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The Relevance of the Framers’ Intent

By Randy E Barnett


Ever since the revival of interest in originalism that occurred in the 1980s, critics have \u27charged that for a variety of reasons it is impractical, if not impossible, to determine the Framers\u27 intentions. In addition, they argue that we today should not be bound by the intentions of a few men who lived and died over two-hundred years ago. In sum, adherence to original intent is rejected as being impractical, unjust, or both. In this article, the author argues that we cannot assess either the practicality or the justice of discerning original intent without first asking why it is we are consulting the intentions of the Framers. He discusses two reasons to consult the Framers. The first views the Framers as wardens; the second as designers or architects

Topics: Framers intent, originalist, originalism, Constitutional Law, Legal History
Publisher: Scholarship @ GEORGETOWN LAW
Year: 1996
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