Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Crack In My Originalist Thinking

Apparently, the meaning of the words of the constitution were pedantically debated before the Bill of Rights was even passed. Indeed, the lawyerly, self-interested interpretation was used to stall debate on the Bill of Rights:
But I have two other reasons for opposing this motion; the first is, the uncertainty with which we must decide on questions of amendment, founded merely on speculative theory; the second is a previous question, how far it is proper to take the subject of amendments into consideration, without the consent of two-thirds of both Houses? I will submit it to gentlemen, whether the words of the Constitution, "the Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments," do not bear my construction, that it is as requisite for two-thirds to sanction the expediency of going into the measure at present, as it will be to determine the necessity of amending at all. I take it that the fifth article admits of this construction, and think that two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives must concur in the expediency, as to the time and manner of amendments, before we can proceed to the consideration of the amendments themselves.

If the people who passed the stuff can't agree on the meaning of what is is then how the heck are we supposed to know what they meant when they passed it? I'm sure I will change my mind on this in the morning.

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