It is not often that a single individual is responsible for constitutional provisions as important as Sections 1 and 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. My project in this Essay is not to engage in a study of original intent, or original public meaning, or however we wish now to characterize the originalist project, but to engage in a quest for John Bingham’s Amendment, for understanding the Amendment as he understood it. Whether this gives us an authoritative reading of the Amendment for the purposes of constitutional interpretation and adjudication is a separate issue. I treat Bingham as an author and the text of Sections 1 and 5 as one would treat a text in political philosophy or constitutional theory by any author.



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