Indeed she does and yes, you are right about the parallel to textual interpretation in Islam as well.
It is very interesting that in the first two centuries and a half of Islam nobody really bothered with all that "theoretical stuff" and it was rather hands on and practical, very much useful and convenient. Take a look at the judges and what they did. When you read the book written by Al Kindi in 115 AH called "Tarikh al Wulat wal Quda " (The history of Governors and Judges) it shows you that they actually made their judgements and passed their sentences according to urf (customs) and common sense as long as it didn't violate Islamic teachings too drastically.
Sometimes small transgressions were even allowed to ensure the functioning and wellbeing of the society at large and those ancient judges did not waste so much time theorizing and looking up texts and interpreting them. They judged according to the main spirit of the Qur'anic message of equity, justice, fairness etc. One specific case comes to mind which is listed in the book and is truly amazing for that time period. But I wont bore you with the details.
Closing the door of "ijtihad" after Shafie, is actually in a way a fallacy, because the schools of jurisprudence did not stop doing their own ijtihad. They did fight back but not obviously and not in plain view but rather below the radar. When Shafie decided to limit the sources of Sharia to the texts of Qur'an and Sunna, universal ijma (consensus) and limited qiyas (analogical reasoning) based on textual sources, he thought that all else will stop.
But the schools of jurisprudence did evolve nevertheless and found ways to keep all their tools of istihsan (preference), maslaha (social benefit) and urf (custom) for example, by labelling it differently and fitting it inside Shafie's framework. The more I study about this, the more I am impressed with the flexibility, creativity and resourcefulness of those ancient scholars of jurisprudence (fiqh) who acknowledged the power of the traditionists (muhadithun) and exegists (mufassirun) and their total control of early Sunni doctrine, yet did their best to still evolve, at least as much as they could. Take for example the Maliki school, they managed to incorporate 19 different tools under the header of qiyas. The Hanafis kept their basis of ra'y (reasoning) and also labelled it differently. So ijtihad never really stopped.
As for "interpretation", well, that too never stopped. You just need to look at all the reformers throughout the ages. Each and every one started his reform movement by a call to reinterpret the Qur'an to make it compatible with their time. Whether it is Muhammad Abduh or Sir Syed or Ameer Ali, all of them did it, even Muhammad Ibn Abdel Wahab and Sayyid Qutb did the same thing. Each one in his own way and according to his understanding or preferences though, but all of them took the very same approach.
The problem is not a lack of efforts or activities. The problem is with the Wahabi interpretation coupled with the petro-dollars that enable them to spend so much on making (or keeping) people ignorant so that they become easier to rule and lead down the drain! But that too has parallels in history, even in early times, just think of the Mu'tazalites and Asha'rites.
In my personal opinion a document can have relevance for all times if it is drafted in general terms and states great and significant principles and standards rather than specifics and addresses the benefits of the majority (while including the minorities as well within the benefits). The question of it being alive at one time and dead at another is a matter of interpretation (pun intended). It just depends on how you look at it, whether you read with your eyes only or engage your mind as well, whether you open your heart to the message or it stops at your eyeballs.
9/11 did jump-start yet another Muslim reawakening, but at the same time, it also started another awakening of more rigid and more fanatical views. But I suppose they are just two sides of the same coin.
I liked the part about "the geographic and historic context". I have read that so many times, specially in the gender oriented re-interpretation of the Qur'an, where it always mentions that the Qur'an should be viewed out of the context of 7th century Arabia, or that certain verses should be restricted to 7th century Arabia. But I do not agree to that, because that would render the text lifeless. There are different ways to deal with "difficult" verses, but that is subject for another day.The other argument I liked was "judges should interpret the Constitution by discerning the founders' intentions when they wrote it." Which has a resonance with "deeds are judged by their intentions", smiles. Good intentions are not just the pavement of the road to hell, but they are the "bahana" everyone uses to shut down and limit creativity, flexibility and tolerance and control the people. At the same time, good intentions are also the sparks that enable reform and defend tolerance, open-mindedness and inspiration.
"The Constitution does not change," neither does the Qur'an, but we change the way we look at the texts. It is up to us to open our eyes and include our minds and hearts in reading the message, be it of the Qur'an or the Constitution.
We had many a discussion about that, and I would love to restart those.
Looking forward to your response