Perry Dane


The debate over how to understand the meaning of legal texts once pitted intentionalism against a variety of other views united by the conviction that a legal enactment takes on a meaning not reducible to anybody’s mental state. Both these approaches are supported by powerful intuitions. This Article does not try to referee between them. Instead, it takes aim at a third set of views— theories of “original public meaning”—that in recent decades has upended the traditional debate and has now become gospel for the new majority on the United States Supreme Court.