The U.S. Constitution is currently the subject of a heated political debate. Tea Party activists have invoked the Constitution as the foundation of their conservative political philosophy. These activists are engaged in “popular originalism,” using popular constitutionalism—constitutional interpretation outside of the courts—to invoke originalism as interpretive method. The Tea Party movement thus provides an excellent heuristic to explore the relationship between originalism and popular constitutionalism, two prominent trends in constitutional theory. Both originalists and popular constitutionalists study legal history to illuminate constitutional meaning, but the two schools of thought draw diverging lessons from that history. Originalists look to history to determine the fixed “original” meaning of the Constitution, which they hold to be binding on contemporary interpreters, regardless of subsequent historical or political developments. Popular constitutionalists study the way in which constitutional interpretation has been influenced by historical developments and explore the use of constitutional theory to bolster constitutional arguments.
April 2014, Vol. 66, No. 2
Sergio J. Campos, Class Actions and Justiciability
Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, Constitutional Culpability: Questioning the New Exclusionary Rules
Alberto R. Gonzales & Amy L. Moore, No Right at All: Putting Consular Notification in its Rightful Place After Medellin
Kevin J. Lynch, The Lock-in Effect of Preliminary Injunctions
Anne R. Traum, Using Outcomes to Reframe Guilty Plea Adjudication
Stephen E. Ludovici, Rule 60(b)(4): When the Courts of Limited Jurisdiction Yield to Finality