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. #31
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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. And they didn't have a 24/7 news cycle either.



    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.
    And a 24/7 news cycle has what relevance?
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  2. #32
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agnapostate View Post
    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.
    Sorry, but that's what we have here, I guess you'll have to live somewhere else.
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  3. #33
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyOwnDrum View Post
    Society has changed drastically since the 1700s, so I voted that other factors must also be considered. After all, the original intent was supportive of all sorts of practices (such as human slavery) that are now considered outrageous.
    This is why there are procedures to amend it and why such changes should be approached with extreme caution.
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  4. #34
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Ideally it shouldn't matter, because a society should ideally be governed by natural law, which is entirely objective and can be re-evaluated at any time based on the latest econometric data. Examples of this include slavery, women's rights (to a degree), USPS, and so on.

    Unfortunately human beings have been incredibly stupid over the past couple of centuries, failing to understand the dangers of centralized power as well as the authors of the constitution have understood it... Nothing is sadder than children who fail to surpass their parents...

  5. #35
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    I think it does still matter. Should we take it as ironclad, unchangeable, or immutable? Probably not quite to that extent. But it needs to be understood, respected, and implemented as government and its power change and grow (or contract...hahaha, yeah that will happen). The base of what we were establishing in the Republic though should be proliferated. A commitment to the rights and liberties of the individual.
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  6. #36
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Libman View Post
    Ideally it shouldn't matter, because a society should ideally be governed by natural law, which is entirely objective and can be re-evaluated at any time based on the latest econometric data. Examples of this include slavery, women's rights (to a degree), USPS, and so on.

    Unfortunately human beings have been incredibly stupid over the past couple of centuries, failing to understand the dangers of centralized power as well as the authors of the constitution have understood it... Nothing is sadder than children who fail to surpass their parents...
    Ideally it shouldn't, but in reality it does--for the reasons you mention and many others.

  7. #37
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Jefferson View Post
    On similar ground it may be proved that no society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation. They may manage it then, and what proceeds from it, as they please, during their usufruct. They are masters too of their own persons, and consequently may govern them as they please. But persons and property make the sum of the objects of government. The constitution and the laws of their predecessors extinguished them, in their natural course, with those whose will gave them being. This could preserve that being till it ceased to be itself, and no longer. Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19. years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force and not of right.

    It may be said that the succeeding generation exercising in fact the power of repeal, this leaves them as free as if the constitution or law had been expressly limited to 19. years only. In the first place, this objection admits the right, in proposing an equivalent. But the power of repeal is not an equivalent. It might be indeed if every form of government were so perfectly contrived that the will of the majority could always be obtained fairly and without impediment. But this is true of no form. The people cannot assemble themselves; their representation is unequal and vicious. Various checks are opposed to every legislative proposition. Factions get possession of the public councils. Bribery corrupts them. Personal interests lead them astray from the general interests of their constituents; and other impediments arise so as to prove to every practical man that a law of limited duration is much more manageable than one which needs a repeal.
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    In other words, Thomas Jefferson would never support us still using the constitution we use today. What was that about what the founding fathers wanted?
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  8. #38
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackdog View Post
    I think the changes should be even less. So it is a matter of opinion really as I don't agree at all.
    Really? You think 17 changes in 200+ years was too much? This implies that the document was nearly perfect when it was written (aside from the "major" amendments like banning slavery and women's suffrage). That's a level of ancestor-worship I'm not prepared to accept.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackdog
    Sorry that is nothing but theory. I do not believe the Constitution is a "living breathing" document and many agree.
    So you think a Constitution written for the 1780s should be interpreted with the original intent in mind, AND you think it should be crushingly difficult to amend it?

    What's so special about the 1780s that made it the ideal time for today's legal systems to be based on? The world has changed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackdog
    The one we have today works just fine thank you very much.
    That's because we DON'T use originalist interpretations for the most part. My point is that if we DID use them, and we preserved an extremely difficult amendment process, the Constitution would quickly become unworkable for today's world.
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  9. #39
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by the makeout hobo View Post
    In other words, Thomas Jefferson would never support us still using the constitution we use today. What was that about what the founding fathers wanted?
    What part of the Constitution did TJ write, and what was his vote on ratification?

  10. #40
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    So what change did Thomas Jefferson propose to rectify the Constitutional crisis of doubling the size of the country?
    Huh? What does that have to do with anything I wrote?
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