Sean Wilson's clearly-written and lucidly organized book demonstrates the failings of originalist theory. His major contribution is in his use of the concept of "connoisseur judgment," which he draws from Wittgenstein's aesthetics to show how the ordinary language of the Constitution can and should be interpreted. I find his conclusion compelling: originialism is a distraction from the proper goal of cultivating connoisseur judgment.
-- Francis J. Mootz III, University of the Pacific
The Flexible Constitution brings Wittgenstein's analysis of language-meaning to constitutional theory, showing how many common criticisms of originalism can find their home in that analysis. Its conclusions that constitutional law is best seen through an esthetic lens and that connoisseur judgments are central to determining the constitution's meaning opens a provocative line of inquiry that I hope other scholars will follow.
— Mark Tushnet, Harvard Law School
This is an excellent book which advances a new Wittgensteinian theory of constitutional interpretation.
— George Martinez, Southern Methodist University
From Wittgenstein to connoisseur judgment, this book reimagines basic issues in constitutional interpretation. It suggests new forms for understanding ongoing debates and provides new maps for negotiating them.
— John Brigham, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
In The Flexible Constitution, Sean Wilson provides a welcome rebuttal to the modern originalist movement in constitutional theory. In straightforward and elegant prose, Wilson reminds us that ordinary language—which the Constitution certainly purports to employ—cannot provide the kind of determinate meanings that make a strong form of originalism possible. All in all, the book is a philosophically rigorous counterpoint to the often oversimplified national debate about constitutional interpretation.
— Ian Bartrum, William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV
Wilson places himself among relatively few, including Brigham, who seem to not simply comprehend Wittgenstein but can explain it masterfully.
— Aaron R.S. Lorenz, Ramapo College