Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Gienapp on Historians and Originialism

Over on Process, the blog of the Organization of American Historians, Jonathan Gienapp, an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Stanford University, has posted Constitutional Originalism and History.  A taste:
[H]istorians continue to show little interest in originalism. But in scoffing it off as quaint curiosity, outlandish absurdity, or both, they ignore how a largely one-sided and consequential debate has evolved. Fortunately, Gorsuch’s nomination offers a fresh opportunity to probe originalism’s relationship to history. It has evolved significantly since its emergence, around the time that Antonin Scalia—the theory’s most visible champion for the past three decades and the justice Gorsuch has been nominated to replace—first took his seat on the Supreme Court. But originalism’s development is not simply intriguing in its own right. By understanding how it has changed, we can appreciate the unique, little understood, and urgent threat it now poses to the practice of history.