"The Constitution is a written instrument. As such it's meaning does not alter. That which it meant when adopted, it means now."
by:
Source:
South Carolina vs. United States (1905) 
Rating:
Categories:
 
Bookmark and Share  
Reader comments about this quote:
Dig em up and put em back in. We need them.
 -- warren, olathe     
  •  
    Actually, the meaning of words change over time, and thus the "written instrument", which is nothing more than words, would have its meaning change over time UNLESS one takes into account the MEANING behind those words AT THE TIME of their writing... you need to examine it in context! So, that which it was meant to mean when adopted is what what it was meant to mean when it was adopted... and even that is little more than a reliance upon interpretation...
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
  •  
    Reston is correct. It is impossible to ever know exactly what is being said... but this is a dangerous slippery slope, because if this is true than it can be argued that every communicated word is immediately privy to scrutiny without even the author's clarification. Due to the author's increased life experience (which can be even a few seconds, depending on the situation) that has changed their perception on life, language, and thought process from the time they first spoke to when they try to explain exactly what they meant in that exact time and place-- it is impossible for even an author to reflect on EXACTLY what he meant to say. To get around this, we have to accept that a little subjection is given through each generation's interpretation of the founder's words. This being the case, we then have to argue whether or not we're going to decide to always go back to defining things according to the original standard (Constitution), or to the last defined standard (stare decisis). There are strengths and weaknesses of both; however, history has proven that a solid reflection upon the original standard has proven to prolong and strengthen a nation's self-identity, culture, and power much longer than a continuously redefined national identity.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
  •  
    The constitution is a guideline. It is not The Law. It is up to all those following the adoption of the document to interpret depending on circumstances. Thomas Jefferson opined thusly: "Some men look at the Constitutions with sanctimonius reverance and deem them like the Ark of the Covenant: to sacred to be touched...laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind." Keep in mind that the final version of the national constitution was based on the separate state constitutions thus the "s" and the "them" in Jefferson's quotation.
     -- A.Jurgensen, Stuart, FL     
  •  
     -- warren, olathe      
    Every elected president swears to uphold the constitution and then promptly forgets about it.
     -- jim k, austin, tx     
  •  
    The Constitution is a written document.I think we can all agree on that.This writte document is a cornerstone and foundation upon which we SHOULD BE baseing and evaluateing all laws in the USA.A great characteristic of The Constitution is that the principles and foundation upon which IT was written are Superior to ANYTHING HUMAN and in my opinion,it is that specific characteristic which makes IT timeless and ever adaptable to current events.
     -- Me Again     
  •  
    A minimum of 5 stars for accuracy, thumbs down for the court's abandonment of the Constitution. The court's current implementation of stare decisis is "a lie told often enough becomes the truth" (Lenin) Law is sufficiently finite that obedience to it defines freedom and liberty; publication and enforcement of other than law, inflicts poverty, despotism, tyranny, violence, and eventual chaos. It is true, the Constitution is not law. It is, how ever, a history proven, extremely accurate outline in protecting the implementation and administration of law in the affairs of men. The Constitution is not complete (by way of example: the 13th Amendment) while the principles and law on which it is absolutely predicated, are. It is absurd, despotic, tyrannical, and chaotic to think or profess that the Constitution is alive, representing anything other than finite law. When the Constitution is interpreted or changed to limit or direct the actions of an individual, (the Constitution can only limit or direct the actions of the sovereign's servants) it is unlawfully out of its scope of authority.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  •  
    The Federalist Papers and the recorded debates about ratifying the Constitution provide more than enough clarification about what each and every line in the Constitution is meant to mean. However, today, you would have to spend millions of dollars and spend many years to get to the Supreme Court for a decision on an unconsitutional statute. When we ignore the Consitution and join a private club that issues their own coupons for trading and that writes the rules for the use of these coupons, we waive our common law rights for a commercial jurisidiction in which there are no rights but merely privileges of the club. Obedient members move up while those that have caught on to the compulsory membership of the club at the expense of their freeman status are kept in service to the rest. I do believe that by using privately issued currency we have agreed to follow all the rules for the use of that currency (the Uniform Commercial Code) and have also agreed to accept criminal penalties for disobeying these club rules. The only way out of this mafia, is to use lawful currency to trade -- but if all the other traders are members of the club, too, then who can we trade with? It sure looks like this shadow governement has expanded its powers across every town and state leaving our Consitution mute and without a constituency. Oh, what a tangled web have we woven for ourselves.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  •  
    Except as the Constitution is changed by subsequent Amendments. A major exception ot Jefferson's "law". How could he miss that point?
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
  •  
    Waffler, WHAT? did I miss something? Are you saying the Constitution didn't mean what it said, when it said it. Are you saying that after an amendment is passed, changing what was originally stated, the new Amendment now says what the original Constitution ment to say? Is that your point of exception of/or to Jefferson's law? WHAT? If the Constitution is not changed by amendment, it means the same today as it ment originally. An amendment doesn't change the meaning of the original Constitution, it enables a whole new document with most of the new instrument being understood by earlier intent.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  •  
    Slavery was legal under the original Constitution. Slavery is no longer legal under the Constitution. is what I meant to say Mike. What the Constitution meant when it was adopted it does no longer mean in regard to slavery. Is this diffcult to understand? It therefore would appear that Powers left to the states or the people could also be taken away and given to United States via amendment as long as the Bill of Rights are not trampled on. Not to worry Amendments are no easy task to get adopted. Thank God.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
  •  
    I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people' (10th Amendment). To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible to any definition. --- Jefferson Does this now mean "NOTHING?"
     -- Larry, North Bergen     
  •  
     
    Rate this quote!
    How many stars?
    0
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5

     
    What do YOU think?
    Your name:
    Your town:
        CLICK JUST ONCE!

    More Quotations
    Get a Quote-A-Day! Free!
    Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box.
    RSS Subscribe
    Quotes & Quotations - Send This Quote to a Friend

    © 1998-2019 Liberty-Tree.ca