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How does the Supreme Court interpret the Constitution? We the People - Lesson Twenty-two.

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Presentation on theme: "How does the Supreme Court interpret the Constitution? We the People - Lesson Twenty-two."— Presentation transcript:

1 How does the Supreme Court interpret the Constitution? We the People - Lesson Twenty-two

2 How would you decide? The language in many parts of the Constitution can be interpreted in more than one way. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable search and seizures. If you were a member of the Supreme Court, how would you decide what is unreasonable? –Would you look up the words in the dictionary to decide what they mean? –Would you try to think how the Framers would have decided the case? –Would you take into consideration such ideas as basic rights and limited government? –Would you be influenced by historical, political, and social changes that have occurred since the Constitution was written? –How much importance would you give to previous Court rulings on this issue?

3 How does the Court decide what the Constitution means? 1. The meaning of the language of the Constitution. –Word(s) definition at the time it was written –People dont agree with ideas of 18th century (ie. slavery) 2. The intention of the Framers. –What would the Framers have decided? –Method most faithful to the Constitution –Does not give guidelines about situations that did not exist when the Constitution was written 3. Basic values and principles. –Responsibility of the government to promote the general welfare and protect the rights of the people –Debated - Justices make decisions based on changes in history and social values v. according to their own political and personal ideas

4 Discussion 4 How can the Supreme Court decide cases involving subjects, such as wire-tapping which did not exist when the Constitution was written? 4 Would you agree with the following statement by Charles Evans Hughes who was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is.? Why or why not? 4 Would you agree with the following statement by Justice Felix Frankfurter, As a member of this court, I am not justified in writing my opinions into the Constitution, no matter how deeply I may cherish them. Why or Why not?


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