Should the Declaration Inform the Constitution?

The Federalist Society hosted a “Feddie Night Fights” online debate between JWI Founder and Director Prof. Hadley Arkes and Prof. Lee Strang of Toledo Law School. Moderated by Steven Hayward, Profs. Arkes and Strang discussed the historical, jurisprudential, and philosophical questions about the foundations of the American Constitution and whether the principles articulated in the Declaration have a special role in matters of originalist interpretation of the Constitution. Prof. Arkes answered the question in the affirmative, laying out his case for the importance of the Natural Law principles enshrined in the Declaration as part of constitutional interpretation, while Prof. Strang made the case that the Declaration does not play a special role as a “interpretive key” for understanding and interpreting the Constitution within an originalist framework.

View the video here.

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The James Wilson Institute’s Mission is to restore to a new generation of lawyers, judges, and citizens the understanding of the American Founders about the first principles of our law and the moral grounds of their own rights.
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