Duquesne Law Review


Maria L. Ciampi


The community of constitutional scholars is sharply divided over the meaning of many of the Constitution's provisions and over the appropriate methodology of interpreting the constitutional text. A major controversy exists over whether the framers of the Constitution intended the judiciary to have the power of judicial review and, if so, whether the power was to be broadly or narrowly construed. One approach which may lead to a clearer understanding of the framers' intent in this regard is "redaction criticism" which employs principles of literary analysis developed by spiritual exegetes. Under this analysis, the authors' intent may be discovered through an examination of particular constitutional provisions in light of the document's historical, philosophical, and political background, and its literary genre, structure and unity. The framers' intent may also be revealed through a comparison of the text of the ratified Constitution to the language in prior drafts of the document.

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