Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Federalist Constitution

Richard Primus

This week, the Fordham Law Review published a symposium called The Federalist Constitution.  The central impetus for the symposium, as explained in a brief Foreword (co-written by four of the symposium's organizers), is that the picture of the Founding that dominates constitutional law tends to be one shaped through the lens of the antifederalists and Democratic-Republicans who resisted the original pro-Constitution Federalists, rather than one that takes the ideas of those Federalists seriously enough on their own terms.  The symposium aims to correct this picture by asking how the Federalists thought about the Constitution in their own time.  (For a more complete statement of the symposium's conception and ambitions, read the Foreword itself, which weighs in at six and a half pages and can be found here.)  

The body of the symposium contains papers by Gregory Ablavsky, Mary Bilder, Saul Cornell, Jonathan Gienapp, Maeve Glass, David Golove & Daniel Hulsebosch, Rick Hills, Thomas Lee, Jane Manners, James Pfander and Elena Joffroy, David Schwartz and John Mikhail, and Jed Shugerman.  All the papers can be found on the Fordham Law Review's website at this link.  

I hope that people who write and teach about constitutional law and constitutional history will read and struggle with the ideas that this symposium offers.

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