The Right Way to Read the Constitution

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by pegwinn, Dec 6, 2008.

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How do you interpret the Constitution

  1. Originalism, or, Original Intent

    83.3%
  2. Modernism/Instrumentalism

    8.3%
  3. Literalism - historical

    25.0%
  4. Literalism - contemporary

    8.3%
  5. Democratic/normative reinforcement

    8.3%
  6. OTHER

    8.3%
  7. [url=http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_intr.html]The link to the above definitions[/url]

    0 vote(s)
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  1. pegwinn
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    pegwinn Top of the Food Chain

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    For starters, if this thread isn't in the correct forum feel free to move it. I figured that it will cover many of the main forums.

    My question(s) to the board is: How do you read the US Constitution? What are your core beliefs that cause you to read it that way?

    When or if I quote the Constitution directly I use this source.

    I interpret the Constitution as literally as possible. I understand that times change but I don't agree with using that as an excuse for changing the meaning of the words without an amendment.

    I don't try to divine intent unless the writer is in front of you (and since far more than one man wrote the Constitution) and can be questioned. So, I am willing to go with intent if the writers of the 27th Amendment are still alive and able to answer questions.

    I give no weight to any document other than the Constitution when reading the Constitution. I've discussed this in detail here. But, for those who don't want to read my blog, the upshot is that I believe referencing writings other than the Constitution place them on the same level as the Constitution.

    I do have a twist in how I read that is unique (I think) to the literal method. I try to research the colloquial syntax of the time the document was written. Over time the language changes (remember when Hot was Cool?) and you can actually get two meanings for the same words.

    So, what or how do y'all do it?
     
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  2. Kevin_Kennedy
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    Kevin_Kennedy Defend Liberty

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    I read it literally and do not believe in implied powers or twisting the meaning of the words.
     
  3. xsited1
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    xsited1 Agent P

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    I usually vote for the candidate who promises the most hand-outs so I can sit and home and watch reruns of Good Times.
     
  4. pegwinn
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    pegwinn Top of the Food Chain

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    I am with you on the implied powers thing. There is a bill in Congress with no hope of passage. It is called the Enumerated Powers Act. It would require the Legislature to actually reference the chapter and verse of the Constitution that authorised them to write that law in the first place.
     
  5. KittenKoder
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    KittenKoder Senior Member

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    If people read it through they will find that most of our 'new' laws are just pointless rewordings of the US Constitution.
     
  6. pegwinn
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    pegwinn Top of the Food Chain

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    Interesting. I never thought of that but you are likely right. Got an example?

    Off to the rack now. Two jobs tomorrow. C'ya'll in the pm on Sunday.
     
  7. KittenKoder
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    KittenKoder Senior Member

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    One is the equality for minorities ... the word men was used as a generalized term for human often during those times, so if "All men are created equal ... " using the general meaning of that word, means pretty much that everyone should be treated and responsible equally.
     
  8. pegwinn
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    pegwinn Top of the Food Chain

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    One could also argue that since women and non-whites were specifically excluded from many things, that "men" was a general use term to represent white males.

    A huge beef I have is the idea of implied powers as was noted by Kevin also.

    There are enumerated powers and there is a "necessary and proper" clause.

    The key in my mind is the "foregoing Powers" phrase. For example:

    This is lawfully correct thanks to the USSC. But in my mind it is an egregious stretch.
     
  9. Kevin_Kennedy
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    Kevin_Kennedy Defend Liberty

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    I've heard about this, and I think it's certainly a step in the right direction. I still think people would be able to twist anything they need out of the Constitution, but this at least would force them to admit they're twisting the Constitution to fit their desires.
     

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