Where does the Constitution get its authority? [No. 86]
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Where does the Constitution get its authority? [No. 86]

October 14, 2019


For my understanding and point of view, originalism
is the appropriate methodology to use in interpreting the Constitution because of the idea that
the Constitution came into being as law when the people, through their state legislative
bodies, or through their state conventions, who were picked by the people to represent
them, decided to ratify the Constitution as the governing document for we the people here
in the United States. And so when the public, when citizens, elected
ratifying conventions within the states, it gave them authority to say yes or no to the
Constitution, and they voted to ratify it, that would be the point when the Constitution
became governing law in the country, and therefore, it’s important to know what that law means. And so originalism indicates that we’d want
to go back and understand what the document meant at the time that it got its legal authority,
at the time that it came into legal effect. The challenge, of course, is that by design,
the Constitution has many general principles. You know, the framers were wise enough to
know that over time, if this was gonna be an enduring country, that circumstances and
society would change. And so there should be broad principles in
place to enable government to be able to change and to adapt over time as society develops. But originalism is really consistent with
that idea, because from an originalist standpoint, there’s a lot of power and ability to be able
to make policy to adapt to needs as the citizenry grows and develops the political branches
as we call them, the branches elected by the people, the legislature Congress, and the
president, legislature forms policy the president carries it out. And so obviously, it’s that times change,
that policy would change, and as long as it’s compliant with the limitations and the broad
brush strokes given in the Constitution, then the political branches have the ability to
be able to make laws for the country. The Constitution, however, also was intended
to be a limited document. The federal government was supposed to be
a government of limited powers. The states had key policymaking authority
for most issues, and the Constitution really just was what brought the federal government
into existence, and the federal government doesn’t have power outside the Constitution. And it’s important to know what the ratifying
conventions authorized the federal government to do, and it was really just to engage in
the limited powers within the Constitution itself.

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  1. I'm a Spoonerite, it has no authority. Please check out No Treason, The Constitution of no Authority by Lysander Spooner. Besides, textualism has a better case than originalism.

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