About the lecture

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Photograph by Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States.

As an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Scalia was more concerned with being true, as he saw it, to the principles of textualism and originalism than with forming coalitions of like-minded judges. He wanted to win each argument, and his frustration with the reasoning of other members of the Court would often lead him to engage in ferocious and destructive dissents.

His dissents worked to promote 'originalism' as a means of interpreting the US Constitution. In one of the most influential decisions of the last 25 years, Scalia wrote the majority opinion in District of Columbia v Heller. It was the first extensive decision on the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. This decision changed the previously accepted understanding of the amendment and it is often mistakenly thought to support the abolition of all restrictions on gun ownership.

CPD points: 1 point per hour, self assessed (BAQ and QLS)


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The Banco Court, Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law
Level 3, 415 George Street, Brisbane