Contemporaneous Understanding and Interpretive Issues
This chapter focuses on the Court's use of sources of original understanding contemporaneous with enactment of the constitutional provision in question, along with a variety of issues that the Court has confronted in using original understanding. It discusses the use of contemporaneous dictionaries, state constitutions and practices; Congressional and Executive practices; judicial understanding; and the views of prominent figures such as Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, and Story. It then considers issues raised by unsourced original understanding, the use of original understanding to illuminate purpose, dueling histories, revising history, original understanding as a method of exclusion, inconclusive original understanding, broad principles v specific conceptions, the need to take account of change, and unacceptable outcomes.
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