Our constitutional system’s most fundamental rule!
"On every question of construction [of the Constitution], carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."--Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p. 322.
Indeed, expounding upon our Constitution is not a matter of “interpretation” as some would have us believe…it is a task of “documentation”! Enemies of our constitutional system wish to ignore the recorded intentions for which our Constitution was adopted in order to be free to interpret the Constitution to mean whatever they wish it to mean.
Let us look at some authoritative sources concerning our constitutional system’s most fundamental rule.
Intent of constitution
16 Am Jur 2d Constitutional law
Par. 92. Intent of framers and adopters as controlling.
“The fundamental principle of constitutional construction is that effect must be given to the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it. This is the polestar in the construction of constitutions, all other principles of construction are only rules or guides to aid in the determination of the intention of the constitution’s framers.
“A constitutional provision is to be construed, as statutes are, to the end that the intent of those drafting and voting for it be realized."(Mack v Heuck (App) 14 Ohio L Abs 237)
"No part of the constitution should be so construed as to defeat its purpose or the intent of the people in adopting it."Pfingst v State (3d Dept) 57 App Div 2d 163 .
"the rule being that a written constitution is to be interpreted in the same spirit in which it was produced" Wells v Missouri P.R. Co.,110Mo 286,19SW 530.
"Where language used in a constitution is capable of two constructions, it must be so construed as to carry into effect the purpose of the constitutional convention.” Ratliff v Beal, 74 Miss.247,20 So 865 .
"In construing federal constitutional provisions, the United States Supreme Court has regularly looked for the purpose the framers sought to accomplish.”Everson v Board of Education, 330 US 1, 91 L Ed 711,67 S Ct 504, 168 ALR 1392.
"The primary principle underlying an interpretation of constitutions is that the intent is the vital part and the essence of the law." Rasmussen v Baker, 7 Wyo 117, 50 P 819.
And, see Rhode Island v. Massachusetts, 37 U.S. (12Pet.) 657,721(1838), in which the Supreme Court has pointed out that construction of the constitution "...must necessarily depend on the words of the Constitution; the meaning and intention of the conventions which framed and proposed it for adoption and ratification to the Conventions...in the several states...to which this Court has always resorted in construing the Constitution."
Fact is, even Congress understands this fundamental principle of constitutional law, even though they no longer follow it.:
"In construing the Constitution we are compelled to give it such interpretation as will secure the result intended to be accomplished by those who framed it and the people who adopted it...A construction which would give the phrase...a meaning differing from the sense in which it was understood and employed by the people when they adopted the Constitution, would be as unconstitutional as a departure from the plain and express language of the Constitution."_____ Senate Report No. 21, 42nd Cong. 2d Session 2 (1872), reprinted in Alfred Avins, The Reconstruction Amendments’ Debates 571 (1967),
Now, with regard to the Federalist Papers and other historical sources from which to document the intentions and beliefs under which our Constitution was adopted see vol.16, American Jurisprudence, "Constitutional Law", Par. 130
"The Federalist and other contemporary writings." which are acknowledged sources from which to determine the “intent” of those who framed and ratified the constitution.”
In addition to the above documentation, it is interesting to note a recent Supreme Court decision in which the Supreme Court of the united States references the Federalist Papers 18 times in order to document the legislative intent of our Constitution and enforce it. See:UNITED STATES v LOPEZ 1995, Also see: GREGORY v. ASHCROFT, 501 U.S. 452 (1991) and: Nixon v. United States (91-740), 506 U.S. 224 (1993).
The unfortunate truth is, both of our political party leaderships ignore abiding by our Constitution’s legislative intent as it may be documented from historical records___ there are those who believe in abiding by the intentions and beliefs under which our Constitution was adopted, and, there are those who wish to make the Constitution mean whatever they wish it to mean. I align myself with the former who believe in a system governed by the rule of law and abiding by the intentions and beliefs under which our Constitution was agreed to..
Those who reject abiding by the intentions and beliefs under which our Constitution was agree to, as those intentions and beliefs may be documented from historical records, wish to remove the anchor and rudder of our constitutional system so they may then be free to interpret the Constitution to mean whatever they wish it to mean.