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#495287 - 02/08/06 06:52 PM The Constitution
Anonymous
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This is an interesting article. The constitution is so much more than a piece of legislation which is how many from the right wish to view it. This a a framework for our laws, not the "laws" themselves which are better suited to literal interpretation.

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#495288 - 02/08/06 06:58 PM Re: The Constitution
Carl from ATHF is my Idol :) Offline
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We cannot interpret everything from strictly literal interpretations (or a strict constructionism), a lot of decisions are extrapolated from debating whether the wording says one thing or the other; this dates back to the ideological/philosophical differences between Jefferson and Hamilton and the strict/loose constructionism issues. I think a middleground is the only answer; when in need, extend beyond the literal interpretations and let qualified officials explicate what they believe.
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#495289 - 02/08/06 07:01 PM Re: The Constitution
Anonymous
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carl, tell that to the people who see nothing about a right to privacy in the constitution because those three words are not mentioned. (but seriously, lets not rehash abortion here. i was just using privacy as an example consistent with the subject of the thread described in the first post)

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#495290 - 02/08/06 07:05 PM Re: The Constitution
Carl from ATHF is my Idol :) Offline
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Yeah, moderation is the key, the Constitution does and does not say certain things that have to be interpreted by government officials who we have elected; for instance, yeah, the right to privacy isn't explicity mentioned, but it can be reasonably interpreted from the Bill of Rights; also, the use of "God" and "Lord" are used twice in the Constitution, does that necessarily mean that the founding fathers meant to establish some kind of national religion? Maybe, maybe not; the best source for critical analysis of the Constitution is The Federalist Papers, unequivocally the most historic, critical assessment of the major issues presented in the Constitution
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#495291 - 02/08/06 07:07 PM Re: The Constitution
*nUnZeO* Offline
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so in turn you elect the person that interprets the constitution as you would, and will represents your ideas and make into laws, or change laws based on their interpretations
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#495292 - 02/08/06 07:10 PM Re: The Constitution
Carl from ATHF is my Idol :) Offline
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Well you dont' always have the choice and freedom of electing an individual for a certain position as you might think; lobbying and other factors (like if Republicans control both houses of congress), then your influence has less impact; but when you elect such an official (i.e. supreme court justice) you endow them with the right to make intelligent decisions based on their interpretation of the Constitution
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#495293 - 02/08/06 07:12 PM Re: The Constitution
*nUnZeO* Offline
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your absolutely right
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#495294 - 02/08/06 07:25 PM Re: The Constitution
Carl from ATHF is my Idol :) Offline
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you're*** :0
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#495295 - 02/08/06 07:26 PM Re: The Constitution
Jokerman Offline
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ar·bi·trary
Pronunciation: 'är-b&-"trer-E
Function: adjective
1 : depending on individual discretion (as of a judge) and not fixed by law

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#495296 - 02/08/06 07:29 PM Re: The Constitution
Anonymous
Unregistered

Quote:

ar·bi·trary
Pronunciation: 'är-b&-"trer-E
Function: adjective
1 : depending on individual discretion (as of a judge) and not fixed by law



aha! i agree. lets get rid of judges. the laws are self-explanatory, self-evident and disagreements work themselves out because there is only black and white in the world.

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#495297 - 02/08/06 07:31 PM Re: The Constitution
Carl from ATHF is my Idol :) Offline
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Posts: 221
Quote:

Quote:

ar·bi·trary
Pronunciation: 'är-b&-"trer-E
Function: adjective
1 : depending on individual discretion (as of a judge) and not fixed by law



aha! i agree. lets get rid of judges. the laws are self-explanatory, self-evident and disagreements work themselves out because there is only black and white in the world.




you missed the point and I completely disagree with you
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#495298 - 02/08/06 07:34 PM Re: The Constitution
Anonymous
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Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

ar·bi·trary
Pronunciation: 'är-b&-"trer-E
Function: adjective
1 : depending on individual discretion (as of a judge) and not fixed by law



aha! i agree. lets get rid of judges. the laws are self-explanatory, self-evident and disagreements work themselves out because there is only black and white in the world.




you missed the point and I completely disagree with you



carl, that was sarcasm. i was teasing jokerman. just like the cardinals tease him every summer.

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#495299 - 02/08/06 08:28 PM Re: The Constitution
Anonymous
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i'll take the lack of response to mean "breyer is a commie liberal who doesn't know how to read so why should i be surprised he doesn't read the constitution literally"

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#495300 - 02/08/06 09:36 PM Re: The Constitution
Jokerman Offline
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Take it for whatever you want. I never said we should do away with judges. I do say that we should be governed by law, not men.

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#495301 - 02/08/06 09:37 PM Re: The Constitution
Anonymous
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Quote:

Take it for whatever you want. I never said we should do away with judges. I do say that we should be governed by law, not men.



"law" is not always black and white. that is the point.

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#495302 - 02/08/06 09:47 PM Re: The Constitution
Clown Boy Offline
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here and there
With the exception of Michael Jackson, "Men" are not always black and white either...
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#495303 - 02/08/06 09:52 PM Re: The Constitution
Peepers Offline
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Quote:

With the exception of Michael Jackson, "Men" are not always black and white either...




Sometimes they're both
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#495304 - 02/08/06 09:56 PM Re: The Constitution
Anonymous
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Quote:

Quote:

With the exception of Michael Jackson, "Men" are not always black and white either...




Sometimes they're both



either way, it doesn't matter if they are (black or white)

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#495305 - 02/08/06 10:22 PM Re: The Constitution
Jokerman Offline
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Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 12,846
Quote:

"law" is not always black and white. that is the point.




It is more often than Justice Breyer's discussion would indicate.

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#495306 - 02/08/06 11:55 PM Re: The Constitution
Anonymous
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Quote:

Quote:

"law" is not always black and white. that is the point.




It is more often than Justice Breyer's discussion would indicate.



is that because he is a commie liberal? or is it because you read most of his opinions, not just the ones that he disagrees with ultra-cons?

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#495307 - 02/09/06 12:35 AM Re: The Constitution
RandomName Offline
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Posts: 1,373
Austin, TX
Jeez, let's dial back the hyperbole a little here.

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#495308 - 02/09/06 12:53 AM Re: The Constitution
rainman Offline
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FWIW, I think the article is incredibly poorly written and we can't be sure of what Breyer actually said until there is a transcript (or until a real reporter writes the story). I have not done any analysis of his opinions, so I can only go by the article.

In the fifth and sixth paragraphs, he seems to be talking about approaches to interpreting laws that Congress or a state has written, not the Constitution.

In any event, the following quote is what scares most conservatives about judges like him: "I tend to emphasize purpose and consequences," said Breyer. "Others emphasize language, a more literal reading of the text, history and tradition — believing that those help you reach a more objective answer."

Translation: "I'll ignore the hours, days, and weeks of drafting and redrafting by Congressional staffers after input from interested parties. I'll assume that Congress (or the state) was too stupid to actually write what it meant. Instead, I'll look at the possible consequences of the law; then I'll decide what it means."

I'm sure (I hope!) that is a dramatic overstatement of his approach. But it's still pretty scary. It's especially scary when it's applied to the Constitution.

Ron, you've spent a lot of effort in these threads letting people know when they've misinterpreted something you wrote. (As have many of us.) That tells me that you believe your words have an ascertainable meaning that shouldn't be tinkered with. Shouldn't we ascribe at least as much weight to the careful selection of words by Congress and the framers as we do to a hastily dashed-off post on BOL?
Last edited by rainman; 02/09/06 12:54 AM.
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#495309 - 02/09/06 12:55 AM Re: The Constitution
Anonymous
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Quote:

This is an interesting article. The constitution is so much more than a piece of legislation which is how many from the right wish to view it. This a a framework for our laws, not the "laws" themselves which are better suited to literal interpretation.




A quote from Thomas Jefferson that is inscribed on the Jefferson Memorial:

"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

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#495310 - 02/09/06 01:01 AM Re: The Constitution
rainman Offline
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Ahh, but I don't think that answers the question. The question is how those "institutions must advance." Do they advance by making changes in the laws and constitutions? Or do they advance by the Supreme Court simply deciding that the meaning of the constitution has now changed?

And while we're at it, here's another quote from Jefferson that's on the Memorial (I like it better than yours!):

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever."
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#495311 - 02/09/06 01:55 AM Re: The Constitution
Anonymous
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Quote:

The question is how those "institutions must advance."




And the framers of the Constitution were aware of that, so they provided in the Ninth Amendment:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

As long as the rights of the people are being expanded, the fact that certain rights, like privacy, are not specifically enumerated is not a problem.

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