The New York Times

Justice Scalia's Fading Legacy

USING LEGISLATIVE HISTORY TO INTERPRET LAWS ONCE RISKED TIPTOEING OVER THE HOT COALS OF HIS SCORN. NO LONGER. NOW JUSTICES USE IT WITHOUT APOLOGY.

It was more than three years after her retirement when Justice Sandra Day O’Connor publicly acknowledged her regret over seeing pieces of her legacy erased by a rightward-turning Supreme Court. “What would you feel?” she asked her biographer, Joan Biskupic, in a September 2009 interview. “I’d be a little bit disappointed. If you think you’ve been helpful and then it’s dismantled, you think, ‘Oh, dear.’ ”

The legacy of Justice Antonin Scalia, two years after his death, is being erased as well. (He isn’t here to see it, of course, and he would no doubt have expressed his reaction differently.) When faced with interpreting an act of Congress, his colleagues evidently now feel free to invoke legislative history — committee reports, floor debates and the like — without tiptoeing over the hot coals of his scorn.

Legislative history

This article originally appeared in .

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The New York Times

The New York Times6 min read
In a Chaotic World, Dungeons & Dragons Is Resurgent
It wasn’t that many years ago that Dungeons & Dragons had been nearly left for dead. The tabletop role-playing game had once been “one of the coolest, most meaningful fantasy brands on the planet,” said Nathan Stewart, who runs D&D at Wizards of the
The New York Times5 min read
When Your Tween Wants to Conform to the VSCO Girl Trend
How to respect your child’s desire to belong while also teaching her to be an independent thinker.
The New York Times5 min read
Luxury for Less: The Travel Adviser Gambit
When booking a high-end vacation, using a travel agency can mean scoring perks and benefits that would cost hundreds, at no cost to you.