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Constitutional interpretation

Constitutional Law

Michigan Law Review

1969

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Conscription And The Constitution: The Original Understanding, Leon Friedman Jun 1969

Conscription And The Constitution: The Original Understanding, Leon Friedman

Michigan Law Review

The general words of the Constitution-famous phrases such as "due process," "freedom of speech," "interstate commerce," and "raise and support armies"-are not self-evident concepts. As Justice Frankfurter said, "The language of the [Constitution] is to be read not as barren words found in a dictionary but as symbols of historic experience illumined by the presuppositions of those who employed them. Not what words did Madison and Hamilton use, but what was it in their minds which they conveyed?" While the framers obviously could not have foreseen the discovery of electromagnetic radio waves or atomic energy, and had no "intent" concerning …