Justice Scalia believed in the rule of law as a law of rules. He wanted judges to be umpires, which ordinarily entails judges applying a settled legal principle to a particular set of facts. I agree with that vision of the judiciary. But there are two major impediments in current jurisprudence to achieving that vision of the judge as umpire. The first is the ambiguity trigger in statutory interpretation. The second is the amorphous tests employed in cases involving claimed constitutional exceptions. We should identify and study these issues. Inspired by Justice Scalia’s longstanding efforts to improve the law, we all must continue to pursue the ideal of a neutral, impartial judiciary.
Brett M. Kavanaugh,
Keynote Address: Two Challenges for the Judge as Umpire: Statutory Ambiguity and Constitutional Exceptions,
Notre Dame L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.nd.edu/ndlr/vol92/iss5/1