Last month, the Center for the Study of Constitutionalism Originalism at the University of San Diego hosted a talk by leading Libertarian scholar Richard Epstein based on his new book The Classical Liberal Constitution. Commentary was provided by Larry Alexander, David McGowan and myself. You can watch the talk here. (You have to scroll down a little.)
Richard’s brand of originalism works as follows. He believes that the constitutional language should be given its original meaning, but that the language is often incomplete or vague. Therefore, he argues that the language must be interpreted in accordance with some background principles, and those are classical liberal principles, because the leading political theory at the time of the Constitution was classical liberalism. As a result, Richard is able to argue that the Constitution’s originalism meaning leads largely to classical liberalism.