The Living Constitution: Fact or Fiction?

For decades, legal scholars have debated the notion that our Constitution is a “living document”, meaning that it it grows and expands with our ever evolving political, religious, and social culture. Defenders of the Living Constitution hold that the Constitution was deliberately drafted so that it would be open to interpretation for the years to come. Because of this, its words and phrases may be redefined to correlate with changes in culture, thus evolving as the country evolves. Proponents argue that this view allows the Constitution to remain applicable to our ever changing society.

Conversely, opponents argue that the Constitution does not evolve or change with time, but instead retains the same meaning and intent as it did when it was drafted. Furthermore, they hold that the idea of a “living” legal document violates notions of common sense, as a document cannot adapt and grow as organisms can, but instead, logically, remains perpetually the same. Instead of a document that changes on its own, opponents argue that the people can vote to change the Constitution.

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