Originalism and the Good Constitution

The Iowa Lawyers Chapter
Start : Thursday, September 05, 2013 05:00 PM
End : Thursday, September 05, 2013 06:30 PM

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Brown, Winick, Graves, Gross, Baskerville and Schoenbaum, P.L.C.
666 Grand Avenue (Ruan Center), Suite 2000
Des Moines, IA

Featured Speakers:
John O. McGinnis



  • Professor John O. McGinnis, Northwestern University Law School

Come and hear from Professor McGinnis discuss his new book, "Originalism and the Good Constitution." Originalism holds that the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted according to its meaning at the time it was enacted. In their innovative defense of originalism, John McGinnis and Michael Rappaport maintain that the text of the Constitution should be adhered to by the Supreme Court because it was enacted by supermajorities—both its original enactment under Article VII and subsequent Amendments under Article V. A text approved by supermajorities has special value in a democracy because it has unusually wide support and thus tends to maximize the welfare of the greatest number. Some of the questions raised include, Does originalism perpetuate the dead hand of the past? How can following the original meaning be justified, given that African Americans and women were excluded from the enactment of the Constitution in 1787 and many of its subsequent Amendments? What is originalism’s place in interpretation of the Constitution, when after two hundred years there is so much non-originalist precedent?

Registration details:

Space is limited, so please RSVP to A reception will follow.