Saturday, July 24, 2010

Naked and Alone part 2

The Tea Party has been making a lot of noise about the constitution. I, for one, have never understood the idea of strict constructionism. In spite of the grilling Supreme Court candidates get from the right about the constitution not being a “living document”, there can’t be a literal interpretation.

For one thing, without the bill of rights and subsequent amendments black people would only represent 60% of a person in a vote. Women wouldn’t be able to vote at all.

If you take the constitution literally the President would only be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy. There’s no mention of the Air Force.

The authors of the constitution deliberately used vague expressions that were open to interpretation. What do "speedy and public trial," "cruel and unusual punishment," "unreasonable search and seizure," or "due process of law" mean?

"Time and changes in the condition and constitution of society may require occasional and corresponding modifications." --Thomas Jefferson March 25, 1825


Anonymous said...


I'm glad you are of the opinion that friends can disagree and still be friends. Not enough people share that view and it is really sad that everyone feels they have to be on one side or the other. As for the constitution. I am in the constructionist camp and don't think the interpretation of the constitution should blow with the wind. However, I do think that in the last century people have come to feel that constitution was carved in stone. I say interpret it strictly, but be much more liberal in changing it when it doesn't meet the needs of current times.


Doggie said...

How is it possible to interpret strictly?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps strictly wasn't the best choice of words. I meant an interpretation that attempts to be consistent with the Framer's intent. That is sometimes hard do and we should be more willing to change the constitution when it isn't clear.

Doggie said...

In spite of the Framers, the Constitution was ratified by hundreds of delegates in 13 state conventions. The Framers were a diverse group, Many had issues with specific parts of the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

What are you suggesting? That we ignore original intent and case precedent and only apply today's standards?

Doggie said...

I'm pointing out original intent was, at times, intentionally vague and we will always have to struggle with fairness and justice. We have the most activist court we've had in years. Believe me this is not an endorsement!