A Question I Posed of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

John C. Rankin (September 18, 2012)

Today I had opportunity to listen to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He was speaking to the Federalist Society in New York City, on a tour for his new book: “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts.” Questions were submitted to him on index cards. My question referred to James Madison’s concern that if laws becomes too “voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood,” then our republic is in danger.

I asked how soon we might reach such a point. Justice Scalia, in his answer, mused in diagnosis of the situation that “we cannot afford to devote our best minds” to work “that produces nothing.” He then added, “We’re probably at that point now” and we “need to simplify the law … but how, I do not know.” We do need to devote our best minds, in the name of the Gospel, to such a task. And that is exactly the purpose of the Pre-Partisan Caucus.

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