View Poll Results: Does the original intent still matter when discussing the Constitution?

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  • Yes. We should strictly follow both the letter and spirit of the original intent.

    28 35.90%
  • Yes. We should follow the original principles and then apply them as new issues arise.

    21 26.92%
  • Yes. The original intent of the Constition is important, but other factors must be considered.

    15 19.23%
  • No. The Constitution is a guiding set of principles that we can interrpret to fit our current needs.

    10 12.82%
  • Other

    4 5.13%
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Thread: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

  1. #121
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    ...one that is too difficult and unwieldy to be of much use in the modern world.
    Yet it's still the one which is there, even if that were true.

    (It's supposed to be difficult, by the way.)
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harshaw View Post
    Yet it's still the one which is there, even if that were true.

    (It's supposed to be difficult, by the way.)
    Here is the rub.... the constitution is too hard to amend and that keeps us from making free health care, and any other handout we can think of a right..... see? The constitution is out dated and needs to be changed.

  3. #123
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    But that's exactly my point. The Supreme Court abandoned an originalist interpretation of the Constitution (and the American people went along with it) BECAUSE of the cumbersome amendment process.
    At the time, many americans were against judicial review, but the Justices are not subject to people's opinions. And the adoption of judicial review was a result of Chief Justice Marshall's ruling in Marbury v. Madison--it had nothing to do with the perception that it is too difficult to amend the constitution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    If the amendment process was easier, I doubt you'd see nearly as much judicial activism. But we have to have one or the other...an easier amendment process, or an active judiciary. Otherwise very little would ever change from the way the government operated in 1789, which was obviously a very different world from the one we now inhabit.
    No, it doesn't have to be one or the other. Not if people actually hold the president accountable for appointing crap justices--and congress for confirming them. note: activists judges tend to be liberal (living, breathing constitution, etc).
    Last edited by other; 10-14-09 at 07:09 PM.

  4. #124
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crunch View Post
    So get an amendment to change it.
    Can't. See above re: the amendment process being too difficult.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crunch
    because that is the only way you will ever change.
    Huh?
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  5. #125
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harshaw View Post
    Yet it's still the one which is there, even if that were true.

    (It's supposed to be difficult, by the way.)
    It's supposed to be difficult enough that people don't change it for stupid reasons based on whatever direction the wind is currently blowing. But I highly doubt the Founding Fathers predicted that we would use their Constitution for 220 years and only change it 17 times.
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  6. #126
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by other View Post
    At the time, many americans were against judicial review, but the Justices are not subject to people's opinions. And the adoption of judicial review was a result of Chief Justice Marshall's ruling in Marbury v. Madison--it had nothing to do with the perception that it is too difficult to amend the constitution.
    I was referring more to the expansion of government power since the Civil War (and especially since the Great Depression) based on activist interpretations of the Constitution, not judicial review in general.

    Quote Originally Posted by other
    No, it doesn't have to be one or the other. Not if people actually hold the president accountable for appointing crap justices--and congress for confirming them. note: activists judges tend to be liberal (living, breathing constitution, etc).
    Every justice on the Supreme Court - and every federal judge in the United States - is an "activist" compared to what the Founding Fathers had in mind. Liberal AND conservative.

    Furthermore, whether or not people "hold the president accountable for appointing crap justices" does not change the fact that our government would still be based on the world of 1789, if you want to preserve the cumbersome amendment process AND use an originalist interpretation.
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  7. #127
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    But that's exactly my point. The Supreme Court abandoned an originalist interpretation of the Constitution (and the American people went along with it) BECAUSE of the cumbersome amendment process.

    If the amendment process was easier, I doubt you'd see nearly as much judicial activism. But we have to have one or the other...an easier amendment process, or an active judiciary. Otherwise very little would ever change from the way the government operated in 1789, which was obviously a very different world from the one we now inhabit.
    I disagree that the amendment process is overly cumbersome, at least to the point where it makes passing amendments impossible. The last major amendment passed was probably the 22nd (though the 24th was also pretty important, but it dealt with efforts to circumvent the 15th, so it wasn't a new issue). And its not surprising there weren't any major changes early on in our nation's history since the Constitution was a new document. So from 1865 to 1951, a timespan of 86 years, we passed ten amendments. That's an average of better than one per decade. The rate improves if you add in the last 5 "minor" amendments. We get 15 amendements in 127 years (1865 - 1992) During that time span, our nation was also growing. In 1865 there were 36 states. In 1951 there were 48 states.

    It is difficult to pass an amendment, but not impossibly so. History shows that. The reason we don't have more amendments is activist courts have usurped the power that was given to the people through the amendment proceedure and taken it for themselves through activist rulings that ignore the intent of the Constitution.

    I will say, I'm not entirely opposed to making amendments slightly easier to pass, but I cannot agree that the current process is cumbersome to the point of impossible.
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  8. #128
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    It's supposed to be difficult enough that people don't change it for stupid reasons based on whatever direction the wind is currently blowing. But I highly doubt the Founding Fathers predicted that we would use their Constitution for 220 years and only change it 17 times.
    I highly doubt they had any particular number of changes in mind.
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  9. #129
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Every justice on the Supreme Court - and every federal judge in the United States - is an "activist" compared to what the Founding Fathers had in mind. Liberal AND conservative.
    Yes, and that's a problem, but conservative justices tend more toward originalism, which is not activism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Furthermore, whether or not people "hold the president accountable for appointing crap justices" does not change the fact that our government would still be based on the world of 1789, if you want to preserve the cumbersome amendment process AND use an originalist interpretation.
    No it wouldn't...the last amendment was ratified in 1992.

  10. #130
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Can't. See above re: the amendment process being too difficult.



    Huh?
    What you are trying to say is that there is no support to change the amendment process.

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