“Twenty five years ago,” Heritage’s Julia Shaw writes, Attorney General Ed Meese “changed how America thought and spoke about the Constitution.  He did not invent originalism but reinvigorated the public discourse and gave conservatives an affirmative theory of how to think about the Constitution.”

In a groundbreaking speech on Constitutional interpretation before the American Bar Association, Meese argued that the Constitution ought to be applied as it was originally written. And he took great issue with those who say our highest law means only whatever the Supreme Court says it means.

This speech triggered an intense back-and-forth between Meese, now a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, who argued that the Constitution’s vision of Ameria has long since become outdated and is, therefore, no longer relevant.

Meese stood his ground:

Where the language of the Constitution is specific, it must be obeyed. Where there is demonstrable consensus among the Founders and ratifiers as to a principle stated or implied in the Constitution, it should be followed. Where there is ambiguity as to the precise meaning or reach of a constitutional provision, it should be interpreted and applied in a manner so as to at least not contradict the text of the Constitution itself.

In recognition of Meese’s role in reviving discourse about the Constitution, Heritage is hosting a special panel and keynote today at the United States Supreme Court.

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.