SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah

Utah OnLaw: The Utah Law Review Online Supplement

Article Title

Originalism's Obituary


Calvin TerBeek


Originalism is currently the de riguer theory of constitutional interpretation in the legal academy. The law reviews are littered with articles taking up originalism from every imaginable angle; one even asks whether the creation of West Virginia was constitutional. The theory has taken the name “new originalism” and its adherents are quick to point out the putative sophistication of their theory, in addition to making claims that “we are all originalists now” or “it takes a theory to beat a theory.” However, fashionable though it may be, a closer look reveals a theory in decline.