Interpretation is the means by which the Constitution and its clauses are brought to bear on actual cases and controversies. Although much of the Constitution appears self-explanatory, as with its requirement that the president be at least thirty-five years old,1 much is subject to reasonable disagreement. The approaches to interpretation that form this chapter’s subject are the main tools scholars and judges have developed to resolve that disagreement. Those tools encompass five domains of argumentation, broadly conceived: text, history, structure, precedent, and...
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