Definition of originalism in English:


Pronunciation /əˈrijinlizm/ /əˈrɪdʒɪnlɪzm/


  • 1Law
    A type of judicial interpretation of a constitution (especially the US Constitution) that aims to follow how it would have been understood or was intended to be understood at the time it was written.

    ‘Indeed, even people inclined to agree with him find his diatribe against originalism wanting.’
    • ‘Liberals wouldn't even claim to support supply side economics, originalism, or small government.’
    • ‘Whether Gore, cynically, committed himself to originalism to make some political hay is quite besides the point.’
    • ‘Only a commitment to originalism provides a solid foundation for constitutional adjudication.’
    • ‘In the judicial realm, originalism is an intellectual backstop for conservative social policies.’
    • ‘Still, originalism is the only jurisprudence fully compatible with our form of government.’
    • ‘In order to show that the Justice was exaggerating the history of originalism, the original story contained some questionable claims.’
    • ‘It is about whether originalism is the only touchstone of legitimate constitutional interpretation.’
    • ‘What originalism does do is establish objective parameters for analyzing most constitutional questions that arise.’
    • ‘I know the subject of constitutional interpretation in general - and originalism in particular - is very complicated.’
    • ‘But when the logical outcome of originalism is contrary to his goals, originalism goes right out the window.’
    • ‘This, however, was not the first time that originalism had surfaced on the American political scene.’
    • ‘But when it comes to the race cases before the Supreme Court, too many conservatives abandon both originalism and judicial restraint.’
    • ‘This is fitting, as originalism has more in common with biblical exegesis than any responsible form of judicial decision-making.’
    • ‘Thus, I conclude, adherents of textualism and originalism should recognize the time limit in the Recess Appointments Clause as a matter of constitutional law.’
    • ‘Nor can they claim that Lochner violates the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, since these legal analysts by and large reject originalism altogether.’
    • ‘Acceptance of originalism, it is charged, would necessitate the reversal of crucially important landmark decisions and thereby provides a reduction ad absurdum of originalism.’
    • ‘Of course, none of this means that Stevens was right or wrong, or that originalism is a good or bad tool for understanding the constitution.’
    • ‘On his blog today, he includes a reposting of a message he sent to a constitutional law listserv concerning Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and his concept of originalism.’
    • ‘Yet originalism frequently fails at its own game of suppressing subjectivity and individual judicial discretion.’
    1. 1.1The principle or belief that a text should be interpreted in a way consistent with how it would have been understood or was intended to be understood at the time it was written.