An Analysis of the Contemporary Theories of Constitutional Interpretation and the Introduction of a Legal Transformational Approach

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program Name

Legal Studies

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Karen Morrissette


Since the ratification of the United States Constitution and its first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, a myriad of opinions and interpretive theories have developed as to how to interpret and apply the meaning of their provisions. Originalism, Pragmatism, and Natural Law Theory are the predominant contemporary constitutional interpretive methods. Each of these contemporary theories was defined and cases using these interpretive approaches were analyzed for consistency with each theory’s principal foundations. This research discovered functional problems with each theory’s methodology for interpreting constitutional provisions and arriving at consistent judicial results. The conclusion reached was that the shortcomings of the three contemporary interpretive theories to constitutional interpretation would continue to deliver jurisprudential decisions that are significantly inconsistent with each theory’s underlying core principles, and that a new interpretative theory based on a legal transformational approach would be superior at minimizing the inconsistencies inherent in the traditional interpretive approaches.

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