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Columbia Law School

2012

Originalism

Articles 1 - 3 of 3

Full-Text Articles in Law

Fourteenth Amendment Originalism, Jamal Greene Jan 2012

Fourteenth Amendment Originalism, Jamal Greene

Faculty Scholarship

This essay, part of a symposium on Jack Balkin's Constitutional Redemption and Sanford Levinson's Constitutional Faith, seeks to explain the curious disregard many originalists show toward the Fourteenth Amendment. On common originalist premises, analysis of the text, history, and structure of the Fourteenth Amendment should predominate in discussions of incorporated rights, in affirmative action cases, and in federalism disputes, and yet originalist interventions into such discussions tend to minimize the amendment and Reconstruction-era history more generally. This essay suggests that the Fourteenth Amendment and Reconstruction represent less usable history than the Founding for several reasons: the Reconstruction amendments ...


Fourteenth Amendment Originalism, Jamal Greene Jan 2012

Fourteenth Amendment Originalism, Jamal Greene

Faculty Scholarship

In Baze v. Rees, the Supreme Court rejected a death-row inmate's claim that a state's use of a lethal injection protocol that carried risks of severe pain from improper administration violated the Constitution. Justice Thomas wrote a remarkable concurring opinion, joined by Justice Scalia, in which he argued that the plurality opinion announcing the governing standard for claims of this sort was wrong, and should have hewed more closely to the original understanding of the Eighth Amendment. Justice Thomas wrote that "the Framers intended to prohibit torturous modes of punishment akin to those that formed the historical backdrop ...


The Case For Original Intent, Jamal Greene Jan 2012

The Case For Original Intent, Jamal Greene

Faculty Scholarship

This essay, written for a symposium celebrating the centennial of Max Farrand's Records of the Federal Convention, seeks to situate the constitutional culture's heavy reliance on the Convention debates within an academic environment that is generally hostile to original intent arguments. The essay argues that intentionalist-friendly sources like the Convention records and The Federalist remain important not because they supply evidence of original meaning but rather because the practice of advancing historical arguments is best understood as a rhetorical exercise that derives persuasive authority from the heroic character of the founding generation. This exercise fits within a long ...