Corpus Linguistics, Constitutional Interpretation, and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

April 28, 2020

Constitutional interpretation has increasingly turned to history and a close reading of the text to decipher meaning. Scholars have begun mining newly available databases containing thousands of works and millions of words from the founding era to shed light on questions about the typical use of words at the time the Constitution was drafted and ratified--including the Second Amendment's right "to keep and bear arms." Duke Law Professor Steve Sachs and Neal Goldfarb, Dean's Visiting Scholar at Georgetown Law School, discuss how this work on corpus linguistics can or should inform debates about the meaning of constitutional text and the Second Amendment.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Firearms Law, the Federalist Society, and the American Constitution Society.

Appearing: Darrell A.H. Miller (Duke Law), Stephen Sachs (Duke Law), and Neil Goldfarb (Georgetown)