Constructing the Original Scope of Constitutional Rights

15 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2020 Last revised: 17 Jan 2020

See all articles by Nathan S. Chapman

Nathan S. Chapman

University of Georgia School of Law

Date Written: December 10, 2019


In this solicited response to Ingrid Wuerth's "The Due Process and Other Constitutional Rights of Foreign Nations," I explain and justify Wuerth's methodology for constructing the original scope of constitutional rights. The original understanding of the Constitution, based on text and historical context, is a universally acknowledged part of constitutional law today. The original scope of constitutional rights — who was entitled to them, where they extended, and so on — is a particularly difficult question that requires a measure of construction based on the entire historical context. Wuerth rightly proceeds one right at a time with a careful consideration of the legal history of the judicial rights of foreign states.

Keywords: constitutional law, constitutional interpretation, originalism, legal history, foriegn affairs, sovereign immunity, civil procedure, due process, notice

Suggested Citation

Chapman, Nathan S., Constructing the Original Scope of Constitutional Rights (December 10, 2019). 88 Fordham Law Review Online, 2019; University of Georgia School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-38. Available at SSRN:

Nathan S. Chapman (Contact Author)

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States
(706) 542-5235 (Phone)


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