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Posts Tagged ‘originalism’

John Paul Stevens, U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Former Associate Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens, explained the changing definition of “originalism” on the October 18, 2011 episode of Charlie Rose (starting at 4:04):

Originalism actually is described in different ways in different times. And some people think it refers to the original intent of the people who drafted either a statute or a constitutional provision. But I think more and more, in recent years, those who describe themselves as originalists and not focused on the intent of the draftsmen, but rather then on intent of the reader or the community in which the law is enacted or distributed.

He went on to say that Justice Scalia is in the latter camp.

The particular view of originalism that is taken can be very significant in reaching decisions on certain issues. For example, the Founders were clear that the Bill of Rights only intended to apply to the federal government and not the several States. Yet, it may be that it was the expectation of some in the Union that it should also apply to their particular state as well.

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