Citizen’s Duty – The Importance of Constitutional Interpretation

Dear Friends and Citizens,

We just completed the first of 3 Citizen’s Pledge discussion sessions educating ourselves on First Principles. Amidst our discussions of Natural Law, unalienable rights, and the distinction between freedom and liberty, we discussed another of the essential issues that every liberty-loving citizen needs to understand — Constitutional interpretation.

No, this is not best left for the “experts.” This is our Constitution and We the People must understand what it means, how that meaning has been twisted by “progressive” judges, and the schools of thought on how it should be interpreted.

The prevailing view of the Democratic Party and many “moderates” in the Republican Party is that the U.S. Constitution is a living, breathing document that can be interpreted in accordance with the opinions of judges as those opinions change over time. This view has caused un-elected “Men in Black” to legislate from the bench by changing the meaning of the constitution and putting in place laws that would not otherwise be enacted by the proper legislative process.

This is so important today because President Obama has already appointed 2 Supreme Court Justices who believe in a living, breathing constitution i.e. it means whatever the Justices decide it means. If a subsequent appointment shifts the balance of the court in favor of this living, breathing concept, the Constitution’s check on Federal power will be decimated and the soft tyranny of today will harden.

The originalist perspective says that the Constitution must be interpreted as it was originally written and that its meaning as the supreme law of the land is fixed – unless the constitution is properly amended. Originalists believe that judges should not employ “judicial activism” to make rulings based on their own beliefs and preferences, rather than on the law as written. This concept of judicial activism has itself been turned on its head by the left, as explained by Thomas Sowell in the following article.

Sowell on Judicial Activism

Next, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia, probably the leading proponent of the Originalist perspective, sets forth his views on Constitutional Interpretation. Scalia is not a “strict constructionist” as the issue of strict or loose interpretation is separate from whether or not the original meaning governs. See p. 129 of We Still Hold These Truths.

Scalia on Originalist Perspective

The final article is a Heritage Foundation piece providing more reasoning for the Originalist Perspective. It also mentions that Ronald Reagan’s Attorney General Edwin Meese was instrumental in bringing back this view following the widespread acceptance of the living, breathing progressive view.

Heritage Foundation on Originalist Perspective

For Liberty,

Michael

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