Watch: What is Strict Construction?

The Federalist Society examines how the ideas of liberty apply in the judiciary branch and various legal realms of America. In this video, Professor Lawrence Solum explores the idea of “strict construction”, showing how its vague definition leads to two very different and often incompatible interpretations.

Professor Lawrence Solum discusses the different meanings of the term “strict construction.” Some people use it to describe judicial restraint, in deference to the other branches of government. Others use the term to describe judicial constraint, where the judiciary is bound to the meaning of the text regardless of the interpretation by other branches. Professor Solum proposes that perhaps the terms “restraint” and “constraint” are more useful tools than the vague phrase “strict construction.” Professor Lawrence B. Solum is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center. He is an internationally recognized legal theorist, who works in constitutional theory, procedure, and the philosophy of law. As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

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Chris Spangle is the publisher and editor of We Are Libertarians, a news site and podcast that covers national and Indiana politics from the libertarian perspective. Spangle previously worked in marketing for the Englehart Group on behalf of the Advocates for Self-Government. He also served as the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana and producer of the Abdul in the Morning Show. He now works as the web director of a nationally syndicated morning show.

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