Essay on The Debate On Constitutional Interpretation

1730 Words Sep 28th, 2016 7 Pages
The debate on Constitutional interpretation is far from a new one. For years, the argument over how the Constitution should be read has varied, from the strict textualist approach to the most lenient, the instrumentalist position. The Constitution has long been referred to in terms of being a living or dead document, and its interpretation has significant ramifications on this country’s legal climate. This paper will analyze and compare two different forms of Constitutional interpretation: originalism and activism. While the intent of the Framers should certainly not be ignored in reading and applying the Constitution’s words, it is important to view the document with a certain degree of modernity. The originalist approach towards Constitutional interpretation is not the strictest manner of interpreting the document. It doesn’t look strictly at the words of the text, unwilling to apply them out of their most literal context. Originalism does, however, look at the intent behind the words: what the Framers and ratifiers meant in each statement and how they might apply their words to cases before them. This position was one in which Justice Antonin Scalia firmly believed and adhered to in his time on the Court. In an essay by Edward Meese III, the former Attorney General analyzed the debate on Constitutional interpretation since the beginning of Constitutional history. He frames the debate in a context of one between an originalist form of jurisprudence, one which he supports…

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