If you care about ever returning to America, just want to understand why America was exceptional, have even a passing interest in the SCOTUS, or simply want to have a glimpse of a truly great man, read this book!
If you are or were a Christian, or simply know some of them, read "The Christian As Cretin" starting on page 107 ... his purpose "It has been my purpose to impart, to those already wise in Christ, the courage to have their wisdom reguarded as stupidity". He succeeded!
He makes the point expertly in a number of places that unless the written Constitution of the old United States is taken as a FIXED DOCUMENT that means what it was meant to mean when it was written, then we may as well have no Constitution at all! As he puts it on page 188; "Originalists believe that the provisions of the Constitution have a fixed meaning, which does not change: they mean today what they meant when they were adopted, nothing more and nothing less".
He makes the obvious point on page 153 that in 1920 when the 19th Amendment was ratified giving women the vote, everyone understood that adding such a new right REQUIRED a Constitutional Amendment, and so it was amended. "The Americans of 1920 understood what the Americans of 1992 seemingly do not, that the vague provisions of the Constituiton, such as the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause, are not invitations to constitutionalize our current desires from age to age, but rather bear a constant meaing that that accords with the meaning of those terms when they were adopted".
It is that fixed meaning, and the separation of powers architected by it that allowed the enumerated rights to be maintained in the old US until the Warren Court. Scalia shows a number of enumerated "rights" from the Constitution of the old USSR -- not worth the paper they were printed on because the architecture of the government of the USSR did nothing to protect them!
On page 337, he states what I have tried to state a number of times far more eloquently that I: "The issue is not wether there should be provision for the poor, but rather the degree to which that provision should be made through the coercive power of the state. Christ said after all, that you should give your goods to the poor, not that you should force someone else to give his".
Readers of this blog have heard me harp on all the things that Scalia elucidates with far more skill than I can ever muster ... the critical importance of faith, the fact that our founders (even Jefferson) wanted a government that favored religion over irreligion! As he says on page 71 "What I am saying is that it is contrary to our founding principles to inisist that government be hostile to religion, or even to insist (as my court, alas, has done in word though not in deed) that government cannot favor religion over irreligion. It is not a matter of believing that God exists (though personally I believe that); it is a matter of believing, as our Founders did, that belief is very conducive to a successful republic."
There is no reason for me to keep talking here -- anyone that wants some rememberance of America to be recovered from BOistan -- even if it is just a remnant to teach to future generations, needs to read this book. It is witty, wise, and very important. It is ALSO entertaining, and HOPEFUL ... Scalia's friendship with Justice Ginsburg is a model of how things ought operate in a nation which held many things much more sacred than politics!
Thanks be to God for allowing Judge Scalia to sit on the Supreme Court! Our loss is clearly Heaven's gain!