What were they thinking? First principles of American Constitutionalism

“Tis funny about th’ constitution,” said Mr. Dooley, the legendary, philosophical Irish bartender created by Finley Peter Dunne. “It reads plain, but no wan can undherstant it without an interpreter.”

The Supreme Court is the final interpreter of the Constitution, but since the dawn of the republic, Americans have engaged in spirited, often heated, debates – constitutional conversations – about how it should interpret the Constitution. This is not surprising for a nation whose revolutionary origins lay in fundamental disputes with England about the nature, conception and purpose of constitutio...


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