Scalia: How to interpret the Constitution

Scalia: How to interpret the Constitution

When it comes to interpreting the Constitution, there are any number of ways of looking at it, but U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia prefers viewing it as the framers intended.

Or at least as he believes they intended for it to be read.

Scalia was featured during a special program Thursday night at Arkansas State University Mountain Home. He touched on many subjects during his hour-long conversation on The Sheid stage with Dr. Jim Bailey, assistant professor of political science and law at ASUMH. But the main thread was how the Constitution can, and should, be interpreted.

Appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, Scalia has been viewed as the anchor for textualist and originalist positions on the Constitution. He explained those terms to the packed audience in attendance.

"Textualism, as the name suggests, is that you pay attention to the text. It's the job of the judge to give the text — whether it's the Constitution or a statute — it's fair meaning," Scalia said. "That is to say, the meaning that the people to whom it was prescribed, who ratified the Constitution or the people to whom the statutes were promulgated, would understand them to mean.

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