The Instigator
jonpistone2
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
BennyW
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The US Constitution should be read and interpreted as a living document

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/21/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,562 times Debate No: 16589
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (0)

 

jonpistone2

Pro

The United States Constitution was written in such a way as to be a flexible an ever-changing document so that future generations can interpret the intent of the writer's broad and yet dynamic framework for the country.

The founders of the country, specifically those who wrote the Constitution, were nothing more than human. They were great men of their time, but they could not see in to the future. They knew that social and technological changes in the future were inevitable and made sure to explain their original intent while still allowing for interpretation by future generation who's environment would be drastically different than theirs.

Edmund Randolph was part of the "Committee Detail" in Philadelphia who gathered on June 23, 1787. He wrote the preamble of the committee's report stating:
In the draught of a fundamental constitution, two things deserve attention:
1. To insert essential principles only; lest the operations of government should be clogged by rendering those provisions permanent and unalterable, which ought to be accommodated to times and events: and
2. To use simple and precise language, and general propositions, according to the example of the constitutions of the several states.

Language such as this shows the desire of those who framed the Constitution to be a living document.
(http://en.wikipedia.org...)

(I welcome all and anyone to this debate, but would hope that it is someone who lives inside the boarders of the United States and they have an understanding of the Constitution, thank you.)
BennyW

Con

I thank my opponent for starting this debate
When the Constitution was written it was intended that it could only be changed by means of Amendment, which is a deliberately difficult process. It must be interpreted according to original intent. If it is a living document then it allows for corruption.

" To insert essential principles only; lest the operations of government should be clogged by rendering those provisions permanent and unalterable, which ought to be accommodated to times and events."
Randolph was of the minority opinion that we needed a strong central government, he only signed on to what was agreed upon reluctantly as it granted less power than he would have liked.

"To use simple and precise language, and general propositions, according to the example of the constitutions of the several states." The Constitution is limited in its power and anything not stated is up to the states per the 10th Amendment or the people per the 9th Amendment. [1]
The idea was to grant negative rights as opposed to positive rights. It was meant to say what we have freedom to do but not force rights onto people. This distinction between positivity and negative rights is important in understanding the nature of the Constitution.[2]

I await the next round and my opponent's response.

1 http://www.ushistory.org...
2 http://everyday-ethics.org...
Debate Round No. 1
jonpistone2

Pro

jonpistone2 forfeited this round.
BennyW

Con

My opponent forfeited the previous round. I have no further argument until he issues a rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 2
jonpistone2

Pro

jonpistone2 forfeited this round.
BennyW

Con

Unfortunately my opponent has once again forfeited. This is really unfortunate as I feel this topic is very important. It is vital to understanding the proper role of Government. Without an argument I can say no more for this round.
Debate Round No. 3
jonpistone2

Pro

I would like to apologize to my opponent and concede this debate. I had a family mater that I had to tend to and was no able to post for rounds 2 or 3. If my opponent would like to have a second debate, I am open to that idea, but as far as this debate -- I would like to concede.

Though if he wouldn't mind, I would enjoy hearing his thoughts about the way the Constitution is interpreted in the modern day -- I realize amendments are used to add/change things in the writing. But its not realistic to expect an amendment to be made with each item of the fast changing technology. Each time there is a new form of technology, the government cannot be expected to vote on a new amendment. There has to be some form of interpretation. I would enjoy hearing how my opponent suggests the Constitution is used if there is no room for interpretation in our ever-changing life.

Thank you again to my opponent for posts and I apologize to him and others for this poor debate. It is the first and will likely be the last time I ever miss a round.
BennyW

Con

I thank my opponent for explaining the situation. I would be up for another debate though probably not immediately, I will let you know. to touch on the technology issue, I don't see technology changing the fundamental principals in the constitution. Obviously though it is something to think about for our next debate.
Thank you
Debate Round No. 4
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