Constitution is not a living organism

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    ATLANTA – During a speech in Atlanta Friday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Friday defended interpreting the Constitution as it was originally written and intended.

    Scalia delivered a speech titled "Interpreting the Constitution: A View From the High Court," as part of a constitutional symposium hosted by the State Bar of Georgia. Originalism and trying to figure out precisely what the ratified document means is the only option, otherwise you're just telling judges to govern, Scalia argued.

    "The Constitution is not a living organism," he said. "It's a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn't say what it doesn't say."

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/201...ion-is-not-living-organism/?intcmp=latestnews
     
  2. Crabtownboy

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    An old and long argument about this. Of course if you look back over Scalia's decisions you will see he has violated his own words ... such as ruling that a corporation is a person.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission
     
  3. go2church

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    Generally I'm not in favor monkeying around with the constitution but there is an amendment process, so to some degree it can be changed.

    When I've heard Scalia speak to this issue before (C-Span) he seems to be expressing concerns about judicial bodies, apart from the prescribed process stated in the constitution, coming up with new meanings, interpretations, inclusions and exclusions of the constitution that end up impacting the rule of law beyond that one individual case.
     
  4. ktn4eg

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    This is what Constitutional historians call "Strict Constructionalism." Its opposite viewpoint is called "Loose Constructionalism."

    Whether they'll actually admit to it, most every Justice and/or Judge who has served "on the Bench" for any length of time usually tends to waver between one legal extreme and the other--primarily because each law case set before him/her has its own unique set of circumstances.

    Justice Scalia, along with (for the most part anyway) usually sides with the more conservative "Strict Constructionalists" on the SCOTUS.

    Among the others that generally side with Scalia are Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and (usually) Anthony Kennedy. However, each one of them has made some "surprise decisions" from time to time.

    FWIW, I tend to favor the more conservative/"Strict Constructionalist" view on how our nation's Constitution ought to be considered.

    I believe that, for the most part, that too was the way most of our nation's so-called "Founding Fathers" approached it as well.

    Given the fact that there have only been 27 Amendments [Actually there've only been 25 "real" Amendments since the 18th Amendment on "Prohibition" that was ratified in 1919 was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933.] within the time span of 225 years,

    I'd say that's a fairly good record when you consider the fact that most other nations have adopted, and then summarily rejected a lot of their own constitutions on a fairly regular basis.
     
  5. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    And when you consider that ten of those amendments were for all practical purposes part of the Constitution it is even more amazing. Fifteen changes in 225 years and three of those packed together after the Civil War.

    Wow! Why mess with it?
     
  6. HankD

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    "A living and breathing organism"

    Translation : we don't like what it says and we are going to change it by re-interpreting it.

    HankD
     
  7. Crabtownboy

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    If it is not a living document it could not be amended.
     
  8. ktn4eg

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    It seems as though your concept of what "a living document" is quite different from what our nation's "Founding Fathers" considered it to be.

    Most of them realized that invariably there would be circumstances that would develop about which people living in the 18th Century could not possibly conceive that would necessitate changes in the original Constitutional document that was drafted in the 1780's.

    This is precisely why the Constitution that the "Founders" produced contained Article V which spelled out the very specific ways by which our nation's governing document could be amended.

    The problem(s) with most people (principally those who adhere to a rather extreme socialistic left-wing social and political philosophy) who see our Constitution as being "a living document" is/are that they either believe that:

    [1] Our Constitution ought to be basically changed or altered to satisfy whatever the prevailing "Politically Correct" [An expression they use which, in reality, is merely "code" for a very extreme ultra-left-wing set of ideas on how practically every aspect of a society ought to be governed.

    --or--

    [2] That our Constitution needs to be entirely scrapped and completely re-written every so often because these people seem to believe that there really are no permanent over-arching legal and/or social principles or standard by which society ought to be governed.

    Throughout both the Old and New Testaments one finds places where God has given basic "rules" and "standards" by which human society as a whole ought to be governed.

    We see this, for example, in passages such as the Ten Commandments; Micah 6:8 -- "He [the LORD] hath shown thee, O man, what is good; and what the LORD doeth require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God....." [KJV rendering]; the various teachings of Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7; and what the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul in Romans 13.

    Of course, most all of these ultra-left-wing advocates would most likely probably reject what God said in His Word anyway; therefore, they'd probably out-right reject any notion that man is accountable to his Creator anyway.

    FWIW, IMHO, I tend to believe that most of the folks who post in most of the threads here on the Baptist Board forums would probably a rather different concept of what our nation's Constitution ought to be that that with which you, my friend, would consider it to be.

    May God bless you in your service for Him in that very needy part of Europe!
     
  9. Crabtownboy

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    And thus it became a living document that can be amended. If it were dead it would be set in concrete and not be amendable.

    I believe the founding fathers were very wise to make it difficult to amend. Thus is not only hard to change but hard to kill. Thus, it is a healthy living document, one that should be changed only very carefully and seldom.

    To scrap the Constitution would be a complete disaster IMHO.
     
  10. Revmitchell

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    It appears some should learn what a living document means. Hint: it does not mean it is amendable.
     

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