Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Original Intent

"Original Intent" is a term used to describe legal scholars and judges who subscribe to "The theory of interpretation by which judges attempt to ascertain the meaning of a particular provision of a state or federal constitution by determining how the provision was understood at the time it was drafted and ratified."

Both Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas are originalists. I think it to be a simple-minded way to deal with changing times and so does Thomas Jefferson, one of The Quartet, in Joseph J. Ellis new book.

Quoting from this book and attributed by Mr. Ellis to Thomas Jefferson:

"Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment, I know that age well; I belonged to it and labored with it. It deserved well of its country...
 But, I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind".
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