[Rushtalk] New Media Push: "Give Up" on Constitution

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at verizon.net
Wed Jan 2 00:45:07 MST 2013

At 02:06 AM 1/2/2013, Paf Dvorak wrote:
>At 01:50 AM 1/2/2013 -0500, John A. Quayle wrote:
>>At 12:34 AM 1/2/2013, Paf Dvorak wrote:
>>>At 11:33 PM 1/1/2013 -0500, John A. Quayle wrote:
>>>>Godfather Politics
>>>>Media Push: "Give Up" on Constitution
>>>Rather than allowing this above "Godfather" to 
>>>do our thinking (or lack thereof) for us, we'd 
>>>do well to read this well thought out and correct op-ed for ourselves:
>>         Constitutional BONDAGE?!? Mein 
>> himmel!! Ach tu lieber! Even with that 
>> so-called "bondage", the progressive/commies 
>> are eating us alive! Do you have any flippin' 
>> idea what there'd be without the 
>> Constitution?!? It's clear that this 
>> "well-thought-out" piece was written by a complete imbecile!
>Try actually reading the article rather than skimming why dontcha?

         I DID!!! Why do you think I'm against a 
Con-Con?!? THINK for once! You can't trust 
anybody in government, these days - any power-seeker at all!

>>>Op-Ed Contributor
>>>Let’s Give Up on the Constitution
>>>For Op-Ed, follow 
>>>n and to hear from the editorial page editor, 
>>>Andrew Rosenthal, follow <https://twitter.com/#%21/andyrNYT>@andyrNYT.
>>>AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal 
>>>chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion 
>>>that the American system of government is 
>>>broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: 
>>>our insistence on obedience to the 
>>>Constitution, with all its archaic, 
>>>idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.
>>>Consider, for example, the assertion by the 
>>>Senate minority leader last week that the 
>>>House could not take up a plan by Senate 
>>>Democrats to extend tax cuts on households 
>>>making $250,000 or less because the 
>>>Constitution requires that revenue measures 
>>>originate in the lower chamber. Why should 
>>>anyone care? Why should a lame-duck House, 27 
>>>members of which were defeated for 
>>>re-election, have a stranglehold on our 
>>>economy? Why does a grotesquely malapportioned 
>>>Senate get to decide the nation’s fate?
>>>Our obsession with the Constitution has 
>>>saddled us with a dysfunctional political 
>>>system, kept us from debating the merits of 
>>>divisive issues and inflamed our public 
>>>discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to 
>>>be done, we argue about what James Madison 
>>>might have wanted done 225 years ago.
>>>As someone who has taught constitutional law 
>>>for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me 
>>>so long to see how bizarre all this is. 
>>>Imagine that after careful study a government 
>>>official ­ say, the president or one of the 
>>>party leaders in Congress ­ reaches a 
>>>considered judgment that a particular course 
>>>of action is best for the country. Suddenly, 
>>>someone bursts into the room with new 
>>>information: a group of white propertied men 
>>>who have been dead for two centuries, knew 
>>>nothing of our present situation, acted 
>>>illegally under existing law and thought it 
>>>was fine to own slaves might have disagreed 
>>>with this course of action. Is it even 
>>>remotely rational that the official should 
>>>change his or her mind because of this divination?
>>>Constitutional disobedience may seem radical, 
>>>but it is as old as the Republic. In fact, the 
>>>Constitution itself was born of constitutional 
>>>disobedience. When George Washington and the 
>>>other framers went to Philadelphia in 1787, 
>>>they were instructed to suggest amendments to 
>>>the Articles of Confederation, which would 
>>>have had to be ratified by the legislatures of 
>>>all 13 states. Instead, in violation of their 
>>>mandate, they abandoned the Articles, wrote a 
>>>new Constitution and provided that it would 
>>>take effect after ratification by only nine 
>>>states, and by conventions in those states rather than the state legislatures.
>>>No sooner was the Constitution in place than 
>>>our leaders began ignoring it. John Adams 
>>>supported the Alien and Sedition Acts, which 
>>>violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of 
>>>freedom of speech. Thomas Jefferson thought 
>>>every constitution should expire after a 
>>>single generation. He believed the most 
>>>consequential act of his presidency ­ the 
>>>purchase of the Louisiana Territory ­ exceeded his constitutional powers.
>>>Before the Civil War, abolitionists like 
>>>Wendell Phillips and William Lloyd Garrison 
>>>conceded that the Constitution protected 
>>>slavery, but denounced it as a pact with the 
>>>devil that should be ignored. When Abraham 
>>>Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation ­ 
>>>150 years ago tomorrow ­ he justified it as a 
>>>military necessity under his power as 
>>>commander in chief. Eventually, though, he 
>>>embraced the freeing of slaves as a central 
>>>war aim, though nearly everyone conceded that 
>>>the federal government lacked the 
>>>constitutional power to disrupt slavery where 
>>>it already existed. Moreover, when the law 
>>>finally caught up with the facts on the ground 
>>>through passage of the 13th Amendment, 
>>>ratification was achieved in a manner at odds 
>>>with constitutional requirements. (The 
>>>Southern states were denied representation in 
>>>Congress on the theory that they had left the 
>>>Union, yet their reconstructed legislatures 
>>>later provided the crucial votes to ratify the amendment.)
>>>In his Constitution Day speech in 1937, 
>>>Franklin D. Roosevelt professed devotion to 
>>>the document, but as a statement of 
>>>aspirations rather than obligations. This 
>>>reading no doubt contributed to his 
>>>willingness to extend federal power beyond 
>>>anything the framers imagined, and to threaten 
>>>the Supreme Court when it stood in the way of 
>>>his New Deal legislation. In 1954, when the 
>>>court decided Brown v. Board of Education, 
>>>Justice Robert H. Jackson said he was voting 
>>>for it as a moral and political necessity 
>>>although he thought it had no basis in the 
>>>Constitution. The list goes on and on.
>>>The fact that dissenting justices regularly, 
>>>publicly and vociferously assert that their 
>>>colleagues have ignored the Constitution ­ in 
>>>landmark cases from Miranda v. Arizona to Roe 
>>>v. Wade to Romer v. Evans to Bush v. Gore ­ 
>>>should give us pause. The two main rival 
>>>interpretive methods, “originalism” (divining 
>>>the framers’ intent) and “living 
>>>constitutionalism” (reinterpreting the text in 
>>>light of modern demands), cannot be 
>>>reconciled. Some decisions have been grounded 
>>>in one school of thought, and some in the 
>>>other. Whichever your philosophy, many of the 
>>>results ­ by definition ­ must be wrong.
>>>IN the face of this long history of 
>>>disobedience, it is hard to take seriously the 
>>>claim by the Constitution’s defenders that we 
>>>would be reduced to a Hobbesian state of 
>>>nature if we asserted our freedom from this 
>>>ancient text. Our sometimes flagrant disregard 
>>>of the Constitution has not produced chaos or 
>>>totalitarianism; on the contrary, it has helped us to grow and prosper.
>>>This is not to say that we should disobey all 
>>>constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and 
>>>religion, equal protection of the laws and 
>>>protections against governmental deprivation 
>>>of life, liberty or property are important, 
>>>whether or not they are in the Constitution. 
>>>We should continue to follow those 
>>>requirements out of respect, not obligation.
>>>Nor should we have a debate about, for 
>>>instance, how long the president’s term should 
>>>last or whether Congress should consist of two 
>>>houses. Some matters are better left settled, 
>>>even if not in exactly the way we favor. Nor, 
>>>finally, should we have an all-powerful 
>>>president free to do whatever he wants. Even 
>>>without constitutional fealty, the president 
>>>would still be checked by Congress and by the 
>>>states. There is even something to be said for 
>>>an elite body like the Supreme Court with the 
>>>power to impose its views of political morality on the country.
>>>What would change is not the existence of 
>>>these institutions, but the basis on which 
>>>they claim legitimacy. The president would 
>>>have to justify military action against Iran 
>>>solely on the merits, without shutting down 
>>>the debate with a claim of unchallengeable 
>>>constitutional power as commander in chief. 
>>>Congress might well retain the power of the 
>>>purse, but this power would have to be 
>>>defended on contemporary policy grounds, not 
>>>abstruse constitutional doctrine. The Supreme 
>>>Court could stop pretending that its decisions 
>>>protecting same-sex intimacy or limiting 
>>>affirmative action were rooted in constitutional text.
>>>The deep-seated fear that such disobedience 
>>>would unravel our social fabric is mere 
>>>superstition. As we have seen, the country has 
>>>successfully survived numerous examples of 
>>>constitutional infidelity. And as we see now, 
>>>the failure of the Congress and the White 
>>>House to agree has already destabilized the 
>>>country. Countries like Britain and New 
>>>Zealand have systems of parliamentary 
>>>supremacy and no written constitution, but are 
>>>held together by longstanding traditions, 
>>>accepted modes of procedure and engaged 
>>>citizens. We, too, could draw on these resources.
>>>What has preserved our political stability is 
>>>not a poetic piece of parchment, but 
>>>entrenched institutions and habits of thought 
>>>and, most important, the sense that we are one 
>>>nation and must work out our differences. No 
>>>one can predict in detail what our system of 
>>>government would look like if we freed 
>>>ourselves from the shackles of constitutional 
>>>obligation, and I harbor no illusions that any 
>>>of this will happen soon. But even if we can’t 
>>>kick our constitutional-law addiction, we can soften the habit.
>>>If we acknowledged what should be obvious ­ 
>>>that much constitutional language is broad 
>>>enough to encompass an almost infinitely wide 
>>>range of positions ­ we might have a very 
>>>different attitude about the obligation to 
>>>obey. It would become apparent that people who 
>>>disagree with us about the Constitution are 
>>>not violating a sacred text or our core 
>>>commitments. Instead, we are all invoking a 
>>>common vocabulary to express aspirations that, 
>>>at the broadest level, everyone can embrace. 
>>>Of course, that does not mean that people 
>>>agree at the ground level. If we are not to 
>>>abandon constitutionalism entirely, then we 
>>>might at least understand it as a place for 
>>>discussion, a demand that we make a good-faith 
>>>effort to understand the views of others, 
>>>rather than as a tool to force others to give 
>>>up their moral and political judgments.
>>>If even this change is impossible, perhaps the 
>>>dream of a country ruled by “We the people” is 
>>>impossibly utopian. If so, we have to give up 
>>>on the claim that we are a self-governing 
>>>people who can settle our disagreements 
>>>through mature and tolerant debate. But before 
>>>abandoning our heritage of self-government, we 
>>>ought to try extricating ourselves from 
>>>constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.
>>>Michael Seidman
>>>Paf Dvorak
>>>notmyname at thatswaytoomuch.info
>>>Rushtalk mailing list
>>>Rushtalk at csdco.com
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>Paf Dvorak
>notmyname at thatswaytoomuch.info
>Rushtalk mailing list
>Rushtalk at csdco.com
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