Interpretation of the Constitution
The United States Supreme Court judges are in charge of applying the Constitution while the Constitution comprises the primary law of the Federal Government. . The way they do that is by understanding the text of the Constitution according to what they believe to be the meaning of it. There are different ways by which to interpret the Constitution, the modernist and constructionist approach.
The judicial branch of the government which is the judiciary can realize, confirm and decide on the constitutionality of a policy and thus be policy makers too. This function to
safeguard the welfare of the citizens, is in fulfillment and realization of the state’s obligation to provide order and system in the society.
The Constructionist Philosophy, also known as Strict Constructionists interpret the law according to the literal meaning and definitions of the words involved. This view does not consider the Framers' motive behind the words, but rather take the literal meanings of the actual words used. Examples of Literalists on the Supreme Court are John Roberts and the late great William Rehnquist.
According to the article “The Supreme Court and Constitutional Interpretation,” the Modernist Philosophy looks at the Constitution as a "living" document. Its intents and purposes are free to change with the society it governs. Modernists argue that the Framers had no ability to foresee the various ways that future citizens might be oppressed. Judges have the responsibility to "fill in the gaps" to protect Americans from legislative tyranny by striking down laws that suppress or restrict fundamental human rights. The views of different judges in the Supreme Court influence the way they approve laws and policies which will ultimately affect the citizens of the society. The Modernist view the Constitution in relevance to modern life thus they were called “Modernists.” Modernists argued that the Constitution is unclear in many aspects and view that the Constitution is flexible and active that changes slowly over time. Modernists however acknowledge the value of the Constitution according to its historical perspective, but values more the present needs of the society. The Constructionists contend that the Modernists view is irrelevant. They view the constitution’s interpretation according to its literal meaning and one needs to have a rich knowledge of the 18th century history to apply the meaning of the words in the Constitution according to the article “Constitutional Topic: Constitutional Interpretation.” The issue of whether there should be just one way of Constitutional Interpretation is still a debatable topic at present. Since democracy is the very foundation by which the United States Constitution different views on how to interpretation the Constitution is appropriate in a representative democracy However, a theory of constitutional interpretation should not ignore the consequences of its views and thus provide a satisfactory result and the political importance of its views. There should be a bridge between the present judge's pronouncement and some historical and authoritative documents – thus providing a balance between varied ways of interpreting the United States Constitution. Works Cited
“Constitutional Topic: Constitutional Interpretation” Retrieved on November 2, 2007 from
“The Supreme Court and Constitutional Interpretation,” Retrieved on November 2, 2007 from