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Have you ever wondered what it means to be an originalist? Ever been confused about the different forms of originalism? Wondered what the best justifications for this approach to interpreting the Constitution are?
In the last 40 years, Originalism has gone from an approach to interpreting the Constitution very much in the minority in the legal academy and in the Courts, to receiving widespread popular discussion.
What is behind that shift? How has originalism itself changed over that time period? What are key debates among originalists today?
This unit in the No. 86 video project explores these questions and more. Different modules include:
What similarities and differences are there among originalists?
How is originalism similar to (and different from) other theories of Constitutional interpretation?
Objects and responses to Originalism
This series aims to demonstrate that intense, historical examination of the constitutional text and sources is still a worthy pursuit and that interpreting the Constitution is a serious, scientific project.
To that end, our aesthetic for the project will be a fictional “Originalism University.” Originalism University is a place brimming with scholarship and the pursuit of knowledge. We celebrate the American experiment as a whole, from the past to the present. The course outlines not only the Framers’ contributions but also the advancements in law and liberty we have made and continue to make. Architecture and decor will take their inspiration from iconic American universities, without overt references.
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This unit in the No. 86 video curriculum explores some key ideas that undergirded the writing of the Constitution: natural rights, separation of powers, mixed regime theory, federalism. It also deals with normative questions such as: What right did our Founding Fathers have to create a document that binds us today?
Originalists, over time, have used different methods and relied on different sources to conduct original public meaning analysis, including looking at Founding-era documents, dictionaries, and newer scholarly methods such as corpus linguistics. We explore similarities and differences among these schools of thought.
What is the proper role of a judge? Where did the power of judicial review come from? What things are judicially enforceable This unit in the No. 86 curriculum project explores the intersection between Judges and their duty to interpret the Constitution.
Is precedent always opposed to Originalism? Are there certain cases or issues when precedent is helpful or imperative? This unit in the No. 86 curriculum explores an especially timely question of the relationship of Originalism to precedent judicial decisions.