Why Jack Balkin is Disgusting

12 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2009 Last revised: 10 May 2011

Date Written: November 12, 2009


Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin didn’t win friends when he announced that (1) he is now a constitutional originalist and (2) the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the right to abortion. His claim to membership in the originalist club brought forth a small army of eager bouncers, who were sure that originalism couldn’t possibly defend the paradigmatic departure from the Constitution’s original meaning.

Balkin has indeed posed a radical challenge to the vision of law that drives the originalists – more radical than he is willing to admit. His theory is in such deep tension with a commonly held vision of the rule of law that his argument is, to put the point precisely, disgusting. But that doesn’t mean that he is wrong.

Keywords: Balkin, Jack, Disgusting, constitutional, originalist, Fourteenth Amendment

JEL Classification: K10, K19

Suggested Citation

Koppelman, Andrew M., Why Jack Balkin is Disgusting (November 12, 2009). Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 27, p. 177, 2010, Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 09-23, Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 09-42, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1506506

Andrew M. Koppelman (Contact Author)

Northwestern University School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-8431 (Phone)

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