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Interpretation Of The U.S. Constitution Essay

1304 words - 5 pages

The Constitution of the United States is a complex idea, adopted at a fragile time in American history and is the framework for our government systems. There are different ways to view this document and different ways to interpret it, which can cause debate over the proper and correct way to go about interpretation. Justice Antonin Scalia and former Justice William Brennan, are two intellectuals with different methods and ideas about the correct way to interpret and enforce the Constitution. To understand how the Constitution works for the people of America, one must first understand about the Justices of the Supreme Court who have the power of enforcing the rules and regulations of Americas most prized document.
Unlike the other branches of government, the Supreme Court does not have the same rules for appointing its members. The Constitution doesn’t go into lengthy detail about the Supreme Court; therefore the people in power have had to invent a process for “electing” Justices. Currently, the United States holds nine Justices at one time. This number has changed over the years, but since 1869 there have been nine seats (Greenhouse). It is up to the President and the Senate to appoint members to these nine seats. First the President nominates someone who he or she thinks will be best for the position and that person must secure a majority vote from the Senate to become a Justice of the Supreme Court. There are no other rules to adhere by; no certain professional background is necessary, no age limit requirements, or even citizenship status regulations as with the legislative and executive branched of government. Basically, anyone can be appointed as long as the President nominates and the Senate approves, although history has proven those appointed usually hold extensive law backgrounds.
Justice Antonin Scalia follows suit with the customary law background. On September 26, 1986, after a nomination by President Reagan, Scalia took his position as Justice (Supreme Court). Scalia is an orginalist, which means he believes that the original written word of the Constitution should be taken literally and enforced by means of the Framers ideals. Originalists views are straight forward and do not leave room for interpretations from a modern prospective. Scalia argues in his September 1988 lecture series “Originalism: The Lesser Evil” that modern day shouldn’t change how the Constitution is understood and upheld. In this lecture series, Scalia talks about where the lines can be crossed with nonoriginalism. “But why, one must reasonably ask – once the original import of the Constitution is cast aside to be replaced by the fundamental values of the current society – why are we invited only to expand on freedoms, and not to contract them as well (Scalia)?” Scalia goes on to give an example of witnesses who had given their testimony sheltered from sight of the defendant. Claiming Sixth Amendment right for the defendant, Scalia uses...

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