On pluralism within originalism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


A lot of thought and debate goes into the drafting of a constitution. Fundamental interests of society are affected by the choices made about constitutional design and constitutional language. Political opportunities are created or foreclosed by constitutional choices. Values, interests, and groups are recognized, valorized, neglected, or worse. Whether the process of creating a constitution is relatively open and participatory or relatively closed and elitist, the stakes are high and the process of constitution making is a deliberate one. But after constitutions are drafted, they must be put into practice. No matter how carefully and thoughtfully crafted at their origins, constitutions must still be interpreted and implemented over time to remain effective and relevant. Disputes over constitutional meaning quickly arise under every constitution, and new problems emerge that challenge the ingenuity of those who seek to adhere to pre-existing constitutional commitments and to operate within an established constitutional framework. The constitutional project does not end with a moment of founding. A successful constitutional enterprise requires ongoing efforts at constitutional maintenance, and sometimes significant revision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Challenge of Originalism
Subtitle of host publicationTheories of Constitutional Interpretation
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781139003926
ISBN (Print)9781107013254
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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