Following Directions

Topics: United States Constitution, Law, United States Declaration of Independence Pages: 5 (1621 words) Published: September 14, 2008
How important is it for one to follow directions? There are many avenues that can be approached in order to find a generalized answer to this seemingly harmless question. Today, I would like to delve into the founding document of instructions given and written to help govern this nation. The Constitution of the United States is the basis for our freedoms that we take for granted daily. Without this document everything that we know and love about America would cease to excist. So how important is it that we follow the directions that our forefathers laid out for us? What would the United States of America be like without this small sheet of paper? To answer all of these questions mentioned above we will have to excavate into the Constitution itself - for to understand more about the Constitution will therefore give the knowledge required in order to answer the questions.

The United States Constitution defines the laws of the land as the Constitution itself and those laws or legal documents that are constitutionally passed through legislature. The role of upholding these laws and interpreting them in cases are assigned to the judicial branch. Our judicial system is to be one that follows common law, so ultimately laws do come from courts. Although the Supreme Court essentially has final say, the Constitution does not grant it the power of forming laws by a majority vote out of nine justices. These laws formed by court decisions should be based on the text of the Constitution and legislative laws and in times of ambiguity original intent of these legal texts should be used. The impact of these decisions has on society should not be from a new law formed but should be from having more clarity on application of the Constitution to laws.

Although there is much debate as to what should govern justices of the Supreme Court in their decisions, we cannot ignore that the Constitution clearly defines that it is the role of the justices to interpret the law and only that. Making the laws that are not covered in the Constitution are left to the federal and state legislatures. It is beyond my belief that anyone can argue that they believe the framers of the Constitution entrusted nine justices of the Supreme Court to make decisions that will affect all of the nation using their own moral philosophy.

After fighting so hard to gain our independence, I am sure that the original intent for the justices of the Supreme Court were to ensure that the basic natural rights that were so hard earned and clearly defined in the Constitution are to be the only jurisdiction of the individuals of the Supreme Court. By stating that something is constitutional or unconstitutional there will ultimately be effects that justices must take into consideration before their decisions. These effects must not conflict or go beyond the original intent of the Constitution.

Justice William Brennan argues that the death penalty “is under all circumstances cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment.” Interpretations of words can lead to such reasoning but original intent is completely ignored in its application. Brennan argues this point despite the fact that the death penalty has been around since the founding of these amendments. Perhaps our values have progressed since the Constitution but through proper legislation, our laws have and will continue to progress along with the values of our nation. We do not need to result to judicial activism taken at the bench to guide our society on what may seem to be the right path.

These forms of judicial activism takes the words of the Constitution and other forms of law and gives new meaning to them with the blatant disregard for the original intent. Although it can be argued that original intent is hard to define, then it should be the practice of justices to use what is clearly seen as original intent, all else should not be decided by the justices of the Supreme Court....
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