Living Reading v. Original Reading
The Dobbs ruling marks a significant shift in how SCOTUS is reading the Constitution. A change from what is known as a living reading to what is known as the original reading. Through the Dobbs ruling, the court has rejected the theory of the living Constitution, which argues that the meaning of the document’s language changes as the beliefs and values of Americans evolve. This has been the prevailing means of reading the Constitution for the last 50 years. It is this view that has allowed for additional rights to emerge over time. These rights include abortion, privacy, and same-sex marriage.
The Supreme Court has now decided to read the Constitution using an originalist view. In the originalist view, the Constitution does not evolve without public approval unless it is officially amended. The justices’ job is to find out the original public meaning of the text, but they leave other issues to elected representatives.
What Is Substantive Due Process?
The principle of substantive due process is the protection of fundamental rights from government interference, as guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments bar the government from depriving any individual of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The Fifth Amendment applies to federal activities, and the Fourteenth applies to state activities.
Through the Supreme Courts’ overturning of Roe v. Wade, the unenumerated rights that were previously understood by the living reading of the Constitution and guaranteed to citizens of the United States through the principle of substantive due process are now under threat.