Constitutional Interpretation and Republican Government
Dublin University Law Journal, Vol. 28, p. 221, 2006
33 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2010 Last revised: 15 Jul 2018
Date Written: 2006
The debate over how to interpret the Constitution, what sources might properly be considered, and what role the Supreme Court should play in that process, are questions that go back to the earliest days of the American republic. The force of these debates has ebbed and flowed throughout American history. For almost 50 years, Republican presidents and presidential candidates have criticized the Supreme Court for its alleged "activism" and "free-style" methods of constitutional interpretation. This Essay discusses and contrasts the interpretative approaches espoused by Reagan adminstration Attorney General Edwin Meese, Supreme Court Justices William Brennan and Antonin Scalia, and finally, in considerable depth, the approach of Justice Stephen Breyer as propounded in his book "Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution."
Keywords: Constitutional Law, Constitutional Interpretation, U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Stephen Breyer
JEL Classification: K1, K10, K4, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation