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This essay contends that one of the basic tenets of the "New Originalism" -- the so-called "contribution thesis" -- compromises our underlying commitment to the rule of law. By locating some binding substantive content of constitutional language in a historical record beyond the text itself, originalism undermines the fundamental concepts of formal legality and public accessibility. With these issues in mind, the essay concludes that originalism is not a philosophical account of how the Constitution has meaning in our legal system, but is instead a judicial ideology intended to promote the constitutional policy judgments of an earlier generation.

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14 U. Pa. J. Const. L. Height. Scrutiny (forthcoming 2012).