Justice Stevens And The Constitutional Decision Making Essay

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In this famous quote, Justice Stevens accurately describes the Constitution as “a mysterious document.” Just a few pages of parchment long, the United States Constitution dictates the function and operation of a vast system of governance, and is filled with phrases and clauses that can be interpreted and manipulated countless ways. However, the idea that “the Constitution is so vague that no one really knows what it permits and what is prohibits” is an even more accurate description of the chief problem of the document. This reformulation of Justice Stevens’ quote accurately portrays the core dilemma of Constitutional decision making. While judicial opinions are largely based off of the personal opinions of the justices, this drawback is an inevitable part of the Court’s role. The idea that the Constitution does not clearly show what is prohibited and what is permitted is an accurate representation of how it is incorporated in Constitutional law. Since the beginning of the Supreme Court, many of its landmark cases have focused on the question of whether something is prohibited or whether something is permitted. When the Constitution was written, the Framers had no idea what the functions of government would be in 2016, or any other time since the document was ratified in 1788. Instead, they outlined a basic set of key civil liberties that, at the time, they deemed essential to protecting Americans and the democratic system. Over time, amendments have been added that

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