an obession with first principles

Literalism Fails the Question of Intent

Posted: Sunday Feb 13th | Author: JohnO | Filed under: In the News, Philosophising, Power | View Comments

But nowhere in the original Constitution does it say that the federal courts have the power of judicial review. Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers suggests that the federal court has this power, but it wasn’t until 1803 that the Supreme Court actually ruled that this power existed. Hence, a contradiction: Hamilton, a constitutional framer and author of the beloved Federalist Papers, asserts that a power that is not explicitly written in the Constitution exists and a court rules in his favor — and then, all these years later, Tea Party constitutionalists use that power to invalidate a federal healthcare law on the basis that it violates the Constitution!

Literalism, in any form religious or political, adopts the text as it stands for the purposes and intents of its interpreters. It forgoes any original intent of the author(s). If it did just this without asserting that the literalist interpretation is The One and Only True Interpretation – I would be fine with it. But the blatant disregard for the original setting and other writings than the one in question, combined with their rhetoric just sicken me.

On top of that, if the ideal the Tea Party espouses ever was realized, it would just mean the states would have more authority to suppress rights.

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