The Corner

Politics & Policy

Do You Even Article V, Bro?

An actor tweets:

Interesting. I like asking actors if they’ve ever read the Constitution or learned what the term “originalist” means, because, at least in the case of Bradley Whitford, the answer seems to be “no.”

The central originalist argument is that the Supreme Court should not act as a council of revision that takes it upon itself to amend the Constitution according to its preferences, but, rather, that it should wait for the people to make changes to the text using the amendment process that is laid out in Article V. In 1920, the public did just that when it ratified the 19th Amendment, which extended the right to vote to women. Were Amy Coney Barrett to be asked what that provision means, she would refer back to the text, which reads:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation

And, because she is an originalist, she would rule that this amendment means that:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation

This is really not that difficult.

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