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Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Pragmatism vs Originalism

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Debate Round Forfeited
khalifvhasreturned has forfeited round #3.
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/12/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,157 times Debate No: 103520
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)




This debate concerns the legitimacy of varying schools of constitutional interpretations.

I shall be arguing that the pragmatic school of thought is superior to the originalist and related schools of thought.


"Legal pragmatists think that traditional models of judicial decision-making are severely flawed. The legal pragmatist thinks that traditional models are overly legalistic, naively rationalistic and based upon misunderstandings of legal institutions. As opposed to the self-imposed limitations entailed by traditional models of judicial decision-making, legal pragmatists emphasize the eclectic nature and the diverse aims of the law. More specifically, legal pragmatists largely agree upon four main aspects of a pragmatist version of jurisprudence: (1) the important of context; (2) the lack of foundations; (3) the instrumental nature of law; and (4) the unavoidable presence of alternate perspectives. "


"Originalism is a loosely knit family of theories of constitutional interpretation which begin with the assumption that the Constitution has a fixed and knowable meaning, which should be adhered to by Judges, and that the meaning of the document does not evolve over time. The key to originalism is that decisions should be made based on facts about the document when written or ratified, with minimal adjustments for the time or context in which it is interpreted. Under this method, even when a judge sees an issue that he's persuaded ought to be ameliorated somehow, if the law as written and interpreted in the light of its original intent does not support the end result sought, a ruling supporting that result is not granted. Originalists argue that the entire point of a written constitution which explicitly grants the government certain authorities, and explicitly withholds others from it, is to restrain government, and the value of such a document is nullified if that document's meaning is not fixed. "If the constitution can mean anything, then the constitution means nothing". Two major varieties of originalism are original intent and original meaning."

R1: Acceptance
R2: Constructive Case
R3: Rebuttals
R4: Counter-Rebuttals
R5: Closing.

Good luck.

Definitions from :


R1 - Acceptance Round

I want to thank Pro for posting this challenge. This is one of my favorite 'philo-legal' topics of debate as it is the very same topic that has been debated since the 1700's.

For this debate I will take the stance of: Con, thus siding with "Originalism"
Debate Round No. 1


My apologies an emrgency has come up , I shall rechallenge you at a later date.


Forfeit accepted - Just let the time run out on your end for R3 and send me a Challenge Request when the time is good for you.

OR...(and I'm just 'spit-balling' here)

If you want - you can post your case outline in R3, and I'll post mine

and for R4 we go from there and use the information the other gave for a 'pre-rebuttal' to include after the main draft of the case?

Just a thought - I do enjoy debating (both sides) of this topic.
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by BMyers 3 years ago
In times of conflict, I am a "spirit of the law" over "letter of the law" -type person.

But this is an age old debate and I don't mind playing 'devil's advocate' to myself.

I accept
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