What Place Does the Preamble Have in Constitutional Law?

Discussion in 'US Constitution' started by longknife, Apr 6, 2018.

  1. longknife
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    longknife Diamond Member

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    I'd never really thought about this until I came across this article in The Originalism Blog. [It tries to define exactly what the Founders meant when they laid out our God given rights] The words are clear and simple:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    According to this lengthy article filled with all sorts of legalese, there was a case in 1905 where the then SCOTUS indicated these words did not play an important role in interpreting the Constitution.

    Now, I am not in any way, shape, or form, a legal scholar. But, this causes me to realize something - the president has a huge opportunity to shift the focus of the Supreme Court for decades to come by appointing justices who will ty to abide by the original intentions of the Founders when they wrote and ratified this document.

    I am curious about your take on this. Full article @ John Welch & James Heilpern: The Preamble's Principal Place in Constitutional LawMichael Ramsey - The Originalism Blog
     
  2. Cecilie1200
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    Cecilie1200 Platinum Member

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    A preamble is, by definition, a statement of intent. It is the introductory segment of a document which lays out the purpose of the document. So anyone who doesn't think that's sorta, kinda important to interpreting the document is either lying, or too stupid to be allowed out of the house without a babysitter.
     
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  3. DGS49
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    DGS49 Gold Member

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    If there were any ambiguity in the Constitution itself that could be understood better by reference to the Preamble, then it could be used for that purpose. It is like a "recital" ("Whereas,...") in a contract.

    Fortunately, such a question has never come up.
     

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