Contributions by ‘Jack M. Balkin’

Lawyers and historians argue about the Constitution

Jack M. Balkin* Introduction The quarrel between lawyers and historians about the proper use of history in constitutional law is an old one. It predates the rise of conservative originalism in the 1970s and 1980s. For example, the term “law office history”—now regularly employed to criticize lawyers who engage in historical arguments that are opportunistic,…

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Arguing About the Constitution: The Topics in Constitutional Interpretation

Jack M. Balkin* Introduction Constitutional construction is the part of constitutional interpretation in which interpreters implement and give effect to the Constitution—for example, by creating doctrines, practices, and institutions. The idea of constitutional construction is central to the New Originalism, which divides constitutional interpretation into two tasks. Interpretation (in the narrower sense) ascertains the text’s…

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Which Republican Constitution?

Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People. By Randy E. Barnett.[1] New York: HarperCollins Publishers. 2016. Pp. xiv + 283. $26.99 (cloth). Jack M. Balkin[2] Randy Barnett, Meet Inigo Montoya Reading Randy Barnett’s new book Our Republican Constitution,[3] one feels like Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride: “You keep using…

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