04 November, 2005

A basic problem with "originalism"

I love Positive Liberty. It's one of those rare blogs that I can always depend on to be interesting and informative.

Jason Sandefur posts an article today wherein he examines a critical assumption underlying much of the "originalist" concern about "activist judges". To whit, that words have absolute meanings that don't or can't change over time. Although this may sound ridiculous on it's face, there's simply no other way to parse their objections in light of the context of reality.

Sandefur forms his critique by examining remarks made by one of our most prominent, if not the most prominent, originalists: Antonin Scalia. Specifically, a review of a popular legal work that Scalia wrote for the conservative Catholic journal First Things (an excellent if often infuriating publication). In his article, Jason lays out the basic metaphysical error being committed by Scalia and others like him. It's well worth the read.

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