The Corner

The Supreme Court and Common Sense: More

A friend sends along this quotation by the great Justice Joseph Story. Story was nominated to the Court in 1811, at the age of 32, by President Madison. (Since he himself drafted a great deal of the Constitution, it can be safely assumed that Madison knew what he was doing.) Working closely with Chief Justice John Marshall, Story served until his death in 1845.

“Constitutions are not designed for metaphysical or logical subtleties. . . . They are instruments of a practical nature, founded on the common business of human life, adapted to common wants, designed for common use, and fitted for common understandings. The people make them; the people adopt them; the people must be supposed to read them, with the help of common sense.”

Peter Robinson — Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

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