The Wages of Originalist Sin: District of Columbia v. Heller

Jeffrey M. Shaman Emeritus Vincent de Paul Professor of Law Emeritus, DePaul University College of Law

September 23, 2008

ACS is pleased to distribute an Issue Brief by Jeffrey M. Shaman, Vincent DePaul Professor of Law, DePaul University College of Law, entitled “The Wages of Originalist Sin: District of Columbia v. Heller. In this Issue Brief, Professor Shaman analyzes the methodology Justice Scalia employs in his majority opinion in Heller, as well as that employed in the dissents by Justices Stevens and Breyer. Professor Shaman critiques Justice Scalia's insistence on a rigid originalist interpretation of the Second Amendment as well his execution thereof, which Professor Shaman describes as "simplistic"  law-office history that ignores the complexities of historical research. Professor Shaman also takes issue with Justice Stevens' treatment of history in support of his position. Professor Shaman distinguishes Justice Scalia from those who look to original meaning as a starting point, but allow that the application of constitutional provision may be transformed as circumstances change over time.

Read the full Issue Brief here:  Shaman_Issue_Brief