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A Context for Class Discussion Of Constitutional Interpretation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 May 2020

John Anthony Maltese*
Johns Hopkins University


In a speech before the American Bar Association in July of 1985, Attorney General Edwin Meese III tersely proclaimed: “Far too many of the (Supreme Court's) opinions, on the whole, have been more policy choices than articulations of longterm constitutional principle.” Speaking in reaction to the recent Supreme Court ruling that struck down an Alabama law for a “moment of silence” in public schools, Meese argued that the Court's interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment as “demanding a strict neutrality between religion and irreligion would have struck the founding generation as bizarre.” The Court, he concluded, should follow a constitutional “jurisprudence of original intention.” (Meese: 1985)

Research Article
Copyright © American Political Science Association 1974

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