jump to last post 1-5 of 5 discussions (14 posts)

Is the United States Constitution a Living Document?

  1. RJ Schwartz profile image92
    RJ Schwartzposted 10 months ago

    Is the United States Constitution a Living Document?

    Does the interpretation of the Constitution change with current social, cultural, or political winds OR should it be interpreted exactly as the framers had written it?  Many key policy decisions would be directly challenged depending on which side of the debate the answer finally lands.  What are your thoughts on the topic?

    https://usercontent2.hubstatic.com/13593443_f260.jpg

  2. jackclee lm profile image80
    jackclee lmposted 10 months ago

    It is a living document but not open to interpretation as to the meaning of the words as some judges have done. It is living and changing due to the Amendment clause built in.  The founding fathers knew that any document or rules or guiding principles may change over time and there may be a time when current laws may not apply or new laws required for new circustances...
    The amendment process is the mechanism for that change. For example, the abolution of slavery and the right for women to vote...
    The words of the Constitution have the same meaning in 1789 as it is today. When time require a change, the language are drafted and voted by 2/3 of the Congress and of the States. That is how it suppose to work. The changes require a high threshold and it is a slow process by design to debate and argue the merits...

    1. ptosis profile image74
      ptosisposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      Great answer. Yes, it is true that the USSC has Locknerized at times.

    2. MizBejabbers profile image91
      MizBejabbersposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      Good answer, Jack.

    3. jrk1121 profile image85
      jrk1121posted 9 months agoin reply to this

      Jack,
      Combine your answer with wba108@yahoo and you have an article!

  3. MizBejabbers profile image91
    MizBejabbersposted 10 months ago

    Yes, but I want to look at this from generalities and leave any political whining out of my answer because I'm sure that you are going to get some. All bodies of laws, including constitutional law, have to be living documents or we would still be driving chariots or riding horses and living in tents or if we were lucky, in cliffside dwellings. We would still own slaves and throw people to the lions for entertainment.
    Now having said that, our own U.S. Constitution was written by forward thinking men, and I can't help but believe that some of them may have had a glimpse of the future. Franklin, for instance, was an inventor, so he definitely knew the world was not standing still.
    As a legal editor, I see us change or delete obsolete laws all the time and pass new laws relevant to the times. In the 29 years I've been working in government law, I've seen new, very necessary ones passed concerning the internet and other electronic media. In the past, commerce laws had to be newly enacted concerning trains and then 18-wheelers. All this is required to be within the framework of our constitutional law. The Constitution has to be changed so it can umbrella the laws our politicians pass to keep us updated and within our legal rights. That includes anything from more humane laws for people and animals to protecting our security from electronic acts by countries who do not mean us well.
    When you think about it, the original Constitution was a very broad-based umbrella. It was when the amendments began updating it that it started becoming content specific.

    1. jrk1121 profile image85
      jrk1121posted 9 months agoin reply to this

      Wow,
      "we would still be driving chariots or riding horses and living in tents"

      or even better

      "very necessary ones passed concerning the internet and other electronic media"

      The constitution was meant to limit the law, not be rewritten

    2. jackclee lm profile image80
      jackclee lmposted 9 months agoin reply to this

      It is astounding how we can understand the Constitution while some of our elected officials do not have a clue.
      Here is Senator Diane Feinstein on the Constitution...as a living document...
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4HLgoECUBdI

  4. dashingscorpio profile image88
    dashingscorpioposted 10 months ago

    Theoretically it is a living document because it can be amended.
    Where as the "Ten Commandments" are written in (stone).

    1. bradmasterOCcal profile image27
      bradmasterOCcalposted 9 months agoin reply to this

      Where exactly is that stone located? smile

    2. jrk1121 profile image85
      jrk1121posted 9 months agoin reply to this

      The first, inscribed by God, (Exodus 31:18) were smashed by Moses when he was enraged by the sight of the Children of Israel worshipping a golden calf (Exodus 32:19) and the second was later cut by Moses  and rewritten by God. (Exodus 34:1)

  5. wba108@yahoo.com profile image81
    wba108@yahoo.composted 9 months ago

    No it's dead, with the exception of the Amendment Clause.The Constitution must be interpreted according to its original intent because there is no other standard it can go by. It may be difficult because times have changed but the founding principles are fixed.

    It's a "contract" between we the people and our government. If its malleable, it isn't worth the paper its written on because the law can be altered at the whim of a group of unelected judges. Any true contract cannot be altered by a single party.

    Another problem with a living Constitution, is that it violates the separation of powers because the judicial branch would be able to alter or change laws  which is a function of the legislative branch. This kind of activity is known as "legislating from the bench".

    1. jrk1121 profile image85
      jrk1121posted 9 months agoin reply to this

      Great points:

      It's a "contract" between we the people and our government. If its malleable, it isn't worth the paper its written on


      This kind of activity is known as "legislating from the bench".

      violates the separation of powers

    2. wba108@yahoo.com profile image81
      wba108@yahoo.composted 9 months agoin reply to this

      Thanks

 
working