Amending the Law of Constitutional Interpretation
19 Pages Posted: 10 May 2018 Last revised: 27 Jun 2018
Date Written: May 9, 2018
In recent years, the law of interpretation has received a welcome flurry of attention. Much of this attention has focused on the law of U.S. constitutional interpretation circa 2018 and whether that law should be understood as embracing originalism—or any other specific approach—or whether it is better understood as broadly open-textured or otherwise pluralist. This symposium essay takes a different tack. As a thought experiment, it proposes a constitutional amendment explicitly mandating a nonoriginalist approach to constitutional interpretation. This thought experiment has a number of interesting implications for both originalism and nonoriginalism and for the law of interpretation more generally. Most fundamentally, it suggests that constitutional theorists should think more deeply about the nature and grounds of constitutional decision-makers’ presumptive obligation to follow the law.
Keywords: Originalism, Nonoriginalism, Constitutional Interpretation, Interpretation, Positive Turn, Positivism, Constitutional Amendment, Living Constitutionalism
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