David Schultz


This article explores Justice Scalia's views on the legislative process and his interpretive methodology which questions using legislative intent when interpreting statutes. Unlike other recent scholarship which focuses on Scalia's interpretive method, this article is somewhat more expansive. It will examine his views towards the legislative process and decision-making, including his approach and methodology used in interpreting legislative pronouncements. To do this, the article will first provide an assessment of recent legal scholarship describing Scalia's interpretive jurisprudence. The goal here is to establish a description of the legal community's perspective regarding Scalia's views towards interpreting statutes. The second section will then explore Scalia's view of legislative process and intent, and his belief that both should control judicial construction of the laws.

Contrary to existing scholarship on Scalia, the conclusion will argue that Scalia employs an inconsistently applied interpretive method that adopts amercurial attitude towards legislative power and the political process. This inconsistent attitude towards using legislative intent is a result of Scalia's often distrustful view of legislative power. Further, this distrust is a consequence of Scalia's political preferences. This essay argues that such an inconsistent application and use of policy preferences is troublesome. This is true especially in light of Scalia's own assertions that the "only checks on the arbitrariness of federal judges are the insistence upon consistency and the application of the teachings of the mother of consistency, logic."