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郭国汀律师专栏
·《项目融资》郭国汀 许兆宁 高建平 王崇能 译郭国汀审校 第一章:当事人的目标
·《项目融资》郭国汀 许兆宁 高建平 王崇能 译 第六章:保险问题
·《项目融资》郭国汀 许兆宁 高建平 王崇能 译 第四章:信用(融资)协议
·《项目融资》郭国汀 许兆宁 高建平 王崇能 译 第十章:未来
·《项目融资》郭国汀 许兆宁 高建平 王崇能 译 第八章:其他法律问题
***(11)《油污和碰撞责任》郭国汀译
·《油污和碰撞责任》郭国汀译 第三编:油污 第十一章:导论
·《油污和碰撞责任》郭国汀译 第三编:油污 第十二章:船舶油污及国际公共卫生法的调整
***(12)《国际贸易法》郭国汀、陆怡、李涛译
·《国际贸易法》郭国汀、陆怡、李涛译 第六章:国际技术转让
·《国际贸易法》郭国汀、陆怡、李涛译 第七章:外国投资
***(13)《国际海事海商法》郭国汀、沈军、王崇能、冯敏译
·《国际海事海商法》郭国汀、沈军、王崇能、冯敏译 第一章:海事海商法的简明历史
·《国际海事海商法》郭国汀、沈军、王崇能、冯敏译 第五章:拖航
·《国际海事海商法》郭国汀、沈军、王崇能、冯敏译 第十章:管辖及程序
·《国际海事海商法》郭国汀、沈军、王崇能、冯敏译 第十一章:海洋污染
·《国际海事海商法》郭国汀、沈军、王崇能、冯敏译 第十二章:特别法定权利、海上留置权、抵押权及其他请求权
·《国际海事海商法》郭国汀、沈军、王崇能、冯敏译 第十三章:旅客运输
***(14)《现代提单的法律与实务》郭国汀/赖民译
·《现代提单的法律与实务》译者的话/郭国汀译
***(15)《审判的艺术》郭国汀译
·《审判的艺术》译者的话/郭国汀
***(16)《国际经济贸易法律与律师实务》郭国汀/高子才合著
·《国际经济贸易法律与律师实务》作者的话/郭国汀
***(17)《当代中国涉外经济纠纷案精析》郭国汀主编
·《当代中国涉外经济纠纷案精析》主编的话/郭国汀
***(18)《国际海商法律实务》郭国汀主编
·《国际海商法律实务》主编前言/郭国汀
***(19)《南郭独立评论》郭国汀著
·【郭國汀評論】第一集我為什麼要為法輪功辯護
·【郭国汀评论】第二集从自焚伪案看中共的邪教本质
·《郭国汀评论》第三集国际专家学者如何看待法轮功?
·【郭國汀評論】第四集:中共為何懼怕曾節明
·【郭國汀評論】第五集:憶通律師事務所遭遇停業的真正原因
·《郭国汀评论》第七集:江泽民是货真价实的汉奸卖国贼
·《郭国汀评论》第八集:从陈世忠的“第二种忠诚”看中共司法黑暗
·【郭國汀評論】第九集-苏家屯事件(盗卖法轮功学员人体器官)是中共的滑鐵盧
·《郭国汀评论》第十集:蘇家屯事件(活体盗卖法轮功学员人体器官)是中共的滑鐵盧(下集)
·《郭国汀评论》:第十二集:爱中华必须反共!
·《郭国汀评论》第十三集:为六四“反革命暴徒”抗辩
·《郭国汀评论》第十四集:什么是我们为之奋斗的民主?
·《郭国汀评论》第十五集:为邓玉娇抗辩(上)
·《郭国汀评论》第十六集 我为邓玉娇抗辩(下)
·《郭国汀评论》第十七集:强烈谴责中共暴政迫害中国人权律师
·《郭國汀評論》第十八集:中共专制暴政正在毁灭中国生态环境
·《郭国汀评论》第二十二集:论法轮功精神运动的伟大意义
·郭国汀评论:论中共政权的非法性《郭国汀评论》第23集
·郭国汀评论:论中共专制暴政下的酷刑
·郭国汀评论第二十八集:中共极权专制暴政下不可能有任何新闻自由
·中共暴政在重演萨斯疫骗局?!
·让人权恶棍无处可逃----评西班牙国家法院受理江泽民群体灭绝罪反人类罪和酷刑罪案
·论反共与反专制暴政
·论反共与反专制暴政(下)
·颠覆及煽动颠覆国家政权罪抗辩要点?
·简评刘晓波煽动颠覆国家政权案一审判决
·论冯正虎精神
·简评刘晓波煽动颠覆国家政权案一审辩护词
·郭泉博士其人其事以及颠覆国家政权案抗辩要点
·论刘晓波与郭泉案的辩护
·郭国汀评论第四十七集胡锦涛向朝鲜学习什么政治?!
·郭国汀评论第四十八集 胡锦锦向古巴学习什么样的政治?
·郭国汀评论第四十九集共产党政权全部是流氓暴政:越南及老挝共产党政权的罪孽
·郭国汀评论第五十集共产党没有一个好东西 秘鲁共产党的罪恶
·郭国汀评论第五十一集尼加拉瓜共产党政权的罪恶
·郭国汀评论第五十二集:共产党政权纯属流氓政权:安哥拉和莫桑比克共产党政权的罪恶
·郭國汀評論第五十三集埃塞俄比亞共產黨政權的罪孽
·郭國汀評論第五十四集阿富漢共產黨暴政的罪孽
·郭國汀評論第五十五集虐殺成性的柬埔寨共產黨極權暴政罪孽
·郭國汀評論第五十六集波蘭共產黨極權暴政的罪惡
·郭国汀评论第五十七集:东欧共产党政权的罪孽
·郭国汀评论第五十八集:人民為敵的蘇聯共產黨暴政的罪孽(一)
·郭国汀评论第六十二集:与人民为敌的苏联共产党暴政的罪孽
·郭国汀评论第六十三集:与人民为敌的苏联共产党暴政的罪孽
·郭国汀评论第六十四集:与人民为敌的苏联共产党暴政的罪孽
·郭国汀评论第六十五集:与人民为敌的苏联共产党暴政的滔天大罪
***(20)《陈泱潮文集选读》陈泱潮著/郭国汀编校
·大器晚成——《陈泱潮文集选读》序
·《造化故事》陈泱潮文选第一集
·铁幕惊雷《特权论》陈泱潮文选第二集
·《偃武修文重新建国纲领》陈泱潮文选第三集
·《时政评论》陈泱潮文选第四集
·《天命前定》陈泱潮文选第五集
·《上帝之道》陈泱潮文选第六集
***(21)《国际互联网自由》郭国汀译
·互联网自由至关重要:中国屈居全球互联网最不自由国家亚军
·互联网自由度的测定方法
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Constitutional Interpretation

Constitutional Topic: Constitutional Interpretation
   The Constitutional Topics pages at the USConstitution.net site are presented to delve deeper into topics than can be provided on the Glossary Page or in the FAQ pages. This Topic Page concerns the various interpretations of the Constitution that have evolved over time.
   
   The Constitution is many things to many people. Undoubtedly, it is the frame work for the Government of the United States of America, defining the three branches and clearing delineating the powers of the branches. It also undoubtedly grants certain power to the federal government and grants others to the states; and it undoubtedly guarantees the basic rights of the people.

   The Constitution is short; it cannot and does not attempt to cover every eventuality. Even when it seems it is clear, there can be conflicting rights, conflicting spheres of power. When disputes arise, it comes time for people, and most importantly judges of the Judicial Branch, to interpret the Constitution. The concept of constitutional interpretation is foreign in some countries, where the constitution makes a reasonable effort to cover every eventuality. These constitutions are generally rigid and little changing, adapting slowly to advances in political views, popular opinion, technology, and changes in government. The U.S. Constitution, however, has been termed a Living Constitution, in part because it grows and adapts to internal and external pressures, changing from one era and generation to the next.
   When a new situation arises, or even a new variation on an old situation, the Constitution is often looked to for guidance. It is at this point that the various interpretations of the Constitution come into play.
   There is no one right way to interpret the Constitution, and people often do not always stick to one interpretation. Below, then, are the major divisions in interpretation; your own personal beliefs may fall into several of these categories.
   Note: the major sources for material for this section were "Constitutional Law: Cases and Commentary" by Daniel Hall, and "On Reading the Constitution" by Lawrence Tribe and Michael Dorf.
   
   Originalism, or, Original Intent
   Originalists think that the best way to interpret the Constitution is to determine how the Framers intended the Constitution to be interpreted. They look to several sources to determine this intent, including the contemporary writings of the framers, newspaper articles, the Federalist Papers, and the notes from the Constitutional Convention itself.
   Originalists consider the original intent to be the most pure way of interpreting the Constitution; the opinions of the Framers were, for the most part, well documented. If there is an unclear turn of phrase in the Constitution, who better to explain it than those who wrote it?
   Opponents of originalism note several points. First, the Constitution may have been the product of the Framers, but it was ratified by hundreds of delegates in 13 state conventions - should not the opinions of these people hold even more weight? Also, the Framers were a diverse group, and many had issues with specific parts of the Constitution. Whose opinion should be used? Next, do the opinions of a small, homogeneous group from 200 years ago have the respect of the huge, diverse population of today? To a black woman, how much trust can be placed in the thoughts of a white slave owner who's been dead for generations?
   In truth, as with all of the following interpretations, most people use originalism when it suits them. Finding a quote from a framer to support a modern position can be a powerful way to advance your point of view.
   
   Modernism/Instrumentalism
   Those who most oppose the Originalist approach often consider themselves to be modernists, or instrumentalists. A modernist approach to Constitutional interpretation looks at the Constitution as if it were ratified today. What meaning would it have today, if written today. How does modern life affect the words of the Constitution? The main argument against originalism is that the Constitution becomes stale and irrelevant to modern life if only viewed through 18th century eyes. Additionally, we have more than 200 years of history and legal precedent to look back on, and that we are modern individuals, with as much difficulty in reasonably thinking like 18th century men as those 18th century men would have had trouble thinking like us.
   Modernists also contend that the Constitution is deliberately vague in many areas, expressly to permit modern interpretations to override older ones as the Constitution ages. It is this interpretation that best embodies the Living Constitution concept: the Constitution is flexible and dynamic, changing slowly over time as the morals and beliefs of the population shift. Modernists do not reject originalism - they recognize that there is value in a historical perspective; but the contemporary needs of society outweigh an adherence to a potentially dangerously outdated angle of attack.
   Originalists feel that modernism does a disservice to the Constitution, that the people who wrote it had a pure and valid vision for the nation, and that their vision should be able to sustain us through any Constitutional question.
   
   Literalism - historical
   Historical literalists believe that the contemporary writings of the Framers are not relevant to any interpretation of the Constitution. The only thing one needs to interpret the Constitution is a literal reading of the words contained therein, with an expert knowledge in the 18th century meaning of those words. The debates leading to the final draft are not relevant, the Federalist Papers are not relevant - only the words.
   The historical literalist takes a similar look at the Constitution as an originalist does, but the literalist has no interest in expanding beyond the text for answers to questions. For example, an historical literalist will see the militia of the 2nd Amendment as referring to all able-bodied men from 17 to 45, just as in the late 18th century, and this interpretation will color that person's reading of the 2nd Amendment.
   
   Literalism - contemporary
   Very similar to an historical literalist, a contemporary literalist looks only to the words of the Constitution for guidance, but this literalist has no interest in the historical meaning of the words. The contemporary literalist looks to modern dictionaries to determine the meaning of the words of the Constitution, ignoring precedent and legal dissertation, and relying solely on the definition of the words.
   Just as the historical literalist view parallels the originalist view, but much more narrow in focus, so too does the contemporary literalist mirror the modernist; and again, the main difference is the literalist looks only to the words of the Constitution for meaning. To expand on the 2nd Amendment example, the contemporary literalist will view the militia as the modern National Guard, and this will color that person's views on the 2nd.
   
   Democratic/normative reinforcement
   Finally, the democratic interpretation is the last approach to interpretation. Democratic interpretation is also known as normative or representation reinforcement. Democratic proponents advocate that the Constitution is not designed to be a set of specific principles and guidelines, but that it was designed to be a general principle, a basic skeleton on which contemporary vision would build upon. Decisions as to the meaning of the Constitution must look at the general feeling evoked by the Constitution, then use modern realism to pad out the skeleton.
   As evidence, democrats point out that many phrases, such as "due process" and "equal protection" are deliberately vague, that the phrases are not defined in context. The guidance for interpretation must come from that basic framework that the Framers provided, but that to fill in the gaps, modern society's current morals and feelings must be taken into consideration. Changes in the Constitution that stem from this kind of philosophy will end up with principles of the population at large, while ensuring that the framers still have a say in the underlying decision or ruling. This interpretation is seen to enhance democratic ideals and the notion of republicanism.

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