I am late to the party discussing whether the Constitution is best understand through the prism of “popular” or “elite” meanings. There have already been fine contributions by Ilya Somin, Timothy Sandefur, Mike Ramsey and Mike Rappaport.
As Mike Rappaport has noted, he and I believe the Constitution is a legal document and thus legal rules will tell us how to determine meaning, including what degree we should look to evidence from popular as opposed to more technical meanings. I just wanted to add that there is substantial evidence from the Constitution itself that is was to be interpreted with legal rules. In that sense, it often cannot be understood without an elite sensibility, assuming we understand lawyers to be elites.
As we note in our article, Original Methods Originalism: a New Theory of Interpretation and the Case Against Construction:
The Constitution defines itself as the “supreme Law of the Land.” The fact that the Constitution was a legal document was not simply left to implication by the enactors but was set forth explicitly in the Constitution itself.
There are also specific indications in the text of the Constitution that the document would be interpreted according to legal rules. We provide some examples in our article. I want to add one more.