After reading this article, is it proper to accept the Constitution's words on its face?
Originalism is a method of Constitutional interpretation placing weight on what the intent of the original authors of the Constitution intended. This recent article in the New Yorker is a profound and simple discussion of the problems with an originalist position.
Of particular note is Benjamin Franklyn’s (read) statement on signing the Constitution:
I find that there are errors here, he explained, but, who knows, someday I might change my mind; I often do. “For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better Information, or fuller Consideration, to change Opinions even on important Subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise.” That people so often believe themselves to be right is no proof that they are; the only difference between the Church of Rome and the Church of England is that the former is infallible while the latter is never wrong. He hoped “that every member of the Convention who may still have Objections to it, would with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own Infallibility, and to make manifest our Unanimity, put his name to this Instrument.” Although the document had its faults, he doubted that any other assembly would, at just that moment, have been able to draft a better one. “Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best.”
After reading the article (hopefully) – is there a real argument to arguing a primary reading of the Constitution be originalist? How much merit should we place on the opinions of people who lived centuries ago in almost unrecognizable political and social systems?