For all the right wing talk of “strict constructionism” and the “original intent of the Founders,” it’s important to bear in mind that the Founders themselves actually did envision the Constitution evolving to apply to new circumstances. Alexander Hamilton (who died 206 years ago today) put it this way:
Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things.
Elena Kagan echoed that sentiment in her hearing:
For more words of wisdom from Kagan’s testimony, see PFAW’s Top Ten Highlights of the Kagan Hearings.