Julia Mahoney

A Common Good Constitutionalist Feminism?

Law and Liberty


In “A Constitution for the Common Good?” James Stoner argues that common good constitutionalism “deserves serious attention” as “a way of thinking about justice and the Constitution,” and “more generally about our society and the rule of law.” Stoner’s conclusion is not motivated by the prospect of any immediate concrete payoff, for common good constitutionalism is as yet a fledgling movement with no discernible program and a leading manifesto, Adrian Vermeule’s 2022 book Common Good Constitutionalism, that by its own admission offers only a rough sketch of its arguments. Rather, by highlighting the importance of the classical legal tradition, including natural law, to America’s constitutional system common good constitutionalism may fuel “the resurgence of interest in a morally thick jurisprudence” urged by Hadley Arkes, Josh Hammer, Matthew Peterson, and Garrett Snedeker in their groundbreaking article “A Better Originalism,” published last year in The American Mind. The eventual result, suggests Stoner, could be a “welcome corrective” to what he sees as the “errors and excesses” of the two dominant modes of constitutional interpretation, living constitutionalism, and originalism, which, respectively, abjure and neglect to make effective use of the classical legal tradition.


Julia D. Mahoney, A Common Good Constitutionalist Feminism?, Law and Liberty (August 24, 2022).

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