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Dr. Tara Smith @ NYU, 2/2/06

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The Objectivist Club at New York University


Dr. Tara Smith: Why Originalism Won't Die: Common Mistakes in Competing Theories of Judicial Interpretation

DATE: Thursday, February 02, 2006

TIME: 7:00 pm (Doors open @ 6:30PM)

LOCATION: 60 Washington Square S., NYU Kimmel Center - Rosenthal Pavilion (10th Floor)

RSVP: -- Bring photo ID


In the debate over judicial interpretation of the Constitution, the theory of Originalism (advocated by Antonin Scalia, among others) has been subjected to seemingly fatal criticisms. Despite the exposure of flaws that would normally bury a theory, however, Originalism continues to attract tremendous support. What explains its resilient appeal? Why do many continue to regard it as the most reasonable basis for judicial interpretation?

This lecture will answer these questions in part, by identifying the fundamental weakness of the leading alternatives to Originalism and in part, by demonstrating that the heart of Originalism’s appeal – its promise of judicial objectivity – is illusory. All camps in this debate, we will see, suffer from serious misunderstandings of the nature of objectivity.

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