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Most Americans Want Supreme Court to Keep 'Original' Meaning of Constitution

According to a new poll, a large majority of Americans say it is important to appoint Supreme Court justices who will interpret the Constitution as it was originally written.

"Most Americans value the freedoms enumerated in the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, and therefore see as an immediate priority the appointment of justices to the Supreme Court who will interpret the document as written," said Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, who commissioned the poll.

Eighty percent of Americans described it as an "immediate priority" or at least an "important" one to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will preserve the original meaning of the Constitution, according to a poll conducted by Marist and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.

This emphasis on appointing originalist Supreme Court justices persisted across partisan lines. Fifty-three percent of independents, 80 percent of Republicans, and even 42 percent of Democrats described this goal as an "immediate priority." Overall, 56 percent of Americans described it that way.

A majority of Americans wanted the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution "as it was originally written," rather than as the "constitution means now." Fifty-two percent preferred the founders' meaning, while only 40 percent favored the current meaning of the founding document. Independents (50 percent to 42 percent) agreed with Republicans (78 percent to 18 percent) in backing the original intent, and even 31 percent of Democrats did too. Perhaps not surprisingly, most Democrats (59 percent) preferred the modern reading.

Almost all Americans said they prioritize protecting religious freedom. A whopping 89 percent described this as an "immediate priority" (57 percent) or at least an "important" one (32 percent). Most Democrats (55 percent), Republicans (66 percent), and independents (51 percent) called defending religious freedom an "immediate priority."

Perhaps more surprisingly, a vast majority of Americans (65 percent to 25 percent) said religious freedom should be protected even when it conflicts with government laws. Large majorities of Republicans (74 percent), independents (63 percent), and Democrats (60 percent) agreed.

The survey included 2,729 adults, questioned between December 12 and December 19, 2016, contacted on landline or mobile numbers and interviewed in English or Spanish. Results are statistically significant within ±1.9 percentage points.

"Majorities of Americans — regardless of party — have embraced religious freedom and have rightly rejected the false notion that it is something negative," Anderson, leader of the Knights of Columbus, declared. "They overwhelming [sic] support the protection of our first freedom, the free exercise of religion."

This poll comes at a time when so-called LGBT "rights" are widely seen as conflicting with religious freedom, often dismissed as a smokescreen for "discrimination," "bigotry," and "hate." In November, BuzzFeed ran an exposé on Chip and Joanna Gaines, the stars of HGTV's hit show "Fixer Upper," attempting to shame them for their pastor's (unspeakable!) belief that gay marriage is wrong. Chip Gaines responded by declaring that "disagreement is not the same thing as hate."