The 'Common-Good' Manifesto
48 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2022
Date Written: August 15, 2022
In “Common Good Constitutionalism,” Adrian Vermeule expounds a constitutional vision that might “direct persons, associations, and society generally toward the common good.” The book must be taken seriously as an intellectual challenge, particularly to leading theories of originalism.
That said, the challenge fails. The book fails to support its hostility toward originalism, to motivate its surprising claims about outcomes, or even to offer an account of constitutionalism at all. Its chief objections to originalism are unpersuasive and already answered in the literature it cites. The book does highlight important points of history and jurisprudence, of which originalists and others might need to take account; yet those points remain underdeveloped. In the end, the book might be best understood as what Vermeule once called a “constitutional manifesto”: a work of “movement jurisprudence” whose political aims come into conflict with theoretical rigor.
Keywords: common good constitutionalism, originalism, natural law, constitutional theory
JEL Classification: K1, K10, Y3, Y30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation