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Constitutional interpretation

Constitutional Law

2020

St. John's University School of Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Traditions Of American Constitutional Law, Marc O. Degirolami Jan 2020

The Traditions Of American Constitutional Law, Marc O. Degirolami

Faculty Publications

This Article identifies a new method of constitutional interpretation: the use of tradition as constitutive of constitutional meaning. It studies what the Supreme Court means by invoking tradition and whether what it means remains constant across the document and over time. Traditionalist interpretation is pervasive, consistent, and recurrent across the Court’s constitutional doctrine. So, too, are criticisms of traditionalist interpretation. There are also more immediate reasons to study the role of tradition in constitutional interpretation. The Court’s two newest members, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, have indicated that tradition informs their understanding of constitutional meaning. The study of traditionalist …