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The Embattled Constitution$
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Norman Dorsen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814770122

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814770122.001.0001

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Our Eighteenth-Century Constitution in the Twenty-First-Century World

Our Eighteenth-Century Constitution in the Twenty-First-Century World

Chapter:
(p.107) 4 Our Eighteenth-Century Constitution in the Twenty-First-Century World
Source:
The Embattled Constitution
Author(s):

Diane P. Wood

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814770122.003.0005

This chapter examines the deficiencies of originalism as a guide to constitutional and statutory interpretation. More specifically, it considers whether the U.S. Constitution—an eighteenth-century document with eighteenth-century Bill of Rights and seventeen other Amendments—is still up to the job. It also explores how well the Constitution is serving the demands we are placing upon it, particularly in the area of individual rights, or what international scholars call human rights. Finally, it discusses how the Constitution should be interpreted in the twenty-first century and what it has to say on questions unimaginable to its framers. It argues that the way to amend the Constitution would be to focus on structural mechanisms, instead of refusing to recognize any constitutional right or structure that has not been spelled out in black and white in the document itself.

Keywords:   originalism, constitutional interpretation, statutory interpretation, U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, individual rights, human rights

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