Theories Of Constitutional Interpretation Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Government Type: Essay Paper: #89231363 Related Topics: Constitutional, Roe Vs Wade, Constitutional Law, Decision Theory
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … students opportunity discuss a key political science concept, show a basic understanding academic research reporting skills.

Define "loose construction" and "strict construction" methods of constitutional interpretation, and describe how each perspective aligns with formal vs. informal methods of change.

The 'strict construction' view of the Constitution has traditionally been aligned with conservatives such as Robert Bork who argue that "a judge interpreting the Constitution" should only consider "the words used in the Constitution [as] would have been understood at the time [of enactment]" (Linder, citing Posner, "Theories"). In contrast, the 'loose construction' view (traditionally aligned with more liberal politics) stresses the need to interpret the Constitution in a manner beyond the letter of the law. There are a number of factors which justices traditionally consider when making constitutional interpretations, including the text itself; likely intentions of the founders; precedents; consequences of the decision in the 'real world;' and so-called 'natural law' (Linder, "Theories").Strict constructionists places greater emphasis on the first three components while loose constructionists also take into consideration the last two (Linder, "Theories").

These two terms, although these ideas have always been in common currency, became particularly significant during the


Loose constructionists believed that certain rights such as privacy, while not specifically elucidated in the Constitution, existed within the penumbra of the document as implied rights, while strict constructionists did not. For example, in the landmark case Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), the justices found that a Connecticut ban disseminating birth control was a violation of privacy rights. "We have had many controversies over these penumbral rights of 'privacy and repose.' These cases bear witness that the right of privacy which presses for recognition here is a legitimate one" (Griswold, 1965). Later, in the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, the majority of the justices, mindful of the social consequences of their decision, agreed to instate a 'trimester' system based upon fetal viability which defined the degrees to which the state interest in protecting the life of the fetus superseded that of the mother's right to privately…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Chemerinsky, Erwin. "Conservatives embrace judicial activism in campaign finance ruling."

The L.A. Times. 2010 Jan 22. [2014 Apr 6]

Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). Exploring Constitutional Law. [2014 Apr 6]
[2014 Apr 6]

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