Buffalo Law Review

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The conventional interpretation of the Constitution assumes that the Committee of Style, which created the final draft of the Constitution, lacked authority to engage with substance; therefore, any arguably substantive changes it purportedly made should be disregarded in favor of earlier draft language found in the records of the Constitutional Convention. This “Style doctrine” has been embraced by the Supreme Court and several leading constitutional scholars. This Article argues that the Style doctrine is historically unfounded and obscures the Constitution’s original meaning. The Committee of Style was not prohibited from proposing substantive changes. In any case, most of the revisions proposed by the Committee of Style clarified or reinforced Federalist positions rather than suggesting substantive changes. Ultimately, the Style doctrine is an artifact of post-ratification developments tending to disregard elements of the more nationalistic constitutional vision of the Federalist Framers.