• A Debt Against the Living

  • An Introduction to Originalism
  • By: Ilan Wurman
  • Narrated by: Ilan Wurman
  • Length: 6 hrs and 17 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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A Debt Against the Living

By: Ilan Wurman
Narrated by: Ilan Wurman
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Publisher's Summary

Thomas Jefferson famously wrote that the earth belongs to the living. His letter to James Madison is often quoted for the proposition that we should not be bound to the "dead hand of the past", suggesting that the constitution should, instead, be interpreted as a living, breathing document. Less well-known is Madison's response, in which he said the improvements made by the dead - including the US Constitution - form a debt against the living who benefit from them.

In this illuminating book, Ilan Wurman introduces Madison's concept of originalism to a new generation and shows how it has shaped the US Supreme Court in ways that are expected to continue, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the theory's leading proponents. 

This audiobook should be listened to by anyone seeking a better understanding of originalism and its ongoing influence on the constitutional jurisprudence of the Supreme Court.

©2017 Ilan Wurman (P)2019 Ilan Wurman

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Incredible Introduction to Modern Originalism

Professor Wurman takes an interpretational philosophy that is often-times intentionally misunderstood and maligned by undisciplined judicial theorists and makes it easily digestible for those who are interested in actually understanding the Originalist view.

Even if you don't come out the other side a converted Originalist, the book is worth the short time investment, presenting a logical, methodical counter to the undisciplined judicial activism that runs rampant through American courts today, while simultaneously rebutting the idea that modern law is utterly bound by 18th-century social structures. Professor Wurman describes the inherent brilliance of the Constitution as a document both for change and for constraining the tyranny of the majority, and the superiority of the Originalist view for fully realizing that goal.

Highly recommended.