Course Description

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 explore:

  • What does it mean to be an originalist

  • Originalism and determining the meaning of text

  • Sources (founding era and otherwise) to use in interpreting the Constitution

  • What similarities and differences are there among originalists?

  • Originalism and the Courts

  • 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.

About this Course

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Enroll in No.86 Today!