"The amount of deference that should be given to the Federalist Papers in constitutional interpretation has always been somewhat controversial. As early as 1819, Chief Justice John Marshall noted in the famous case McCulloch v. Maryland, that "the opinions expressed by the authors of that work have been justly supposed to be entitled to great respect in expounding the Constitution. No tribute can be paid to them which exceeds their merit; but in applying their opinions to the cases which may arise in the progress of our government, a right to judge of their correctness must be retained." Madison himself believed not only that The Federalist Papers were not a direct expression of the ideas of the Founders, but that those ideas themselves, and the "debates and incidental decisions of the Convention," should not be viewed as having any "authoritative character." In short, "the legitimate meaning of the Instrument must be derived from the text itself; or if a key is to be sought elsewhere, it must be not in the opinions or intentions of the Body which planned & proposed the Constitution, but in the sense attached to it by the people in their respective State Conventions where it recd. all the Authority which it possesses."
The authority for Madison's comments is given: ^ Madison to Thomas Ritchie, September 15, 1821. Quoted in Furtwangler, 36. (Furtwangler, Albert. The Authority of Publius: A Reading of the Federalist Papers. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1984.)
^ Max Farrand, ed. (1911), The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, Yale University Press, pp. 446–447, http://books.google.com/books?id=4VQSAAAAYAAJ&dq=%22the+legitimate+meaning+of+the+Instrument+must+be+derived+from+the+text+itself%22&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 Stan