compact, only changing it by the amendment procedures in the document itself and not by either legislative law or judicial rulings or executive actions.
Arguments for Original Meaning
Let’s now go through the arguments that support interpreting the Constitution by reference to itsoriginal meaning and not adhering to the living Constitution idea.To begin with, the doctrine of original meaning is logically necessary if the Constitution is to actas a constraint on government action. The Constitution is supposed to give rise to a governmentthat protects the rights that are declared in the Declaration. To determine if a law is notunconstitutional and infringing on rights or if the government is doing something it has nowarrant to do, we
refer to the meaning of the Constitution, i.e., we have to refer to itsoriginal intent or meaning. If we deny that such a fixed meaning is present or, at our pleasure,read new meanings into the Constitution that are not there, then we are denying that there is anobjective check and balance that we are using to protect our rights. If we do that, then we aredenying both the legal legitimacy and the practical efficacy of the Constitution as an instrumentthat institutionalizes the fixed principles of the Declaration that found the nation.. This meansthat those in government are being empowered or allowed to pass any laws they wish to pass,including laws that abrogate our rights. And so unless there is original meaning, we end up withthe contradiction that we have a Constitution that is really not a Constitution that protects rights.Four more arguments support the doctrine of original meaning. One is that in 1787 this doctrinealready existed for hundreds of years. The second is that since the Constitution was new in 1787,it could have had no meaning to Americans of the time but what its original intent was. Third, astime passes and more and more of the Constitution’s provisions have to be understood moreexplicitly, any doctrine other than original intent creates legal confusion; for if subsequentgenerations adopt ever-changing standards of construing the Constitution other than originalmeaning, then instead of the Constitution being the controlling law, such things as fashion,whim, power, interest groups, and fads become the controlling law. Such a process denies theConstitution. Fourth, the Supreme Court itself, up until the late 1900s, repeatedly, in case after case after case, acknowledged the concept of original meaning.One more argument favoring a Constitution of fixed meaning is that since all governmentofficials take oaths of affirmations “to support the Constitution,” there must be something fixedto “preserve, protect and defend.” One cannot support, preserve, protect, and defend only the procedures of government. The Constitution is not an empty shell or blank check whose legalcontent is filled in by lawmakers and compliant courts. It enumerates specific powers as well asinvolves specific disabilities or absence of powers, and these are designed to protect rights.
Living Constitution Faulty
The concept of a living Constitution that is prevalent today is actually anti-Constitutional or anti-rights in nature, i.e., at bottom it is a totalitarian concept. If what the Constitution means changesdepending on changing political, social, economic, and cultural fashions, ideas, and agendas,