Further fueling the very public judicial war of words that has riveted the legal community for the past few weeks, 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner has fired back at Justice Antonin G. Scalia’s assertion that Posner lied in his review of Scalia’s latest book.
Quick recap: Posner offered a fairly critical review of the book “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts,” which Scalia authored with Bryan Garner, saying that text and historical analysis are an insufficient basis of legal interpretations. Posner also claimed that in the 2nd Amendment case D.C. v. Heller, Scalia did what he claims to never do: consider legislative history.
Those were fighting words to the Supreme Courts most senior associate justice, who first snarkily retorted during a TV interview: “He’s a court of appeals judge, isn’t he? He doesn’t sit in judgment of my opinions as far as I’m concerned.”
But then stuff got real, with Scalia telling Reuters this week: “To say that I used legislative history is simply, to put it bluntly, a lie.”
With that Posner sent a two-page letter to Reuters doubling down on his claim, explaining: “Responding to a Supreme Court Justice who calls one a liar requires special care in expression.” In the letter, Posner said that Scalia was essentially using an overly-narrow interpretation of the term “legislative history” – one at odds with Black’s Law Dictionary, which Scalia’s co-author Garner edited.
“Background and events leading to the enactment” of the gun law at issue in Heller were considered, Posner insisted.
The legal world eagerly anticipates Scalia’s next response.