Litigation » Is Lin-Manuel Miranda The New Scalia?

Is Lin-Manuel Miranda The New Scalia?

June 6, 2016

Portrait of U.S. president Alexander Hamilton as he looks on ten dollar bill obverse. Clipping path included.

The incredible success of Broadway’s Hamilton, a musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda that imagines Alexander Hamilton and the rest of the founding fathers as multi-racial rappers, could signal a significant shift in how the American public imagines the Constitution, law professor Richard Primus writes in the Atlantic. If Americans are changing how they think about the founding fathers and the Constitution, that could change the theory of constitutional originalism entirely. Originalism, shepherded into the mainstream by conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, must naturally change over time because it is “the original meaning of the Constitution as imagined by the judges and other officials at any given time.” Therefore, Primus writes, “If you can change the myth” of who the founding fathers were, and what they intended more than 200 years ago, “you can change the Constitution. [And] Hamilton is changing the myth. … If art can change ideas—and of course it can—then it looks like a new vision of the Founding is ready to rise up.”

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