Meese judical deregulation essays
Reading Edwin Meese the Third's "A Jurisprudence of Original Intention" reminded me of a literary theory and a group of literary critics that were "big" back in mid 20th century America.This theory and these critics to a certain extent attempted to do with the readings of poems what Meese wants to do with the reading of the Constitution.Both seek to deregulate reading.The New Critics and New Criticism sought to free the poem from biographical-historical constraints.The life of the author and the time and place in which the poem was written and subsequently read should have no relevance.Readings should be based only on what is there, printed on the page.
This view of reading was partly supported by another notion, that of the "intentional fallacy": since you can never for sure know the intention of an author in composing his or her text (indeed, the author cannot even be sure of his or her own intentions if we grant the existence of an unconscious), we should abandon the attempt to base a reading solely on intention.
Now, the intentional fallacy seems atfirst glance at odds with Meese's position because one would expect him to use it at as an argument for a rigid construction of the Constitution.But in fact Meese is at some pains in his article to emphasize that we can know the authors' of the constitution intentions.This contradiction, however, is only apparent and quickly resolved when we remember that Meese would also have us rigidly construct the Founders' intentions.And note how when he stresses that these intentions can be known, he cites texts that themselves are susceptible to various readings.In other words, a rigid reading of both the constitution and of the authors' intentions is what Meese is arguing for.
He would have us believe that "the period surrounding the creation of the constitution is not a