Patterico's Pontifications

1/6/2011

Reading the Constitution: A Reminder That the Words Matter (Bumped and Updated with Video)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:15 am



Bumped by Aaron Worthing, with video added.

There has been a lot of debate over the Republicans’ idea to open the new legislative session by reading the Constitution. Like Rush Limbaugh, I think it’s a wonderful idea.

The importance of reading the Constitution lies in reminding the populace that the words of the Constitution matter. The very foundation of our Republic is the notion that the People of the various states chose to surrender certain limited powers to a federal government, while reserving all other powers not explicitly granted in our founding document. For our government to be legitimate, it must exercise only those powers actually granted by the text of the document as it was originally understood by the populace that ratified it. We are not governed by some free-floating “intent” that can be expanded by activist judges who graft various extras onto it, under the guise of interpreting a “living Constitution.” As Scalia has explained with tongue in cheek, the Constitution he interprets is dead:

These twin concepts, of original understanding and textualism, are not mere legal theories. They are the underpinning of the legitimacy of our government. The People of the various states did not surrender powers whose contours were to be decided by judges who substituted their own “evolving standards of decency” for the text. Nor did they surrender powers to be determined by the unexpressed will of any particular founder or group of founders. They surrendered powers — limited powers — according to a text, the meaning of which is fixed in the words of the document, and determined by the original understanding of those words. The only legitimate way that our Congress can exercise power is by adhering to that text.

It is an absolutely essential idea, therefore, for a Republican Congress that actually intends to exercise power in a legitimate fashion, to begin its session by reading the very text that delineates and circumscribes its legitimate authority.

The proof of the pudding is, of course, in what this Congress does — not in mere symbols. But symbols matter too — and this is a hell of a symbolic statement with which to open.

UPDATE: Ilya Somin says it well in an old post:

The idea that the law is ultimately embodied in the text enacted by the legislature rather than in the subjective “purposes” of the legislators strikes many people as just common sense.

Indeed. And since we are a nation founded on the rule of law, we are a nation governed by texts, not subjective purposes or intent. This, again, is why reading the text is so important — and why reading the text of our most important document is a crucial reminder of what it says — and what (despite liberals’ fondest hopes) it doesn’t say.

UPDATE BY AARON WORTHING: Well, they have been reading it throughout the day and Congress has demonstrated its usual efficiency, with numerous objections over the issue. Namely there was much posturing over whether they would read the whole constitution or not. As the Daily Caller reported, the plan was to read only the parts of the constitution currently in effect. So because the 3/5 clause was effectively mooted by the Thirteen Amendment, for instance, the 3/5 clause was going to be skipped as was less charged sections like the portion having legislatures choose the senators (superseded by the Seventeenth Amendment) or the Eighteenth Amendment (prohibition, subsequently repealed by the Twenty First Amendment). Which makes the NYT’s objection even sillier than it already was. Anyway, you can watch lowlights from this circus, here. [Sorry for the embedding difficulties. Use the link to watch.]

Further update by Aaron Worthing: Btw, will anyone start laughing at Jesse Jackson Jr. for saying they had “dedacted” the 3/5 clause, you know like they did with Sarah Palin for coming up with the term “refudiate?” Just curious.

And of course you can watch the moment when a woman heckled the reading of the natural born citizen clause here:

Mind you, I disagree with the decision not to read the whole thing, but I consider it defensible. What they have sworn to uphold is not the defunct portions but the currently operative sections. But you also suspect that politics is driving it, too. I mean who would want to read the 3/5 clause? Who would want that image to exist, to be potentially remixed in another Alan Grayson “Taliban Dan” style ad? I suppose Allen West wouldn’t mind, but even designating a black dude to read that kind of stuff has creepy undertones—sort of like saying only a black person can say the n-word.

But at the same time, I don’t understand why this was a matter left up to protracted debate. I consider it to be no different than having a chaplin give a prayer to start congress. Do we have a million parliamentary questions about that?

Maybe I wouldn’t like the answer to my question.

Of course the lamer complaint is that this is a waste of money. Ed Morrissey effortlessly pulls apart that bit of idiocy for me, so I won’t bother. But compared to a tribute to the contributions of the girl scouts, this seems to be a much more valuable for pretty much the reasons that Patterico gave.

Finally, I have to say that all this hand-wringing over reading the constitution is just lousy politics. I am really stunned that so many liberals get so worked up over this. The left may think they are getting in lots of cute digs at the right, but to the American people, this all sounds more like this:

Go forward to around the 40 second mark for the good stuff. I am pretty sure this is the moment that Phil Hare lost his reelection bid. Is this really an example to follow?

No, the left should say, “hey, we love the constitution, too. Can we help read it?”

[THIS UPDATE WAS AUTHORED AND POSTED BY AARON WORTHING]

192 Responses to “Reading the Constitution: A Reminder That the Words Matter (Bumped and Updated with Video)”

  1. John Hinderaker points out what it means when the left ridicules reading our Constitution on the House floor.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  2. All due respect to your army of contributors and guest hosts, Patrick, but this blog is never better than when you write it yourself, as this post shows.

    Kevin Stafford (abdb87)

  3. Kevin’s right that this is a great blog post.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  4. To the left, the Constitution only matters when it is being “shredded” when a Republican is in power.

    Otherwise it is an indecipharble ancient document that some treat as ‘sacred text.’

    One thing for certain, though, the Constitution is what makes America, America. When the followers of one political party decide to ridicule it by association with the oppositon, we can safely assume that said party has given up on the whole concept of ‘America’ in return for some other system they might prefer.

    It might be worthwhile to remember in future elections.

    Ag80 (e03e7a)

  5. If the Constitution isn’t living, how can liberals find or invent rights which didn’t exist previously or which we did not know we had? The shreddiness possibilities diminish greatly under a textualist approach.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  6. Of course I should have said also that the left’s problem with the Constution is it only says what the government can’t do.

    And now we have a whole bunch of old farts who really hated the government when they ran around smelling of patchouli telling us their way of governance works.

    And they have seemed to enchant whole new generations that their stupid ideas have relevance today.

    Ag80 (e03e7a)

  7. Certain bases need touching — regularly and reverently. That’s why they are “bases.” And yes, the Constitution definitely is one.

    Beldar (ff4f38)

  8. okay to make a less snarky point…

    reading the constitution won’t be a fix all. But it should exert an appropriate pull on the thinking of the members. it would make a person more likely to be ashamed to say they don’t care the constitution. Of course i expect more phil hares to be around, although they might do a better job hiding it. But it reduces the likelihood by a certain margin.

    [i should clarify. i meant a less snarky take than my joking on the mark twain thread. not to imply anything about anyone in this thread.]

    Aaron Worthing (1a6294)

  9. This is indeed a strong and elegantly written post.

    What is a bit troubling to me is the incredible lack of curiosity about this very important document, particularly by certain elected officials. It has been reduced to a mere old text that is trotted out when it furthers one’s purpose, or kept out of sight – and out of mind – when it might actually get in the way of one’s purpose.

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  10. ___________________________________________

    the words of the Constitution matter

    America has become, or is becoming, so socially and politically flabby and effete — so much like a northern version of a feel-good Banana Republic of South America — that the idea of “rule of law” and the US Constitution seems dusty and quaint. That goes double when viewing things through the prism of this nation’s answer to Greece/Mexico/Venezuela/France, otherwise known as California.

    Mark (411533)

  11. “Like Rush Limbaugh, I think it’s a wonderful idea.”

    Interesting empathy. Limbaugh excels at wasting time three hours a day but the difference is, Limbaugh is sponsored by paid advertisers who foot the bill. Legislators, government employees in case you need reminding, will be wasting time conducting this grade school exercise at taxpayer expense.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  12. “conducting this grade school exercise at taxpayer expense.”

    DCSCA – It is a great exercise for school children to witness, our legislators actually paying attention to the document to which they are supposed to adhere. No surprise you find it a waste of time.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  13. IMP never fails, daleyrocks. He prolly was buddies with the Founders.

    JD (57c1da)

  14. @12 ‘Our legislators’ take an oath to ‘adhere’ to the document when they assume office. This is an unproductive ‘waste’ of valuable and expensive time on the taxpayer’s dime(given the length of the Congressional calendar per Mr. Cantor) to start off with from a party which in part campaigned on ferreting out ‘waste, fraud and abuse’ in government- a government, in case you need reminding, which currently borrows nearly 43 cents of every dollar it spends to operate. But it is endearing, if not naive, to assert ‘school children’ will ‘witness’ this– no doubt they’ll all be glued to CSPAN for hours on end, if only to get out of PE and math class.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  15. I served for fourteen years as an Administrative Law Judge with New York State. I did my best to apply the law to the facts not my personal desires. The decisions that I wrote were, to the best of my ability, based on the actual text of the law. Of course, I had, as most of my peers, my “Judge Roy Bean” moments but I did not allow them to influence my decisions. However, in my dreams, I followed the Mikado! That is the only place for a judge to stray from the plain meaning of the text.

    Longwalker (996c34)

  16. “But it is endearing, if not naive, to assert ‘school children’ will ‘witness’ this– no doubt they’ll all be glued to CSPAN for hours on end, if only to get out of PE and math class.”

    DCSCA – It is endearing, but what is entertaining is watching you bleat about government waste and fraud as an excuse for not doing it after watching the Obama Administration and Democrat Congress run up record deficits. Is that the best you can do?

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  17. We have moved far from the enlightenment ideals that undergird the Constitution. If there is no absolute truth, there can be no binding universal understanding of words or language – past or present.

    Law, precedent, and everything binding from the past (or really from anywhere) are rejected. The “rule of law” is seen as merely someone else’s manipulation to be counteracted by propaganda that is not bound by truth-based logic.

    Today is a post-modern world of individual truth, of individual power achieved through mass manipulation or whatever other means is available.

    The world has turned a few times since that document was adopted, and people now no longer think constitutionally.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  18. In a move that should surprise ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, the New York Slimes editorial page is playing the race card on this one — claiming that the GOP is using this as an excuse to read aloud the “three-fifths” clause in Article I, which of course was amended by the 14th Amendment.

    In other words — SHOCKA!!! — they’re lying (again) to their ever-dwindling readership. Disgusting.

    Icy Texan (d20d10)

  19. We are not governed by some free-floating “intent” that can be expanded by activist judges who graft various extras onto it, under the guise of interpreting a “living Constitution.” As Scalia has explained with tongue in cheek, the Constitution he interprets is dead

    My problem with Scalia isn’t his views, but his lack of fidelity to them. For example, it was not the intent of the framers that free speech principles be applied to corporations and unions in the context of monetary contributions to political campaigns. That particular issue wasn’t even on their radar; it wasn’t part of their original understanding. And Scalia knows that just as everybody else does.

    That said, it suits me fine that legislative sessions be opened with a reading of the Constitution. I don’t think it will whip anybody into an altered political viewpoint or judicial philosophy, but it certainly couldn’t hurt.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  20. Icy Texan:

    Actually, Republicans are doing something worse: they are censoring the Constitution re: the 3/5ths.

    Didn’t we just have this discussion re: Huck Finn?

    Kman (d30fc3)

  21. it was not the intent of the framers that free speech principles be applied to corporations and unions in the context of monetary contributions to political campaigns.

    Of course it was. The framers would have been shocked at the idea that a federal law might forbid people from pooling their money in a non-profit corporation in order to publish a book critical of a candidate for office. And that is what Citizens United was about.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  22. What a liar. They are reading the constitution exactly as it stands, word for world. The “three fifths” clause is no longer part of the constitution, so why on earth would they read it?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  23. “That particular issue wasn’t even on their radar;”

    Kman – Nice try moron. There are a lot of issues not specifically addressed in the Constitution or “on the radar screen” of the framers which can be decided using a textualist approach. Can you point to where the right to privacy is enumerated in the constitution, abortion, gay marriage, the right to health care and other liberal favorites.

    The political contribution issue is easy, but you just don’t like the outcome because it made the playing field more level. Nuts to you.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  24. Joy Behar told Kman and DCSCA that this Constitution-loving has gone too far. They have their marching orders.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  25. Kman probably thinks the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are illegal because there was no Declaration of War.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  26. Kman probably thinks the Quasi-War against France in the 1790s and the Barbary Wars were illegal, as were the first few months of the Civil War.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  27. Kman

    mendouchous as always. They are leaving out everything that is presently inoperative.

    http://dailycaller.com/2011/01/05/original-u-s-constitution-will-not-be-read-in-entirety-on-house-floor/

    So for instance, they are skipping the 18th amendment, which was famously repealed.

    Which is a slightly different discussion than the one we just had about huck. They are reading the constitution so that they can be clear on the legal document they are to obey. While i personally would have them read all of it, it is quite defensible to say, “the 18th amendment is not in effect. therefore we are not going to read it.” it is irrelevant if the point of the exercise is to remind everyone what they agreed to uphold.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  28. Daley:

    There are a lot of issues not specifically addressed in the Constitution or “on the radar screen” of the framers which can be decided using a textualist approach. Can you point to where the right to privacy is enumerated in the constitution, abortion, gay marriage, the right to health care and other liberal favorites?

    No I can’t, but I don’t believe in a textual approach.

    Aaron:

    They are leaving out everything that is presently inoperative.

    As long as they’re being consistent.

    Woe to toe GOP member who is going to be reading the 16th Amendment. Anyone want to bet if GOP members actually boo the Constitution?

    Kman (d30fc3)

  29. @22- No they’re not. @16&24 Per comments on the house floor: “those portions superceded by amendment will not be read.” Yeah, that’s quite an education for our kiddies to love. Goes in tandem with revised copies of Twain. Hypocrites and timewasters all, on the taxpayer’s dime.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  30. For example, it was not the intent of the framers that free speech principles be applied to corporations and unions in the context of monetary contributions to political campaigns.

    because corporations exist independently of the actual free citizens?

    quasimodo (4af144)

  31. @27- “While i personally would have them read all of it, it is quite defensible to say, “the 18th amendment is not in effect. therefore we are not going to read it.” No it’s not, particularly as 1., the document has not been read before in the House; 2. What is read on camera and in audio will go into the Congressional Record. They of course can amend the text w/o any audio or video recordings of those comments made. It’s a stunt. And a waste of valuable an expensive time, particularly when the government is currently borrowing roughly 43 cents of ever dollar it spends to operate.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  32. #22- Why wouldn’t they read it – all of it- and the amendments. To avoid doing so is disingenuous and makes it a political stunt, pure and simple, and a waste of time on the taxpayer’s dime.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  33. dcsca

    > the document has not been read before in the House

    that would be depressing if true, but i don’t see how it relates to the issue i am discussing.

    > What is read on camera and in audio will go into the Congressional Record.

    So?

    > It’s a stunt. And a waste of valuable an expensive time, particularly when the government is currently borrowing roughly 43 cents of ever dollar it spends to operate.

    If we followed the original constitution we would save alot more money than this costs.

    But i don’t understand your objection to reading only the operative amendments, then. you think it is a waste of time… thus you demand that it take even longer?

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  34. You STILL believe the Constitution is a compact between the “several states” instead of between the citizens of the United States? You sound like John Calhoun when you talk that way.

    It’s like you missed Lincoln and wish to return to the Article of Confederation.

    timb (449046)

  35. And a waste of valuable an expensive time, particularly when the government is currently borrowing roughly 43 cents of ever dollar it spends to operate.

    That is just rich in irony.

    2011 has brought all of the hate-filled angry trolls bac.

    JD (57c1da)

  36. They ARE reading all of it. Every single word. The words you’re talking about aren’t in the constitution any more, so why would it even occur to you that they should read them? Do you expect them to also read all the proposals at the Philadelphia convention that didn’t make it into the constitution, and all the proposed amendments that never got ratified? How about Goldilocks? That’s not in the constitution either; do you expect them to read it? I mean, really, how much simpler than this can any matter be?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  37. timb

    who is “you”?

    who are you referring to?

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  38. #27

    While i personally would have them read all of it,

    You have your wish. They are reading all of it. They’re not reading stuff that isn’t in it. Why would you want them to?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  39. They ARE reading all of it. Every single word. The words you’re talking about aren’t in the constitution any more, so why would it even occur to you that they should read them?

    I don’t believe that’s tachnically true. There’s a difference between (1) having words or sections (or entire amendments) specifically repealed; and (2) having words/sections modified or superceded by subsequent amendment.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  40. Ack. *Technically*

    Kman (d30fc3)

  41. @33- Switch on CSPAN and try to follow this and it should be self evident. If they were going to read it they should read the whole thing, blemishes, amendments and all. Anything less is a stunt- and a waste of valuable and expensive time on the taxpayer’s dime– at a time when the government borrows nearly 43 cents of every dollar it spends to operate. Point is, in a bow to political correctness, they wont read the complete text on camera w/audio for obvious reasons. And if we followed the ‘original Constitution’ as you suggest, you’d see a parade of white males, no women and no people of color reading any of it this morning.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  42. DCSCA – I am pleased to see you so concerned about waste in the current Congress as opposed to the last Congress. Hypocrite.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  43. @35- No, expensive irony.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  44. And a waste of valuable an expensive time, particularly when the government is currently borrowing roughly 43 cents of ever dollar it spends to operate.

    IMP should be able to show us where he raised this objection in the last 4 years.

    JD (57c1da)

  45. “w/audio for obvious reasons.”

    DCSCA – What obvious reasons?

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  46. @42- Hypocrite?? Put down the mirror. Bush’s wars are expensive, aren’t they, especially when finally placed on budget. Obama’s not helping with $2.5 billion a week wasted on it as well. #45- You don’t read/listen ver well, do you- the PC explanation was made on the floor; but then you were the one concerned that the kiddies should hear it– of course, what they’re hearing is not the full document, blemishes et al. Hypoctite indeed. What a maroon.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  47. But …. BBBUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

    JD (57c1da)

  48. @47- When you break wind, it’s polite to say ‘excuse me,’ JD, even in Indiana.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  49. DCSCA

    > Switch on CSPAN and try to follow this and it should be self evident. If they were going to read it they should read the whole thing, blemishes, amendments and all. Anything less is a stunt- and a waste of valuable and expensive time on the taxpayer’s dim

    So you feel it is a waste of time… unless they read the stuff that has no legal effect? Huh?

    I would prefer to see them read all of it, but I don’t pretend that this is the EFFICIENT thing to do. the efficient thing to do is only to read the stuff that is actually operative.

    And the word isn’t stunt. Its ritual.

    Its like swearing the oath of office. You can’t be sure they mean it, and they should know they are supposed do the things they swear to do in that oath, whether they say it or not. But you make them say it, in the hopes that they will be that much more likely to take it seriously. Reading the constitution has the same purpose. Why are you liberals so worked up over this?

    I see no real downside. And don’t say “it’s a waste of money.” First how does it cost anything more than just the cost of keeping on the lights and the heater? Are you saying that printing out the official “reading” copy costs millions of dollars or something? What are you basing it on?

    And if the concern is that it is a waste of money, how about we do this? We skip over some guy wanting to put up a resolution praising the sales expertise of a girl scout troop somewhere, and bam, you have eliminated enough waste to pay for it. What a silly and lame complaint.

    > And if we followed the ‘original Constitution’ as you suggest, you’d see a parade of white males, no women and no people of color reading any of it this morning

    Well, you take my phrase to mean “unamended.” I mean “original” as in not how the courts have departed from it. But that is my fault for not being clear.

    But still, really? Where in the unamended constitution does it say that black people or women cannot hold office?

    Perhaps you should listen to the constitution as it is being read. It might surprise you. And then you won’t think it is such a waste of time.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  50. “Bush’s wars are expensive, aren’t they, especially when finally placed on budget.”

    DCSCA – Can y6ou explain to me the difference it makes to the deficit whether the Afghan and Iraq war funding bills are voted on with the rest of the budget or separately? Please elaborate and show your work.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  51. IMP remains the condescending fabulist he has always been.

    JD (57c1da)

  52. “but then you were the one concerned that the kiddies should hear it”

    DCSCA – How easily you forget. You called the reading a “grade school exercise.” I said it was a great exercise for school children to witness, I made no mention of any requirement for them to witness it live nimrod.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  53. @49- It’s a stunt. Ritual implies following a tradition- this has not been done before. It’s a waste of expensive and valuable time, especially when the government is borrowing nearly 43 cents of every dollar it spends to operate.

    And the ‘efficient’ thing to do would be to insert the entire text into the record w/o reading it as a ‘revised and extending remarks.’

    “I see no real downside.” No surprise there as it’s waste initiated by the Right. It’s business as usual.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  54. @52- So you prefer them to witness it at leisure or live, incomplete. Why dont you read them a fresh, revised copy of ‘Huck Finn’ as well and make a day of it. Nimrod indeed. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  55. DCSCA

    > Ritual implies following a tradition- this has not been done before.

    How do you think new traditions and rituals start?

    > And the ‘efficient’ thing to do would be to insert the entire text into the record w/o reading it as a ‘revised and extending remarks.’

    Putting it into the record without reading it aloud is a waste of time and paper. it accomplishes even less.

    > “I see no real downside.” No surprise there as it’s waste initiated by the Right

    Give me a break. if efficiency is what you are concerned about, why not eliminate those needless resolutions they are always flapping their lips about? reminding them of their sacred duty should not be the first thing we cut.

    You have a weird concept of triage, here. i suppose if you were a nurse you would say, “don’t waste your time with that broken nose! work on the paper cuts instead!”

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  56. AW – this is just feigned outrage from a committed leftist. He does not care one iota about inefficiencies, or wasting time, or wasting money. Not at all. Otherwise, 2006-2010 would have made his pointy head assplode.

    JD (57c1da)

  57. Those are costs that would be incurred regardless, the hostility to the reading of a foundational document, is disturbing. Jesse Jackson Jr, (who went
    to St. Albans) was complaining that the amendments were being given shortshrift, huh, besides we amend by judicial decision now.

    narciso (6075d0)

  58. “An apparent member of the birther movement seated in the gallery of the House of Representatives on Thursday interrupted a reading of the Constitution. The woman yelled out “Except Obama, except Obama, help us Jesus!” as Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) read the “natural born citizen” clause of the Constitution.”

    Aaaannd that will be the headline.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  59. JD

    are you suggesting he was as sincere about controlling the debt as obama was in 2006? heh.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  60. @55- “Putting it into the record without reading it aloud is a waste of time and paper. it accomplishes even less.” If you watched/listened to even a reasonable portion of this waste of time, that’s improbable. In fact, it will be more coherent when seen/read in text in the Congressional Record.

    “reminding them of their sacred duty should not be the first thing we cut…”

    Uh, they swear to that oath when taking office-literally just a few days ago… the last taking his oath this morning.

    @56-Now JD wants to tell others what and how to think. Very conservative line of thought, JD. Invasive, too. The party line. Business as usual.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  61. The only reason to read the Constitution in Congress is to rub it in the faces of the Democrats and Rinos. They should read it every day to keep themselves out of our hair,

    quasimodo (4af144)

  62. I’m so amused at lefty trolls who say it’s a waste for lawmakers to read the constitution.

    In particular as if the House is constantly passing urgent bills. Waiting 30 minutes, to really consider their essential nature as limited to the powers the states granted the federal government, is incredibly important, especially in light of the recent election.

    The democrats are essentially saying that following democracy is a waste of time, but guess what: we won the election and so we have the power to ensure the constitution is referred to, read, constantly used to measure all legislation, etc, until we lose an election. That’s democratic, unlike the democrat party.

    ‘Waste of time’, DCSCA says, as though we’re supposed to pass bills as fast as possible on day 1. Pathetic.

    Pelosi boasted that Obamacare wasn’t going to be read until after passage. It’s time for our legislators to read more. They should read all the laws on the books today, the constitution, and their upcoming bills. That is challenging, and they probably should consider why.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  63. @56-Now JD wants to tell others what and how to think.

    DCSCA, what does this mean? It doesn’t seem to be related to what JD said in comment 56, which was a very good point. You didn’t care about ridiculous inefficiencies because you’re a partisan hack. It’s true, and it’s not insisting everyone agree with JD on anything. You’re the one telling us what to think by criticizing legitimate political expression.

    You’re projecting your extremism and intolerance.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  64. @57- The objection is to the waste of valuable and expensive time on the taxpayer’s dime with a stunt ahead of attending to pressing legislative matters– particularly when they’re borrowing nearly 43 cents of every dollar they spend to operate. Especially as the Congressional calendar, per Mr. Kantor, is as short as it is. They’ll be on a break again soon.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  65. DCSCA

    > In fact, it will be more coherent when seen/read in text in the Congressional Record.

    except if its just in text for you to read on your own, well, f–k why not just google it. why does it need to be in the record at all.

    > Uh, they swear to that oath when taking office-literally just a few days ago… the last taking his oath this morning.

    Yes, and this ritual reminds people of what they swore to uphold. as you have demonstrated, there is a remarkable amount of ignorance of what is actually in the document and what is not. i used to think that regular people knew what was in our founding documents. then i remember being in a college lit class and seeing many students express surprise about all the stuff that was in the declaration of independence. jesus wept.

    And JD pointing out your hypocrisy on the matter is not telling you what to think.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  66. @63- It doesn’t seem to be related to what JD said in comment 56, which was a very good point.
    You mean IYO. You’re projecting your extremism and intolerance.. yes, indeed you are.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  67. @63- It doesn’t seem to be related to what JD said in comment 56, which was a very good point.
    You mean IYO. You’re projecting your extremism and intolerance.. yes, indeed you are.

    Comment by DCSCA —

    No. I summarized his point for you. You’re just saying ‘no, that’s just your opinion!’.

    Obviously you just want a fight, but JD won the argument with you, and spitting out an ad hom or thirty won’t change it. He isn’t telling us what we must think in comment 56, but rather astutely noting that the people calling this important effort a waste of time should have found many other things a much, much more urgent waste of time. Your partisan hackery is blatant.

    One example: Pelosi rambling on about herself in a filibuster approach before turning over the gavel as the people’s vote demanded. That was a much bigger waste of time to the work of the 111th congress than reading the constitution.

    But if you’re a devoted democrat partisan, you don’t care about bourgeois truth, just democrat truth.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  68. @65- “Yes, and this ritual reminds people of what they swore to uphold.” Ritual implies a traditional act repeated. This was the first time it was done- and poorly, too. But it’ll read better in the CR.

    You assume JD’s comment is accurate. That is hypocrisy if not just hilarious.

    @58- and yes, that’ll be the headline.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  69. Apparently it was getting boring, so Boehner and Canter decided to hold a press conference….

    So much for political theater.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  70. #67- Your summary and conclusion are inaccurate IMO. There’s nothing to ‘fight’ about- a term you initiated. We disagree. Business as usual.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  71. If you really can’t understand what JD’s saying, then perhaps any reading or discussion is beyond you, making a reading of our most important law over lawmakers would seem a waste of time, too.

    But in reality, what DCSCA is saying is that truth and democracy do not matter to him. He is anti-democratic, like many so-called democrats. Reading the constitution is the will of the people. Elections have consequences. We’re going to go a lot farther than merely reading the constitution, and you’re already freaking out.

    That’s great. It already burned up a lot of credibility in the hacks. I wonder if they should do a few more benign things that freak out the hard left and the MSM, just to really nail the point home.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  72. Boehner and Canter decided to hold a press conference….

    So much for political theater.

    What’s wrong with a press conference?

    It would be nice if Obama held more of them. The people have a right to their leadership being asked questions.

    It’s amazing. Kman, whose refusal to read constitutions has humiliated him the past, and DCSCA, are bashing people for having a press conference and reading the law.

    They are politicians and lawmakers. Interfacing with the people and reading the laws are normal, obvious things they need to do. If Kman’s bashing them for this, he’s just a nutcase who will bash them for anything. There is absolutely nothing they can do to escape these condemnations.

    I think the GOP knew, going in, they were going to be relentlessly demogogued by the hard left, and calculated that they should demonstrate the low credibility of these characters by pushing them to criticize obviously good and inoffensive things. I think Kman is being played like a fiddle.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  73. #71- Now you’re just baiting. Beneath you.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  74. “The objection is to the waste of valuable and expensive time on the taxpayer’s dime with a stunt ahead of attending to pressing legislative matters”

    DCSCA – Where were you on all the pressing legislative matters the Democrats were too cowardly to address before the midterm elections and then tried to jam into the lame duck session? There was ample opportunity to address the budget and tax matters and DADT well before the elections, so your bleating about wasting time is really very, very weak tea.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  75. DCSCA

    > Ritual implies a traditional act repeated.

    Asked and answered. move on.

    > This was the first time it was done- and poorly, too. But it’ll read better in the CR.

    If its better in the CR as plain text, then its better off not being there at all, but just existing. It is more wasteful to enter it into the record than to read it aloud, because then you are entering into the record a document that has been reprinted endlessly. You are simply creating a new copy of it, which is a giant so-what? And I thought you cared about efficiency.

    Hell, you don’t even care about efficiency in this thread repeating points already countered without even acknowledging what i said in response.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  76. #74- In total agreement w/you. They should have voted on it before the election. Never been a fan of Pelosi nor Reid and have posted same when the occaion arose. Both these parties have done immense damage to the Republic. This morning was just more of the same– make that shame.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  77. DCSCA is following the Joy Behar school of commentary. As I said above, he has his marching orders. The actual law frightens him.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  78. Interfacing with the people and reading the laws are normal, obvious things they need to do.

    But reading the laws to people? That’s not something they need to do – let’s get real. The idea of reading the Constitution is nice and ceremonial…. and I have no problem with that as political theater.

    But if the GOP majority is going to do it, then don’t interrupt it by having Cantor and Boehner hold a press conference at the same time.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  79. ‘They are wasting time’ is a critical talking chant for the hard left. That’s all they will be able to say as the investigations start rolling in.

    What’s funny is that a lot of people would love to see some actual time wasting. If we had been able to slow congress down since 2006, many more americans would have jobs. They should shut congress down for a year at a time, like Texas does. The best we can do is read the freaking constitution once in a while.

    Don’t let it bug you that DCSCA is repeating himself already. You have years of that to look forward to, so just get used to it.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  80. Kman, when you say it’s just ceremony, of no real use, to read, that really carries credibility.

    You hate reading. You don’t understand why people would want to understand what they are talking about by reading.

    But it’s important, and the will of the people as reflected by the House, that the constitution be read aloud. We cannot pretend democrats are reading it on their own. I suspect most democrats have never read the constitution a single time. Lawmakers should read it frequently.

    Having press conferences is not evil, nor is reading the constitution. If you can prove Cantor interrupted the reading of the constitution, let’s see your proof. Otherwise, you’re a liar. Why do you need to lie, this early, about what the House is doing?

    It seems like demogogues are really upset by some very mild behavior. If anything, it’s very helpful to the American people to see just how seriously they can take the pundits you’re parroting.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  81. @75- Asked– you mean stated. This morning’s exercise was not a ritual, regardless of how many times you ‘counter’ with a response otherwise. As to the CR- apparently you’ve not gone through them at great length. Very interesting reading, having researched them on initial occupations of members entering Congress over a 175 year span for a project some years ago. They quite literally speak volumes… and they record everything- quite efficiently, too. The shift from a majority of farmers, to lawyers toward businessmen legislators crossed close to 1980. No doubt the ‘tea party’ class will signal a spike or a shift. Time will tell.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  82. DCSCA – Which was a bigger waste, all Obama’s rounds of golf last year or this morning’s short reading of the Constitution?

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  83. But it’s important, and the will of the people as reflected by the House, that the constitution be read aloud.

    Really? Are the spokesman for what is and isn’t the “will of the people”? Was there a vote on this… or did you just intuit it?

    Having press conferences is not evil, nor is reading the constitution.

    Speaking of reading, where did you read that I wrote anything even remotely close to “having press conferences is evil, as is reading the constitution”?

    If you can prove Cantor interrupted the reading of the constitution, let’s see your proof.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  84. If you can prove Cantor interrupted the reading of the constitution, let’s see your proof.

    You either were watching Fox News earlier, or you weren’t.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  85. I missed where I told people how to think, and what to thin’ I do note that IMP is stuttering out his meme, repeatedly. It is in one of its feedback loops. Lithium would likely help.

    JD (0d2ffc)

  86. You either were watching Fox News earlier, or you weren’t.

    Comment by Kman

    I wasn’t. I get all my news from democrat underground and CBS. Can you prove that Cantor interrupted the reading of the constitution? I bet he didn’t.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  87. Can you prove that Cantor interrupted the reading of the constitution? I bet he didn’t.

    Well, it’s not like he stormed the House floor with a marching band behind him… but yes, he and Boehner did hold a press conference at the same time, interrupting the coverage.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  88. That seems like Kman is saying that we must all be silent as the constitution is being read.

    That’s a little insane, though I don’t even grant that Cantor and Boehner interrupted it. given Kman’s inaccuracy in the past, I don’t even know that he saw this on Fox News, or that he understood what he saw.

    At any rate, Kman is now admitting he was wrong, and no one actually interrupted the reading of the constitution. I’d like to see some evidence of his claims, even in their amended form, and am curious how the charges shall evolve from this point. but even if we pretend Kman’s right, it’s hilarious that he’s bashing ceremony while insisting on much sillier ceremony. Hint: they aren’t reading the constitution to us. The constitution doesn’t limit me. It limits the federal government. They were reading this to Congress.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  89. Democrats’ objections to the reading of the Constitution in the Halls of Congress is eerily akin to atheists protesting the reading of the Bible in church — neither party believes in what is being read

    heir2freedom (d9456e)

  90. Kmart and IMP have sprinted straight past silly, and are now passing absurd.

    JD (6e25b4)

  91. DCSCA

    > regardless of how many times you ‘counter’ with a response otherwise.

    But you still don’t have a response to my argument.

    > As to the CR- apparently you’ve not gone through them at great length.

    You’re point wholly fails to relate to mine. We don’t need a copy of the constitution in the record. There are plenty of copies floating around. if they are not going to read it aloud but just insert it into the record unread, then all they are doing is republishing it. and that is a waste of time.

    You keep asserting that this is a waste of time, but simultaneously insisting on them actually rendering it a waste of time. your hypocrisy is pretty obvious.

    Kman

    So as far as the cantor interruption thing is concerned… um, you don’t have a job?

    > but yes, he and Boehner did hold a press conference at the same time, interrupting the coverage.

    You do understand that none of us consider your word to be proof of anything, right?

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  92. It seems bizarre that there’s any debate at all about this.

    I mean: the Constitution is the organic law of the republic. It something that every legislator – for that matter, every employee of the government – swears fidelity to. (It’s something which I’ve sworn fidelity to every time I’ve served as an election officer).

    Reading it on the floor of the House may accomplish nothing. But all that means is that in the worst case, it’s harmless. And maybe it reminds someone of the contents of the document they’ve sworn to be faithful to.

    So: zero downside, potential upside. Yeah, ok, it takes some time – but, really, how much time can it possibly take to read out loud? It’s not like it’s the California constitution. :)

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  93. h2f, if we said they’d act this way a year ago, they’d have called us liars.

    Some of these people react to the constitution the way a vampire reacts to a cross. It’s like a cartoon. 99% of the time, the House is almost empty. There is plenty of time for this important reading.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  94. aph

    that is PRECISELY the correct response, politically. the left is being a bunch of idiots objecting.

    and you are doubly right about this being impossible with some state constitutions. Texas has a similar problem.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  95. aphrael’s got a great point. There’s no potential that this reading will hurt anything. It isn’t going to cost anyone their job or anything like that.

    I won’t lie… I’m cynical about how much this can reign in legislative intent. But these reps are sworn to this document. It’s not harmful to read it.

    The theatre in this reading is mostly from those who are angry about it. They are lying when they say they find it harmful. It’s just crass politics.

    I really wish I had a choice between the political part of Kaus and Aphrael, vs a party that wouldn’t make Patterico throw the F bomb around. I guess that’s asking too much.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  96. Dustin

    > If we said they’d act this way a year ago, they’d have called us liars.

    Well, maybe not 9 months ago:

    http://biggovernment.com/publius/2010/04/01/rep-phil-hare-d-il-i-dont-worry-about-the-constitution/

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  97. At any rate, Kman is now admitting he was wrong, and no one actually interrupted the reading of the constitution

    You are either an idiot or have a problem with reading comprehension. I said (look up, dork) that Cantor and Boehner scheduled a press conference at the same time, thus interrupting the reading of the constitution.

    Now, only an idiot would actually think that Cantor and Boehner would hold a press conference at the same place, i.e., the House floor where the Constitution is being read. You ever see a press conference on the floor of the House?

    But maybe I need to explain these things to you like a four year old in the future. Or can I credit you with a little intelligence? You tell me.

    Anyway, as for proving whether it actually happened or not, I lucked out.

    Hint: they aren’t reading the constitution to us. The constitution doesn’t limit me. It limits the federal government. They were reading this to Congress.

    Do you think Congress is sitting there listening? Of course not. That’s what makes the entire exercise ceremonial (or, if you will, political theater).

    Kman (d30fc3)

  98. Aaron: I disagree. The correct response politically is “what a great idea! we wish we’d thought of that.” :)

    I understand that a lot of representatives of politically liberal districts will jump at any chance to belittle republicans, just as a lot of representatives of politically conservative districts will jump at any chance to belittle democrats.

    But I don’t understand how anyone thinks objecting to the reading of the Constitution could be of political benefit to them. My guess is that the people doing so have let their dislike of Republicans get in the way of their good sense.

    Some battles must be fought. This shouldn’t even be considered a battle.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  99. that is PRECISELY the correct response, politically. the left is being a bunch of idiots objecting

    Who on the left is objecting? The only criticism I’ve heard is that Republicans are making a show of their fidelity to the Constitution, even though in practice they don’t actually care about it (in fact, there’s movement to repeal some of it).

    But as for reading it aloud, I haven’t heard any criticism from the mainstream left.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  100. And since we are a nation founded on the rule of law, we are a nation governed by texts, not subjective purposes or intent

    Respectfully, Patterico, this is an oversimplification.

    Consider the thirteenth amendment, which says:

    “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”

    The plain text of this prohibits involuntary servitude except as a punishment for crime.

    The draft was a form of involuntary servitude.

    Almost nobody thinks that the thirteenth amendment prohibits the draft, even though the plain text would seem to. Explanations vary from “a free state has the right to defend itself and that means the draft is inherently within the power of the state” to “the Congress didn’t intend to ban the draft, so they didn’t”.

    All of these explanations are extra-textual.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  101. It’s also worth noting that in the past couple of years we’ve seen a large number of politicians (democrats for the most part, though that’s not necessarily fair) say they do not care what the constitution says, and they do not care about reading very important legislation.

    Kman’s refusal to read was probably a reflection of Pelosi’s refusal, AKA ‘we have to pass it to learn what’s in it!’

    So it’s not really ceremony alone. We cannot pretend all our congresspersons have read the constitution, or value reading important documents relating to their work. We have to make sure. It’s 100% justified, just as we’re justified to read legislation out loud.

    Otherwise, no one has read it and our process is basically circumvented. Rolling one’s eyes at the constitution reading, saying they could just read it in private, is denying reality.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  102. The only criticism I’ve heard is that Republicans are making a show of their fidelity to the Constitution, even though in practice they don’t actually care about it (in fact, there’s movement to repeal some of it).

    In which case the people making that criticism are being tactically stupid and demonstrating that they have no clue how to sell their politics to mainstream America.

    Twould be much more effective to loudly and ostentatiously embrace the reading of the Constitution, and then later, when the proposal to reinterpret the fourteenth amendment comes up for discussion, make the case for hypocrisy.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  103. Twould be much more effective to loudly and ostentatiously embrace the reading of the Constitution, and then later, when the proposal to reinterpret the fourteenth amendment comes up for discussion, make the case for hypocrisy.

    Why later? If one believes that Republicans are being hypocritical with respect to their supposed fidelity to the Constitution, why is it tactically stupid to point that out as it is happening?

    Kman (d30fc3)

  104. Kman asks why, but he misses Aphrael’s point. Sure, point out the hypocrisy now, if you like, Kman, but don’t do it in a way that shows you don’t value the reading of the constitution.

    no one believes you because they way you’re expressing yourself is implausible.

    There really is nothing wrong with what the GOP did. There is no reason to complain. Of course, you say it’s just ceremony, and then insist Cantor interrupted the ceremony, and then admit… no, he didn’t really.

    We get it. You’re a hack.

    Anyway, along Aphrael’s point of terrible PR, I hear Obama’s new Chief of Staff is Mayor Daley’s son.

    These people are out of touch.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  105. Kman

    > The only criticism I’ve heard

    proving once again you criticize first, then read the post.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  106. at least we’ll know that they have read the constitution … unlike the bills they pass

    quasimodo (4af144)

  107. Off Topic

    reason number 3,192 that cartoons mocking the profit miss the point

    EricPWohnson (e83e82)

  108. Because what the average voter sees as their first impression is: “republicans call for reading of constitution; democrats attack them” and doesn’t stick around to listen to the argument about hypocrisy. And, even if they do, it’s an argument about a proposal which hasn’t been made on the floor yet, with no way to predict with any accuracy which particular legislators will support it.

    And it muddies the message. If both parties wholeheartedly embrace the Constitution, it creates a more-Constitutional-than-thou competitive dynamic, which strengthens “they aren’t being Constitutional” claims. Objecting during the instant of constitutional embrace makes it appear that one side is embracing the Constitution and the other side is running from it, which undermines the claim.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  109. aphrael,

    The constitution’s been invalidated soo much its a meaningless document – and it didnt make all that much sense in the first place

    EricPWohnson (e83e82)

  110. Eric that is a great and powerful story. it really speaks well of those people and rebuts anyone who says that all muslims are bad/oppressive or whatever.

    But wtf does it have to do with the everyone draw mohammed controversy? the EDM thing was about standing up to the less tolerant ones and saying to them, “if you are going to kill everyone who insults the prophet, you’re going to have to kill me, too.” in fact, it seems to me that these muslim being human shields are doing just about the same thing.

    [edited a little after the fact for clarity.]

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  111. Hilarious how much this bothers Democrats.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  112. aphrael,

    The constitution’s been invalidated soo much its a meaningless document – and it didnt make all that much sense in the first place

    Comment by EricPWohnson

    Aphrael’s point isn’t that the constitution is perfect. His point is that Americans want it to be respected, and those who bash it at the drop of a hat lose credibility on the subject of being consistent to it.

    But, despite its flaws, I think the constitution makes a lot of sense. It has to be handled honestly, but the ideas in it are generally good ones, and the idea of a limited, federal government is very smart.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  113. The constitution’s been invalidated soo much its a meaningless document – and it didnt make all that much sense in the first place

    Eh?

    Nobody has the power to invalidate the Constitution, except for the sovereign people of the Republic, who reserved to themselves that power and a process for using it. They’ve used it a total of twenty-seven times, making modifications to parts of it.

    That hardly renders it meaningless: it stands as the organic act for our government and is still binding on every employee of that Government.

    As for not making sense: like all political compromises, it wasn’t perfect, and was not what someoene designing a system from scratch would develop as their ideal. But it was a good compromise, and it was substantially better than was operative anywhere else in the world at the time.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  114. reason number 3,192 that cartoons mocking the profit miss the point

    Comment by EricPWohnson

    they weren’t mocking the prophet, they were mocking people who demand the prophet not be drawn or they will kill you.

    To do that, they mocked the prophet (sometimes), but as a means, not an end, so saying the means missed the point is not fair.

    And you’re right that there are noble Muslims in the world, but again, these people deserve Aaron’s leadership in bashing the intolerant Muslims who poison everyone’s world and their faith.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  115. AW

    The point is just that these are umpteem millions of devout muslims who are gravely insulted by the deliberate basphemy of their profit – they understand that ocassionally there are boorish people who do things for attention, including muslims, however attempts to organize calculated and deliberate attacks upon them – they dont understand.

    EricPWohnson (e83e82)

  116. Because what the average voter sees as their first impression is: “republicans call for reading of constitution; democrats attack them”

    Again, nobody is “attacking” Republicans for reading the constitution. That’s way overstating it. At absolute worst, it’s being called an empty gesture, but a harmless one.

    Who are all these mainstream lefties going all berserk about it? Link anyone?

    And, even if they do, it’s an argument about a proposal which hasn’t been made on the floor yet, with no way to predict with any accuracy which particular legislators will support it.

    Not sure what you’re talking about. A proposal to read the Constitution? No. It’s been done.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  117. But it was a good compromise, and it was substantially better than was operative anywhere else in the world at the time.

    Comment by aphrael — 1/6/2011 @ 12:04 pm

    Amen. You’re living in the real world, Aphrael, instead of the world of fantastic ideals. The idea of Kman’s lesson on hypocrisy from fictitious democrat congresspersons who screech some fine hairsplitting point on why we shouldn’t read the constitution… that’s not reality. That’s silly. It’s not a bad thing that politicians have to appeal to real people who see through this crap.

    It’s not even a bad thing that the constitution is imperfect. The entire point of the constitution was that the government could never be perfect, its laws could never be perfect, its leaders could never be perfect. It was a project in limiting the power of the messy work of governing so many different peoples.

    If the constitution were unflawed, it would actually make no sense at all. If we can have a perfect government, why limit it?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  118. Dustin,

    My point is you insult all of them, not the handful who poison the faith, and even those that kill, usually are doing it for money, not religion

    EricPWohnson (e83e82)

  119. Who are all these mainstream lefties going all berserk about it? Link anyone?

    Kman, you have repeatedly made an accusation in this thread. I asked for a link 3 times. you ignore that and demand links yourself? And Aaron’s right that you didn’t appear to read the post you’re critical of.

    You provide the link, maybe read it too, and the thread, and do that kind of thing for a while, and then maybe people will take you more seriously when you ask for proofs.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  120. Dustin,

    My point is you insult all of them, not the handful who poison the faith, and even those that kill, usually are doing it for money, not religion

    Comment by EricPWohnson

    Of course, it’s insulting to me that South Park had Jesus fighting Santa Claus.

    Well, actually no. It isn’t. I do not require everyone to honor my faith. It does not insult me personally that someone bashes Jesus. My faith is not between me and a subjected world, but rather between me and God.

    And like I said, Aaron’s helping Muslims. He’s offending those who violently demand censorship. They are the enemy of all people worth honoring.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  121. Eric

    > The point is just that these are umpteem millions of devout muslims who are gravely insulted by the deliberate basphemy of their profit[.]

    And their right to be free from offense should trump my right to defend freedom of speech, why exactly?

    > they understand that ocassionally there are boorish people who do things for attention, including muslims

    Yeah, that guy didn’t stab Theo Van Gogh just to get attention, you know.

    > however attempts to organize calculated and deliberate attacks upon them – they dont understand.

    What attacks? Who was attacked? And with what? Fists? Crowbars? Bombs?

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  122. To those arguing that the Republicans are justified in omitting certain sections of the Constitution in their public reading because those sections are no longer a part of the Constitution:

    I have a copy of the Constitution in my backpack. My copy retains the 3/5ths Clause, the 18th Amendment, the provisions for the election of Senators by state legislatures, and the like. Go check your copies and tell me what you find.

    The Constitution is valuable not only as a preserver of the rule of law and an expression of the sovereignty of the American people, but as a history of our politics and values – a remarkably forthright illustration of our political evolution. I object to the selective oration of the Constitution not as a functional oversight, which omits operative constitutional language, but as an oversimplification which has become all too common these days, one which refuses to trace the complexities which make us who we are in favor of something easier and accordingly less valuable. The 3/5ths Compromise, for instance, was of crucial importance to the formation of the rest of the document (as can be seen in Madison’s Notes on the Convention) – to omit it is to omit something important about the document itself.

    I know I’m not saying anything new there, but the fact remains that every publication of the Constitution I’ve ever read maintains its outdated sections. When a politician chooses to do otherwise in the face of overwhelming precedent across other professions, its reasonable to suspect that the motivation is political.

    Leviticus (51c0a1)

  123. Dustin:

    Kman, you have repeatedly made an accusation in this thread.

    What “accusation”? That Cantor and Boehner scheduled a press conference at the same time as the reading of the Constitution, thus interrupting coverage? They did. And I provided proof. Through a link.

    And Aaron’s right that you didn’t appear to read the post you’re critical of.

    OMG. You really do have a problem with reading comprehension. I don’t have a problem with Aaron’s post.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  124. btw profit = prophet – for various reasons, inluding my mental state

    EricPWohnson (e83e82)

  125. and Muhammad is a pedophile anyway. Reality is an insult to that specimen.

    It’s true that many good people exalt Muhammad. EPWJ’s link is a great story and I’m glad to have learned about it. But why does that mean we should pretend Muhammad is above jokes or criticism?

    I compartmentalize. I’m not bashing those people who worship something I think is sick, even though their faith is misplaced, IMO. And I’ll be honest, I’m not above insulting individuals out there. Some insults are in poor taste or are unfair, and the solution is not to kill people, but rather to discuss.

    EPWJ’s link is a great response. Some Muslims are good people. Aaron never said otherwise, but it’s worth pointing out that some Muslims are honorable when reacting to the cartoons mocking Muhammad.

    There’s something much more important going on than the project of being fair to the sensibilities of everyone who could be offended, and that is the mission of murdering those who afflict terrorist opinion.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  126. Kmart has now entered the realm of performance art.

    JD (e1cd2f)

  127. Kman

    > You really do have a problem with reading comprehension. I don’t have a problem with Aaron’s post.

    The irony. you are insulting dustin’s reading comprehension. But you fail to notice:

    1) that this is not my post. Patterico wrote it.

    2) i have updated this post directly refuting much of what you have been ignorantly saying.

    So either you haven’t read the post your reading comprehension is really lousy.

    I am going with the first option, but it is pretty hilarious that you have the chutzpah to criticize anyone else’s ability to read and understand what they have read.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  128. OMG. You really do have a problem with reading comprehension. I don’t have a problem with Aaron’s post.

    Comment by Kman

    Nope. Unless there are two Kmans in this thread. The person who wrote comment 99 did not read the blog post.

    OMG OMG OMG

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  129. Leviticus, my copy is like yours. You have a valid point. But our lawmakers are beholden to the current law, not the laws that have been changed and no longer apply.

    The 3/5th rule was meant to limit the power of slave owners, BTW. It’s a good thing, not a bad thing. It’s not the ideal, of course. The ideal was not counting non-voter slaves at all. The 0/5ths rule. And of course, that ideal is superseded by the ‘let them vote and count them’ one.

    And if the democrats decided they wanted to read the obsolete portions of the constitution, that would be an interesting history lesson. And conveniently, a lot of that makes more sense coming from democrat mouths anyway.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  130. To be fair, Dustin, comment #99 uses the phrase mainstream left, and so could be read to imply that the New York Times isn’t part of the mainstream left. Or, alternatively, that describing the reading of the Constitution as “a presumptuous and self-righteous act” is neither an objection nor an attack.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  131. Dustin

    > The person who wrote comment 99 did not read the blog post.

    No, see, he interpreted the words of the blog post as a living document. :-)

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  132. Aaron:

    Yes, calling it “your post” was technically inaccurate; I was refering to “your update” which — as you claim — was the portion that points out all the objections from the left about reading the constitution.

    Except that it doesn’t.

    All that you mention is some wrangling about what parts of the Constitution to leave unread (if any) — a separate issue.

    So I ask again, who on the left is/was actually complaining or attacking Republicans for reading the Constitution on the floor of the house today?

    Kman (d30fc3)

  133. Speaking of copies of the constitution, has anyone found a copy for the kindle which is set up so that each article and section is a tab-able index point? After trying half a dozen or so, I gave up. :{

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  134. aph

    don’t forget they suggested it was racist, too.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  135. Kman, Aaron’s update included a link to this editorial at the NYT, which says, among other things:

    But it is far from clear what message is being sent by, for instance, reading aloud the nation’s foundational document. Is this group of Republicans really trying to suggest that they care more deeply about the Constitution than anyone else and will follow it more closely?

    In any case, it is a presumptuous and self-righteous act, suggesting that they alone understand the true meaning of a text that the founders wisely left open to generations of reinterpretation.

    I think that is fairly characterized as an objection from an entitty which is within the mainstream left.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  136. Kman

    > All that you mention is some wrangling about what parts of the Constitution to leave unread (if any) — a separate issue.

    its amazing. even as we mock your reading comprehension, you don’t bother to read or comprehend.

    so presumably you have been driven from the legal profession by a series of malpractice suits?

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  137. Yes, calling it “your post” was technically inaccurate; I was refering to “your update” which bla bla bla OMG MY BFF JILL

    Dude, this isn’t the first time. You’re not reading anything. You just spit out the talking points you got from wherever you go to get ’em, and have no idea what the conversation is about. You didn’t read a damn word of the post, and everyone here knows it.

    the way you consistently just spit out ‘you’re wrong’ so often indicates you have a psychological aversion to conversation. You’re trying to shield yourself from ideas that threaten a worldview you suspect is fragile. that’s clear BEFORE it’s shown you refuse to read links or posts.

    How painful is it for you to take conservatism seriously? Is your fear because you’re tired of losing arguments you’re invested in, or some kind of strange reliance on democrat dogma?

    You remind me of a Christian who can’t read a Harry Potter book. It’s really no big deal to learn you’re mistaken about something, Kman.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  138. #

    #

    To be fair, Dustin, comment #99 uses the phrase mainstream left, and so could be read to imply that the New York Times isn’t part of the mainstream left. Or, alternatively, that describing the reading of the Constitution as “a presumptuous and self-righteous act” is neither an objection nor an attack.

    Comment by aphrael — 1/6/2011 @ 12:26 pm

    OK, to be fair.

    I’ll admit, I’m not taking Kman very seriously, and I do assume the NYT is of the left and that its comments were what they obviously were.

    I could spell it out as Aphrael does, but it’s not like Kman was going to read my comment, anyway.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  139. I think that is fairly characterized as an objection from an entitty which is within the mainstream left.

    Well, maybe it’s just semantics at this point. No, I don’t think the Times is claiming it is an objection, i.e., some affront to people that must must MUST be stopped.

    I took the editorial to mean that it was some self-serving grandstanding.

    Which it (arguably) is.

    But harmless.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  140. Dustin:

    the way you consistently just spit out ‘you’re wrong’ so often indicates you have a psychological aversion to conversation.

    Actually, what gets tiresome is how you assume I’m always spitting out “you’re wrong”, even when I never say anything of the sort. It’s reflexive with you.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  141. Kman

    Why do you come here if not to actually read the posts?

    And is screen licking involved?

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  142. “self-serving grandstanding.”

    Not a criticism?

    LOL.

    Now Kman moves the goal posts in a very dumb way because he can’t very well be asked to be consistent in how he discusses something he never read.

    But as for reading it aloud, I haven’t heard any criticism from the mainstream left.

    Comment by Kman

    Kman is a liar. He simply wouldn’t have put it that way had he known that this thread was about a post discussing mainstream left criticisms of the reading. Now, I’ve seen Kman try to dance around his failure before, and while it’s not effective, he will stubbornly stick it out forever. It’s not the first time. I think the first time we learned he didn’t read something, it was because he admitted he didn’t read it, and his stubborn defense was ‘oh wait, I did read it’.

    Silly. Sillier of us to respond. Aphrael has a better point about simple effectiveness. The democrats should have proudly joined in. We should have some baseline common ground, and this is some of the most obvious common ground I’ve ever seen.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  143. “But our lawmakers are beholden to the current law, not the laws that have been changed and no longer apply.”

    – Dustin

    My point is that the Constitution is as much about who we are as a people as it is about the obligations, duties, and limitations of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of our government. The omission of selected segments may not affect the latter, but it denies the former.

    Leviticus (b8b398)

  144. And is screen licking involved?

    For a mental image you supposedly dislike, you’re obsessing about it a little too much for my comfort.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  145. My point is that the Constitution is as much about who we are as a people as it is about the obligations, duties, and limitations of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of our government. The omission of selected segments may not affect the latter, but it denies the former.

    Not to get too philosophical, but I think that’s the fundamental flaw of conservatism. It denies (or certainly fights against) the notion that “was as a people” evolve and progress.

    I think it would be great to remind Americans and Congress of that fact by reading the parts of the Constitution that have been modified.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  146. Kman

    well, something keeps drawing you here, kman. and obviously its not in order to read what the other side is saying or converse on that topic. I’m just putting two and two together.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  147. My point is that the Constitution is as much about who we are as a people

    I guess I’m just disagree with you on this. I think it’s much more about what legal limitations apply to the US Congress today.

    Your concept of what it means isn’t wrong, but I think job one right now is making sure our congress stays within the law, as they failed to do in the past 2 years when Pelosi ran things.

    What you’d like to see discussed is very important too.

    Dustin (b54cdc)


  148. you’re obsessing about it a little too much for my comfort.

    Comment by Kman

    It’s like raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiinnnnn

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  149. and obviously its not in order to read what the other side is saying or converse on that topic.

    Read my first comment to this post and tell me in what way it can be characterized as “not… read[ing] what the other side is saying or conversing on that topic”

    Kman (d30fc3)

  150. tell me in what way it can be characterized

    Because… you didn’t read it. And that’s been shown many times. Sometimes you apologize for not reading it. Sometimes you admit you didn’t read it as though you’re proud. But that’s a fair description of your behavior. Sometimes, your talking points seem to relate approximately well, anyway, but we know you aren’t big on reading.

    what kind of lawyer doesn’t read what he’s responding to, anyway? What bar exam did you pass? DC (sorry Aaron)? Wisconsin?

    Aaron’s right on point asking why you’re so obsessed with him. 6-7 years of following him around, emailing him about your sex life, refusing to leave him alone, and just being dumb as a rock when you respond to his ideas… why?

    Are you enjoying this? You don’t come across well. You were making negative comments about his sexuality that I interpreted as intolerance of gay men, not that Aaron is gay. Why? Who cares about that?

    Get over Aaron. For your own sake.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  151. Kman

    > It denies (or certainly fights against) the notion that “was as a people” evolve and progress.

    Mmmm, yeah, let me translate that from kmanspeak into english. by “evolve and progress” you mean we have unconstitutional sh-t forced on us by the courts.

    republicans are not opposed to amending the constitution, by, you know amending the constitution. republicans often propose amendments, and are proud of the moments in history where we have successful ratified such changes. But the liberals would put everything–freedom of speech, the prohibition of slavery–by an approach to interpretation whereby the words of the constitution are no impediment. All for a little short term gain. That’s what the fundamental problem is with liberalism. Everything is about the short term win, and not long term principles.

    if liberals paid attention to the long term principles, they wouldn’t, for instance, advocate on one hand for robust privacy rights, and on the other hand the privacy destroying concept of federal power embodied in obamacare. they would have recognized the contradiction earlier and chosen between the two.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  152. Dustin:

    6-7 years of following him around, emailing him about your sex life, refusing to leave him alone, and just being dumb as a rock when you respond to his ideas… why?

    Yeah. You’ve made the error of assuming that AW is telling the truth about all that. Excuse me, you’ve got a little KoolAid mustache there.

    AW:

    by “evolve and progress” you mean we have unconstitutional sh-t forced on us by the courts.

    No. I mean that courts realize that the constitutional protections apply to broader generalities than the specifics of the time.

    For example, that the Second Amendment wasn’t merely talking about flintlocks and other “arms” as they existed in 1780s, but rather, it went to the overall notion of a right to self-defense.

    That kind of stuff.

    if liberals paid attention to the long term principles, they wouldn’t, for instance, advocate on one hand for robust privacy rights, and on the other hand the privacy destroying concept of federal power embodied in obamacare.

    Well, not to change the subject, but there are no “privacy rights” impinged when one fails to insure himself. That’s a laughable term to tack on to what amounts to cheapness. And nobody believes that Republicans really care about the “privacy” of people to not buy insurance (after all, the health insurance mandate was a Republican idea embraced by Nixon, the Heritage Foundation, etc., and the only reason they hate it now is because Obama’s for it).

    But even if one TRIED to tack “privacy rights” to one’s failure to insure himself, it doesn’t fly. And why not? Because that failure means MY medical costs to go up.

    But keep up with the talking points.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  153. Dustin

    > DC (sorry Aaron)?

    Well, technically i was first admitted in Virginia, and to DC by reciprocity. So that didn’t even relate to my mad bar exam skillz. VA’s is reputed to be third toughest (NY and Ca. being allegedly the the top two).

    that being said, i prefer an easy bar exam on principle. the government shouldn’t decide if a lawyer is “good enough” (except obviously when it is hiring), the market should make that call. truly i believe we should do away completely with attorney competency testing, but i am kind of off the map on that one. having really low standards is a nice medium solution.

    because he has written to me several times, i know what state kman lives in and presumably practices. i won’t reveal it because as much of a tool he is, i won’t “out” him, but i will say i have never heard anything particularly good or bad about his bar association. I will suffice to say that it was a place where officially his lifestyle was outlawed until Lawrence v. Texas. NTTAWWT.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  154. Perhaps some Republicans should have listened to the reading of the Constitution, because we’re a day in and they’re already violating it.

    Yes, the Constitution says you have to be sworn in before you can conduct business as a member of Congress.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  155. Well, Mississippi, Lousiana, and Texas seem to have lower ‘basic prose’ literacy rates, so statistically, Kman is probably from one of those three.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  156. Kman

    > I mean that courts realize that the constitutional protections apply to broader generalities than the specifics of the time.

    Yes, just as I said: “you mean we have unconstitutional sh-t forced on us by the courts.”

    > that the Second Amendment wasn’t merely talking about flintlocks

    The founders didn’t mean merely flintlocks, which is why they didn’t say we had a right to bear flintlocks. Once again, you don’t even understand what the other side is saying.

    > but rather, it went to the overall notion of a right to self-defense.

    No, it went to the right to bear arms for whatever the hell purpose we had.

    > but there are no “privacy rights” impinged when one fails to insure himself

    You think anyone considers it an invasion of privacy when the government leaves us alone?

    > the health insurance mandate was a Republican idea embraced by Nixon

    And roe v. wade was written by a Nixon appointee. Here’s a hint. Republicanism in the 60’s and 70’s is different than today. Now who is the one who claims nothing changes?

    But do keep up with the talking points, which pretends that because very liberal big government republicans supported some elements of obamacare, that conservative small government republicans opposing it are hypocrites.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  157. Dustin:

    NY and NJ, initially. Then, NC several years later (no reciprocity).

    Relevance?

    Kman (d30fc3)

  158. Dustin

    hey, don’t you mess with texas.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  159. Texas is an amazing state with a great education system that has some lower stats largely because it educates many ESL immigrants.

    And, to be honest, we have a better grade of democrat than Louisiana does.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  160. NY and NJ, initially. Then, NC several years later (no reciprocity).

    Relevance?

    Comment by Kman

    how do you know what state you’re in? You might have a hard time figuring it out without consulting a map with letters on it.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  161. Dustin

    > we have a better grade of democrat than Louisiana does.

    Texas has a better grade of everything than Louisiana.

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  162. No, it went to the right to bear arms for whatever the hell purpose we had.

    Hmmmm. Too bad that’s not what the text says though. Oh, well. Thank God the courts got it right.

    You think anyone considers it an invasion of privacy when the government leaves us alone?

    No, but it doesn’t automatically become an invasion of privacy when the government imposes minimal and incidental requirements.

    I think you are trying to conflate privacy with freedom.

    Here’s a hint. Republicanism in the 60’s and 70’s is different than today

    Apropos of nothing.

    Republicans (including the aforementioned Heritage Foundation) were touting health insurance mandate as an alternative to Hillarycare. Here’s a hint: that wasn’t in the 60’s and 70’s.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  163. Damn, he’s sloppy.

    Probably isn’t reading his own comments. Voice to speech tech seems to be improving, though.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  164. I took the editorial to mean that it was some self-serving grandstanding.

    Which it (arguably) is.

    But harmless.

    aaaaaannnnd as usual, kmart refuses to admit that he was wrong, wrong, wrong in his earlier statements. Graceless as always.

    Dmac (498ece)

  165. Kmart’s latest blue-light special:
    My problem with Scalia isn’t his views, but his lack of fidelity to them. For example, it was not the intent of the framers that free speech principles be applied to corporations and unions in the context of monetary contributions to political campaigns. That particular issue wasn’t even on their radar; it wasn’t part of their original understanding. And Scalia knows that just as everybody else does.
    — “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech”. The ‘intent’ was that Congress make NO law. It’s as straightforward as can be.

    20. Icy Texan:
    Actually, Republicans are doing something worse: they are censoring the Constitution re: the 3/5ths.
    Didn’t we just have this discussion re: Huck Finn?

    — If the author of a given work CHOOSES to change or edit their own work (and, as the Constitution itself states in Article V, the people, in the form of their elected representatives, are ALWAYS considered to be the authors of this document, with the right to amend it as they see fit) then there is no real argument. The Constitution was amended; Section 2 of the 14th Amendment takes the place of the 3/5 clause. If they read the 3/5 clause out loud in Congress they are reading something that is NOT a part of the law of the land.

    Woe to toe GOP member who is going to be reading the 16th Amendment. Anyone want to bet if GOP members actually boo the Constitution?
    — Are you asking if anyone will dare to express some Constitutionally protected dissent? God forbid! Maybe Bo-tax Pelosi will volunteer to read it.

    There’s a difference between (1) having words or sections (or entire amendments) specifically repealed; and (2) having words/sections modified or superceded by subsequent amendment.
    — That’s right, little Jimmy. Section 2 of the 14th Amendment takes the place of ONE PART of Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution itself. However, this DOES NOT mean that the 3/5 clause still ‘exists’ in the sense that it MUST be read in order to fulfill some requirement to read the document in its entirety.

    69. Apparently it was getting boring, so Boehner and Canter decided to hold a press conference….
    So much for political theater.

    — Yeah. Nothing remotely theatrical in a congressional press conference. Idjit.

    Well, it’s not like he stormed the House floor with a marching band behind him… but yes, he and Boehner did hold a press conference at the same time, interrupting the coverage.
    — Cantor and Boehner ‘interrupted the coverage’? Really. Forced the cable news networks to carry them live, did they?

    Do you think Congress is sitting there listening? Of course not. That’s what makes the entire exercise ceremonial (or, if you will, political theater).
    — Thank you for admitting that the Dem representatives (the ones NOT doing the reading) were also not listening.

    The only criticism I’ve heard is that Republicans are making a show of their fidelity to the Constitution, even though in practice they don’t actually care about it (in fact, there’s movement to repeal some of it).
    — The point is to say that this is what the supreme law of the land REALLY is. Amending it is a part of the process, as opposed to having a left-leaning judge interpret things that just aren’t there.

    Icy Texan (03b6f8)

  166. Daley asked, much earlier in the thread

    Can you point to where the right to privacy is enumerated in the constitution, abortion, gay marriage, the right to health care and other liberal favorites.

    This part:

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people
    (Amendment 9)

    and the 10th Amendment also has some bearing on the question.

    Remember that it is not rights which are enumerated in the COTUS but government powers. Just because an individual right is not explicitly referred to in the text does mean it is not a right. If it is a right, it is “retained by the people”. So the question is not whether privacy, gay marriage, abortion, and health care are in the text but whether they are rights in the first place. (My answer, to make things clearer is, yes to the first three and no to the last).

    kishnevi (1b86f1)

  167. and the 10th Amendment also has some bearing on the question.

    So you’re saying states can ban abortion?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  168. Dustin–No. I’m not saying that, and I don’t think they can. (Hint: the 10th Amendment does not confine itself to referring to the States.)

    kishnevi (1b86f1)

  169. Kishnevi, I think Griswold and its progeny would be on much stronger ground if they were explicitly based on the 9th amendment.

    Daleyrocks: the theoretical argument for gay marriage is that the constitutional provision requiring equal protection of the laws requires that gay and straight couples be treated equally. (This is the case in California, where the state Supreme Court interpreted the state constitution’s equal protection clause that way, and where the voters prohibitted the use of the word ‘marriage’ but did not touch the rest of the decision).

    I think it’s fair to disagree that the clause “equal protection of the laws” requires that, but I also think it’s unfair to allege that the people saying the constitution requires recognition of gay marriage are not basing their argument in the text of the document. Disagreeing about what the words mean is a different kind of argument than ignoring the words altogether.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  170. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    Kishnevi is correct that this reserves rights and powers to the people.

    If he’s saying that privacy rights are ones the constitution limits the federal government from interfering with, and this is also covered by the tenth amendment, it’s hard to see how that doesn’t mean the issue is reserved to the political processes of the people (which means, to me, state laws).

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  171. It seems absurd to say privacy is simply ‘other rights’ in such a way that states are banned from interfering with them, by the power of the constitution.

    Daley’s quite right that this is a failure to enumerate such a right.

    Which is perfectly OK! That doesn’t mean abortion can’t be banned. It just means that this is an ‘other right’ sort of issue that is solvable by the political process. Congress has to pass a law. It’s not for the Court to decide, aside from noting the US Constitution does not prohibit such a law.

    I see this as a very major point, and agree with Kishnevi that the tenth amendment relates.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  172. Kman

    > Too bad that’s not what the text says though.

    Actually it does say that. But then again you probably have never actually read the second amendment, so why should I even bother explaining it.

    > No, but it doesn’t automatically become an invasion of privacy when the government imposes minimal and incidental requirements.

    Which is not what we are talking about, but I am POSITIVE that if you didn’t read the post, you certainly haven’t read the health care law or even a full judicial opinion on it.

    > I think you are trying to conflate privacy with freedom.

    That is what privacy has become about. But I guess you didn’t read Lawrence, either.

    > Apropos of nothing.

    It is if you are trying to claim hypocrisy. Or perhaps you didn’t even read your own comments.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  173. That doesn’t mean abortion can’t be banned

    sorry, I meant to say that doesn’t mean abortion can be legalized, or medical privacy can’t be honored. Though the converse is also true.

    It’s a political question. And what the aristocracy wanted was unpopular, so they lied to us about the constitution requirements on this issue.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  174. kishnevi:
    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people(Amendment 9)
    — followed by:
    Remember that it is not rights which are enumerated in the COTUS but government powers.
    — This is hilarious, as it immediately follows a quote (chosen by YOU!) of a passage that refers to enumerated rights. 2nd Amendment, anyone? 1st? 4th? 7th?

    Just because an individual right is not explicitly referred to in the text does mean it is not a right. If it is a right, it is “retained by the people”.
    — Oh, so you did read it. Good job!

    So the question is not whether privacy, gay marriage, abortion, and health care are in the text but whether they are rights in the first place.
    — As interpreted by a liberal SCOTUS to actually be contained within the COTUS, oh legislator from the bench? Roe v. Wade posited a constitutional right to privacy that is not there. Scalia knows this. Pity that you do not.

    Icy Texan (03b6f8)

  175. Dustin: the thing is, the Supreme Court has a long history of reading rights into the ninth amendment (in effect). As an example: it’s been true since the late nineteenth century that federal courts protect a right to travel. It’s been true since early in the twentieth century that federal courts protect a right of parents to control the education of their children, etc. Why? Because the courts have held that they’re protected rights via the ninth amendment and that they apply to the states via the fourteenth.

    This has historically been uncontroversial except for (a) the line of cases involving the liberty of contract, and (b) the line of cases involving privacy which started with Griswold and extended through to Lawrence.

    In both cases I believe that the controversy is more about the result than the process.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  176. Yeah. You’ve made the error of assuming that AW is telling the truth about all that. Excuse me, you’ve got a little KoolAid mustache there.

    OK, so please enlighten us regarding his lying. Should be easy for you, yes? Let’s have it – all of it.

    Dmac (498ece)

  177. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”

    kishnevi – My question was where such favorite liberal rights are specifically enumerated in the Constitution, not where they are not enumerated or reserved for the states. Is there a right to privacy mentioned in the Constitution? Please let me know if you find it.

    aphrael – We are both familiar with the various arguments for and against gay marriage and the fact that jurisprudence on the matter is evolving. I see nothing about it enumerated in the Constitution, however, nor abortion.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  178. Pat…AW…
    By demonstrating your grounding in the original words/meanings of the Constitution, you can kiss good-bye any chance to being Dean of any major Law School in America; but, to make up for it, you should have a chance for an Appellate Court appointment in the Palin Administration.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  179. OK, so please enlighten us regarding his lying. Should be easy for you, yes? Let’s have it – all of it.

    Comment by Dmac

    Yesterday he said his purpose in a thread was to force Aaron back to honesty. I asked him 4 times to point to Aaron’s lie and he ignored me every time.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  180. @171
    the theoretical argument for gay marriage is that the constitutional provision requiring equal protection of the laws requires that gay and straight couples be treated equally

    Okay, I’m just a layman here, but I always thought that rights belonged to individuals, not to groups?

    malclave (4f3ec1)

  181. Daley and Icy T.–you both seem to misunderstand the difference between enumerated powers and enumerated rights as they appear in COTUS.

    The powers of the federal government are enumerated and limited: that means that if the power is not mentioned (by specific mention or reasonable application of the “necessary and proper” clause) in the text of COTUS, the federal government does not have that power. I think everyone here, except Kman, timb, etc., agrees on that. Therefore, mention of a governmental power in COTUS is positive proof that the government legitimately exercises that power, and lack of mention is positive proof that the government can not legitimately exercise that power. All that is necessary to decide the question is to read the text, and perhaps discuss the matter in the light of the necessary and proper clause.

    Individual rights are enumerated but not limited in COTUS. That means that a right can exist without being mentioned in the text of COTUS. If the right is mentioned in the text, then we have proof positive that it is a right. If a right is not mentioned in the text, then we discuss the matter further: but failure by COTUS to mention a right does not mean the right does not exist. Ev even if there were no Bill of Rights, the right to free speech and the right to bear arms would still exist and be enforceable against the government. The right to privacy is not mentioned in the text to COTUS, but that does not mean it does not exist and does not mean it is not enforceable against the government. There is no such thing as a “constitutional right”. There are simply some rights which are specifically mentioned in the text of COTUS. There are other rights which are not, but they exist just as much as the ones specifically mentioned.

    So your question, is “is the right of an individal to do x listed in the Constitution”, irrelevant. Unlike the corresponding question, “is the power of the government to do x listed in the Constitution”, which is not merely important but fundamental.

    But it should be noted that individual rights are really the rights to perform some sort of action or not have some sort of action performed in reference to us, and not the right to have something. We have the right to express ourselves freely; we don’t have the right to have a forum in which others must listen to us. We have the right to have no government intrusion in our private life, but we don’t have the right to have medical care provided for us by others.

    A parable.
    Suppose, Icy T., you, being a proper Texan and all, own a ranch; the ranch has been in your family for several decades, an inheritance from your father and his father before him. A rainstorm causes the bank of a river that runs through your property to cave in, and you discover a lead of gold that tracks back to a respectable deposit of gold underlying your land.

    Would you decide that since you did not know the gold was there until now, you did not own it and did not have the right to mine it, at least as far as it stayed within your ranch’s boundaries?
    You would, if you stayed consistent with your logic that sees as rights only that which is specifically mentioned in the text of COTUS.

    To extend the parable: someone who lives down the road asserts the right to come onto your property and mine the gold. You would naturally refuse him unless you knew he already had that right through a legal document. That is equivalent to the enumerated powers of the government in COTUS. (There is of course an alternative available in the parable world–he could make payment or otherwise come to an agreement with you and mine with your consent. But that alternative has no equivalent when applied to COTUS.)

    kishnevi (cc1ec4)

  182. “Daley and Icy T.–you both seem to misunderstand the difference between enumerated powers and enumerated rights as they appear in COTUS.”

    kishnevi – You seem to have missed the flow of the comments relating to this subject. Start at comments 19 and 23 for background.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  183. I like it when the left gets the vapors over conservative “tricks” and then pretend they only meant to point out the absurdity of the trick. It’s not only predictable, but they also seem try to duplicate the trick and hope no one will notice.

    I have to watch the news a lot. Seriously, it’s part of my job. Every single Democrat has said the same thing in every interview: “We will we work with the GOP as long as the legislation benefits the middle class and reduces debt.”

    I swear it is almost like a drinking game. I can only feel sorry for the focus group that was sequestered until they came up with those talking points.

    And don’t get me started on “the non-partisan CBO.” That’s a freaking mantra.

    Ag80 (e03e7a)

  184. daley–I was in fact responding to what you said in comment 23. Did I misunderstand what you were trying to say? (Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve screwed up that way…)

    kishnevi (38f6c3)

  185. “Did I misunderstand what you were trying to say?”

    kishnevi – In 23 I was merely responding to the troll. What you said in 183 was self evident and unnecessary. I think your 168 clouded the issue. The question was the textualist approach, which would look for rights or powers. Liberals have a tendency to create constitutional rights out of whole cloth over time, even though not specifically mentioned in the document, which was the point I was making to Kman, countering his initial Scalia slam. I was not referring to “rights” reserved for the people, whatever you mean that to encompass.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  186. Daley, thanks for clarifying.
    I suppose what I’m trying to say is that the correct approach to individual rights is (to a degree) the liberal/progressive approach, while the correct approach to government powers is the conservative approach. Yes, some of those rights liberals want to put in are bogus; but that only means they aren’t using a valid means of determing what is and what is not a right. It does not mean that those rights don’t exist.

    Thought experiment: between ratification and the adoption of the various amendments we all the Bill of Rights–iow, for the first year or two of the constitutional regime–the text of the Constitution did not mention such things as free speech and the right to bear arms. Does that mean that they did not exist during that period of time? Does that mean that no US court would take cognizance of those rights until the BOR was adopted? I would say the answer is no to those questions, and I suspect you would agree with me, but a strict textualist approach would say the answer is yes, since at that point those rights did not appear in the text of COTUS.

    As to how to recognize a true individual right, I would suggest that freedom of action (or its passive counterpart, freedom from the actions of others) is crucial; and if the proposed right is merely to have something, then it is not a valid right. Which would leave in gay marriage but leave out health care.

    kishnevi (38f6c3)

  187. Have not had time to read all 188 comments, but it is nice to see our more liberal commenters agreeing with Glenn Beck that the all of the original language (the 3/5 compromise, 18th Amendment etc) should have bee read as well.

    Second any one who does not realize the three fifths compromize was not an anti-slavery measure is ignorant.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  188. kishnevi – I cringe at the overuse of the word “right.” It implies too much that is not actually there constitutionally or otherwise if not specifically enumerated. If something is not specifically prohibited, that does not automatically give rise to a “right” to do it. I prefer to think in terms of freedoms or liberties rather than amorphous rights in the progressive/liberal sense.

    daleyrocks (e7bc4f)

  189. Comment by kishnevi — 1/6/2011 @ 5:07 pm
    183. Daley and Icy T.–you both seem to misunderstand the difference between enumerated powers and enumerated rights as they appear in COTUS.
    — Not really, especially since it was YOU that quoted the 9th Amendment, following it with (and please note that I am merely repeating the same quote of you that I used before) “Remember that it is not rights which are enumerated in the COTUS but government powers.” I responded to that by pointing out that the Bill of Rights (hint hint!) and in particular the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th & 7th Amendments DO enumerate rights.

    The powers of the federal government are enumerated and limited: that means that if the power is not mentioned (by specific mention or reasonable application of the “necessary and proper” clause) in the text of COTUS, the federal government does not have that power. I think everyone here, except Kman, timb, etc., agrees on that.
    — Correct. Therefore, you’re pretty much spinning your wheels here.

    Therefore, mention of a governmental power in COTUS is positive proof that the government legitimately exercises that power, and lack of mention is positive proof that the government can not legitimately exercise that power.
    — You need to share this info with certain members of the current government.

    All that is necessary to decide the question is to read the text, and perhaps discuss the matter in the light of the necessary and proper clause.
    — Thank you, scholar Obama.

    Individual rights are enumerated but not limited in COTUS.
    — Nice about-face.

    That means that a right can exist without being mentioned in the text of COTUS.
    — Yes, because it is reserved to the states or the people, NOT because it is some kind of invisible COTUS right.

    If the right is mentioned in the text, then we have proof positive that it is a right. If a right is not mentioned in the text, then we discuss the matter further: but failure by COTUS to mention a right does not mean the right does not exist.
    — You should be sitting on the California Supreme Court.

    even if there were no Bill of Rights, the right to free speech and the right to bear arms would still exist and be enforceable against the government.
    — Why? Because we should trust them, they’re from the government?

    The right to privacy is not mentioned in the text to COTUS, but that does not mean it does not exist and does not mean it is not enforceable against the government.
    — Because you say so? Why did they even bother drafting the Bill of Rights in the first place? Geez! It sounds like just as big of a waste of time as reading the COTUS out loud on the floor of the House!

    There is no such thing as a “constitutional right”. There are simply some rights which are specifically mentioned in the text of COTUS.
    — Nice variation on the ‘atheists don’t have a belief system because they DON’T believe in a supreme being” meme. IOW, completely meaningless.

    There are other rights which are not, but they exist just as much as the ones specifically mentioned.
    — Rights that are retained by the people.

    So your question, is “is the right of an individal to do x listed in the Constitution”, irrelevant.
    — Didn’t ask it, but that’s okay.

    Unlike the corresponding question, “is the power of the government to do x listed in the Constitution”, which is not merely important but fundamental.
    — Right. Like the ‘power’ to declare a woman’s right to privacy in relation to yanking out the unborn life within her.

    But it should be noted that individual rights are really the rights to perform some sort of action or not have some sort of action performed in reference to us, and not the right to have something. We have the right to express ourselves freely; we don’t have the right to have a forum in which others must listen to us.
    — Tell that to supporters of the ‘fairness doctrine’.

    We have the right to have no government intrusion in our private life, but we don’t have the right to have medical care provided for us by others.
    — Tell that to LBJ (you’ll have to dig him up first).

    A parable.
    Suppose, Icy T., you, being a proper Texan and all

    — Sorry, buddy. I’m not a ‘proper’ Texan. I’m working here for three years, then I return to Arizona.

    own a ranch; the ranch has been in your family for several decades, an inheritance from your father and his father before him. A rainstorm causes the bank of a river that runs through your property to cave in, and you discover a lead of gold that tracks back to a respectable deposit of gold underlying your land.
    — Okay, now I’m a proper Texan! 😉

    Would you decide that since you did not know the gold was there until now, you did not own it and did not have the right to mine it, at least as far as it stayed within your ranch’s boundaries?
    You would, if you stayed consistent with your logic that sees as rights only that which is specifically mentioned in the text of COTUS.

    — Note to kishnevi: apples to oranges comparisons NEVER work.

    To extend the parable: someone who lives down the road asserts the right to come onto your property and mine the gold.
    — Squatter’s rights? Eminent domain?

    You would naturally refuse him unless you knew he already had that right through a legal document. That is equivalent to the enumerated powers of the government in COTUS.
    — And you think I’m disagreeing with you HOW?

    Icy Texan (87db83)

  190. You know at a certain point I feel like this;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b56e0u0EgQ

    The country that I was born in, had a ‘living constitution’ of 1940, like those the liberals desired, with free health care, education, et al,
    it could not persevere, and after a spell it was replaced with another, the 1976 constitution, which grants the states all power, and makes the citizens subject.

    narciso (6075d0)


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