Some people view the US Constitution in the same way fundamentalists view the Bible, as if it were written on stone, never changing, and can never be questioned.
These Constitutional Fundamentalists have something in common with their religious counterparts: They believe there is only one interpretation of their holy book and — here’s the amazing part — that interpretation is always exactly in line with their own personal views!
Most of us who study the Constitution for a living are aware that the Founding Fathers, though great men, were not gods. We know that the Constitution was written by politicians, who made compromises and made sections deliberately vague because that was the only way they could get the damn thing passed.
Those who “know” the intent of the Founding Fathers need to acknowledge that the only thing we can really say is that it was the intent of a majority of them to pass the Constitution as a whole, and they did not necessarily agree on what the words meant at the time. After all, within a few years, there were cases before the Supreme Court to determine its meaning and its application. The Founding Fathers themselves were still around and they could not agree! To think that there is some magical interpretation we can know today, hundreds of years later, is ridiculous.
(NOTE: This is the first real post for this blog. There is a lot more I could say on this issue; in fact, entire books have been written on this topic. However, my goal with this blog is just to throw out one basic idea per post, to stir discussion, and then to follow up on this with other similar ideas in follow-up posts. For instance, a future post will discuss whether the interpretation of the Constitution should change as society changes, so hold your comments on that issue please.)