Evan Bernick and Christopher Green on the Ontology of the Constitution
In this episode, Christopher Green, Professor of Law and H.L.A. Hart Scholar in Law and Philosophy at the University of Mississippi School of Law, and Evan D. Bernick, Law Clerk to the Honorable Diane S. Sykes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, discuss their draft article "What is the Object of the Article VI Oath?" Bernick and Green begin by describing the nature and purpose of Article VI oath. They explain that swearing an oath to "this Constitution" implies a theory of the ontology of the Constitution, with both first- and second-order components. They observe that government officials uniformly understand themselves to be swearing an oath to the "same" Constitution as the one that was ratified in 1789. They argue that the nature of the oath permits for certain kinds of change, but disallows other kinds of change. And they suggest that this perspective on the continuity of the Constitution may help provide a common ground for debate over its meaning. Green is on Twitter at @crgreen24601 and Bernick is on Twitter at @evanbernick.