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Mattwall1 February 2nd, 2014 5:32pm

Is the original intent approach to constitutional interpretation a valid approach?

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cowboy Dog Lives Matter
02/03/14 2:27 am

It's the only approach.

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Mattwall1
02/03/14 7:14 am

maybe in those rare cases the founders actually agreed, but in the vast majority where they did not agree?

inthehole
02/02/14 9:53 pm

So, does that mean when the dems write a law we can choose to interpret it differently later?

Mattwall1
02/02/14 9:21 pm

except that even then, the writers rarely agreed on anything, from political philosophy to how to interpret the constitution

DavesNotHere where am I
02/02/14 8:47 pm

If original intent was to disagree, then yes.

Wert A picture of my package
02/02/14 2:09 pm

I think so. But I think original intent needs to be taken in context with the modern environment.

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bMyComrade Stumptown
02/02/14 11:55 am

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.

jvberg Winter has Come
02/02/14 11:01 am

it's good start but things have changed a lot in 200 years so I don't think it should be the only way

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Zod Above Pugetropolis
02/02/14 10:55 am

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.

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Zod Above Pugetropolis
02/02/14 10:56 am

It seems to me it is a lot like a typical union contract - intentionally vague to allow interpretation without renegotiation (amending in this case).

Liberty Lets Use Logic
02/02/14 10:52 am

It's a legal document. Just read the text.

Mattwall1
02/02/14 10:54 am

Some areas do need interpretation. The constitution is a lot of things but it isn't always crystal clear

Liberty Lets Use Logic
02/02/14 10:56 am

There is some ambiguity, but not nearly as much as people seem to think. Original intent is important in those cases, which are few.

Mattwall1
02/02/14 11:02 am

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

Mattwall1
02/02/14 11:03 am

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

Liberty Lets Use Logic
02/02/14 11:06 am

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.

Mattwall1
02/02/14 11:09 am

thats strict constructionism though not original intent.

Liberty Lets Use Logic
02/02/14 11:55 am

There's a place for each, that's my point.

Mattwall1
02/02/14 12:11 pm

that still doesn't change the fact you were talking about strict constructionism, not original intent

Liberty Lets Use Logic
02/02/14 12:24 pm

Here's a fuller answer:

Read the text directly.
IF ambiguity OR apparent contradiction, THEN refer to original intent.

Mattwall1
02/02/14 12:33 pm

assuming you can actually find any, which lets face it, there very very very rarely are

droo Santa Barbara
02/02/14 10:40 am

Great question. I wanted to ask this a couple weeks back but couldn't word it correctly.

sojourner present
02/02/14 10:35 am

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.

sojourner present
02/02/14 11:39 am

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.

thewheel
02/02/14 10:34 am

I don't see a reason why it wouldn't be.

sojourner present
02/02/14 10:37 am

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.

Mattwall1
02/02/14 11:27 am

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

sojourner present
02/02/14 11:41 am

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.

thewheel
02/02/14 12:16 pm

Hm good point. I think it's a good place to start though.