Dr. Martin Hash Podcast

Politics & Philosophy by Dr. Martin D. Hash, Esq.

147 Constitutional Plain Language


Being an interpreter has a power all its own: whatever you say goes. It's one of the oldest methods of control: priests would talk to God, shamans would predict the future from mouse bones, even anthropologists today can tell you how humans supposedly lived 25,000 years ago. To gain interpreter control, people try to insinuate themselves between you & the source of information: of course, with the irrefutably of the U.S. Constitution, it is a prime target, and erstwhile interpreters insist only they know what it really means, that they have a special kind of deductive power that lets them know what the original intent for every word written was meant to be. James Madison, author of the Constitution, was 36 years old when he wrote it. Does this not give the interpreters pause? The fallibility of any man is a forgone conclusion, and only time & absence can add the kind of majesty required to turn them into gods. However much I admire James Madison, The Constitution, or America; modern wisdom & judgment are the only restrictions that apply now. “Plain language,” “textualism,” “original intent,” all evoke interpreters but no interpreter can really tell us what some young dead guy was thinking 250 years ago, even if it was 100% correct.

The Constitution is obviously not absolute, see Prohibition, not to mention the Three-fifths clause which bursts any misconceptions that the Constitution is a holy document as believed by Mormons. Canada got it right, their Constitution follows the "living tree doctrine” that says that a constitution is organic and must be read in a broad and progressive manner so as to adapt it to the changing times. In the U.S. we call this concept loose constructionism, or “Living Constitution,” but a conservative justice gives plain language precedence while a liberal judge goes with constructionism, so depending on the mix of The Court, different opinions can be reached from the same sentence. Obviously, since Supreme Court justices are appointed by the president, and have a lifetime tenure, the Constitution is as much a political document as a legal one, and reflects the political schisms in this country as much as any campaigning gladhander.

Categories | PRay TeLL, Dr. Hash


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