During an executive business meeting concerning the proposed Amendment to amend the First Amendment, Senator Ted Cruz made a cogent defense of original public meaning, over original intent. Many Senators defending the Amendment said they would never ban books or movies. That wasn’t their intent.
Cruz responded forcefully that the “intent” of the members of Congress is not nearly as important as the “meaning” of the plain text of the Amendment. Cruz stated, “Whether or not anyone intends to give Congress the power to ban books, the text gives Congress the power to ban books.”
This is the argument for original public meaning, rather than original intent. Rather than relying on the varied intents of the different members, we should focus on how the amendment would be understood.