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May 18

Lost But Not Forgotten: Reviving the Original Meaning of the Constitution

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

Our form of constitutionalism implies that those who make, interpret and enforce the law ought to be guided by the original meaning of the supreme law of the land, the United States Constitution. This view was undermined in the last century with the rise of the theory of the Constitution as a "living document" with no fixed meaning, subject to changing interpretations according to the spirit of the times. The ensuing debate and ongoing revival of "originalism" - sparked two decades ago by a series of public speeches by then-Attorney General Edwin Meese III - is one of the most significant shifts in modern American political and legal thought. What is originalism, and can it be restored in our constitutional jurisprudence? How can a jurisprudence of originalism address and deal with the established precedents of the last few decades? Is it too late for the original Constitution?

More About the Speakers

From the Beginning: The Meaning and Revival of Originalism:

Randy E. Barnett
Boston University School of Law

David Forte
Cleveland-Marshall School of Law

Keith E. Whittington
Princeton University

Too Late? Original Meaning and the Challenges of Precedent:

John Harrison
The University of Virginia School of Law

John O. McGinnis
Northwestern University School of Law

Christopher Wolfe
Marquette University

Closing Remarks:

Edwin Meese III
Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy, The Heritage Foundation

Hosted By

B  Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies B Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies

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