Since starting my current job (where I primarily analyze how to solve operational problems), when I hear a public policy debate, my first question is always something along the lines of "will this solution work?"
However, there seem to be many people whose first question is "is it Constitutional (or otherwise legal)?".
On the one hand, I think the "will it work?" question is good to establish first, because then you could potentially use the answer to change the law/amend the Constitution.
On the other hand, I generally believe the Constitution was set up to protect us from a variety of natural consequences from particular legislative overreaches....so perhaps the Constitution question is the more important one and I'm just projecting because of what I do for work.
Obviously the ideal is to consider both, but it seems to me that many people have a knee jerk reaction to consider one or the other first. And no, I'm not considering people who seem to not consider EITHER the usefulness OR the legality....though their number is legion. This question came up because of the recent events at Sandy Hook, but this doesn't need to be limited to the gun control debate.
So which approach do you prefer?
Does it depend on the issue?