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Originalism in American Law and Politics

A Constitutional History

This book explains how the debate over originalism emerged from the interaction of constitutional theory, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and American political development. Refuting the contention that originalism is a recent concoction of political conservatives like Robert Bork, Johnathan O'Neill asserts that recent appeals to the origin of the Constitution in Supreme Court decisions and commentary, especially by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, continue an established pattern in American history.

Originalism in American Law and Politics is distinguished by its historical approach to the topic. Drawing on constitutional commentary and treatises, Supreme Court and lower federal court opinions, congressional hearings, and scholarly monographs, O'Neill's work will be valuable to historians, academic lawyers, and political scientists.

About the Author

Johnathan O'Neill is an assistant professor of history at Georgia Southern University.

Reviews

Everything a work of this kind should be. It is comprehensive in its coverage, scrupulously fair to all contending parties, and engagingly argumentative.

- Michael M. Uhlmann - Claremont Review of Books

This book will undoubtedly be the essential reference on the history of originalism, and it will be an important building block toward the history of the conservative legal movement and the conservative intellectual movement.

- Keith E. Whittington - American Historical Review

O'Neill has provided a rich and compelling account.

- Charles A. Lofgren - Journal of American History

Endorsement

Will surely become the standard reference for scholars and students interested in the development of originalism as a theory of constitutional interpretation.

- Richard Brisbin, West Virginia University

Offers a thoughtful historical treatment of originalism within the United States.

- Wayne D. Moore - Law and History Review

The work is comprehensive in its coverage, fair to all the contending parties, and argumentative in the best sense of the word.

- Choice

Excellent book... It would be nice to see the return of constitutional history to History proper. And O'Neill has provided a ready vehicle for just such a return.

- George Thomas - Law and Politics Book Review

Interesting.

- Dennis J. Golford - American Journal of Legal History
Johns Hopkins University Press
The Johns Hopkins Series in Constitutional Thought
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