The Volokh Conspiracy

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Originalism, Common Goodism, and Conservative Constitutionalism

Adrian Vermeule responds to Judge Bill Pryor, and others comment on "Common Good Constitutionalism"


Earlier this month I noted Judge Bill Pryor's recent Federalist Society lecture, "Against Living Common Goodism," criticizing Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule's Common Good Constitutionalism. Professor Vermeule and Conor Casey of the University of Liverpool School of Law & Social Justice have now replied in an essay forthcoming in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy Per Curiam.  Here is the abstract from SSRN:

This short essay responds to several lectures and talks given by Chief Judge William Pryor Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit critiquing common good constitutionalism. We demonstrate that the arguments advanced by Chief Judge Pryor in favor of originalism badly misfire, permit the very things Judge Pryor wants to rule out, and beg the critical questions about the classical tradition. In the end, they amount to little more than argument by slogan.

Meanwhile, Liberty Fund's Law & Liberty site has posted "A Return to Classical  Law?", a symposium on Vermeule's book, with contributions from several noted scholars. These contributions are as follows:

Originalism for the Common Good
John O. McGinnis

A Common Good Requires a Common People
Jesse Merriam

Uncommonly Bad Constitutionalism
James M. Patterson

Policing Common Good Constitutionalism
James R. Rogers

Classical Historicism?
Paul Seaton

And so the discussion and debate continues.