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Interpretation of the Constitution

One of the topics in class that really interests me is interpretation of the Constitution. My favorite activity we did that had to do with interpretation of the Constitution is Fun With Article II, where we were given hypothetical questions and were to decide whether it was constitutional or not based on Article II.  The reason I liked this activity is because, even though a lot has changed since the Constitution was written, you can still interpret it for modern situations. I also liked that there was no clear method of interpretation and there was so many answers that people could make from the same passage in Article II.

Since the Constitution was written in 1787, there have been countless cases in courts to interpret the Constitution for modern cases and problems. In fact, there is a whole panel of judges in the Supreme Court that interpreting the Constitution is their job.

There are many websites that are dedicated to interpreting the Constitution, and most of them say different things. So, is it really possible to interpret the Constitution for modern cases and problems? I doubt the founding fathers had prayer in public schools in mind while the founding fathers were writing the first Amendment of the Constitution.

How can we interpret the Constitution for cases like these, when we are sure this was not in mind while writing the Constitution? Like the Lochner v. New York case, sometimes it seems easy to interpret the Constitution and then new evidence arises that forces the court to change their decision or interpretation. In the Lochner v. New York Case in 1905, it was decided that it was unconstitutional to limit the amount of hours a person can work and limit his ability to sign a contract to work as many hours as they would like based on the Fourteenth Amendment. The case of Lochner was overturned in 1937 because of the West Coast Hotel v. Parrish case, where it was decided that there could be regulations made by the state on minimum wages for workers. This went against the ruling in the Lochner case because it limited the ability for the employer and the employee to negotiate a contract.

This is just one of the few cases that have been overturned by the Supreme Court. This shows that even men and women who interpret the Constitution for their jobs cannot always interpret it right, and sometimes changes have to be made to the final decision.

So, how can we interpret the Constitution and apply it to daily life if it was written so long ago with such different ideals? The simple answer is we have to. We have to be able to interpret the Constitution because it is the document our entire nation is based off of. It was written in 1787 in order to create a new, fairer form of government and be used to be the guide for all future problems. Which is exactly what we have done. The Constitution is as much present today as it was when it was written so long ago and still being interpreted now. That is why  interpretation of the Constitution is so important and interesting to me.

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