Book #16: Original Intent and the Framer’s Constitution, by Leonard Levy

I’m not going to blog much about Levy’s Original Intent here, but suffice it to say that his analysis  of the viability of "original intent" interpretation is devastating.  Of course, this doesn’t come as a huge shock since "intent" has largely been abandoned by originalists through the 1990’s in favor of "original public meaning."  (cf. Randy Barnett, Restoring the Lost Constitution).

My purpose in picking up the book was to delve into the historical justification, origins, and development of judicial review, about which I’m hoping to post soon on Progressive Commons.   But Levy covers a number of other topics, ably demonstrating the difficulty in discerning a consistent "intent" among the Founding generation for many constitutional topics (e.g., free speech, national judicial review, war powers, etc).  It seems to me that we rarely recall the extent to which the Founding generation was experimenting, trying out new forms of government, and the extent to which these experiments also represent the compromises which were practically achievable with competing interest groups.   This seems to me to be the strongest argument for treating original meaning, and the Founding generation’s record of thought and action, not as a series of immutable commandments, but as one of our sources (albeit one of our most important sources) for inspiration as we, too, attempt to adapt constitutional democracy to a quickly changing world.

Comments

14 Comments so far. Comments are closed.
  1. Hinrich Tries Hard, but Can’t Stop Wade

    let up on offense, given his huge responsibility on defense throughout the Bulls’

  2. Hussein refuses to enter plea in Baghdad trial

    at his trial in Baghdad after he was formally charged with ordering the killing and torture of hundreds of Shia villagers.

  3. Help for Chronic Insomnia Isn’t Always Found in a Pill

    form of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy for treating chronic

  4. Moussaoui to Spend 23 Hours a Day in Cell

    Begins Serving Life Sentence in Colorado Prison, Will Spend 23 Hours a Day in Cell

  5. Customer Service Center

    Searchable Directory of Online Sources “Source Locator” … To begin, supply search criteria for any field(s) in the search form below …

  6. Paris Hilton Releases Four Songs from “1 Crazy Party”

    are available here and here but I have to warn you that these songs are even

  7. Committee Calls For Health Care Reform

    health insurance. The findings will be presented to the president and Congress in the fall.

  8. “Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop” Named Most Popular Title On Amazon.com

    are drawn to the comprehensive exercises and instructions that teach the principles of GIS technology and the mechanics of using ESRI’s ArcGIS

  9. White House Upbeat About Economic Growth

    administration forecast better than anticipated economic growth, lower unemployment

  10. Google Book Search to be Sued by French Publishers

    permission. But is it without permission? :) The group’s web site,…

  11. Google Fixes Some of the Site Command Search

    on May 22nd we reported that the Google’s Site Command Search Being Fixed, where

  12. NetSupport Software Products Excel in 2006 eSchool News Reader Awards

    Trackback URI: http://www.prweb.com/dingpr.php/RmFsdS1UaGlyLUxvdmUtU2luZy1JbnNlLVplcm8=

  13. Hewitt urged to block software switch in London

    supplier for electronic patient records in London as part of the NHS National programme for IT (NPfIT).

  14. Rob Parker: Look for Porter to Join Pistons

    next season, writes Rob Parker in THE DETROIT NEWS. Lowe, Flip Saunders’ top assistant, has taken his dream job as coach of North Carolina