The 2011 Constitutional Essay Contest Finalists along with donors Dr. Lawrence Gelman and Mrs. Esperanza Gelman. From Left, Back: Geoffrey Ballinger, Reagan Ashley, Sarah Cantu, Victoria Ochoa, Casey Hughes, Jorge Salazar, Michael Antony, Juan Felipe Balcazar, Quentin Hale; Front: Randy Smith, Jr., Mrs. Esperanza Gelman, Dr. Lawrence Gelman, Rebecca Basaldua, Betty Garcia.
Essay Excerpts from 2010/2011
“Viewing the Constitution as either “living” or “static” is an extreme position that ultimately leads to a flawed interpretation of the Constitution. The best method to interpret the Constitution is a moderate one which acknowledges that both Original Intent and “Living Constitution” Theory contain fundamental flaws and inherent positive aspects. By applying the values the Constitution expresses to modern society while remaining faithful to precedent and committed to separating their personal values from judicial opinions, judges pragmatically and realistically interpret the Constitution. This moderate approach retains the flexibility of a “living” interpretation while maintaining the objective aspects of Original Intent.”
“I strongly affirm that our Constitution permanently lays out the proper manner in which citizens and the national government should interrelate and that the Constitution must stay fundamentally unchanged. The founders’ own writings support this view. My examination of constitutional issues and the writings of the founders have led me to the realization that they more than we, knew the true intent of our founding document. Modern politicians who hold to a philosophy which interprets the Constitution as giving the federal government unlimited implied powers have given us many instances of the federal government overstepping its constitutional boundaries.”
--Randy Smith, Jr.
“The United States of America has long been considered the greatest country in the world. The main reason our country is held in such high regard is its Constitution, which frames our nation. Nonetheless, there is controversy surrounding this pivotal document. Some argue that the Constitution is a living, breathing document that is meant to be interpreted as the country changes. Others believe the document should be taken literally and word for word. The United States Constitution was purposely created ambiguously so that it could be interpreted in future generations. However, this interpretation has been exaggerated and the precedents set are very different from what our founding fathers would have liked or ever thought would be.”
"The Constitution of the United States is arguably the most important document in American history. Because they knew that they could not address issues their descendants would face, the founding fathers left specifics out of the Constitution, only outlining the basis of a government, and leaving the inheritors of their government to create laws, and, if need be, amend the Constitution. Because of these facts there is much argument about the interpretation of the Constitution. Even the Judicial Branch, the Supreme Court, has no single answer to the interpretation, each Justice bringing to the table their own ways of interpreting the Constitution and their own beliefs. The most prominent arguments are those of the Originalism and Living Document theories. However, I believe that the Constitution is an immutable document that defines how government and the people must deal with one another."
“From Jeffersonian ideals in the early 1800s to progressive reform a century later, the Constitution has continued to address the nation’s fervent needs as it has gone from depending on simplistic organs of government to more complex regulatory bodies that rationalize and modernize America’s many institutions. Yet despite the nation’s voracious growth, the Constitution’s principles have remained intact even as they have come to embody different ideals. It is for this reason that U.S. citizens continue to reinterpret their relationship with their system of government and it is for this reason that the Constitution’s principles remain valid today. “