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Pew Poll: How Should SCOTUS Interpret the U.S. Constitution?

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on July 08, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Letter of the law or spirit of the law: How should the U.S. Supreme Court look at the U.S. Constitution?

Should the United States Supreme Court apply the Constitution in light of current-day trends and events, or should it apply the document based entirely on the way it was originally written?

Americans are divided on these questions.

Fifty percent of Americans who were questioned in a survey by the Pew Research Center say that the Supreme Court's rulings and review should be based on a current-day understanding of what the U.S. Constitution means.

Another forty-five percent of Americans say that U.S. Supreme Court rulings should be based on an interpretation of the Constitution, as it was originally written.

To take the research one step further, seventy percent of Republicans say that the Constitution should be interpreted based on the original context while sixty-five percent of Democrats say that the Constitution should be interpreted based on a modern-day interpretation.

And seventy-nine percent of Tea Partiers are in favor of interpreting the Constitution in its original form.

As for age divisions, younger Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty nine feel that the Constitution should be applied contextually to modern day whereas older Americans feel that it should be applied strictly based on its original context.

Finally, college graduates are more likely to say that the Constitution should be applied with a modern-day reading.

The results of the poll can be found in our related resources section below.

What do you think?

Related Resources:

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