A Debt Against the Living: An Introduction to Originalism

A Debt Against the Living: An Introduction to Originalism

by Ilan Wurman


$18.62 $19.99 Save 7% Current price is $18.62, Original price is $19.99. You Save 7%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, August 22


Thomas Jefferson famously wrote that the earth belongs to the living. His letter to James Madison is often quoted for the proposition that we should not be bound to the 'dead hand of the past', suggesting that the Constitution should instead be interpreted as a living, breathing document. Less well-known is Madison's response, in which he said the improvements made by the dead - including the US Constitution - form a debt against the living, who benefit from them. In this illuminating book, Ilan Wurman introduces Madison's concept of originalism to a new generation and shows how it has shaped the US Supreme Court in ways that are expected to continue following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the theory's leading proponents. It should be read by anyone seeking a better understanding of originalism and its ongoing influence on the constitutional jurisprudence of the Supreme Court.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108412162
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 07/31/2017
Pages: 168
Sales rank: 309,343
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Ilan Wurman is an attorney in Washington, DC, and a nonresident fellow at the Stanford Constitutional Law Center. He was formerly deputy general counsel on Senator Rand Paul's US presidential campaign, associate counsel on Senator Tom Cotton's campaign for US Senate, and a law clerk to the honorable Jerry E. Smith of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous law reviews, including the Stanford Law Review and the Texas Law Review, as well as in national journals, including National Affairs, The Weekly Standard, and City Journal. He graduated from Stanford Law School, and from Claremont McKenna College with degrees in Government and Physics.

Table of Contents

Forward; Acknowledgments; Introduction; Part I. Preliminaries and Language: 1. The origins of originalism; 2. The meaning of meaning; Part II. The Original Constitution: 3. Constitutional legitimacy; 4. The founders on founding; 5. Interpreting the constitution; Part III. Objections and Recapitulation: 6. Lawyers as historians; 7. Brown v. board and originalism; 8. A coda on nonoriginalisms; Epilogue.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews