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Justin Aimonetti: Holmes v. Walton and its Enduring Lessons for Originalism
Michael Ramsey

Justin W. Aimonetti (University of Virginia School of Law) has posted an abstract for Holmes v. Walton and its Enduring Lessons for Originalism (Marquette Law Review, Vol. 106, forthcoming 2022) on SSRN:

Originalism is nothing new. And the New Jersey Supreme Court’s 1780 decision in Holmes v. Walton shows it. In that case, the New Jersey Supreme Court disallowed a state law as repugnant to the state constitution because the law permitted a jury of only six to render a judgment. To reach that result, the Court looked to the fixed, original meaning of the jury-trial guarantee embedded in the state constitution, and it then constrained its interpretive latitude in conformity with that fixed meaning. Holmes thus cuts against the common misconception that originalism as an interpretive methodology is a modern development.

Not only did the Court in Holmes rely on the animating principles of originalism to reach its decision, but by disallowing the state statute, it also granted relief to loyalists just months after Americans suffered their worst defeat of the Revolutionary War. Holmes, then, also shows that in times of crisis, originalism is a virtue rather than an encumbrance. By constraining judicial decisionmaking especially during periods of tumult, originalism safeguards the rule of law. Originalists today should look to past cases like Holmes for guidance and support, particularly in the face of growing calls from non-originalists and common good constitutionalists to cast originalism aside.

No article available for download, so ordinarily I wouldn't link to it, but the basic point about Holmes v. Walton is apparent from the abstract.  A notable case, also showing that constitutional judicial review was well understood prior to the drafting of the Constitution (and not something invented by John Marshall).

Mike Rappaport adds: Holmes is also an example of interpreting a constitution in accord with its legal meaning rather than its ordinary language meaning.