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 include:

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

Total run time:

1h 14m



Total videos:





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Course Teachers

Frequently Asked Questions

The material is designed for anyone who desires to better understand Originalism as a method for interpreting the Constitution - in particular, first and second year law students.
Our course is intended to be a primer that provides an accessible primer on the core principles of originalism. It gives an overview of the arguments for and against it and provides an overview of key developments in originalism. Particular emphasis is given to different strains of originalism that have developed and the nuances among the key thinkers today.
We take an ecumenical approach to originalism, focusing on explaining key concepts and exploring differences in method among originalists. Our speakers have a range of perspectives and expertise that they bring to bear on the topics presented. All views presented belong to the speakers, and don’t represent any kind of “official” view.
Watch short, digestible videos - on the No. 86 website, on Youtube, or delivered to you in your email inbox!
A course is a full academic subject, and a module is a subsection of a course. Modules are composed of individual videos on related subjects.
This material is designed as a supplement to classroom learning. No credit is offered.
All material is 100% free!