Some people have called for the “strict construction” of the Constitution by the Supreme Court. In fact, strict construction is a myth, and was repudiated by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Some of the most important phrases in the Constitution are so broad and vague that no narrow, literal reading of them is possible.
It is also a misconception that Justice Scalia thought that the court should be guided by “original intent,” or the intentions of those who drafted each provision of the Constitution. He rejected that approach, too, as the article in The Bee on Feb. 1 correctly pointed out.
Justice Scalia said that justices should focus on “original meaning,” or the meaning of words in the Constitution at the time they were written. Yet in some cases, Justice Scalia departed from that approach because of the influence of his own values.
I would suggest that in our democratic republic, it is important that the Supreme Court follow judicial self-restraint, which is shown by judges who will not override the will of elected legislatures unless such action is clearly justified by the language of the Constitution or by consistent precedents for the interpretation of that document.
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Alfred Evans, Fresno