Is the original intent approach to constitutional interpretation a valid approach?
It's the only approach.
maybe in those rare cases the founders actually agreed, but in the vast majority where they did not agree?
So, does that mean when the dems write a law we can choose to interpret it differently later?
It was, in 1787.
except that even then, the writers rarely agreed on anything, from political philosophy to how to interpret the constitution
If original intent was to disagree, then yes.
I think so. But I think original intent needs to be taken in context with the modern environment.
No. Original intent only works so far as they all agrees, which they didn't. And so far as they could foresee the future, which they couldn't.
it's good start but things have changed a lot in 200 years so I don't think it should be the only way
It's a good place to start, but it isn't the only way to interpret it. To think it is the only way seems to be giving the original founders credit for knowing far more than the 27 amendments (so far) demonstrate.
It seems to me it is a lot like a typical union contract - intentionally vague to allow interpretation without renegotiation (amending in this case).
It's a legal document. Just read the text.
Some areas do need interpretation. The constitution is a lot of things but it isn't always crystal clear
There is some ambiguity, but not nearly as much as people seem to think. Original intent is important in those cases, which are few.
Assuming any original intent can be found given the fact the founders agreed on very little, the constitution was a compromise, any amendment would ten need to have the intent discovered of not only the writers but everyone that voted for it, whether
At the federal or state levels of the amendment process and hope they ALL agree and have the exact same intent. Frankly you aren't going to get that in most cases and I do mean most
That's part of why you have to go with the text, as with any legal document, since the text is what was ultimately agreed upon.
thats strict constructionism though not original intent.
There's a place for each, that's my point.
that still doesn't change the fact you were talking about strict constructionism, not original intent
Here's a fuller answer:
Read the text directly.
IF ambiguity OR apparent contradiction, THEN refer to original intent.
assuming you can actually find any, which lets face it, there very very very rarely are
Great question. I wanted to ask this a couple weeks back but couldn't word it correctly.
It is a valid way under some circumstances, but not the only way or only correct way. Even the founders disagreed on things. And there are somethings today that could never have been imagined when the constitution was written.
Agree Matt, I pointed out the disagreement of the founders too in a post above this one. I really enjoyed cite's polls yesterday highlighting that fact.
oops, wrong thread!
I don't see a reason why it wouldn't be.
because some of the norms of that time we find heinous today, ie slavery. We've taken care of some issues thru amendments, but just because the founders thought it was a good idea at that time does not always have relevance today.
Also the founders disagreed a lot and I do mean a lot. Plus for every amendment what is the inner of everyone at every level that voted for it or wrote it? They won't all have the same intent-too many people are involved for complete agreement
Hm good point. I think it's a good place to start though.