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Constitutional interpretation, or constitutional construction, the term more often used by the Founders, is the process by which meanings are assigned to words in a constitution, to enable legal decisions to be made that are justified by it. Some scholars distinguish between "interpretation" — assigning meanings based on the meanings in other usages of the terms by those the writers and their readers had probably read, and "construction" — inferring the meaning from a broader set of evidence, such as the structure of the complete document from which one can discern the function of various parts, discussion by the drafters or ratifiers during debate leading to adoption ("legislative history"), the background of controversies in which the terms were used that indicate the concerns and expectations of the drafters and ratifiers, alternative wordings and their meanings accepted or rejected at different points in development, and indications of meanings that can be inferred from what is not said, among other methods of analysis.
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