Living Constitution Law and Legal Definition

Living Constitution is a term used to describe the Constitution's ability to change to meet the needs of each generation without major changes. This is a concept used in interpreting the Constitution of U.S. It is based on the notion that Constitution of the United States has relevant meaning beyond the original text and is an evolving and dynamic document that changes over time. Therefore the views of contemporaneous society should be taken into account when interpreting key constitutional phrases.

There are many views for and against the theory of Living Constitution. The pragmatist view contends that interpreting the Constitution in accordance with long outdated views is often unacceptable as a policy matter, and therefore an evolving interpretation is necessary. Another view is that the constitutional framers specifically wrote the Constitution in broad and flexible terms to create such a dynamic, "living" document. Opponents of the idea argue that the Constitution should be changed through the amendment process, and that the theory can be used by judges to inject their personal values into constitutional interpretation.