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Constitutional OriginalismA Debate$
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Robert.W Bennett and Lawrence B. Solum

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801447938

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801447938.001.0001

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Originalism and the Living American Constitution

Originalism and the Living American Constitution

(p.78) Originalism and the Living American Constitution
Constitutional Originalism

Robert W. Bennett

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the clash between originalism and living constitutionalism. It considers variants of originalism, with particular emphasis on unsolved problems and continuing disagreement. It suggests that originalism has limited capacity to stem a constant flow of contemporary values into the judicial decision-making process, while a living Constitution is effectively irresistible. It also examines judicial interpretation of the Constitution and the dynamics of constitutional adjudication, along with the views of many originalists regarding the authoritativeness of specific original intentions or meanings (or expected applications) that attended general constitutional language. The chapter concludes with the argument that living constitutionalism is inevitable, at least once a far-ranging judicial review is in place.

Keywords:   originalism, living constitutionalism, living Constitution, judicial interpretation, constitutional adjudication, judicial review, judicial decision-making, original intentions, original meanings

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