The constitution is short it cannot and does not attempt to cover every eventuality even when it seems it is clear, there can be conflicting rights, conflicting spheres of power when disputes arise, it comes time for people, and most importantly judges of the judicial branch, to interpret the constitution. Theories of constitutional interpretation the issue: what are appropriate sources of authority to guide interpretation of the constitution and what relative weight should be assigned to the various appropriate sources eight reasons to be an originalist 1.
Students learn that you can't take constitutional language at face value those phrases we read in the bill of rights, such as cruel and unusual punishment or being a witness against yourself, have specialized meaning based on years of interpretation by the supreme court students analyze real-life cases interpreting the 8th and 5th amendments to see whether they interpret the bill of. Oliver wendell holmes jr was an american jurist who served as an associate justice of the supreme court of the united states from 1902 to 1932, and as acting chief justice of the united states. It explores the constitution’s origins, its amendment over the years, and methods of constitutional interpretation topics include the nature and structure of the federal government, the powers of the federal government, and individual rights.
Historical literalists believe that the contemporary writings of the framers are not relevant to any interpretation of the constitution the only thing one needs to interpret the constitution is a literal reading of the words contained therein, with an expert knowledge in the 18th century meaning of those words. In interpreting the constitution, we must be guided by what the text is, not what we hope for it to be to venture beyond the text of the constitution and enunciate a meaning that reflects what the law should be is to disrespect the principle of separation of powers: this is an exercise that violates rather than upholds the constitution. Principles of constitutional interpretation constitutional interpretation, or constitutional construction, the term more often used by the founders, is the process by which legal decisions are made that are justified by a constitution, although not necessarily correctly.
Judicial interpretation refers to different ways that the judiciary uses to interpret the law, particularly constitutional documents and legislation this is an important issue in some common law jurisdictions such as the united states , australia and canada , because the supreme courts of those nations can overturn laws made by their legislatures via a process called judicial review.
In retrospect, it is evident that constitutional interpretation and application were made necessary by the very nature of the constitution the founding fathers had wisely worded that document in rather general terms leaving it open to future elaboration to meet changing conditions.
The constitution of the united states of america: analysis and interpretation (popularly known as the constitution annotated) contains legal analysis and interpretation of the united states constitution, based primarily on supreme court case law this regularly updated resource is especially useful when researching the constitutional implications of a specific issue or topic. The court is the highest tribunal in the nation for all cases and controversies arising under the constitution or the laws of the united states as the final arbiter of the law, the court is charged with ensuring the american people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the constitution.