Strict constructionism


Strict constructionism represents the process of strictly following guidelines of law or the constitution, while judicial discretion allows for a more interpretive stance on laws or amendments. These two concepts are opposites and in general I believe they unequivocally balance each other by delivering opposing concepts for debate. This leads to a better understanding of issues at hand and what the people of the United States value and deem important when voting on legislation. I can lump the two, strict constructionism and judicial discretion, with current issues about gun ownership or our right to bear arms.

Strict Constructionism makes the people under the law of the constitution follow their orders. The Judiciary in general does the opposite in comparison to the strict construction. Both of the debates about Loose and Strict construction gave the origins of a two-party political system: one values the tradition in the rule of law, another value the justice in progress. The debates about Loose and Strict construction gave the origins of a two-party political system: one values the tradition in the rule of law, other values the justice in progress.

Strict constructionism follows the exact directions of the constitution, while the judicial discretion is more about evaluating and interpreting the constitution or law. Both debates balance each other out which can help when it comes down to finding a solution to a problem. The strict constructionists will find the solution strictly by what the constitution or law says and the Judicial discretion would find a solution after understanding the issue at hand and find the solution according to their interpretation of the law.


Judicial discretion: It’s up to your discretion. You may not care about the issue discussed, or you may have personal feelings on the matter which can and most likely will alter your stance on the matter even if your interpretation isn’t for the best scenario or result.

Strict constructionism: It’s too strict or reliant upon what is exact and reflective on the time it was ratified.

Loose Construction- Inability to be updated has brought on some problems and can easily be resolved by just getting some criteria met.

Strict Constructionism: They’ll go strictly by what the constitution says and by going by exactly what it says. This could lead to people finding loopholes in the constitution and then use it to their advantage and get around the law.

Judicial Discretion: Feelings can influence your judgment on an issue and it will be difficult to keep a neutral stance. This can result in a decision that may not be the best one.


Judicial discretion: Since it is up for interpretation, we may have better insight as to what issue is being discussed. The law or amendment may be slightly outdated and the judicial discretion allows for an ore clear response reflective to our current societal norms.

Strict constructionism: This interpretation gives us the right to have or own weapons. It allows all Americans or gives us the ability to purchase arms if we so desire.

Strict Construction- represents the Constitution as a kind of treaty that the government must obey unconditionally and literally

Loose Construction- says that the Constitution is a collection of fundamental ideas and principles’ indicates the direction and the basis, but the government can develop and adapt the norms in the conditions of modern times.

Strict Constructionism: Interpreting laws like the first amendment gives us the right to speak freely, practice whatever religion we desire, arrange assemblies, and have a career as a journalist, reporter, etc.

Judicial Discretion: This allows us to interpret the law according to the situation that’s been given and alter the laws according to the changes that may come in the future.

2.I found this topic to be extremely interesting and something that, before reading this chapter and looking into this topic, I did not know that it even existed. Now knowing that this concept exists it does actually help to better understand a lot of the stories that I have read an heard.

As I mentioned in a previous reply last week, I am a director at drug and alcohol treatment center and with that comes the opportunity to meet some really incredible people that have struggled throughout their entire lives because of addiction. In my 6 years working for this company and 8 years in this field I have seen so many people get arrested for purchasing drugs and had many other charges slapped on to their arrest record after the fact. Luckily, going to and completing treatment helped immensely with their charges being reduced and sometimes dropped. I googled “examples of strict constructionism” to try and get a better grasp of the topic and the first example I saw was in a Wikipedia page where a judge mentioned an example that really struck a chord. The quote is below:

“The statute at issue provided for an increased jail term if, “during and in relation to … [a] drug trafficking crime,” the defendant “uses … a firearm.” The defendant in this case had sought to purchase a quantity of cocaine; and what he had offered to give in exchange for the cocaine was an unloaded firearm, which he showed to the drug-seller. The Court held, I regret to say, that the defendant was subject to the increased penalty, because he had “used a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.” ”

Now this is something that I would consider to be a “con” of this topic. I have seen clients go through this exact process, or at least something similar and have no idea of what the true reasons were behind these ridiculous charges. I believe that the true con of this is that judges who sometimes yield too much power and are aware of this fact; will abuse this system in order to jail and punish people more harshly.

At work we have an idea that we refer to as “case by case”. Our company started off as a “mom and pop” operation and with that came a lot of lax attitudes around policies and procedures. So somewhere along the line we developed an attitude with our staff of treating things as “case by case”. A good example of this is: In our handbook it says clients are subject to discharge if they are caught using drugs. Many times we have caught clients using drugs on property and most of the time we do not kick them out. Why? Because that’s what drug addicts do, they want to get high. And that’s why they came to treatment, to get help. So we are not using “strict constructionism” at all in these situations and I have found that this idea of “case by case” has benefited us in many ways by making decisions based on the person, not the offense. However, now that we have grown so large and rapidly (we are now currently located in four states and eight cities), it has been increasingly more difficult to lean towards the “case by case” factor. When one facility outshines the other and you want to figure out why, you can’t base the numbers on the idea of doing certain things only sometimes. We needed to become more strict. The pros of “strict constructionism” are that it keeps order, and everyone is treated the same. If everyone follows the law and understands the law, no one can argue against it when they are caught violating it. This is something we had to implement at our facility more recently due to the vast difference in the success rates at each center. And I can certainly see how a court room would want to operate (mostly) the same across the board.