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11/03/2016

Originalism, Natural Born Citizens and the 1790 Naturalization Act
Michael Ramsey

My brief essay Originalism, Natural Born Citizens and the 1790 Naturalization Act: A Reply to Saul Cornell (Wisconsin Law Review Forward, 2016, forthcoming) is now posted on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

In his essay The 1790 Naturalization Act and the Original Meaning of the Natural Born Citizen Clause: A Short Primer on Historical Method and the Limits of Originalism (2016 Wisconsin Law Review Forward 92), Professor Saul Cornell uses the debate over the Constitution’s natural born citizen clause to illustrate what he regards as the shortcomings of originalist methodology. He makes three main points: (1) that historians’ methodology is different from and superior to the approach of originalist legal scholars; (2) that originalist scholars have reached an erroneously broad reading of the 1790 Naturalization Act; and (3) that, as a result, originalist scholars have misread the natural born citizen clause. I believe each of these points is mistaken. This response addresses them in turn.

Professor Cornell's essay is here.  My response expands on some points made on this blog. Thanks to the Wisconsin Law Review Forward for providing the opportunity to respond to Professor Cornell.