A new paper to be published in the Ohio State Law Journal, written by Professor Bryan Wildenthal, argues that there is indeed originalist support for the idea that the Fourteenth Amendment was understood to incorporate the Bill of Rights as a restraint on action by the states. Wildenthal is especially critical of the originalist arguments offered against the incorporation doctrine by Charles Fairman and Raoul Berger. According to the abstract, the article
demonstrates the truly shocking and inexcusable extent to which Fairman, [Stanley] Morrison, and especially Berger mishandled the evidence and profoundly misunderstood the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. The extent of their scholarly malpractice has not been fully or adequately explored until now. This makes it especially disturbing that their works remain amazingly influential, decades after they were largely debunked. . . .
Surprisingly, the research presented in this article shows that there is still a great deal new to say about the original understanding of the Amendment in 1866-67. The article discusses primary source materials never adequately analyzed before. These include a May 1866 New York Times editorial published two days after the Amendment was introduced in the Senate, and an essay by a Kentucky state judge published during 1866-67. These materials, together with other evidence, suggest that the goal of nationalizing the Bill of Rights may have been widely understood during the ratification period.