You are here

The Constitution & Today's Issues

Laying Claim to the Constitution: The Promise of New Textualism

Living constitutionalism is largely dead. So, too, is old-style originalism. Instead, there is increasing convergence in the legal academy around what we call “new textualism.” The core principle of new textualism is that constitutional interpretation must start with a determination, based on evidence from the text, structure and enactment history, of what the language in the Constitution actually means. This might not sound revolutionary. But it is.

Born Under the Constitution: Why Recent Attacks on Birthright Citizenship are Unfounded

On March 31, 2011, CAC's Chief Counsel Elizabeth Wydra released an Issue Brief distributed by the American Constitution Society on the Citizenship Clause’s guarantee of constitutional citizenship, rebutting attacks on this critical component of the 14th Amendment. The issue brief explains that a close study of the text and history of the Citizenship Clause demonstrates that birthright citizenship is guaranteed to every person born on U.S. soil and subject to its jurisdiction, regardless of the immigration status of the child's parents.

Setting the Record Straight: The Tea Party and the Constitutional Powers of the Federal Government

On July 19, 2010, CAC released the fourth installment of its Issue Briefs Series. The brief, titled Setting the Record Straight: The Tea Party and the Constitutional Powers of the Federal Government, debunks the Tea Party's central claim that our country’s Founders established a sharply limited, weak national government, incapable of addressing national problems like the health care crisis in America. 

The States, Health Care Reform, and the Constitution

The recent enactment of health care reform legislation has generated substantial debate.  Some of the loudest voices have been state politicians critical of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, who claim that the Act violates our Constitution and principles of federalism.  However, the words of the Constitution and the text of the Act itself tell a different story: the Act actually preserves the vibrant federal-state partnership that is the hallmark of our federalist system and falls well within Congress's constitutional powers.