The New Originalism

Posted: 23 Jun 2004

See all articles by Keith E. Whittington

Keith E. Whittington

Princeton University - Department of Political Science


New originalist theories of judicial review and constitutional interpretation that have emerged since the 1980s can be distinguished from an older set of theories that were predominant in the 1970s and 1980s. This article distinguishes these older and newer versions of originalism and places them within their intellectual and political contexts. Whereas the old originalism developed largely to serve as the basis for criticizing the constitutional doctrine developed by the Warren and early Burger Courts, the new originalism has developed with the Rehnquist Court in mind and is less concerned with criticizing judicial review than with guiding it.

Keywords: original intent, constitutional theory, judicial review, Rehnquist

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Whittington, Keith E., The New Originalism. Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 2, 2004. Available at SSRN:

Keith E. Whittington (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States
609-258-3453 (Phone)
609-258-1110 (Fax)


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