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Is Originalism Just a Means for Conservative Ends?

Professor Ilan Wurman explains that Originalism doesn’t serve any particular political ideology. There may be issues that conservatives strongly dislike, such as higher taxes, but the Constitution permits taxes to be set by Congress. When originalists and conservatives agree on certain issues, it is because both aim to preserve the foundational principles of the Constitution. https://youtube.com/watch?v=vFZYb7W0_eE


Originalists are often accused of using originalism merely as a means for conservative ends, and of course like any tool, and any method of interpretation originalism sometimes can be, and sometimes is used improperly, merely as a rationalization for conservative results. But done properly originalism does not lead merely to conservative results. Conservatives may not like taxes. They may think senators should be elected by state legislatures, but the constitution permits the federal government to lay taxes and it permits senators to be directly elected by the people. Originalists accept the bitter with the sweet, the bad with the good. Having said that, there is a deeper connection between originalism and conservatism properly understood. What is conservatism? Well, in the American context, conservatism seeks to conserve the traditionally liberal principles of our founding: self-government, ordered liberty, and equality under law. And what is originalism? Originalism is the method of constitutional interpretation that seeks to preserve the original legal content of the constitution that was intended to breathe life into those principles.

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