The Real "Original" Meaning of the US Constitution

This is definitely a book which US Supreme Court Justice Scalia and other Constitutional originalists should read very carefully. Perhaps things were “originally” somewhat different than many an originalist has thus far claimed.

Calvin H. Johnson, first a friend and fellow student at Stanford Law School, then a fellow colleague at Paul Weiss et al., and now Andrews & Kurth Centennial Professor of Law at The University of Texas School of Law, has written a most interesting book recently published by the Cambridge University Press as Righteous Anger at the Wicked States: The Meaning of the Founders’ Constitution:

Righteous Anger at the Wicked States is a history of why the U.S. Constitution was adopted. The most pressing need was to allow the federal government to tax to pay off the debts of the common defense. The Constitution went far beyond the immediate fiscal needs, however, to create a supreme, three-part national government The book argues that the Founders’ anger at the states for their recurring breaches of duty to the united cause explains both critical steps and the driving impetus for the revolution..”

H. Jefferson Powell, Professor of Law at Duke Law School writes:

It may seem hard to imagine that anything new could be said about the relative weights of federalism and nationalism in the formation of the Constitution. Calvin Johnson has defeated that expectation by writing an intellectually honest, incredibly erudite description of the Constitution as an intensely nationalist instrument, crafted almost from first to last for the express and understood purpose of a supreme and extremely powerful central government. Especially important is Johnson’s identification of Madison as in truth the architect of this nationalist Constitution and Madison’s subsequent endorsement of states rights as a turn away from constitutional original meaning. Johnson has put the historical ball back in the anti-nationalist court.”

Cal will maintain a discussion blog about the book and the subjects it covers at