Should Supreme Court lend flexible interpretations to U.S. Constitution?
Polls conducted in recent years by Quinnipiac University show that most Americans think “the Supreme Court should consider changing times and current realities in applying the principles of the Constitution” as opposed to adhering only to the original intentions of the document’s framers.
And, of course, more than a few Supreme Court justices over the years have embraced that same theory. Stephen Breyer, who currently serves on the high court, is one of them.
Breyer is out with a new book, “Making Democracy Work,” in which he explores alternatives to constitutional originalism.
Jeffrey Rosen reviews the book HERE.
[Breyer] sets out to answer a basic question about democratic legitimacy: how can judges earn the public’s confidence, so that Americans will follow even those opinions with which they disagree? And he offers two principles, drawn from history and experience. The first is that the Court should reject rigid originalism, instead viewing “the Constitution as containing unwavering values that must be applied flexibly to ever-changing circumstances”; and the second is that the Court, when interpreting the Constitution, should “take account of the role of other governmental institutions and the relationships among them.” Breyer is a staunch pragmatist, and he emphasizes that in building practical working relationships with the President and Congress, the Court should recognize that its decisions have real-world consequences, and take those consequences into account.