In a previous post, I discussed the view of Barry Weingast and his coauthors as to what makes for the stability of a constitution. Weingast argued that there are three basic conditions needed for constitutional stability. First, the Limit Condition: having a constitution that imposes significant limitations on what the government may do, so that people do not have strong incentives to take extraconstitutional action to prevent the other party from securing power. Second, the Consensus Condition: having a constitution that makes clear what are constitutional violations, so that the people can unite together to stop the government from taking such unconstitutional actions. Third, the Adaptation Condition: having a constitution that allows for adaptation so that when social or other changes occur, the constitution can be modified to continue to satisfy these three conditions.
I want to argue that these conditions are much better satisfied when the constitution is interpreted in an originalist way. Here I will be talking about the U.S. Constitution.
The Limit Condition is better satisfied by following the original meaning of the Constitution. If the original meaning is not followed, then it becomes unclear what limits the Constitution actually imposes. Interpreters can modify its meaning to a significant degree. Thus, people may fear the exercise of power by a government because that government may exercise dangerous powers that are currently not allowed, but will be permitted when the Supreme Court (or other actor) reinterprets the Constitution.