Original Intent of the Constitution

Original Intent of the Constitution

Top of Mind with Julie Rose

Iowa Caucuses, Sundance Film Festival, Constitution, Volkswagen

Episode: Iowa Caucuses, Sundance Film Festival, Constitution, Volkswagen

  • Feb 2, 2016 11:00 pm
  • 36:00 mins

Guest: James Phillips, Clerk for Justice Tom Lee at the Utah State Supreme Court, Former Visiting Law Professor at BYU  The job of the US Supreme Court is to interpret the Constitution in all kinds of current legal disputes. But the Constitution was ratified in 1789. So, the question that often comes up is, should we be trying to interpret the Constitution in just the way the founders intended it? Or should we be look it as a living document, with a meaning that evolves as modern life evolves?  If you adhere to the idea that original intent matters most, you get into the trouble of knowing just what the founding fathers meant when they wrote the word “commerce” or the phrase “to carry arms.” You might think it’d be as easy as turning to an English dictionary from 1788 and looking up the word “commerce” or “arms.” But you’d be wrong, says James Phillips, a former visiting professor at BYU’s Law School and now a clerk for the Utah State Supreme Court.

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