Judge Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is the greatest living judge not on the Supreme Court. Generally considered a conservative, he isn’t afraid to attack error no matter the provenance. Take, for example, his recent review of a book by Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner. Posner eviscerates this book and its authors. I agree with Brian Leiter, who says it would “finish the career” of any garden-variety academic author who wasn’t a Supreme Court Justice with life tenure. A sample, almost calling them out for academic fraud:
How many readers of Scalia and Garner’s massive tome will do what I have done—read the opinions cited in their footnotes and discover that in discussing the opinions they give distorted impressions of how judges actually interpret legal texts?
Posner’s review is titled The Incoherence of Antonin Scalia. It appeared in The New Republic. Judge Posner concludes:
Justice Scalia has called himself in print a “faint-hearted originalist.” It seems he means the adjective at least as sincerely as he means the noun.
What is going on here? Taking Judge Posner at face value, he is a conservative who is deeply troubled by the duplicity in Justice Scalia’s writings. The Court would be a dramatically different place if Posner had served there the last twenty six years.