Justice Thurgood Marshall Analysis

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Justice Thurgood Marshall Response Justice Thurgood Marshall said in his “Reflections on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution”, “I do not believe the meaning of the Constitution was forever ‘fixed’ at the Philadelphia Convention. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, that we hold as fundamental as today” (Marshall). In this passage of his essay, Judge Marshall is critical of the government that is…show more content…
At first glance, one would assume “We the People” would include everyone. This, however, is not true. Marshall stated that the framers intended for these rights to essentially be only for “free” men—excluding other races and women (Marshall). Though it would seem logical to think that a document with a preamble, articles and amendments would be specific, in some aspects, the convention left some things unsaid or ambiguous. The Constitution was designed to be a “living” document. In other words, this was intentional so that amendments could be made to it as time passed. The framers of the Constitution left it is indistinct in order to benefit the people—it is to be interpreted. With this, although there are some positives, (i.e. putting some control back into the hands of the people) it also blurs the lines as to what violates the Constitution and what does not. For example, the Second Amendment reads, “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." While that may be a basic right given to Americans, one wonders the definition of “arms”. Does that mean people have the right to own a revolver or pistol, or does it mean they can own weapons as extreme as AK-47s, bazookas or grenades? If the framers were drafting the document today, each article and amendment would need to be much lengthier in order to specify what is constitutional and what is not. Marshall said he, “…plan[s] to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution as a living document” and that “The true miracle was not the birth of the Constitution, but it’s life” (Marshall). In this sense, Marshall points out that the original Constitution was indeed sensationalized by people over the years. The ideas in it were really nothing new, but rather just indefinite declarations. Because of its vagueness, it will continue to adapt with the times. It can be determined that the Constitution was a good first step in the right
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