CRS on eight methods of constitutional interpretation

“When exercising its power to review the constitutionality of governmental action, the Supreme Court has relied on certain ‘methods’ or ‘modes’ of interpretation—that is, ways of figuring out a particular meaning of a provision within the Constitution. This report broadly describes the most common modes of constitutional interpretation; discusses examples of Supreme Court decisions that demonstrate the application of these methods; and provides a general overview of the various arguments in support of, and in opposition to, the use of such methods of constitutional interpretation” is how Modes of Consitutional Interpretation (March 15, 2018 R45129) starts its overview of methods of constitutional interpretation.

Modes of constitutional interpretation covered by the report are:

  1. Textualism
  2. Original Meaning
  3. Judicial Precedent
  4. Pragmatism
  5. Moral Reasoning
  6. National Identity
  7. Structuralism
  8. Historical Practice

— Joe

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