Warm-Up for 10/10/14


Peter Sagal, host of the "Constitution USA" television series which features interviews with ordinary Americans as well as historians, and law scholars from across the USA, discussed the age-old debate of Constitutional interpretation. (7 mins)

Use the video at mrbrucesgovernment.wikispaces.com/10.10.14-Warm-Up and choose any two of the following questions to respond to:
  1. What are enumerated powers? Which section of the Constitution refers to these powers?
  2. Mr. Sagal states that the “age-old question” of Constitutional interpretation is whether the Founding Fathers intended to create a government of very limited powers, applying only to those specific powers that are listed in the Constitution, or whether they intended to create a very powerful government that could do all of those things listed in the Constitution, and more. Which do you agree with? Why?
  3. Mr. Sagal states that the U.S. Constitution is the oldest yet shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world, at roughly 4,400 words. According to Mr. Sagal, what are some examples of ambiguous language within the Constitution?
  4. Mr. Sagal goes on to say that this ambiguity has contributed to the success of the Constitution as we have “evolved” as a nation. Give an example of how a Constitutional interpretation has changed over time. Give an example of something that you believe should be considered Constitutional or Unconstitutional, and state why.