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The Constitutional Jurisprudence of Justice Clarence Thomas

with Ralph Rossum

This discussion with Professor Ralph Rossum of Claremont McKenna College explores the jurisprudence of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  Rossum posits that Justice Thomas practices an “original general meaning” approach that seeks concord among the three major strands of originalist theory. Justice Thomas incorporates both the framers’ original intent and that of the states’ constitutional ratifying conventions, as well as Justice Antonin Scalia’s public meaning methodology. Thus Justice Thomas, rather than standing underneath the stature of Justice Scalia, among others, may have a far richer constitutional hermeneutic than many of his originalist brethren. Rossum also discusses Justice Thomas’ appeals to the natural right teaching of the Declaration of Independence in certain decisions.

Reader Discussion

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on February 19, 2012 at 18:12:16 pm

Among my prized possessions is a letter from Justice Thomas written in response to a letter I wrote him regarding his auto-biography. I am not surprised that his work is beginning to be seen as deeply insightful.

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Floyd Alsbach
on February 20, 2012 at 10:15:32 am

This is an excellent discussion on Justice Thomas. Thank you for providing it and thank you Professor Rossum for providing your expertise on the subject.

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Michael Durbin

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.