Interpreting the Constitution Pragmatically
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Interpreting the Constitution Pragmatically

September 29, 2019


You have to interpret the
Constitution in a way that makes
pragmatic sense The Constitution is not a
suicide pact, even Justice Scalia, in his
ostensibly textualist and originalist
opinion in Heller the D.C. guns case, said “Well of course you can’t take a
gun into a court room or into a courthouse.” Why not?! You can speak in a
court room or a courthouse. there’s a famous Supreme Court
case, Cohen v. California that says you can wear a jacket
that says: “F**k the Draft” into a courthouse. So why not let people take guns
into courthouses? Because it’s a really bad idea. And even people who claim to be
“Textualists” and “Originalists” don’t interpret
the Second
Amendment in a way that creates those
kinds of dangers. So, all of those are ways of
thinking about the Constitution and the other thing that’s
important to remember is: who interprets the Constitution. It’s not just the Supreme Court, it’s not just judges. Every public official in the
United States takes an oath to support and
defend the Constitution. And when they do their jobs they
need to think about what the
Constitution forbids even if no court is ever going
to tell them it forbids that. And all of us as citizens, we interpret the Constitution as
well. If you to know who has had the
biggest effect on what the Fourteenth Amendment
and its enforcement clause
reads, don’t just look to judges on the
Supreme Court, look to students like John Lewis
as a 23 year old who put their lives, and their
bodies, on the line. To change how Americans think the Fourteenth Amendment
applies, or the like.

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