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Originalism's Promise
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Book description

The foundation of the American legal system and democratic culture is its longstanding written Constitution. However, a contentious debate now exists between originalists, who employ the Constitution's original meaning, and Nonoriginalists, who argue for a living constitution interpretation. The first natural law justification for an originalist interpretation of the American Constitution, Originalism's Promise presents an innovative foundation for originalism and a novel description of its character. The book provides a deep, rich, and practical explanation of originalism, including the most-detailed originalist theory of precedent in the literature. Of interest to judges, scholars, and lawyers, it will help all Americans better understand their own Constitution and shows why their reverence for it, its Framers, and its legal system, is supported by sound reasons. Originalism's Promise is a powerful contribution to the most important theory in constitutional interpretation.


'Lee J. Strang has provided us with a fresh new explanation and defense of an approach to constitutional interpretation that emphasizes the need for fidelity to original meaning. Unusually, he has built a bridge between originalist theory and modern natural law theory that engages with important ideas in the philosophy of law as well as constitutional theory. A formidable piece of scholarship that deserves close scrutiny.'

Keith E. Whittington - Princeton University, New Jersey

'Originalism's Promise provides a sophisticated and important defense of constitutional originalism. Drawing on history, constitutional theory, and the natural law tradition, Professor Strang makes a compelling case that fidelity to the original meaning of the constitutional text is required by both law and morality. His law-as-coordination account of originalism offers a new and distinctive view of the role of the Constitution. In a field where it is difficult to say something that is novel and convincing, Originalism's Promise does both, illuminating old debates and posing new questions. Highly recommended.'

Lawrence B. Solum - Carmack-Waterhouse Professor of Law, Georgetown University, Washington DC

‘It marks a masterful contribution to originalist literature and is indeed promising for advancing the integration of natural law and originalist jurisprudence.’

Karen Taliaferro Source: Starting Points

‘It [Originalism's Promise] provides a useful summary of the current developments among originalists and the author is well read and well informed … and attempts a new and original defense of originalism based on natural law. The book is amply footnoted and well documented on the topic, addressing numerous current controversies among originalists, and those who are interested in the originalist doctrine will no doubt find it useful. Indeed, it is striking how much diversity and disagreement there is among those who call themselves originalists.’

Whitley Kaufman Source: Law and Politics Book Review

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