Comparative Originalism

11 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2011

See all articles by David Fontana

David Fontana

George Washington University Law School

Date Written: December 1, 2010


Jamal Greene has written an important paper examining originalism in other countries. This short response argues that comparing the United States with Canada and Australia (the countries Professor Greene mostly examines) involves comparing quite different countries, because the Canadian and Australian constitutions reorganized preexisting institutions, whereas the United States had more of a nation-creating, revolutionary constitution. Other countries that arose out of more revolutionary events, such as certain post-colonial African and Latin American nations, have also tended to feature originalist arguments. When the nation predates the creation of a constitution, key cultural and political understandings also predate the constitution, thereby diminishing the importance of originalism.

Suggested Citation

Fontana, David, Comparative Originalism (December 1, 2010). Texas Law Review See Also, Vol. 88, p. 189, 2010, Available at SSRN:

David Fontana (Contact Author)

George Washington University Law School ( email )

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