Originalism and the Good Constitution

An Alpheus T. Mason Lecture on Constitutional Law and Political Thought: The Quest for Freedom

November 7, 2014
Originalism event poster

John McGinnisGeorge C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law, Northwestern University School of Law; and Michael RappaportHugh and Hazel Darling Foundation Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law

Authors of Originalism and the Good Constitution (Harvard 2013)

Respondent: Keith WhittingtonWilliam Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Princeton University

John O. McGinnis is George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law at Northwestern Law School. Professor McGinnis clerked on U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. From 1987 to 1991, he was deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice.  He the author of Accelerating Democracy: Transforming Government Through Technology (Princeton, 2013), and Originalism and the Good Constitution (with Rappaport; Harvard University Press, 2013). He is a past winner of Paul Bator award, given by the Federalist Society to an outstanding academic under 40. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He also has an MA degree from Balliol College, Oxford, in philosophy and theology.

Michael B. Rappaport is the Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation Professor of Law at the University of San Diego, where he also serves as the Director of the Center for the Study of Constitutional Originalism. He is the author of numerous law review articles in journals such as the Yale Law Journal, the Virginia Law Review, the Georgetown Law Review, and the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.  His book, Originalism and the Good Constitution, which is co-authored with John McGinnis, was published by the Harvard University Press in 2013.  Professor Rappaport is a graduate of the Yale Law School, where he received a JD and a DCL (Law and Political Theory).

Keith E. Whittington is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University, and currently director of graduate studies in the Department of Politics. He has been a John M. Olin Foundation Faculty Fellow, an American Council of Learned Societies Junior Faculty Fellow, a Visiting Scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Texas School of Law.  He is a member of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences. He has published widely on American constitutional theory and development, federalism, judicial politics, and the presidency.  He is the author of Constitutional Construction: Divided Powers and Constitutional Meaning (2001); Constitutional Interpretation: Textual Meaning, Original Intent, and Judicial Review (2001); and Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy: The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S. History (2009), which won the C. Herman Pritchett Award for best book in law and courts and the J. David Greenstone Award for best book in politics and history.  He is editor (with Neal Devins) of Congress and the Constitution (2005), editor (with R. Daniel Kelemen and Gregory A. Caldeira) of The Oxford Handbook of Law and Politics (2008), and editor of Law and Politics: Critical Concepts in Political Science (2012).  He is also the author (with Howard Gillman and Mark A. Graber) of American Constitutionalism, vol. 1: Structures of Government and American Constitutionalism, vol.  2: Rights and Liberties (2012), which together won the Teaching and Mentoring Award for innovative instructional materials in law and courts.  He is editor (with Gerald Leonard) of New Essays on American Constitutional History, and editor (with Maeva Marcus, Melvin Urofsky, and Mark Tushnet) of the Cambridge Studies on the American Constitution.  He is currently working on a political history of the judicial review of federal statutes and a volume of source materials in American political thought.  He earned his BA and BBA at the University of Texas, Austin, and his MA and PhD in Political Science from Yale University.


Originalism and the Good Constitution


Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall

Funded by:

The Bouton Law Lecture Fund

Photo Album:

  • McGinnis, Rappaport, and Whittington on Originalism
  • McGinnis, Rappaport, and Whittington on Originalism
  • McGinnis, Rappaport, and Whittington on Originalism