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The New Originalism in Constitutional Law
Start Date: 3/1/2013Start Time: 9:00 AM
End Date: 3/1/2013End Time: 5:00 PM
This event recurs on a custom schedule.   Click here to see the series dates.

Event Description
Fordham Law Review presents
The New Originalism in Constitutional Law

Friday, March 1st (9 a.m.–5 p.m.) & Saturday, March 2nd (9 a.m.–2 p.m.)

Fordham Law School, McNally Amphitheatre
140 West 62nd Street, New York City

On-line registration is now closed. Space is available; please register at the door.




Program Description:

Originalism—the thesis that legitimate constitutional interpretation is bound by original meaning or intent—has emerged as an influential and controversial approach to how we interpret our Constitution. While some claim that constitutional interpretation and legitimacy require unearthing original meaning or intent, others assert that tethering current citizens and interpreters to the comprehension of long-dead people is the antithesis of good and proper democratic government.

The Fordham Law Review is proud to present a symposium gathering a remarkable group of legal scholars, historians, and philosophers to discuss if, how, and why Originalism should inform constitutional analysis.

Program Schedule:

Friday, March 1

9:00 – 9:45
Coffee and Registration in McNally Atrium, Fordham Law School

9:45 – 10:00 Welcoming Remarks in McNally Amphitheater, Fordham Law School

10 - 11:45 Panel 1: Overview: The Arc of Originalism

How did originalism come onto the legal and academic scene in constitutional law and how has it changed? Are “Original Intent,” “Original Understanding,” “Original Public Meaning,” and “Textualism” distinct from one another? Which issues – substantive, theoretical, and methodological – currently merit closest scrutiny? To what extent have academic debates influenced judicial decisionmaking in the methodology of constitutional interpretation?

Randy Barnett, Georgetown Law School
James Fleming, Boston University School of Law
Keith Whittington, Princeton University, Politics
Benjamin Zipursky, Fordham University School of Law

11:45 – 1:15 Lunch Break

1:15 – 2:45 Panel 2: The Meaning of Meaning in Constitutional Interpretation (Part I)

To what extent can constitutional meaning be detached from what constitutional ratifiers or framers intended to say; how can meaning be detached from what was meant? To what extent can semantic meaning play a central role in constitutional interpretation? Does semantic meaning need to be supplemented in the process of interpretation? Is the interpretation/construction distinction tenable and useful? To what extent can meaning be derived from dictionaries?

Larry Alexander, San Diego Law School
Mitch Berman, University of Texas Law School
Larry Solum, Georgetown Law School

2:45 - 3:15 Break

3:15 - 5:00 Panel 3: The Meaning of Meaning in Constitutional Interpretation (Part II)

Andrei Marmor, University of Southern California, Philosophy & Law
Stephen Neale, City University of New York, Graduate Center, Philosophy
Tara Smith, University of Texas, Philosophy
Scott Soames, University of Southern California, Philosophy

5:00 - 6:00 Reception in McNally Atrium

Saturday, March 2 (Day 2 of Symposium)

9:00 - 9:30
Coffee and Bagels

9:30 – 10:55 Panel 4: The Role of History in Constitutional Interpretation

If one believes that understanding constitutional history is critical to interpreting the constitution, does that make one an originalist? Are there models of the relevance of constitutional history in constitutional interpretation that do not qualify as forms of originalism? When is history relevant to constitutional interpretation, and why? Do the framers, ratifiers, lawyers, scholars, laypeople, or some combination of the above provide appropriate objects of study?

Jack Balkin, Yale Law School
Saul Cornell, Fordham University, History
Andrew Kent, Fordham University School of Law
Thomas H. Lee, Fordham University School of Law

10:55 - 11:05 Break

11:05 – 12:30 Panel 5: Constitutional Theory With and Without Originalism

Why has so much of the terrain of constitutional theory been dominated by various forms of originalism in the past thirty years, given the variety of non-originalist approaches to constitutional interpretation? Can other theoretical models address legitimacy concerns as well as forms of originalism (or better)? Are the concerns driving originalism sufficient to narrow the domain of arguments in constitutional law? Should the past -- original intent or meaning, or precedent -- be even presumptively binding in constitutional interpretation? If so, why? If not, what is the appropriate ground for constitutional interpretation?

Abner Greene, Fordham University School of Law
Leslie Goldstein, University of Delaware, Political Science (Emerita)
Bernadette Meyler, Cornell Law School
William Michael Treanor, Georgetown Law School

12:30 Lunch and Farewell
Location Information:
Lincoln Center Campus - Fordham University School of Law  (View Map)
140 West 62nd St
New York, NY 10023
New York
Room: James B.M. McNally Amphitheatre

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