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10/11/2011

Originalism in the Blogs
Michael Ramsey

At SCOTUS Blog, a conversation on Originalism and the Supreme Court

Tejinder Singh asks to what extent originalism should guide constitutional interpretation in the Supreme Court.  He draws an amazingly sophisticated set of responses, including from prominent law professors Geoffrey Stone, Randy Barnett, Lawrence Solum, Jamal Greene, John McGinnis and Mike Rappaport.

To me, the most interesting comment is from Andrew Coan (University of Wisconsin), who asks why someone would be an originalist.  He lists four possible reasons, which he apparently regards as exhaustive:

(1) Popular sovereignty;

(2) Rule of law and constraint of judicial discretion;

(3) Better substantive outcomes; or

(4) Compelled by the existence of a written Constitution.

Are there others?  I might add, theoretical incoherence of the leading alternatives?