TITLE

What comparativism tells us about originalism

AUTHOR(S)
Weis, Lael K.
PUB. DATE
October 2013
SOURCE
International Journal of Constitutional Law;Oct2013, Vol. 11 Issue 4, p842
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Defended as a method of constitutional interpretation, originalism is typically thought to reflect uniquely American anxieties about the judicial expansion of rights and the place of popular constitutional culture in judicial review. As such, it has appeared to be of little general interest to constitutional scholars. This paper uses comparative constitutional law to challenge that assumption. Australian constitutionalism lacks the key features thought to make the view distinctively American and yet, the paper argues, originalism not only thrives in Australia but has a firmer foundation in the Australian constitutional system. This has important implications for the application of comparativism to constitutional theory beyond the debate about originalism: the fact that theorists have largely overlooked the possibility that the American constitutional system is not the best fit for originalist interpretation helps show how assumptions grounded in American debates about judicial activism have come to define the aims of interpretive theory.
ACCESSION #
93399322

 

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