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Is the U.S. Constitution Obsolete?

By Gary Scott on Friday, Sep 17 2010

Is the U.S. Constitution obsolete since it was written in a bygone era?  Sixty-two percent of Americans surveyed by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in 2008 disagree with the notion that, “America’s Founding documents are obsolete.  More importantly, as Americans’ knowledge of American history, political thought, civil rights, and economics increase; they tend to even more strongly affirm the continued validity of America’s Founding documents

The politics of jurisprudence today concern the hermeneutics of reading the Constitution.  Some claim that personal traits and life experiences, apart from formal education, importantly adjust one’s interpretation and empathetic reading and application of law.

Nominating our newest Supreme Court justice at the White House, for example, President Obama emphasized her “temperament” and her “understanding of law, not as an intellectual exercise or words on a page, but as it affects the lives of ordinary people…” 

ISI’s survey evidence demonstrates, however, that those characteristics often equated with empathy such as income class, race, ethnicity, and gender were all neutral, or failed to make a difference, in one’s strength of assenting to or rejecting the notion that, “America’s Founding documents are obsolete.”  Knowing the principles and the history surrounding those documents influence a person’s assessment of the status of these texts more strongly and when juxtaposed to various socio-economic classifications.