How should Constitutional questions be defined/interpreted?
1) By what was written in the Constitution.
2) By what the writers meant when they wrote the Constitution.
3) Both, what they wrote and the deeper meaning based on other comments and writings.
4) Either/or, based on what my own bias says depending on which debate I'm in at the moment.
5) The lean of the Supreme Court at any given moment.
6) Other. (Please explain)
Example: The Establishment Clause / Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. They say, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...".
Do we base interpretation based on what was written? What was written seems clear, yet we still have raging debates over it to this day, so maybe it's not so clear at all. Or, do we define it based on other comments and writings of the framers and include things like the "...wall of separation between church and state..." aspect as Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter in 1802. Note that the First Amendment doesn't actually say anything about separation, yet many believe that it is included in the intent of the Establishment Clause.
This question could also be applied to most other Constitutional questions as well, i.e. what is a "militia", what is reasonable search and seizure, and so on. I just chose this one for example purposes.
How do YOU believe the Constitution should be defined and interpreted?