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Law professor trashes constitutional originalists: ‘stupid to the point of pain’

‘So please, don’t be one of those’

A law professor at Indiana University recently told one of his classes he “hates” those who subscribe to constitutional originalism, and that he “can’t care less” what the Founding Fathers thought 250 years ago.

In a video clip obtained by the Manhattan Institute’s Ilya Shapiro, Professor Frank Emmert, a “widely known and highly regarded expert” in areas such as the European Union, international trade, and the World Trade Organization, also says the Founders “were actually probably […] racists [and] misogynists.”

“Who is going to tell us that we have to interpret our constitution and what these people were thinking 250 years ago, that basically denies an entire country the idea that we can learn and get better,” Emmert (pictured) says in the clip.

“That is ludicrously stupid in my opinion,” Emmert asserts. He asks the class if women had the right to vote and own land in the Founding Era before adding “I mean the idea that this [originalism] is relevant for constitutional interpretation is actually … stupid to the point of pain.”

He tells his charges “So please, uh? Don’t be one of those.”

“Let’s evolve together and become … better at this, right?” Emmert continues. “Taking care of each other, and our natural resources and our kids, those who are different amongst us for their religion or their gender or gender identity, whatever, right?”

MORE: Law schools aren’t preparing students for the originalist judges they’ll face

The clip concludes with Emmert saying that “ultimately” this is what law professors are trying to prepare future lawyers for — to be “constructive member[s] of society rather than obstructive member[s].”

According to his faculty page, Emmert got his law degree from the University of Munich followed by an LL.M. (Master of Laws) at the University of Michigan. He holds international law in very high regard, saying

In the 21st century, whether it concerns commerce and trade, the protection of intellectual property, consumers, or the environment, family matters or immigration, the law has become international because our world has become internationally dependent and integrated. Even in areas that are not international as such, for example our health and social protection system, we benefit from comparison with solutions found elsewhere because we can learn from the good examples and the mistakes of others. Consequently, legal education in the 21st century must be international.

Emmert’s Twitter page essentially is just reposts of anti-conservative/anti-Republican tweets and memes:

MORE: Ahead of Constitution Day, most students want Supreme Court to give document modern interpretation: poll

IMAGES: Indiana U./Frank Emmert/X

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.