Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



This characterization of the role of the United States Constitution by the great Chief Justice one hundred and forty-four years ago accurately sets the scene for a consideration of stability and change in constitutional law. To have viewed the United States Constitution as a code would have been contrary to the entire common-law tradition out of which it grew. Instead, as this quotation reveals, it has never been seen as establishing a set, unchangeable meaning. The history of constitutional interpretation in the United States reveals that Pound's famous dictum, "law must be stable and yet it cannot standstill," is not limited to the development of statutory law or administrative edict.