Friday, June 24, 2005

Thomas's Writing

There was a time when I would have readily agreed with Elena Kagan (now the dean of Harvard Law School), who said in my Administrative Law class that "Justice Scalia is the best writer that the Court has seen since Justice Jackson." I'm increasingly becoming less certain of that. Scalia's writing -- particularly in dissent -- is memorable, flamboyant, sarcastic, devastatingly witty. But at the same time, he has reportedly annoyed more moderate Justices (esp. O'Connor) with rhetoric that seems too barbed and personal. I'm beginning to think that Thomas may actually be a more effective writer -- as seen below, he can write a powerful and elegant dissent with several stinging remarks, but I've never seen a Thomas opinion that struck me as an over-the-top personal attack.


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