James R. Stoner of Louisiana State spoke at AEI’s annual Walter Berns Constitution Day lecture on September 17, 2019. He argued that, although many conceive of common law and originalism as contradictory, the paradox of “common law originalism” can be resolved if both are properly understood. Honest originalists should be attentive to common law because it illuminates the meaning of technical language used in the Constitution. Ideas central to the Constitution, but not necessarily enshrined in its text, make no sense outside of the unwritten common law context in which the Constitution was formed.
The lecture is available here.