Brennan's Argument Analysis

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A hot debate relevant for today is the question of how the constitution is to be interpreted. When writing the constitution, the founding fathers were clearly living in an ern which entailed concerns that are different from concerns today. During the constitutional convention, men discussed debated until they agree on what should become the framework for our great nation. Because of this the constitution appears to be ambiguous on many particular issues which we face today. Are we then to address those issues in light of the context in which the constitution was written, or are we to view it as a living document that’s meaning changes with time? Beginning with Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson in 1786 at the constitutional convention, …show more content…
This is a view held by one William J. Brennan, Jr. Equipped with degrees from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and from Harvard Law School, Brennan was well versed in governmental studies and without a doubt spent many hours pondering the correct interpretation of the constitution. In Brennan’s “Speech to the Text and Teaching Symposium”, the Associate Justice not only responded to Meese’s argument with his own view but also rebuked the originalist view of the constitution. The truth about strict interpretation is, “in truth it is little more than arrogance cloaked as humility” claims the Justice. According to Brennan, the originalist view demands that Justices decide exactly what the framers thought about the question under consideration and simply follow through with what they determined the framers intentions to be. However, he argues that from our vantage point, it is impossible to gauge accurately the intent of the founding fathers in addressing contemporary questions. After listing many of the constitutions amendments, Brennan claims, “To remain faithful to the content of the constitution, therefore, an approach to interpreting the text must account for the existence of these substantive value choices, and must accept the ambiguity inherent in the effort to apply them to modern circumstances.” Further, Brennan quotes predecessor Justice Robert Jackson in saying, “the burden of judicial interpretation is to translate ‘the majestic generalities of the Bill of Rights, conceived as part of the pattern of liberal government in the eighteenth century’” for the purpose of supporting the loose interpretation view more

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