Issues of constitutional interpretation matter a great deal for the practice of contemporary democracy in America, and have a great deal of impact on what public policy is enacted and how it is enacted. This workshop aims to examine the philosophical foundations of some of the most pressing debates in contemporary American constitutional theory, and explore the implications of this for how we think about law, politics, and public policy in America. This workshop stems from the following trend: in recent years, constitutional theorists have increasingly been developing parochial (jurisdiction-specific) theories of constitutional interpretation that are more explicitly connected to general theories of law or legal content. American constitutional theory, in particular, appears to be becoming more jurisprudentially attuned and ambitious. We think this a very welcome development. This workshop will bring together scholars who have expressly rooted their theories of constitutional interpretation in general jurisprudential accounts along with several other scholars working either in constitutional theory or general jurisprudence. The aim will be to investigate both what light general jurisprudential theories of law or legal content can shed on jurisdiction-specific theories of constitutional interpretation and what we can learn about general jurisprudence (or metanormative matters yet more generally) from engaging seriously with constitutional law and theory. As a class, the theories we have in mind are both originalist and non-originalist, positivist and anti-positivist.
Note: This will be a pre-read workshop. It will be free and open to all, space permitting. A dropbox link with the papers, and information about location, will be sent to registered participants. Registration will be open in August, and will be open up until 10 days before the workshop.