SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

REAGAN’S CONSTITUTIONAL RESTORATION. George Thomas, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma has penned a wonderful essay entitled "Ronald Reagan and the Constitution," discussing the return of originalism to constitutional scholarship and public debate. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese’s infamous 1986 speech resulted in much hyperventilating by those who mistakenly assume that the constitution merely means what a bare Supreme Court majority can agree to. The nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court also brought the spotlight on to originalism.

If President Reagan had merely helped to prompt a movement on the center-right, then that would be one thing. But as Thomas notes, what President Reagan helped to spur on is much more sweeping
Indeed, sharing Reagan's recognition that constitutionalism cannot be reduced to Supreme Court opinions, much of the most interesting work in constitutional theory is not easily reduced to the Left-Right divide as it was a generation ago.

Thomas goes on to discuss many important scholars on the left, such as Akhil Amar, whose scholarship is guided—in at least some respects—by originalism. Thomas also praises Larry Kramer’s DYNAMITE book The People Themselves. (It was my favorite book from all of 2004, which I hope to discuss at length in a future post.)

Granted, there are differences between originalists, and I differ with former AG Meese and Judge Bork on many issues. But it got the ball rolling in the right direction--recognizing that the federal law is supreme law of the land under the Constitution, but leaning away from judicial supremacy in interpreting that Constitution.

(A Secure Location, USA)

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