Who is Hadley Arkes?
In a series of books and articles dating from the mid-1980s, Arkes has written on a priori moral principles and advocated for their impact on constitutional interpretation. He has also dealt with their relation to constitutional jurisprudence and natural law, and their challenge to moral relativism. His works draw on political philosophers from Aristotle through the U.S. Founding Fathers, Lincoln, and contemporary authors and jurists.
John O. McGinnis, reviewing Arkes' Constitutional Illusions & Anchoring Truths in The Wall Street Journal, writes that it tries to find a path between the extremes of originalism, where the meaning of the U. S. constitution is fixed by its original text, and the idea of the living constitution, where its meaning is updated by evolving moral principles.
Arkes is founder and a member of the Committee for the American Founding, a group of Amherst alumni and students seeking to preserve the doctrines of "natural rights" exposited by some American Founders and Lincoln through the Colloquium on the American Founding at Amherst and in Washington, D.C.
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