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Constitutional theory

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The Meaning Of Equality And The Interpretive Turn, Robin West Jan 1990

The Meaning Of Equality And The Interpretive Turn, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The turn to hermeneutics and interpretation in contemporary legal theory has contributed at least two central ideas to modern jurisprudential thought: first, that the "meaning" of a text is invariably indeterminate -- what might be called the indeterminacy claim -- and second, that the unavoidably malleable essence of texts -- their essential inessentiality -- entails that interpreting a text is a necessary part of the process of creating the text's meaning. These insights have generated both considerable angst, and considerable excitement among traditional constitutional scholars, primarily because at least on first blush these two claims seem to inescapably imply a third: that the ...