US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, who is widely expected to be confirmed by Republican
lawmakers before the November 3 election, has described “originalism” as her legal philosophy.
Originalism means interpreting the country’s Constitution as per the intentions of its 18th-century founding
In legal philosophy, this theory prescribes that while resolving disputes, judges should interpret the constitution as
it was understood at the time it was ratified, irrespective of whether they personally agree or disagree with the
outcome of a case decided this way.
According to originalists, the meaning of the constitution is fixed at the time of its framing, either in the form of the
meaning of the words used, or the intentions of the drafters. The job of the court is to stick to this original
The word ‘originalism’ was coined in the 1980s, and has since been popular among US conservatives, who have
sought to promote judicial restraint on the country’s federal courts.