Friday, October 21, 2005

Jefferson: Constitutional Originalist

From the Corner:
From a reader, remarks on the Constitution by Thomas Jefferson:
"The Constitution on which our Union rests, shall be administered by me [as President] according to the safe and honest meaning contemplated by the plain understanding of the people of the United States at the time of its adoption--a meaning to be found in the explanations of those who advocated, not those who opposed it, and who opposed it merely lest the construction should be applied which they denounced as possible."

"Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure."
Hamilton, Justice Story, and now Jefferson. To take seriously the original intent of the Founders, I begin to see, is to take seriously the importance they placed on common sense and the plain language of the Constitution.