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. #21
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    The Founding Fathers were not all-knowing gods.
    My statement does not depend on them being all-knowing gods.
    Otherwise, your statement here doesn't in any way negate, or even addess, what I said.

    They were human beings who wrote a document that worked for THEIR society. It's changed a bit in the 200+ years since then.
    If you dont like what they wrote and why they wrote it, or if you think someting in it doesnt 'work' today, then change it.

    Again, they wrote the constitutional amendment process with THEIR society in mind. I doubt they considered that one day the country would have 50 states and span a continent.
    Irrelevant. The procedure is there. Use it.
    If what you want to do is such a good idea, the necessary support for the change should be easy to get.

  2. #22
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman View Post
    If you dont like what they wrote and why they wrote it, or if you think someting in it doesnt 'work' today, then change it.
    You completely ignored where I wrote that it's too difficult to change the constitution, because the Founding Fathers were writing for 13 states, not 50. And they didn't have a 24/7 news cycle either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman
    Irrelevant. The procedure is there. Use it.
    If what you want to do is such a good idea, the necessary support for the change should be easy to get.
    That's ridiculous. If you'd actually READ the constitution, you'd see that the amendment process is not as easy as you make it sound. The Constitution has only been amended 17 times since the Bill of Rights. Surely there have been more than 17 good ideas in the 200+ years since then.


    To illustrate this point, let me ask you this: Suppose that we had a constitution that mandated that to amend the Constitution, you had to have unanimous support in both houses of Congress, unanimous support in every state legislature, and the signatures of the President and every governor. Surely you would agree that such a process was too difficult, and therefore an originalist intent would be impractical?


    Originalist interpretations of constitutions work much better in states and countries where the Constitution is relatively easy to amend. The US has one of the hardest amendment processes in the world, and therefore is one of the countries LEAST suited to an originalist interpretation.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 10-14-09 at 02:38 PM.
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  3. #23
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    You completely ignored where I wrote that it's too difficult to change the constitution, because the Founding Fathers were writing for 13 states, not 50.
    It works the same mathematically be it 13 or 50. Having a large majority be in agreement to change the very Constitution is a really good idea in any time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    That's ridiculous. If you'd actually READ the constitution, you'd see that the amendment process is not as easy as you make it sound.
    It is not easy, and yet it does get done.

    Don't think he was trying to make it sound easy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    To illustrate this point, let me ask you this: Suppose that we had a constitution that mandated that to amend the Constitution, you had to have unanimous support in both houses of Congress, unanimous support in every state legislature, and the signatures of the President and every governor. Surely you would agree that such a process was too difficult, and therefore an originalist intent would be impractical?
    A ridicules fallacy that has no bearing, nice.
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  4. #24
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackdog View Post
    It works the same mathematically be it 13 or 50. Having a large majority be in agreement to change the very Constitution is a really good idea in any time.

    It is not easy, and yet it does get done.

    Don't think he was trying to make it sound easy.
    It has only been done 17 times in 200+ years. Amending the Constitution should be difficult, but if we're going to use an originalist interpretation, it should not be so difficult that we're only averaging one change (many of them minor) every 13 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackdog
    A ridicules fallacy that has no bearing, nice.
    It illustrates the point that if a Constitution is crushingly difficult to change, then an originalist interpretation wouldn't make sense.

    Functional societies can have EITHER a difficult constitutional amendment process OR an originalist interpretation, not both. If you try to have both, you end up with a legal system designed for the 1780s rather than one for today.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 10-14-09 at 02:47 PM.
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    You completely ignored where I wrote that it's too difficult to change the constitution, because the Founding Fathers were writing for 13 states, not 50.
    No, I didn't. I said that was irrelevant.

    YOU, however, did completely ignore:
    My statement does not depend on them being all-knowing gods.
    Otherwise, your statement here doesn't in any way negate, or even addess, what I said.

    That's ridiculous.
    No, its not. The threshold necessary to change the Constitution is intentionally high so that changes are not made will-nilly, and, given that the Constitution applies to the entire country, the changes that ARE made have substantial support across the entire country. It is SUPPOSED to be diffcult to change, because a constitution that can be changed at a whim is meaningless.

    If you understood the logic and reasoning of the people that wrote the document, you'd understand this.

    Beyond that -- you're whinng because changing the Constitution "too hard".
    Its only "too hard' if your proposed change isn't goood enough to garner sufficient support. If your idea is good enough, then getting the support to change is should not be difficult at all.

    Tell us -- what would YOU have as the amendment process, and why?

    If you'd actually READ the constitution...
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    Last edited by Goobieman; 10-14-09 at 02:43 PM.

  6. #26
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    I think much of the Constitution, as to the overall reach of the government should remain intact, though I feel that it is the principles that are the driving force and should be considered the most.

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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    To illustrate this point, let me ask you this: Suppose that we had a constitution that mandated that to amend the Constitution, you had to have unanimous support in both houses of Congress, unanimous support in every state legislature, and the signatures of the President and every governor. Surely you would agree that such a process was too difficult, and therefore an originalist intent would be impractical?
    They had a similar problem under the Articles of Confederation, so they held a convention and scrapped it for the constitution. That's still a viable option today, but apparently most people don't agree that it's too difficult to amend--a primary reason the constitution was drafted to replace the articles was that it is easier to amend.
    Last edited by other; 10-14-09 at 02:50 PM.

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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    The Constitution sustains the federal republicanism that I oppose, and I consequently oppose numerous aspects of the Constitution itself while not taking issue with the civil liberties it protects. But I'd still worry about the potentially turbulent consequences of some Constitutional breakdown or destruction and could only advocate it in appropriate circumstances.

  9. #29
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    It has only been done 17 times in 200+ years. Amending the Constitution should be difficult, but if we're going to use an originalist interpretation, it should not be so difficult that we're only averaging one change every 12 years.
    I think the changes should be even less. So it is a matter of opinion really as I don't agree at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    It illustrates the point that if a Constitution is crushingly difficult to change, then an originalist interpretation wouldn't make sense.
    Sorry that is nothing but theory. I do not believe the Constitution is a "living breathing" document and many agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Functional societies can have EITHER a difficult constitutional amendment process OR an originalist interpretation, not both. If you try to have both, you end up with a legal system designed for the 1780s rather than one for today.
    The one we have today works just fine thank you very much. We don't need some egghead theory on "originalist interpretation" if we just use common sense.
    Quote Originally Posted by Moot View Post
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  10. #30
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    The Founding Fathers were not all-knowing gods. They were human beings who wrote a document that worked for THEIR society. It's changed a bit in the 200+ years since then.



    Again, they wrote the constitutional amendment process with THEIR society in mind. I doubt they considered that one day the country would have 50 states and span a continent. The amendment process is extremely difficult in today's world. Much more difficult than it should be, if "original intent" is going to be considered.
    So what change did Thomas Jefferson propose to rectify the Constitutional crisis of doubling the size of the country?
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