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Abstract

At the same time, I believe, originalism’s promise remains. Originalism’s promise is three-fold. First, originalism promises that it can paint constitutional interpretation in the most normatively attractive light. Not ideal results. Instead—on balance and systemically—normatively more attractive results than its competitors. Second, originalism promises that constitutional interpretation can fit the key facets of our Constitution. These key facets include, for example, the Constitution’s writtenness and its particular origins, facets that originalism better fits than alternative methods of constitutional interpretation. Third, originalism promises that constitutional interpretation can respect judges’ capacities. Judges’ pivotal role necessitates that interpretative methodologies work with their capacities, which originalism does, better than nonoriginalism.

In this Symposium Essay, I summarize originalism’s promise and limits. Part II succinctly explains originalism’s promise. Part III briefly describes originalism’s limits. Part IV then suggests that originalism’s limits contribute to its promise.

Erratum

The article at 63 CLEV. ST. L. REV. 81 contained the following error: The first sentence of the last paragraph on page 93 was missing an article. The sentence read: “Originalism’s pride-of-place for written Constitution also enables originalism to emphasize many of the Constitution’s other key characteristics.” This sentence should have read: “Originalism’s pride-of-place for the written Constitution also enables originalism to emphasize many of the Constitution’s other key characteristics.” The editors apologize for this error. Erratum notice is at. Volume 63, Issue 4.

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