Friday, January 6, 2012

What This Will Be About

So first things first let me talk about what I want this to be about.  So I find it so interesting to do research on various little historical tidbits about the constitution, our founding fathers, and other critical historically important things.  I consider myself a fairly strict originalist constitutionalist, in that I believe we must follow the constitution, as it was originally intended.  This unfortunately means occasionally digging through old records of historical arguments about what the constitution meant to the people who ratified it, or to the people that ratified amendments to the constitution.  I will do my best to make these things as “not boring” as possible.

Which gets me to a point I am sure to talk about a bit more latter, given the constitution is vague in areas, what to do to resolve those ambiguities.  I strictly reject the “living constitution” definition that I believe means the constitution means whatever you want it to mean.  But if we are to look at history, who’s interpretation of the meaning should we take to be the most relevant?  Is it the drafter?  The congress who debated and approved it?  The people who ratified it? Or the people themselves as they would have believed it to mean when it was announced?  I tend to draw from all of these sources to varying degrees, although the least is probably the drafter as he is just the person who wrote the initial words.  Scalia would take the words as promulgated (announced), and the interpretation of what the “common man” at the time would believe those words to mean.  This is probably one of the most important indications of the “original meaning”, but it is often hard to tell for sure or be able to prove this.  Luckily many of the debates of the time were written down and we still have those which I find an invaluable tool to learn what the founders really meant.  And of course the federalist papers, being the argument in favor of the constitution, but BEFORE the constitution was ratified, are an invaluable tool to learn why the people ratified the constitution and what their intent was.  I talk about this to give you a setup of some of the sources that I will be pulling from, and why I think they are important.

If you didnt catch the reason for the name, its from the quote from Thomas Jefferson that "In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

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