A president can be impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” but the U.S. Constitution doesn’t specify what those are. This caused a bitter partisan fight during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
Interpreting the Constitution is not an easy job for the Supreme Court. Some meanings come directly from the authors themselves. But others are left up to successive generations to work out as they go along.
The Eighth Amendment is the same. It prohibits “cruel and unusual punishments,” but says nothing specific beyond that. Because of the ambiguity, Americans hotly contest its meaning. Should Americans abide by was cruel at the time the Bill of Rights was written, or does the definition of cruelty evolve with the progress of modern society?
Which legal doctrine do you accept, originalism or evolving standards? Dear citizen, you may now take your place as Justice on the Supreme Court!
We the People…establish justice, not cruel and unusual punishment
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