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My Definition of a Living Document

November 28, 2009

I had waited awhile for this question to come up and yet most people didn’t engage, maybe purposely not puting me on the spot while I began my work.

Today, this is my definition, but like all Living Documents, is subject to evolution:

A living document is a piece of written work with likely future edits and updated by a specific group (representatives, board members, stake holders). Documents that are dead, have no other evolution and exist maintaining the facts placed within that work. No science, philosophy, or effort in place after it’s creation.

I consider the United States Constitution a living document as, in non-Originalist jurisprudence, reinterpreted and updated endlessly by judges without amendment; see right to privacy and living Constitution. I do not actually want judges interpreting the law or changing the law and taking away the fundamental rights, but I apply the term “Living Document” as in I honor the work and to me is holy and written with the help of God. Not like the bible, but with due diligence and contemplation of the laws of God and the Natural Law.

The common law to which the United States Constitution belongs is defined by Living Documents, such as judicial decisions, which are interpreted to fit the needs of society. The advancements of mankind, shift the rules of potential tyranny and anarchy causing political will to adjust the Constitution to protect the group of society protesting, as in: inception of drugs and effects of higher crime rates to pay for addictions, internet terroristic threats, stealing of knowledge instead of things, massive numbers of immigration across the borders beyond our resources, yet needs for the low wages on the farms and work completed illegally, etc.
I place all the works of the Founding Father’s in the realm of a living document in the sense that: Thomas Jefferson was upset that they voted to take out 1/4 of his work and particularly the part of admonishing slavery, but the Founding Fathers picked their battles and made clear that the fundamental principle remained that all men are created equal ….. and that is where Abraham Lincoln picked up from and challenged the new sweeping and expanding laws of slavery in the Kansas Nebraska Act, and his stern response when he gave his famous speech in Peoria where he lays the very foundation of the Declaration of Independence and re-adopted the principles so that we were a people of enlightened behavior and truly earned the value of saving the human race.

In REPLY:

So you are saying the Constitution can evolve?  The reason I ask is because the Constitution by some has been classified as a “living Document”  and I beg to differ for the simple reason that what worked then still works today.  The only difference now is politicians think it is a permanent job and most have made it as such.  I found that the Constitution is one of principle based on human nature.  And since human nature has not changed in 2000 years I do not look at it as a living document.  Maybe that is just me but that is the way I look at it that is why I asked.  Again all IMO. thanks for replying all the same

ME:

You and I are actually both in agreement. As fundamentally the documents from our particular philosophy should not be changed or amended, but we are not in charge and in the time of inception it has been modified, it has been interpreted by Judges the meaning of the Founding Fathers to apply to the whims of the court, and this is what we are concerned with every time an election comes up and there is a seat open on the Supreme Court. It is tinkered with, which means it is not dead and static. I like to think that you and I are correct, about Natural Law, and that the mind of men may try to change the laws for ill intent, but that the strength of science of …. just plain, can’t explain how that was protected but it was…..will win every significant time the law must.

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