Erin Blasko | January 20, 2021
University of Notre Dame alumnus and retired former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page challenged the idea of originalism with respect to the U.S. Constitution and proposed revisiting the founding document every 50 years during an hour-long conversation with G. Marcus Cole, the Joseph A. Matson Dean and Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School, in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“Our Constitution is grounded in racial bias,” said Page, a 1967 Notre Dame graduate and member of the college and pro football halls of fame. “If we’re going to go back to the words of Jefferson and Lincoln and Madison and decide how we live today, those words were grounded in slavery. How do we untether ourselves from that?”
He proposed, “What if we had an amendment that said every 50 years we look at the words in the Constitution and give them their current meaning? That would break us from the past and actually give us a Constitution that works in the present.”
Touching on issues of race and the law, as well as Page’s childhood and his decision to come to Notre Dame, the online conversation took place amid a nationwide reckoning around issues of racial justice, including the treatment of Black people by police, and less than two weeks after a violent mob with ties to white nationalist organizations stormed the U.S. Capitol in protest of the election, leaving five people dead.
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