Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Jurisprudence Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Washington University Jurisprudence Review

Judges

2017

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

Wittgenstein’S Poker: Contested Constitutionalism And The Limits Of Public Meaning Originalism, Ian C. Bartrum Jan 2017

Wittgenstein’S Poker: Contested Constitutionalism And The Limits Of Public Meaning Originalism, Ian C. Bartrum

Washington University Jurisprudence Review

Constitutional originalism is much in the news as our new President fills the Supreme Court vacancy Antonin Scalia’s death has created. “Public meaning” originalism is probably the most influential version of originalism in current theoretical circles. This essay argues that, while these “New Originalists” have thoughtfully escaped some of the debilitating criticisms leveled against their predecessors, the result is a profoundly impoverished interpretive methodology that has little to offer most modern constitutional controversies. In particular, the fact that our constitutional practices are contested—that is, we often do not seek semantic or legal agreement—makes particular linguistic indeterminacies highly ...