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04/07/2021

New Book: "The Hollow Core of Constitutional Theory" by Donald Drakeman
Michael Ramsey

Recently published, by Donald Drakeman (Notre Dame): The Hollow Core of Constitutional Theory: Why We Need the Framers (Cambridge University Press 2021).  Here is the book description from the publisher:

The Hollow Core of Constitutional Theory is the first major defense of the central role of the Framers' intentions in constitutional interpretation to appear in years. This book starts with a reminder that, for virtually all of Western legal history, when judges interpreted legal texts, their goal was to identify the lawmaker's will. However, for the past fifty years, constitutional theory has increasingly shifted its focus away from the Framers. Contemporary constitutional theorists, who often disagree with each other about virtually everything else, have come to share the view that the Framers' understandings are unknowable and irrelevant. This book shows why constitutional interpretation needs to return to its historical core inquiry, which is a search for the Framers' intentions. Doing so is practically feasible, theoretically defensible, and equally important not only for discovering the original meaning, but also for deciding how to apply the Constitution today.

Next week (Thursday, April 15) the Federalist Society will host an online discussion of the book, featuring Lawrence Solum and Keith Whittington:  Original Meaning or Framers' Intent? A New Book and an Age-Old Debate.  From the Federalist Society announcement:

In his new book, The Hollow Core of Constitutional Theory: Why We Need the Framers, historian Donald Drakeman argues that in order to properly interpret the Constitution, one must consider the will of the lawmakers—in this case, those founding fathers who framed the charter—and, more specifically, their decisions about both the ends and the means of the provisions they designed. In the face of ascendant "public meaning" originalism, this book seeks to revive the importance of the framers' intent in constitutional theory and interpretation.

Joining Mr. Drakeman to review his new book are two distinguished constitutional theorists, Professors Lawrence Solum of the University of Virginia and Keith Whittington of Princeton. All three will offer their views on the matters at hand in a discussion moderated by Judge Britt Grant of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Registration information for the event is at the link.