Friday, March 26, 2010

Heyck on Originalism and the Second Amendment

Thomas William Heyck (Northwestern, professor emeritus of history) satirizes originalism as applied to the Second Amendment in an op-ed in today's Chicago Tribune.  Heyck argues that Justice Scalia's form of originalism absolutely protects "the right to keep and bear muzzle-loading flintlock arms."  (It also protects hatchets, tomahawks, swords, pitchforks, and other weapons known to the founders.)  But originalist advocates of Second Amendment protection for modern weapons--necessary, they say, to protect against an over-reaching government--commit the "original intention" fallacy: They focus on the ever-ambiguous intent of the framers, not the more determinate original meaning of the text, and thus open the text up to anything anybody wants it to mean. 


Fundamental Rights, Interpretation, News | Permalink

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