Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The (old, white) guys who drafted the Constitution were well-aware of the Common Law-- it is what informed the entire document. Since common law principles are necessarily evolutionary in nature, they had to have understood that those principles would inform Constitutional interpretation, and the earliest decisions of the Supreme Court, including Marbury, written by one of the principal authors of the Constitution expressly acknowledged this. The notion that conflicts in interpretation are best resolved by resort to the dictionaries that were contemporaneous with the language in the foundational document or subsequent statutes is the worst sort of outcome deterministic, intellectually dishonest jurisprudence I can think of.
I have no doubt that Gorsuch and Bart's law school essays all started, "Webster's defines..." and take off from there.

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