Sunday, April 6, 2008

Theories of Constitutional Interpretation

Are you a Textualist, Intentionalist, or a Natural Law Theorist? Do you care? Should you? I think we should and many do even if we have never ventured far enough to name the discussion. It ususually shows up in conversations about electing judges who legislate from the bench or interpret the constitution straight on. But if you're like me and find yourself pretty ignorant about the issue other than your gut feeling you may find the following link helpful. It is front he University of Missouri at Kansas City It is understandble and at lest offers a general overview.

..Natural law (higher law, God's law) is now only infrequently suggested as an interpretive guide, even though many of the framers of the Constitution recognized its appropriateness. Persons who favor heavy reliance on originalist sources (text and intentions) are commonly called "originalists." Persons who favor giving a more substantial weighting to precedent, consequences, or natural law are called "non-originalists." In practice, disagreement between originalists and non-originalists often concerns whether to apply heightened judicial scrutiny to certain "fundamental rights" that are not explicitly protected in the text of the Constitution. it all here

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