Patterico's Pontifications

12/16/2003

REPEAL OF FIRST AMENDMENT NOT SO BAD AFTER ALL

Filed under: Court Decisions — Patterico @ 6:00 am

I have decided that the Supreme Court’s recent decision repealing the First Amendment is really for the best.

Sure, everyone acknowledges that the decision didn’t really have much to do with the Constitution. But I have been convinced by Linda Greenhouse’s glowing description of the decision and the Justices who rendered it:

The Supreme Court that upheld the new campaign finance law last Wednesday was a pragmatic court, less concerned with the fine points of constitutional doctrine than with the real-world context and consequences of the intensely awaited decision.

Once I started thinking about it, I realized that the “real-world context and consequences” of the First Amendment are not too pleasant. For example, when an idiot like Howard Dean is allowed to spread his nonsense across the airwaves, good people like myself become irritated. This has real-world consequences. For example, my blood pressure could go up.

Sure, “the fine points of constitutional doctrine” might counsel in favor of letting Howard Dean make an ass of himself. Hopefully the Court will not let these niceties stand in the way of keeping my blood pressure at a safe level.

Come to think of it, it may be time to re-examine the whole Bill of Rights with an eye towards the “real-world context and consequences” of those pesky Amendments. When people are allowed to have guns, people get shot. Juries acquit people that we could count on to be convicted by a single judge. If soldiers can’t be quartered in our homes, they could go homeless! Are you in favor of homeless soldiers?!

For a contrasting opinion on ignoring the “the fine points of constitutional doctrine,” read Thomas Sowell’s latest column:

Just what part of ‘no law’ don’t the Supreme Court justices understand?

The sad — indeed, tragic — fact is that they understand completely. They just think that this legislation is a good idea and are not going to let the Constitution stand in their way.

Moreover, they know from experience that if they can snow us with huge amounts of pious rhetoric, saying the kinds of things that the mainstream media will echo, that their wilful exercise of power will go unchallenged. In short, the Constitution be damned, we’re doing our own thing.

(Hat tip: PrestoPundit.)

Poor Thomas Sowell. He just doesn’t understand the real world.

But I have to admit, somewhere in the back of my mind, a voice — sounding remarkably like that of Joe Lieberman — is saying: Amen, brother!

5 Responses to “REPEAL OF FIRST AMENDMENT NOT SO BAD AFTER ALL”

  1. Great post. This whole case is just mind blowing, so far out of the pale it just is impossible to comprehend. I suppose this is what you get when you decide not to intepret the constitution by, like, reading it and following what it says. But instead, finessing it, coddling it, giving it little reach around… which in essence just means ignoring it and coming up with a decision that lets you do what you want to do in the first place. Its almost like the constitution was made to prevent that line of reasoning or something…

    Mark Buehner (cd4d49)

  2. We have the SCOTUS to thank for finally providing the accurate definition of “No” in the First Amendment. To understand, we must include invisible “context and consequences” in the definition. I kind of wonder what other definitions of basic English words are to be redefined.

    Of course, this is not the first time that our leaders have provided a more accurate definition of words in law. President Clinton gave us all an education on what the meaning of “is” is.

    On a different subject, congratulations on winning the Marauding Marsupial category in the 2003 Weblog Awards. I was way back in the pack and never any competition for the lead. Looking at your site, which I hadn’t done prior to the contest, you deserved to win. In fact, I’m putting you on my blogroll.

    Interested-Participant (e2e97f)

  3. That’s very kind of you to say. I will check out your site after the holidays when I am not so pressed for time. Thanks for dropping by.

    Patterico (72d71b)

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