What Is the Definition of "loose Construction"?

"Loose construction" is a legal philosophy that favors a broad interpretation of a document's language. This term is often used to contrast with strict construction, a philosophy that favors looking solely at the written text of the law.

In American history, the battle between strict and loose construction has been most prominent in struggles over interpretations of the U.S. Constitution. One of the most famous disputes between these philosophies was the disagreement between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton about the constitutionality of a national bank. Jefferson, a strict constructionist, argued that the Constitution did not specifically allow Congress to charter such an institution and that doing so would be unconstitutional. Hamilton, a loose constructionist, argued that the document did not specifically disallow a national bank and that it implied the power to create such a bank because doing so would help Congress carry out its specified powers.