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Brigham Young University Law School

Constitutional Law

Hermenuetics

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Conservatives, Liberals, Romantics: The Persistent Quest For Certainty In Constitutional Interpretation, Frederick Mark Gedicks Jan 1997

Conservatives, Liberals, Romantics: The Persistent Quest For Certainty In Constitutional Interpretation, Frederick Mark Gedicks

Faculty Scholarship

Despite their considerable ideological differences, "conservative originalists" such as Robert Bork and "progressive originalists" such as Michael Perry both divide the process of understanding into cognitive (or "objective") and normative (or "subjective") aspects. The determination of the original meaning of the Constitution is methodologically separated from the question how this predetermined meaning should be applied in a particular case. This places both conservative and progressive originalists squarely in the tradition of Romantic hermeneutics, which sought to overcome the uncertainty and imprecision of textual interpretation by developing a "science of interpretation" which purported to be as epistemologically reliable as the methods ...