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LAW 73840 Originalism Seminar (Prof. Garnett & Judge Thapar): Overview


This guide was created in support of the LAW 73840 — Originalism Theory & Practice Seminar (Prof. Nicole Garnett & Judge Amul Thapar) taught at Notre Dame Law School. 


Relevant items may be found in the tabs above:

  • Assigned Readings (from course syllabus)
  • Core Databases
  • Dictionaries & Definitions
  • Historic Treatises
  • Additional Books on Originalism
    • Arranged by Library of Congress Subject Heading
  • Additional Articles on Originalism
    • Arranged by subtopic
  • Other Syllabi and Academic Resources


Originalism is an approach to constitutional interpretation that prioritizes the historical era(s) in which constitutional documents were originally drafted and ratified. There are a number of different variations in how that approach to constitutional interpretation is theorized about and applied: some scholars and jurists prefer to look to the original intent of the drafters; others prefer to look to the original public meaning; a few seek to account for the legal interpretive methods common during the historical period in question; and others still advocate for a blending of these approaches.

Unlike other legal topics, originalism is not a particular practice area — though it does pertain to the practice of constitutional law — but is instead a strain of legal thought that cuts across a number of different issues in law, including some of the most fundamental questions about what the law is and how we should understand it.

This research guide seeks to compile some of the most important resources discussing the judicial philosophy of originalism. It is divided into a number of different sections, each covering a particular type of resource useful for researching originalist thought and practice.


For assistance, please contact the research librarians at the Kresge Law Library by email:

The Constitution


The Constitution, page 1 from the National Archives


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