically, originalism can cut both ways.

Then, we are joined by Rachel Barkow, a professor at NYU Law who clerked for Justice Scalia in the 1997­–98 term. Barkow, a self-described Democrat, shares her reflections about why Scalia was such a valuable mentor for her, and why Scalia’s towering legal mind is sure to influence many generations of young lawyers to come.

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Please let us know what you think of Amicus. Our email is amicus@slate.com.

Podcast production by Tony Field.

Dahlia Lithwick writes about the courts and the law for Slate, and hosts the podcast Amicus.