Running header: LAW 1
Strictconstruction is interpreted in its actual context, how it was writtenwhen enacted and is followed to the letter. Interpreters of law justread what is written and follow the words in the constitution. Looseconstruction is interpretation of law whereby the legal text acts asthe framework or referral point. A judgment or interpretation of thelaw it does not have to be followed word for word but the intentionsshould be the same or close. The intention must be the same and itshould not wander off from the constitution.
Theloose construction, I think is the best form of interpreting theconstitution. It combines both the constitution and the currentsituation and thinking of what should be rightfully done. The strictconstruction I think is rather rigid and passed with time.
Inthe Bill of Rights, the first amendment was set to protect the rightsof people. It involves majorly the daily routines and ensures thatnone is violated. An example case is one of a Muslim officer who wasfired because of not shaving during his fasting month. The religionof Muslim dictates no shaving during the fasting month of Ramadan.The officer was exercising his religious freedom (Southall, 2016).The police department usually has a no beard policy among theofficers, except for special cases involving skin diseases wherebythey are required to grow only half a millimeter. The plaintiff wasfired since his beard had grown up to 1 inch.
TheWestboro Baptist church (WBC) is widely known for its hate speechdirected at Catholics, LGBT, Muslims, Jews, politicians, and Americansoldiers. In the funerals of American soldiers, the WBC attends topicket and protest. On the 10th march 2006, they picketed before thefuneral of a marine. The father of the marine sued the church forinvasion of privacy, defamation, and intentional infliction ofemotional distress. After a series of court cases, the Supreme Courtruled in favor of the church stating that statements of the churchare entitled to special protection under the first amendment.
Thefirst amendment states that no law should prohibit freedom of speechor right to assemble peacefully. Even though under the firstamendment the actions of the WBC are legal, the application of looseconstruction on the interpretation of law can be recommended for thiscase. As Justice Alito notes while handling the case, the nationalcommitment to free and open debate is not a license for the viciousverbal assault. Thus, the actions of the WBC should be restricted insuch cases as they cause addition to harm to the grieving families.
Theconstitution under the first amendment emphasizes on the protectionof speech be it political or religious speech. Socially offensivespeeches are aimed at specific communities such as the Lesbian, Gayand Transgender Community (LGBT) and other minority groups such asJews and Muslims. Even though the constitution lacks a thoroughdefinition of unpleasant speech, a restriction should be consideredwhen the speech might cause direct physical, emotional, and financialharm to a person or community. Thus, there should be a balance tohelp realize the limits of speech under precise circumstances.
AsVolokh notes, the constitution allows some restrictions on speechunder certain circumstances. Hence, speech if deemed offensive shouldbe restricted and banned so as not to act as incitement or thepromotion of hatred amongst a people. Consequently, the free will ofan individual or group should not destabilize the free will ofanother.
Variousinstances require that the law be interpreted using the two forms.Loose construction is seen as far better way of interpreting theconstitution. Judgment has to be made reasonable for both parties andflexible. Even though there is freedom of speech under the firstamendment, during specific occasions offensive expressions should berestricted especially if they undermine the rights of others in thesociety.
Southall,A (2016 June 22). Muslim Officer Sues New York Police Dept. OverNo-Beard Policy. TheNew YorkTimes.http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/26/us/26funeral.html?_r=0
Volokh,E, (2015) No, there’s no “hate speech” exception to the FirstAmendment, Retrieved on 18/03/2017https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/05/07/no-theres-no-hate-speech-exception-to-the-first-amendment/