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Boston University School of Law




I begin with a disclaimer: I am not a constitutional theorist. I haven’t even played one on TV. But according to Professor Jack Balkin’s ambitious new book Living Originalism, that should not stop me from engaging in what he calls “the constitutional project,” in which I, along with others, attempt to interpret – indeed, to redeem – the U.S. constitution.1 Living Originalism pairs two intriguing ideas: a “constitutional project” and “constitutional redemption.” I am excited by the notion of a project, and of a constitutional project in particular. In my work for at least a decade I have used the idea of a “formative project” to refer to the task of preparing persons for democratic and personal self-government.2 I have argued that our constitutional system permits, authorizes, and even calls for such a project, and I have explored the division of labor among families, civil-society institutions, and government for carrying out such a project.



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