I mentioned in a post
below recently an observation few public voices have mentioned, but I’m
starting to hear from some concerned friends who are scholars and
Over the past few decades, judicial activism has
hammered away at a re-crafted reference point for civil and human
rights, and the Constitution is not usually even required reading in
university classes on constitutional law. No kidding. They read case
precedent…..of cases established by liberal judges operating on the
theory that the Constitution is a ‘living breathing document’.
So how the next president sees all that is going to be decisive for this nation for at least the next generation.
Now I see at NRO’s Bench Memos that Ed Whelan has the breaking news that some schools are actually going to study the Constitution in constitutional law again.
The George Mason University School of Law has instituted
a requirement that first-year law students take a course, titled The
Founders’ Constitution, that (as this course website explains) “will
require students to read a large number of important original legal
sources familiar to the founding generation, ranging from Magna Carta
and the English Bill of Rights to the Federalist (and Anti-Federalist)
Papers, along with constitutional debates at the Philadelphia
Convention and in the First Congress.” (HT: Volokh conspirator, and
GMU law professor, David Bernstein.)
Those who have not suffered the detriment of a modern legal
education may not find this newsworthy. Surely, they might suppose,
courses in constitutional law must require students to immerse
themselves in study of the founding materials. Alas, so-called
constitutional law has come to be thought to be synonymous with the
last few decades of Supreme Court decisionmaking, and I’d be willing to
bet that the typical constitutional-law course pays about the same
attention to the founding materials as my 1984 Harvard Law School
course with Larry Tribe did—which is to say, zero.
The question always arises in these type of stories….who’s paying attention, and who’s making the decisions?
George Mason sees the situation and says ‘we can do better.’
“While a few law schools offer narrowly-focused elective
classes dealing with constitutional history, none has a comprehensive,
required course comparable to The Founders’ Constitution.”
Why not? Someone finally saw that the emperor had no clothes.
And what better place than George Mason to find the Founder’s Constitution.