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Amy Coney Barrett speaks on originalism, constitutional interpretations

first_imgDoes an originalist interpretation of the Constitution require judges to ask what James Madison would do in a given situation?Judge Amy Coney Barrett (’97 J.D.) answered this question with a resounding “no” in a lecture hosted Wednesday night by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley.“Many people think an originalist approach requires us to ask, ‘What would James Madison do?’ if we were confronted with some type of constitutional problem. … That’s not what originalism means,” she said.Barrett, who currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, distinguished between two types of originalism: original intent originalism and original public meaning originalism.The former emerged during the 1980s under Justice Earl Warren’s and Justice Warren Burger’s Supreme Courts, Barrett said. It arose as a response to living constitutionalism, a way of interpreting the Constitution that defended controversial decisions such as Miranda vs. Arizona and Roe vs. Wade.“Everyone agreed at the time that decisions like this aren’t textually compelled,” Barrett said. “There’s nothing in the text of the Constitution itself. … At the time, living constitutionalism was a sophisticated justification. Courts ought to interpret with an eye towards current norms, push the country forward with an evolving idea of norms.”Meanwhile, original intent originalism suggested that the Constitution should be interpreted in exactly the same manner as its framers, Barrett said.“Original intent originalism was really an [exercise] of trying to think your way into the minds of the framers and say ‘How would James Madison approach this problem?’ or ‘How would Thomas Jefferson approach this problem?’” she said.However, Barrett said, there are several objections to this framework — there were several framers of the Constitution, and it is not possible to ever fully guess at their thoughts. Furthermore, Barrett said, one might object to this form of originalism on the grounds that the Constitution should not be bound by the “private intentions” of the framers.Original public meaning originalism counters some of these issues by interpreting the Constitution according to what its framers said, rather than thought, Barrett said.“The text of the Constitution controls, so the meaning of the words at the time they were ratified is the same as their meaning today,” she said.This form of originalism distinguishes between interpretation of the Constitution — looking at the meaning of the Constitution — and construction, or putting the Constitution into practice, Barrett said.“Making this distinction between interpretation and construction has had the effect of making originalism a pretty wide tent,” she said. “Now, in its most recent and modern iteration, originalism has attracted people of all different political stripes.”While some might criticize originalism by saying it allows “the dead hand of the past” to influence current interpretations, Barrett said striking down judicial decisions for this reason would be analogous to reversing laws once the people who enacted them died.“Nobody would say that for example, Miranda vs. Arizona is no longer good law simply because the justices who participated in that decision are dead,” she said.Additionally, Barrett said, judges retain the power to reverse decisions when needed.“What makes [judicial decisions] democratically legitimate is … we always have the power to amend the Constitution,” she said. “Judges have the power to reverse judicial decisions when they have the need to.”Barrett also addressed the criticism that originalism created an inflexible interpretation of the Constitution, saying originalism often offered guiding principles, rather than direct answers to individual judicial questions.“In some respects we should look at that [inflexibility] as a good thing. … It’s a floor, we don’t want to go below this,” she said. “We don’t want an entirely flexible Constitution because then we would have no constitutional protection at all.”Tags: Amy Coney Barrett, Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley, originalism, The Constitution, U.S. constitutionlast_img read more

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Update on the latest sports

first_imgTennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley tells the Australian Associated Press that tournament organizers have “modeled everything.” He says the “worst-case scenario” is no tournament at all next year. He says the “best-case scenario at this point” is having an Australian Open with only Australian fans.More than 30 sanctioned tennis tournaments have been postponed or canceled so far because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The French Open was moved from May to September and Wimbledon was called off entirely for the first time in 75 years. A decision on this year’s U.S. Open is expected in June.In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:— Germany’s Bundesliga soccer league has been given the go-ahead to resume this month. German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN’-geh-lah MEHR’-kuhl) announced a loosening of a range of containment measures Wednesday after meeting with the country’s 16 state governors. Pressure to relax the rules had been growing as the rate of daily infections in the country has dropped. Soccer in the country’s top two divisions will be able to resume without spectators and with a range of other conditions designed to prevent another outbreak. Players will be tested and teams will also have to spend time in quarantine before games can restart. The earliest the league can resume is May 16.— Soccer players in Spain returned to their team’s training camps Wednesday for the first time since the country entered a lockdown nearly two months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic. Players for Barcelona, Real (ray-AL’) Madrid, Atlético Madrid and other clubs started preparing for the return to training this week. They are all expected to be tested for COVID-19 and should be cleared to practice once the results are back. Most clubs are expected to resume practicing by the end of the week. May 6, 2020 Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditVIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTSContingency plans being made for 2021 Australian OpenUNDATED (AP) — The head of the Australian Open says various contingency plans are being considered for the Grand Slam tournament scheduled for January 2021. They include scrapping it altogether because of the coronavirus pandemic or allowing just spectators from the host country. Associated Press center_img Update on the latest sports — The Spanish soccer federation is proposing an end to this season’s women’s league because of the coronavirus pandemic. The proposal is expected to be approved by the federation’s board on Thursday. Barcelona was leading the competition at the time it was suspended in March and will be declared champion. No teams will be relegated but the top two from the second division will be promoted. There will be no relegation in the third and fourth divisions but the promoted clubs will come from the winners of playoff matches played without fans.— Belgium’s prime minister says all sporting competitions in the country will remain suspended until July 31 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Belgian soccer league says it will respect the decision by the national security council. The league recommended last month ending its season with the current standings declared final.— The Turkish soccer league plans to resume on June 12, a month and a half after it was suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak. The president of the Turkish soccer federation says he hopes to finish the season by the end of July and host the Champions League final in Istanbul in August. The games will be played without spectators and the Turkish health ministry and its scientific advisory council will determine the conditions and guidelines under which the games will go ahead.— Two more international golf tournaments for amateurs have been canceled. The International Golf Federation says the World Amateur Team Championships for men and women have been scratched. It was scheduled over two weeks in October in Singapore. The IGF decided not to postpone it until 2021 because of the effect it would create with scheduling problems. Also, the R&A says it has postponed the inaugural Women’s Amateur Latin America Championship until next year. It now is scheduled for Sept. 2-5 in 2021 in Buenos Aires.,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6last_img read more