Strict construction

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Strict construction means a restriction of judicial interpretation. In the United States the phrase is also commonly used more loosely as a term for conservativism among the judiciary.

Strict sense of the term[change | change source]

In its strict sense, strict construction requires a judge to apply the text as it is written and no farther, if the meaning of the text is clear. That is, judges should avoid drawing inference from a statute or constitution.[1]

For example, Justice Hugo Black argued that the First Amendment's injunction that "Congress shall make no law," should be construed strictly: the term "no law," Black thought, admitted virtually no exceptions.

References[change | change source]

  1. The Judiciary: The Power of the Federal Judiciary, The Social Studies Help Center