The American Judiciary Through the Lens of The Federalist Papers

  • Eric Rayment-Law
Keywords: Federalist Papers, Originalism, Judicial Philosophy


The manner in which a Supreme Court justice ought to rule in any given case before him or her is a controversial topic in America, with a number of American lawmakers feeling that each justice should exercise “judicial restraint.” Those who feel this way often subscribe to the interpretive strategies of strict construction or originalism, which both cast judges as activists who have a political agenda, imposing it on America while ignoring the Constitution. As a remedy to their grievances, constructionists propose that the constitutional text should be rigorously adhered to while constitutional rights should be narrowly defined. Similarly, originalists propose that the Justices of the American Supreme Court interpret the law according to the intentions of the founding generation. This paper assesses the validity of these interpretive strategies by entertaining the originalist argument (albeit modified) and deferring judgment in this matter to The Federalist number seventy-eight and number ten.  Upon analysis of these American founding documents, it is found that the intent of the founding generation to indeed create a judiciary that adheres to the parameters set by the Constitution, but also one that possesses room to incorporate their own judicial philosophies into their legal interpretations as opposed to one that exercises strict judicial restraint.