Living or Dead? Specifics of the Language of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

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Abstract

The original text of the Constitution of the United States of America, written over 200 years ago, constitutes the supreme source of law in the American legal system. The seven articles and twenty seven amendments dictate understanding of fundamental principles of the federation’s functioning and its citizens’ rights.

The paper aims to present the evolution of the U.S. Constitution’s language interpretation as provided by its final interpreter - the Supreme Court of the United States. Example of the Second Amendment will be analyzed to present the change in understanding of the language grammar and, as a consequence, the sense of the right to keep and bear arms in the light of the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of District of Columbia v Heller (554 U.S. 570 (2008)).

It will argue for the accuracy of statement of Charles Evans Hughes, former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court: “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is...”

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