John Bingham and Originalism
I’ve mentioned before that, in my ongoing research on a biography of John Bingham, I can find no evidence that he either offered or was ever asked for his views about the original understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment after he left Congress in 1873. (He died in 1900). Now this could be because the sources are incomplete. In other words, maybe he did say something or was asked but those records are lost.
There is another possibility though. Maybe people were just not interested in originalism as an interpretive methodology back then. Thus, there was no reason to care about what he thought about his work. I’m not sure, but it is curious that Bingham’s obituaries didn’t even mention his role in drafting Section One of the Amendment. He’s more important to us as a constitutional thinker than he was to his contemporaries.
UPDATE: Another possible explanation is that Bingham’s reputation was damaged by his involvement in the Credit Mobilier scandal, thus perhaps he was personal non grata.