The language of the Eighth Amendment has long been controversial. Some hold that it is clear on its face and that the only matters for interpretation lie in the words “excessive,” “cruel,” and “unusual.” The application of “plain language” or “ordinary use” to these words leads one to the meaning of the amendment — or so many would argue. To others, however, these words are only a portion of what is to be interpreted when dealing with this controversial amendment. What intent did the Framers have when constructing the amendment and how should the amendment be applied are two of the many questions faced in today’s courts. As we will see in coming paragraphs, the words may be simple but the concepts are not.