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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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South Dearborn Schools address enrollment decline

first_imgAURORA, Ind. – South Dearborn Community School Corporation is looking for ways to combat declining funding and enrollment.A meeting was held last week among school officials, a special committee and school board members. Discussion was primarily focused on declining enrollment numbers the corporation is facing, the Dearborn County Register reports.Retired Jac-Cen-Del superintendent Steve Gookins told attendees that declining enrollment is a trend around the area. With exception to Batesville, Greensburg and Lawrenceburg all the schools near South Dearborn are dealing with student losses.Gookins analyzed several aspects including corporation boundaries, free and reduced lunch recipients, student transfers and state funding.South Dearborn Superintendent Dr. John Merle reassured that there are no current plans to close a school. Another committee meeting is scheduled for late January. The corporation is asking for community input on the issue.last_img read more

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Kittle, Kelce and Ertz — The post-Rob Gronkowski generation of elite tight ends

first_img Patriots star Tom Brady reacts to Rob Gronkowski’s retirement announcement George Kittle — 49ersProbably the leader in the clubhouse for the title of Gronk successor. Just two years into his career, Kittle already holds the record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season by racking up 1,377 last year.A remarkable athlete and excellent blocker at 6 foot 4 inches and 250 pounds, Kittle has made great strides as a route runner and his speed and elusiveness make him an extremely tough player to stop in the open field.Playing in Kyle Shanahan’s creative offensive system, Kittle should continue to produce at a high level, but will be eyeing an improvement in touchdowns after reeling in only seven through his first 31 games.Celebrate the best season by a TE in NFL history by watching @gkittle46’s best plays from 2018. pic.twitter.com/JccsROGHiM— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) January 3, 2019Travis Kelce — ChiefsIt was Kelce who broke Gronkowski’s record for single-season yardage before Kittle surpassed him later on the same day. His 1,336 yards were a career high and marked the third successive season he had topped 1,000. Kelce also had 10 touchdowns in 2018, taking the tally for his career to 32.Clearly one of Patrick Mahomes’ favorite targets, Kelce’s body has held up much better than Gronk’s and there is no reason the 29-year-old cannot continue to dominate for at least a few more years.Zach Ertz — EaglesThough not as athletically blessed as Kittle and not quite as productive as Kelce, Ertz has proven extremely dependable throughout his career and is still only 28.He came through when it mattered for the Eagles in Super Bowl 52 and had the best season of his career last year, catching nearly 75 percent of his targets for 1,163 yards and eight touchdowns, reaching the latter mark for the second straight season.Ertz will continue to be targeted regularly by one of the best young quarterbacks in the game in Carson Wentz. If Wentz can produce at his 2017 level, Ertz’s ability to put up those kind of numbers could extend well beyond the prime years he is now experiencing.Wentz and Ertz making it look tz.#FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/ppVaJLsjg0— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) October 28, 2018O.J. Howard — BuccaneersEverybody has been waiting for Howard to make the leap to becoming one of the NFL’s best since his 208-yard, two-touchdown performance in the National Championship game for Alabama three years ago.He has yet to do so but is still only 24 and, at 6 foot 6 inches and 251 pounds, boasts the same speed as Kittle to make things happen with the ball in his hands.With Bruce Arians taking the reins in Tampa, the Bucs should have a more exciting and more potent offense, of which Howard will likely be a focal point. Expect the former Crimson Tide star to be much more prolific going forward.David Njoku — BrownsIt says a lot about how disappointing Njoku’s first two seasons were that the 639 receiving yards he had last year were a career high.The 2017 first-round pick has yet to deliver fully on his potential for the Browns but that is primed to change in 2019. Yet, following his retirement, there are numerous excellent players at tight end ready to fill the void and succeed him as the NFL’s premier player at the position.Here we look five of the best candidates to succeed Gronk as the NFL’s elite tight end. Related News It is unlikely there will ever be another tight end like Rob Gronkowski.The now former Patriot’s sheer dominance and off-field charisma will be extremely difficult for another to replicate.center_img Rob Gronkowski retirement: 5 fast facts about the tight end’s stellar career Supremely physically gifted, Njoku should have much more room to operate with Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry attracting plenty of attention in an offense led by coach Freddie Kitchens and young star quarterback Baker Mayfield.Time is on the 22-year-old’s side and he could soon take a big step toward becoming an elite talent at the position if this attack carries over its momentum from the Browns’ surge in the second half of the 2018 season.last_img read more