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Adrian Vermeule & Eric A. Posner, Originalism and Emergencies: A Reply to Lawson, 87 B.U. L. Rev. 313 (2007).

Abstract: Professor Gary Lawson has written an illuminating response to our book, Terror in the Balance: "Security, Liberty and the Courts" (Oxford University Press 2007). Lawson's main thesis is that the original understanding of the Constitution supports what we call the judicial deference thesis - that courts should defer to the executive and legislative branches during emergencies. In this brief reply, we offer three claims. First, we express skepticism about whether there can be an overlapping consensus between originalists and nonoriginalists about judicial deference in times of crisis. Second, we affirmatively argue that if originalist adjudication is at all justified by reference to its consequences, then judges should be less originalist in emergencies than in normal times. Third, judges should also be less Burkean or traditionalist during emergencies than in normal times.