The James Wilson Institute on Natural Rights and the American Founding

Upcoming Events

  • 8 Jun

    RSVP WEBINAR: The Utopian Conceit and the War on Freedom

    Online, 1:00 pm
    JWI will host an interactive Zoom webinar discussion with Juliana Pilon, a Senior Fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of...
  • 2 Aug

    James Wilson Fellowship

    TBD, 4:00 pm
    Prof. Arkes and the James Wilson Institute will be hosting the 2020 James Wilson Fellowship from August 2 - 7. This week of intensive seminars...
  • 28 Aug

    James Wilson Alumni Conference

    TBD, 6:00 pm
    For the first time, the James Wilson Institute will be hosting a private conference by and for the Alumni of our James Wilson Fellowship. The...

Recent Commentary

  • “Common Good Originalism”: Josh Hammer in The American Mind

    Posted by James Wilson Institute on May 15, 2020
    In a measured response to Harvard Law professor Adrian Vermeule’s critique of originalism, Josh Hammer, a friend of the James Wilson Institute and Of Counsel at the First Liberty Institute, proposes a middle way between originalism and common good constitutionalism. While he agrees with much of Vermeule’s philosophy and argument, he sees a complete abandonment […] …
  • “Originalism Has Failed”: Gunnar Gundersen in The American Mind

    Posted by James Wilson Institute on May 14, 2020
    In an essay for a symposium at The American Mind, James Wilson Institute Affiliated Attorney and Fellowship Faculty member Gunnar Gundersen argues, in agreement with Harvard Law professor Adrian Vermeule, that originalism has failed and is merely a mask for liberalism. According to Gundersen, a jurisprudence that truly captured the furnishings of mind of the […] …
  • Prof. Arkes on COVID-19 and Limits to Authority

    Posted by Hadley Arkes on May 13, 2020
    When the news came out that a panel of the 6th Circuit weighed in to help a governor find the limits to his authority under the Lockdown, it was suspected that one of our friends in that newly improved circuit would have a hand in it.  And sure enough, that hand was detected, but it […] …
  • “Vermeule, His Critics, and the Crisis of Originalism”: Prof. Hadley Arkes in The American Mind

    Posted by James Wilson Institute on May 12, 2020
    In an in-depth essay part of a symposium for The American Mind, James Wilson Institute founder and director Professor Hadley Arkes offers measured praise of Harvard Law Professor Adrian Vermeule for his criticism of Originalism in The Atlantic.  Professor Arkes argues that Professor Vermeule, in his promotion of a “Common Good Constitutionalism,” draws on a […] …
  • PODCAST: Josh Hammer on Common Good Constitutionalism and Judicial Supremacy

    Posted by James Wilson Institute on Apr 21, 2020
    Lawyer and legal commentator Josh Hammer joined JWI Deputy Director Garrett Snedeker and intern Joe Egler for a podcast recording to discuss the future of originalism in the conservative legal movement, Prof. Adrian Vermeule’s “common good constitutionalism,” and judicial supremacy. Josh Hammer is a nationally syndicated columnist and Of Counsel with First Liberty Institute. A […] …
The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.
— James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790