Seminar on Original Meaning: Linguistic Analysis of Legal Texts

Class One (Wed, Jan 13, 4:10 – 5:50 pm – via Zoom)
Please check your GSU email account for email from instructor with Zoom log in information or check the course iCollege home page.

  1. Students Present New Insights on Original Meaning of Constitution to Judges using “Big Data” of Corpus Linguistics, GSU College of Law News, May 21, 2018 (
  2. Aaron Blake, A big Trump case hinges on the definition of ‘emoluments.’ A new study has bad news for him (Washington Post Jan 29, 2019)
  3. Law Journal Editorial Board, On Language, Lawyers and Judges Don't Have All the Answers (March 22, 2019)
  4. Analyzing Legal Discourse in the United States (22 pages), read at:
  5. Amicus Brief (original meaning of “emolument”), Blumenthal v. Trump (D.C. Cir. Filed Oct. 8, 2019) Read abstract and pp 1-27 of brief (pp 9-35 as filed)  at : or
  6. Create a free account at Law & Corpus Linguistics: BYU Law to use Corpus of Founding Era American English - COFEA (complete this before class)

    Each of these three assignments will be discussed in class – first in Zoom break-out groups and then in the whole class.
  7. Discussion Assignment One: Controlling conduct with constitutional text (whether to remove the President under 25th amendment)
  8. Discussion Assignment Two: Interpreting constitutional text (what is “treason” in the impeachment clause?)
  9. Discussion Assignment Three: Linguistic drift – or what in the world does this mean? (meaning of “Office of honor, Trust, or Profit under the United States” in case of impeachment).