All posts tagged: historical sources

The Colorado Supreme Court Decision Is True Originalism

The Colorado Supreme Court Decision Is True Originalism

However troubling its political implications might be, the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling on Tuesday that Donald Trump is disqualified from the state’s primary ballot for having “engaged in insurrection” demonstrates that the judicial system is still functioning in the United States. The reason is straightforward: The court applied the plain language of the Constitution, doing its job with clarity and fidelity to the rule of law. But perhaps what is most striking about Colorado’s decision was the conservative reasoning the justices employed to reach their conclusion. The four justices who voted in the majority adhered to three stalwart principles of judicial conservatism: textualism (by which judges endeavor to strictly apply the plain text of the Constitution), originalism (by which they refer to historical sources for a contemporaneous understanding of that text), and federalism (by which judges take pains to respect the dual sovereignty of the states alongside the federal government as well as the state courts’ concomitant prerogative to construe their own laws). This third element is perhaps the most interesting. The Colorado Supreme Court …

The Atlantic’s December Issue: To Reconstruct The Nation

The Atlantic’s December Issue: To Reconstruct The Nation

The Atlantic is releasing in full “To Reconstruct The Nation,” a special issue that, as editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg writes today, is “meant to examine the enduring consequences of Reconstruction’s tragic fall at a moment—­yet another moment—when the cause of racial progress faces sustained pressure.” The centerpiece of the issue, which is led by senior editor Vann R. Newkirk II, is a new feature-length play by the actor, playwright, and Atlantic contributing writer Anna Deavere Smith, which appears along with essays by writers, historians, and scholars including Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie G. Bunch III, Jordan Virtue, Peniel E. Joseph, Drew Gilpin Faust, Eric Foner, and The Atlantic’s Vann R. Newkirk II, Adam Harris, and Yoni Appelbaum. The issue arrives 157 years after The Atlantic published Frederick Douglass’s famed essay on “Reconstruction,” and explores the fleeting time after the Civil War when the country undertook a radical transformation in an effort to become a true democracy. But the backlash against Reconstruction, and its effective end in 1877, prevented its proponents from achieving their aspirations. …