We’re all originalists now, apparently. “I believe that the Constitution is fixed in its meaning,” Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson told the Senate during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings this week. “I believe that it’s appropriate to look at the original intent, original public meaning of the words.” She called it “a limitation on my authority to import my own policy views.”
Somewhere Justice Antonin Scalia must be singing, as he was known to do before he ascended. The great Scalia, who brought originalism to the fore before his death in 2016, might furrow his brow at the word “intent,” since his judicial philosophy was to examine the plain meaning of words, not to divine what James Madison was really thinking.