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Methods of InterpretationHow the Supreme Court Reads the Constitution$
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Lackland H. Bloom Jr

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377118

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377118.001.0001

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Rhetoric in Constitutional Interpretation

Rhetoric in Constitutional Interpretation

(p.399) twelve Rhetoric in Constitutional Interpretation
Methods of Interpretation

Lackland H. Bloom

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the use of rhetoric in constitutional interpretation. Initially it explores the use of rhetoric to bolster principle and to emphasize strength of conviction. Then it discusses examples of effective rhetoric by the Court have which endured over time using examples from Marbury v Madison, classic First Amendment opinions, and from Justice Jackson. Next it uses the Court's reliance on Thomas Jefferson's “wall of separation” between church and state as an example of the dangers of the use of metaphor. Finally, it considers the use of rhetoric in dissenting opinions, the ineffective use of rhetoric, rhetoric battles among the justices, and examples of especially colorful rhetoric.

Keywords:   principle, First Amendment, Justice Jackson, conviction, Thomas Jefferson, metaphor, wall of separation, dissent, ineffective, colourful

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