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”An(other) Afterword on The Bill of Rights,” 87 Geo. L. J. 2347 (1999)


The three reviews of The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction featured in the preceding pages radiate out in three remarkably different directions, but are tied together, it seems, by two threads. First, all three reviews reflect a great measure of generosity towards the book and its author. For that generosity of spirit -- and for the generosity of The Georgetown Law Journal and its willingness to devote so many pages to a conversation about this book -- I am profoundly grateful. Second, all three reviews respond in interesting ways to the book's use of constitutional textualism. Professor Calabresi's wide-ranging meditation considers constitutional textualism generally; Professor Gerhardt highlights the particular type of holistic textualism featured in the book, placing particular emphasis on the implications of this interpretive method for impeachment issues; and Professor Cottrol notes the interesting connections between the Second Amendment and two other critical texts: the seventh provision of the English Bill of Rights of 1689 and Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment of 1866. In the Afterword of my book, I tried to begin a conversation about the particular brands of constitutional textualism that I had found myself deploying (along with other interpretive methodologies), and in more recent work, I have attempted to keep this conversation alive. I am therefore delighted that all three reviewers seem interested in continuing the conversation. In this response, I shall offer a few more thoughts about constitutional textualism in light of these three thoughtful and generous reviews.

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