Researching the Original Understanding
by Rob Natelson
Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence
The Independence Institute
[Free! -- Get a word-seachable PDF file of John Worrall’s 1788 Bibliography of English Law Books: click here.]
* * * *
Lawyers are not necessarily historians, and sometimes it shows.
So despite the obvious importance of deducing what the Constitution really meant, legal writers attempting to do so often have reached conclusions based on astonishingly few sources. And very often they misinterpret the sources they do use. Among the malefactors, alas, are some Supreme Court justices and contributors to the nation’s most prestigious law reviews.
This essay is designed to raise the quality of constitutional understanding by introducing writers to important Founding-Era sources. . . .