Originalism, Common Goodism, and Conservative Constitutionalism

An earlier month, I mentioned Judge Bill Pryor’s Federalist Society lecture, “Against Living Common Goodism,” which criticized Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule. Common Good Constitutionalism. Professor Vermeule and Conor Casey of the University of Liverpool School of Law & Social Justice have now replied in an essay forthcoming in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy Per Curiam.  The abstract is from SSRN.

This brief essay addresses several talks and lectures given by Chief Judge William Pryor Jr. of United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit) critiquing common-good constitutionalism. Our arguments in support of originalism by Chief Judge Pryor are flawed. We show that they allow Judge Pryor to do the exact things he wants, and pose the question about the classic tradition. They are essentially argument by slogan.

Meanwhile, Liberty Fund’s Law & Liberty site has posted “A Return to Classical  Law?”, a symposium on Vermeule’s book, with contributions from several noted scholars. The following are the contributions:

The Common Good and Originalism
John O. McGinnis

The Common Good requires a Common People
Jesse Merriam

A Bad and Uncommonly Common Constitutionalism
James M. Patterson

Policing Common Good Constitutionalism
James R. Rogers

Classical Historicism
Paul Seaton

So the debate and discussion continue.