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A Debt Against the Living: An Introduction to Originalism

Thomas Jefferson famously wrote that the earth belongs to the living. His letter to James Madison is often quoted for the proposition that we should not be bound to the ‘dead hand of the past’, suggesting that the Constitution should instead be interpreted as a living, breathing document. Less well-known is Madison’s response, in which

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(as of January 21, 2018 10:07 pm GMT - Details)

Thomas Jefferson famously wrote that the earth belongs to the living. His letter to James Madison is often quoted for the proposition that we should not be bound to the ‘dead hand of the past’, suggesting that the Constitution should instead be interpreted as a living, breathing document. Less well-known is Madison’s response, in which he said the improvements made by the dead – including the US Constitution – form a debt against the living, who benefit from them. In this illuminating book, Ilan Wurman introduces Madison’s concept of originalism to a new generation and shows how it has shaped the US Supreme Court in ways that are expected to continue following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the theory’s leading proponents. It should be read by anyone seeking a better understanding of originalism and its ongoing influence on the constitutional jurisprudence of the Supreme Court.

Comments

Patrick Roberts says:

Originalism with Clarity Wurman shows that we may never be debt free from the Framers – and that’s a good thing. Subsequent generations have reaped the benefits of the Framers’ constitutional design. This book goes beyond tired clichés of originalism as the plain meaning of the text and shows that originalism is a nuanced approach that begins with trying to understand the thought of the Founders, who left many questions to be resolved by democratic politics. The book’s only shortcoming is that it is a…

Pacasso says:

Five Stars Simply fascinating, well maybe not simple. The author is anachronusm. Keep wtiting Mr Wurman.

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