The majority and dissenting opinions today in District of Columbia v. Heller illustrate perfectly why it is important to marry constitutional text with history rather than divorcing these inquiries.
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Conventional wisdom posits that the Supreme Court’s conservatives are originalists, who find conclusive arguments about constitutional history, while the Court’s more liberal members are living constitutionalists, who discount history in favor of modern interpretations of our founding document.
From Akhil Amar’s The Bill of Rights, page 304:
by Elizabeth Wydra, Chief Counsel to the Constitutional Accountability Center
Much is being said about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today in Boumedienne v. Bush, a 5-4 ruling determining that detainees at Guantanamo Bay have habeas corpus rights; and our own Chief Counsel, Elizabeth Wydra (a habeas specialist!), will be posting here shortly with her own thoughts and analysis.
Video from the Constitutional Accountability Center's launch panel-- held this past Tuesday, June 3, at the National Press Club-- is now available on our website.
Primary source documents from the Constitution's founding era are all over the internet-at the Avalon Project, constitution.org, and consource.org. Everyone from Antonin Scalia on down can find full-text, searchable versions of the Federalist Papers, James Madison's notes on the Philadelphia debates, and state-by-state ratification statements with a quick Google search.