In Conjunction with Renaissance Society Art Installation, Stone Makes Case Against Originalism

Law prof. makes Supreme case against “originalism”

Law professor Geoffrey Stone expressed strong reservations about whether the current Supreme Court is carrying out the vision of liberty imagined by America’s founding fathers in a talk about the Court’s place in American government in Swift Hall this Sunday.

“It is important to remember that the Constitution was first ratified without a Bill of Rights,” Stone said. “But Jefferson reminded Madison of the dangers of majoritarian abuse of power and the need for courts to protect basic guarantees from the majority…to police it.”

Stone noted that this “policing,” for which the Court was originally created, has not always happened in practice, citing decisions like Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), which allowed states to continue practicing slavery; Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which created the standard of “separate but equal”; and Korematsu v. U.S. (1944), which permitted the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II as failures of the Court.

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