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Products for grant FB-53215-07

"The Most Sacred Rule of Interpretation": The Language of Law and the Moral Foundations of Originalism
Gary McDowell, University of Richmond

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The Language of Law and the Foundations of American Constitutionalism (Book)
Title: The Language of Law and the Foundations of American Constitutionalism
Author: Gary L. McDowell
Abstract: For much of its history, the interpretation of the United States Constitution presupposed judges seeking the meaning of the text and the original intentions behind that text, a process that was deemed by Chief Justice John Marshall to be 'the most sacred rule of interpretation'. Since the end of the nineteenth century, a radically new understanding has developed in which the moral intuition of the judges is allowed to supplant the Constitution's original meaning as the foundation of interpretation. The Founders' Constitution of fixed and permanent meaning has been replaced by the idea of a 'living' or evolving constitution. Gary L. McDowell refutes this new understanding, recovering the theoretical grounds of the original Constitution as understood by those who framed and ratified it. It was, he argues, the intention of the Founders that the judiciary must be bound by the original meaning of the Constitution when interpreting it.
Year: 2010
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 0521192897