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Constitutional Interpretation and Change Conference

Agenda  |Participants | Publications


Constitutional Interpretation and Change: A Conference on Jack Balkin’s Living Originalism
Yale Law School
April 27 - 28, 2012

Watch Conference Videos Here

Podcasts Here

Interviews of Panelists: 

Joan BiskupicJustin DriverLinda GreenhouseDahlia Lithwick | Sanford Levinson Robert PostReihan SalamNeil Siegel | Sara Solow |

This conference is sponsored by the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund, Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities and by the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.

On April 27 and 28, 2012, Yale Law School will host a conference on constitutional interpretation and change in conjunction with the publication of Professor Jack Balkin’s book, Living Originalism (Harvard University Press 2011).

Living Originalism offers a theory of constitutional interpretation that is both faithful to the Constitution’s original meaning and consistent with a living Constitution; it argues that the best versions of originalism and living constitutionalism are compatible rather than opposed. The book also explains how legitimate constitutional change occurs in the American constitutional system through the efforts of the political branches, political parties, social movements, and the institutions of civil society.

A distinctive feature of this conference is its focus on journalism as a conduit of American constitutional culture and on journalists as important players in the construction of public opinion about the Constitution. The conference includes panels of both constitutional scholars and journalists who cover constitutional issues.

Living Originalism argues that the Constitution changes over time because of continuous debates in public life about what the Constitution means. Journalists play a key role in discussing and explaining constitutional controversies before the public, including debates about constitutional interpretation. Because their work shapes and educates public opinion, journalists are an indispensable element of the long-term processes of constitutional change. The Internet and digital media, which blend traditional legal experts, journalists, commentators, and the general public, have, if anything, enhanced these features of American constitutional culture.