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Volokh Conspiracy

Judge Amy Coney Barrett's "Canards of Contemporary Legal Analysis"

A former Scalia clerk revisits Justice Scalia's famed lecture on legal canards and offers a defense of textualism.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

In October 1989, Justice Antonin Scalia delivered a lecture on "Assorted Canards of Contemporary Legal Analysis" at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Last week, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a former Scalia clerk, revisited Justice Scalia's famed lecture in her own talk at CWRU.

In "Assorted Canards of Contemporary Analysis Redux," Judge Barrett added to Justice Scalia's list of canards, with a particular focus on addressing common misconceptions and caricatures of textualism. A video of the remarks is below. An article based upon the talk will be published in the Case Western Reserve Law Review.

Both Justice Scalia's and Judge Barrett's lectures were part of the Sumner Canary Memorial Lecture series at CWRU, established to honor the memory of Sumner Canary, a lion of the Cleveland legal community.

Last year's lecture was delivered by Judge Joan Larsen, and was recently published in the Case Western Reserve Law Review. 

Previous lecturers have also included then-Judge Neil Gorsuch, Judge Diane Sykes, then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and Judge Bill Pryor, and non-jurists such as Neal Katyal, Jack Goldsmith, and Randy Barnett. A full list of prior Canary lectures, including links to video (when available) and published versions of the remarks is available here.

It is an honor to be the current curator of this lecture series, and the law school is grateful to Nancy Canary for the support that makes this lecture series possible.