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Jurisprudence Commons

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Supreme Court

1985

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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

The Most Sacred Text: The Supreme Court's Use Of The Federalist Papers, James G. Wilson Jan 1985

The Most Sacred Text: The Supreme Court's Use Of The Federalist Papers, James G. Wilson

Law Faculty Articles and Essays

In interpreting the Constitution the Supreme Court has increasingly referred to The Federalist papers, a series of essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay during the struggle to ratify the Constitution. This article describes in narrative form how the Court has incorporated The Federalist into its opinions, and summarizes how constitutional historians and political scientists have evaluated The Federalist and the Constitution. This format highlights the limited nature of the Court's historical inquiry by demonstrating that the Court and constitutional scholars have been traveling in parallel universes. Either the Court has ignored or been unaware of ...