Is The Constitution Vague?
The United States constitution is primarily vague because of its ruling from one generation to another. I believe that those who wrote the constitution of the country did so purposefully with ambiguous intentions. This was done because not every law was defined thoroughly and can be interpreted in various ways depending on the situation. Therefore, these laws appear to have been written with vague intentions to analyze and adapt as the situation changes. The constitution of any country is an integral and fundamental part of the government. In America, the constitution was written by the founding fathers about 230 years ago. Since then, this document continues to be the supreme law in American land (National Constitution Center, 2020).
The framers of the constitution had all the choices within their powers to make the constitution that had specific rules on the government and power distribution or make a vague and open constitution for further and future interpretations. However, the framers deliberately chose to develop an ambiguous constitution, making it easy for the people to amend and adjust to the anticipated changes with time. The founders of the nation knew that the future was unpredictable. Therefore, they understood that making the constitution specific could lock out the future citizens into a form of government that they could not change or adjust unless in cases that are deemed extreme.
Pros and Cons of Having a Vague Constitution
A vague constitution is easily amended and can be adjusted o 342n on a few occasions, thus preventing the country’s citizens from being locked in a government at cannot undergo changes. Besides, a vague constitution also enables judicial review processes, thus enhancing the creation of laws that are better compared to the previous laws. Similarly, a collaboration between all the government arms is enhanced by the vagueness of the document, thus helping to bring a cooperative agreement (National Constitution Center, 2020). However, there are several disadvantages associated with a vague constitution. They include creating a constitutional crisis in countries, power abuse by those in leadership, and delayed implementation of the constitution’s acts. An ambiguous constitution gives every individual their interpretation of the law, thus allowing those in political leadership to abuse their powers. The delay in the implementation of the constitution results from the lengthy discussion by the government’s various arms. Before any implementation and amendment of the document can occur, the arms must come into an agreement.
Section of The U. S. Constitution That Is Vague
Part of the U.S. constitution that is vague is the second article (article II) of the constitution. According to this article, the president of the country is mandated to exercise all the executive powers. However, this article fails to state explicitly what constitutes executive powers. In my view, this article’s vagueness has created problems as it has created a vacuum where the president has been able to misuse the powers of the executive office. The second example of ambiguity in the constitution is seen in the fourth amendment’s protection against illegal search and seizure. This clause, just like the previous article, fails to specify what the police can search and seize. Therefore, during the United States Constitution’s creation, the document’s framers could not have predicted the technological use being witnessed today. If the clause were not made vague, the current generation of citizens would not be allowed by law to seize or search electronic devices. Thus, vagueness used in the constitution helps the current era of citizens use information brained in electronic devices to convict people. In summary, ambiguity in the constitution has helped the document remain relevant to date.
Week 3 Discussion: Our Constitution
“Constitutions consist of basic ideas: the formal ways in which power will be distributed in a state, the relationship or relationships among those in power, and the special rules or procedures under which a government must operate (Cobb, 2020).” The constitution affects all American’s lives in numerous ways every day. The rights, freedoms, and governmental structure that the document defined 230 years ago are the basis for our modern society.
A vague constitution refers to a constitution that does not define laws with clarity. The vagueness of the United States Constitution was a deliberate action of the founding fathers. The vagueness set out an outline for us to go by, but left room for changes when it was seen fit and for it to adapt to how times have changed over the years. Some people disagree and believe that the vagueness causes too much personal interpretation. “The adversarial, advocacy-based American legal system is well-suited to American justice, where one-sided arguments collide to produce a just outcome. But when applied to constitutional theorizing, the result is selective analysis, overheated rhetoric, distorted facts, and overstated conclusions (Splitzer, 2008).”
There are many pros and cons to the constitution being vague. Some pros of a vague constitution would be: There is more room for interpretation, it increases collaboration between government arms, provides room for amendments, allows the constitution to adapt to changes in circumstances. Some cons would be: It could create Constitutional crisis in nations, laws can be interpreted to suit personal beliefs and interests, it can create abuse of power by the Executive branch, it can delay implementation of policies as a result of long discussions, and there may be more questions about the types of power either the government or its citizens may have (Cobb, 2020).
In our reading, it gives an example of the vagueness to our constitution. In Article 3, it begins, “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish (Cobb, 2020).” In this specific example, the vagueness has been helpful and allowed for growth and the ability for our Congress to adapt to what we need as we grow. It is short and give Congress a lot of room to work with. From this one clause, the Congress has designed and established a judicial system in the United States that consists of various districts, appeals courts, administrative law courts, and national security courts (Cobb, 2020).
“The adversarial, advocacy-based American legal system is well-suited to American justice, where one-sided arguments collide to produce a just outcome. But when applied to constitutional theorizing, the result is selective analysis, overheated rhetoric, distorted facts, and overstated conclusions.”
Cobb, W.N. W. (2019). Political Science Today. [Bookshelf Ambassadored]. Retrieved from
Splitzer, R. (2008). Saving the Constitution From Lawyers : How Legal Training and Law Reviews Distort Constitutional Meaning. Cambridge University Press.