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The theory that the US Constitution should be interpreted based on the intent of its authors, as determined by examining evidence of their understanding of the meaning of its wording in its historical context.

o·rig′i·nal·ist adj. & n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
They try to make up for that failure by claiming judicial decisions aren't law, and by categorizing obviously nonoriginalist opinions as originalist, but they are mistaken in both views at least to the extent they purport to care about how constitutional law operates as opposed to philosophic and linguistic academic debates far removed from legal practice.
Mike Lee (R-Utah) whether or not he considered himself to be an originalist. "Originalism refers to basically textualism applied in the constitutional sphere, with an eye toward identifying the original public meaning of the constitutional text at issue," Lee observed.
Comparing the New Originalist Approach with Existing Doctrine
That view--and we should concede here, as Hasen himself notes, that Scalia was not always as thoroughly originalist as, say, Justice Thomas--does not merely threaten to moderate the swings of the pendulum, but to stop it in its tracks.
Kavanaugh is a centre-right judge who will, I believe, vote with Chief Justice John Roberts almost all of the time, and who can argue the centre-right originalist view as easily and persuasively as the chief justice.
A constitutional amendment explicitly mandating nonoriginalism would strengthen the case for nonoriginalism, as against its originalist critics, more than a constitutional amendment mandating originalism would strengthen the case for originalism.
In the hands of some of its best contemporary defenders and expositors, the idea of originalism has also become quite capacious, so that it can accommodate a wide range of modern doctrines that seem, at first glance, to be forbidden on originalist grounds.
recognizably originalist without having a written constitution, written
Ryan, meanwhile, contends that Scalia's rulings reveal the extent to which the court's most famous "originalist" was willing to depart from his principles in order to strike down policies he found objectionable.
Although "originalism" has indeed been commonly denounced in Canada, both by judges and by scholars, these denunciations ate directed by and large to the assumptions that originalist theories prohibit all forms of constitutional evolution, or require constitutional doctrine to be based solely on the subjective intentions of the framers.