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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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Original Understanding

Original Understanding

Preconstitutional Sources and the Drafting and Ratification Process

(p.57) three Original Understanding
Methods of Interpretation

Lackland H. Bloom

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the various pre-constitutional sources that the Court relies on to discover the original understanding as well as the uses that it has made of material relating to the drafting and ratification process. First, it discusses the Court's use of English and common law history, the influence of William Blackstone, colonial history, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Virginia experience with freedom of religion. It then considers the Court's use of several different historical sources including statements, debates, and changes to the text during the drafting process, rejected provisions, understanding during the ratification process, the absence of discussion and the Federalist Papers.

Keywords:   original understanding, English history, common law, colonial history, Articles of Confederation, William Blackstone, drafting, changes to text, ratification, Federalist Papers

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