Religion & Liberty Online

Acton Line podcast: Randy Barnett and David French on ‘common-good Constitutionalism’

On March 31, The Atlantic published an article titled “Beyond Originalism,” written by Adrian Vermeule, professor of Constitutional law at Harvard Law School. In this piece, Vermeule argues that “the dominant conservative philosophy for interpreting the constitution has served its purpose and scholars ought to develop a more moral framework.” Originalist interpretations of the Constitution simply no longer serve the common good, Vermeule says. What does he mean by this, and is he correct? In this episode, we’re featuring two different conversations on the topic, both hosted by Acton’s Director of Communications, Eric Kohn. First Randy Barnett, professor at Georgetown University, clears up the legal theory behind Vermeule’s essay. Afterwards, David French, senior editor at The Dispatch, helps break down the context surrounding calls for conservative activism on the courts.

Read: “Beyond Originalism,” by Adrian Vermeule

Read: “Common-Good Constitutionalism Reveals the Dangers of Any Non-originalist Approach to the Constitution,” by Randy Barnett

Listen to The Dispatch podcast: Beyond Originalism?

Read: “Against Christian Authoritarianism,” by David French

Read: “Thomas Aquinas versus Adrian Vermeule,” by Samuel Gregg 

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Caroline Roberts

Caroline Roberts is a managing editor at the Acton Institute and produces Acton's weekly podcast, Acton Line.