Patterico's Pontifications

10/8/2011

Justice Scalia: “Learn to love the gridlock.”

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:04 am



[Posted by Karl]

It is a shame that Reuters was about the only media outlet to report on this part of this week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Wednesday rejected concerns by Americans of a dysfunctional government because of disagreements and difficulty in getting legislation through Congress.

Such complaints escalated earlier this year when Congress squabbled over the debt ceiling while President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats in the Senate battled with Republican lawmakers, especially in the House of Representatives.

Scalia’s remarks, which you can watch (for the time being) at roughly the 37-minute mark of the Senate’s archived webcast, are worth reading in full.  Scalia begins by noting how little Americans know of their Constitution, even when he speaks to law students who presumably have an interest in it:

I ask them, “Why do you think America is such a free country? What is it in our Constitution that makes us what we are?” And I guarantee you that the response I will get — and you will get this from almost any American *** the answer would be: freedom of speech; freedom of the press; no unreasonable searches and seizures; no quartering of troops in homes… those marvelous provisions of the Bill of Rights.

But then I tell them, “If you think a bill of rights is what sets us apart, you’re crazy.” Every banana republic in the world has a bill of rights. Every president for life has a bill of rights.  The bill of rights of the former evil empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was much better than ours. I mean it.  Literally, it was much better.  We guarantee freedom of speech and of the press. Big deal.  They guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, of street demonstrations and protests, and anyone who is caught trying to suppress criticism of the government will be called to account. Whoa, that is wonderful stuff!

Of course, it’s just words on paper, what our Framers would have called a “parchment guarantee.” And the reason is that the real constitution of the Soviet Union — you think of the word “constitution” — it doesn’t mean “bill” it means “structure”: [when] you say a person has a good constitution you mean a sound structure.  The real constitution of the Soviet Union *** that constitution did not prevent the centralization of power in one person or in one party.  And when that happens, the game is over, the Bill of Rights is just what our Framers would call a “parchment guarantee.” 

So, the real key to the distinctiveness of America is the structure of our govenment.  One part of it, of course, is the independence of the judiciary, but there’s a lot more. There are very few countries in the world, for example, that have a bicameral legislature.  England has a House of Lords, for the time being, but the House of Lords has no substantial power; they can just make the [House of] Commons pass a bill a second time.  France has a senate; it’s honorific.  Italy has a senate; it’s honorific.  Very few countries have two separate bodies in the legislature equally powerful.  That’s a lot of trouble, as you gentlemen doubtless know, to get the same language through two different bodies elected in a different fashion.

Very few countries in the world have a separately elected chief executive. Sometimes, I go to Europe to talk about separation of powers, and when I get there I find that all I’m talking about is independence of the judiciary because the Europeans don’t even try to divide the two political powers, the two political branches, the legislature and the chief executive. In all of the parliamentary countries the chief executive is the creature of the legislature.  There’s never any disagreement between them and the prime minister, as there is sometimes between you and the president.  When there’s a disagreement, they just kick him out! They have a no confidence vote, a new election, and they get a prime minister who agrees with the legislature.

The Europeans look at this system and say “It passes one house, it doesn’t pass the other house, sometimes the other house is in the control of a different party. it passes both, and this president, who has a veto power, vetoes it,” and they look at this, and they say (adopting an accent) “Ach, it is gridlock.”  I hear Americans saying this nowadays, and there’s a lot of it going around.  They talk about a disfunctional government because there’s disagreement… and the Framers would have said, “Yes! That’s exactly the way we set it up. We wanted this to be power contradicting power because the main ill besetting us — as Hamilton said in The Federalist when he talked about a separate Senate: “Yes, it seems inconvenient, inasmuch as the main ill that besets us is an excess of legislation, it won’t be so bad.”  This is 1787; he didn’t know what an excess of legislation was.

Unless Americans can appreciate that and learn to love the separation of powers, which means learning to love the gridlock which the Framers believed would be the main protector of minorities, [we lose] the main protection.  If a bill is about to pass that really comes down hard on some minority [and] they think it’s terribly unfair, it doesn’t take much to throw a monkey wrench into this complex system.  Americans should appreciate that; they should learn to love the gridlock.  It’s there so the legislation that does get out is good legislation.

These days, the complaints come mostly from progressive elitists in the ruling and chattering classes — Gov. Bev Purdue, fmr Obama budget director Peter Orszag, Jeffrey Sachs, Ezra Klein, Fareed Zakaria, and so on.  When they don’t get their way (usually some version of Euro-socialism), their solution is to radically alter our system of government, rather than to make better arguments or listen to their fellow citizens.  Even Alexander Hamilton would shudder.

–Karl

70 Responses to “Justice Scalia: “Learn to love the gridlock.””

  1. Ding!

    Karl (37b303)

  2. This reminds me… National Soros Radio hasn’t even deigned to mention Harry Reid’s nuclear power grab to its rich white audience.

    These people are scary.

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  3. Why would any sensible person waste their time waiting for the moment that NSR(sic) does what they never intend to do?

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (8c3caa)

  4. AD-RtR/OS,

    Why listen to NPR? Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

    Karl (37b303)

  5. Yeah, but what they do, and how they do it, is so boringly predictable, that I tend to nod-off while on guard-duty.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (8c3caa)

  6. Sure. That’s why we have feets.

    Karl (37b303)

  7. I rarely comment here, but I liked this post. Thanks for posting it.

    Robert (b59004)

  8. Masochism, thy name is…….

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (8c3caa)

  9. if Team R ever uses the same maneuver it’s gonna be claxons and sirens and whoop de whoop for days and days and days over at National Soros Radio

    but it really does look like the best route towards removing the obamacare parasite from the host

    Mr. Karl’s post is a good first look at the ethical terrain of such an action.

    How long before someone starts making candidates sign a pledge to follow this exact roadmap? Team R loves pledges like a honey badger loves caramel sea-salt ice cream in a waffle cone.

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  10. Speaking of Separation of Powers….
    Another reason to reject the Progressive “improvement” of the 17th-Amendment!

    In hindsight, we had “Progressive Reform” in the form of the 16th (Income Tax), 17th (Direct Election of Senators), and 18th (Prohibition) Amendments;
    none of which turned out, in the long run (and for the 18th, the run wasn’t all that long), all that well.

    I won’t dwell on the other “Progressive Reform” of the Early 20th-Century, the 19th-Amendment,
    as I don’t feel particularly nimble this morning,
    and wish to avoid having to avoid (and collect) the barrage of Jimmie Chu’s that Dana will direct my way (Heh!).

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (8c3caa)

  11. Barak Milhous Obama said the great deficiency of the Constitution is that it doesn’t say what the government must do, i.e. spread the wealth.

    AZ Bob (ffd720)

  12. Scalia is just a h8r.

    Ed from SFV (a0aa4c)

  13. Ed from SFV is a douschebag.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  14. Doh, Ed was being sarcastic, you cretin.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (8c3caa)

  15. Doh, you need to start holding off on these reactions, brother.

    Some of these folks are witty conservatives, and I like this blog because the comments usually are a cut above in tone.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  16. The secret is even more than this. Many countries (particularly in 20th century South America) had separate executive and legislatures, and putatively independent judges, but fell quickly into the Strongman system of a President-for-Life, with rubber stamps for the other two branches. You can see this in Africa today.

    What is needed for ANY of this to work, is for the body politic to respect the rule of law and abhor the rule of guns. Only then is it possible to have a constitution mean anything.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  17. Our problem today is that we have abandoned the additional tension of a federal system, and moved towards the expediency of the unitary state. We need to makes states mean something again, so that people can vote with their feet. Unsurprisingly, the control freaks don’t want that.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  18. Comment by Kevin M — 10/8/2011 @ 1:18 pm

    Repeal the 17th!

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (8c3caa)

  19. You’re absolutely right, Kevin.

    For the control freaks, it’s so convenient to have a non-federalist system. And to hell with the long term implications.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  20. Robert,

    Thanks for delurking (and reading); glad you liked it.

    Karl (37b303)

  21. We have two good recent examples of what happens when we do not have divided government: Bush for 6 of 8 years. He never vetoed a single bill and the house and senate spent like drunken sailors and to add insult to injury we got yet another entitlement in the medicare drug plan.

    Then comes along Our Savior and along strictly partisan lines passes Obamacare. Thank God we corrected things in 2010 and may have a chance to get rid of Obamacare (& Obama-yes I am a racist and love it!!!!) depending on how things work out in 2012.

    What bothers me is when the R’s control the senate and house that they act just like D’s. I hope, should that happen in 2012, that they don’t pull the same crap as what happened earlier in the decade.

    We shall see.

    Ipso Fatso (74cbec)

  22. My favorite parts: Scalia punks Feinstein at 85:30.

    Anon Y. Mous (7de23f)

  23. Look at what we have today. Were we like the United Kingdom, with a unicameral-in-power-if-not-in-structure government, the Overly Wet Snuggies protesters could have been hauled away and dumped into the East River, under Prime Minister Boehner. Of course, he might not have ever become Prime Minister, because the previous government of Prime Minister Nancy Pelosi would have had the TEA Party protesters suppressed.

    Our federal government is limited in its powers: there are certain areas on which the Congress may not legislate, and certain rights the Congress cannot take away by simple legislation. When I look at the European parliamentary democracies, I see governments which have restricted the freedom of speech — the most obvious examples being legal penalties for Holocaust denial — and taking away the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Oh, such legislation is all justified by very modern-sounding arguments about changes in conditions and society, but in systems with no real restrictions on the power of Parliament, individual rights do have a way of being forced to yield to the demands of the state.

    The Anglophile Dana (f68855)

  24. My favorite parts: Scalia punks Feinstein at 85:30.

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous — 10/8/2011 @ 2:36 pm

    That had to hurt. Feinstein sputtered after Scalia explained that the 14th amendment doesn’t apply to private speech. After that she changed the subject.

    Tanny O'Haley (12193c)

  25. The first section of the 14th amendment reads:

    1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    If the 14th amendment applied to “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” why did they need to pass the 15th amendment?

    If the 14th amendment applied to women, why did they need to pass the 19th amendment?

    It seemed like Feinstein was trying to make the point that one of the reasons for the 14th amendment was to give equality to women. If it did apply to women as she was trying to establish, why was it necessary to create the 19th amendment?

    Tanny O'Haley (12193c)

  26. It seemed like Feinstein was trying to make the point that one of the reasons for the 14th amendment was to give equality to women. If it did apply to women as she was trying to establish, why was it necessary to create the 19th amendment?

    Because back then they had this cramped view of the Constitution where you had to pass an amendment to amend it. Now, of course, we know that all we need are a few willing justices and Presto!, the Constitution changes retroactively.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  27. ‘…why was it necessary to create the 19th (and 15th) amendment?

    I suppose it had something to do as to why they created the 14th:
    The systematic suppression of the Rights of Freed Blacks by the newly constituted governments of the previous states of the Confederacy.
    Such things as the right to contract, the right to keep and bear arms, etc.
    These were all problems in the South following Reconstruction, and the 14th was drawn to deal with them, and not with voting.
    Since some people needed to have the do’s and don’t’s spelled out for them, the 15th was passed to ensure that Blacks were included in the Franchise (though the South was quick to find work-arounds for that through the Poll Tax, and Literacy Tests); and the 19th was the last of the Progressive Reforms of the Early 20th-Century to force the Moss-backs into that Century.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (41579f)

  28. Harry really thinks he can nuke the Constitution with his remaining Senate powers. Hopefully, this is the “last gasp” of 21st century liberalism as we know it.

    Rovin (0d0a09)

  29. add….
    Remember, in the time following Reconstruction, it was common to restrict the Franchise to property owners. Very few Blacks in the South at that time owned property, therefore they largely were ineligible to vote, as were White share-croppers – an early reform was to extend the Franchise to non-property owners.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (41579f)

  30. I’m with Drew on this. I think some of these amendments shouldn’t have been necessary.

    If they had a 28th Amendment today saying that the right of non felon citizens to possess and trade firearms and ammunition shall not be infringed except in limited situations a,b,c, some might say ‘why do we need that? We’ve got a 2nd amendment!’ And they should be right.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  31. AD, that would have happened pretty damn quick unless they didn’t want much representation in Congress given the 15th.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  32. BTW, the 14th amendment was largely moribund for decades, given cases like Slaughterhouse and the execrable Cruikshank, which is probably the worst decision the Court ever made, setting the legal foundation of Jim Crow. Plessey was just tidying up after that.

    Kevin M (563f77)

  33. Tanny, the 15th amendment was necessary because the 14th did not guarantee anyone the right to vote.

    AD, as I explained at length on another thread, the 16th amendment did not make the income tax possible; Congress’s power to tax wage income, which is what most people pay, has never been questioned and did not need any amendment. The only purpose of the 16th is to put to bed an argument, which no court today would have accepted, that a tax on rents, dividends, and other income derived from property is really a direct tax.

    Milhouse (644f18)

  34. Team R loves pledges like a honey badger loves caramel sea-salt ice cream in a waffle cone.
    Comment by happyfeet — 10/8/2011 @ 10:46 am

    — That is your most creative name yet for the divine Miss Sarah.

    Icy Texan (013a25)

  35. Ipso Facto, George W. Bush vetoed 12 pieces of legislation. Granted, not very many — but neither was it “never vetoed a single bill.”

    Icy Texan (013a25)

  36. Fair enough Icy Texan. I voted for him anyway but I was not happy about it.

    Ipso Fatso (74cbec)

  37. I’m sure that if they were alive, the founders (I refuse to capitalize that word because these men would have been repulsed at the very idea of that) would all be banding together would eschew both parties to form a third.

    JEA (5f6156)

  38. Milhouse, on your take on the 16th, I suggest you collect all of your thoughts and statements on this subject, and forward them to Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe, and Tennessee Law Professor Glenn Reynolds, and get their input as to the accuracy of your position.
    Personally, I think that you are far outside the “mainstream” of thought on the subject, both on the legal aspects, and the historical ones too.
    But then, I’m just a retired Ferrari mechanic, and gun-dealer, who never has/had to deal with the law, so what would I know.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (41579f)

  39. Icy, I think the indictment against GWB was that he “never” vetoed an appropriations bill from the GOP controlled Congress (’01-’06), trading support for the GWOT for the funding of Congress’ pet projects.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (41579f)

  40. There is a reason that the following would gladly drop the Constitution:

    Gov. Bev Purdue, fmr Obama budget director Peter Orszag, Jeffrey Sachs, Ezra Klein, Fareed Zakaria.

    They believe that the United States is the source of all evil in the world. They have no interest in preserving any American value. They prefer totalitarianism. And this all can be said about the Occupy Wallstreet team.

    AZ Bob (ffd720)

  41. Crappyfeet probably believes in gun control like Harrison Ford does.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  42. Gun Control, as Rich Perry says, is hitting what you aim at – using both hands!

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (41579f)

  43. I am a big proponent of gridlock, and I applaud the Justice for getting this right, but Scalia is also a major statist and proponent of stare decisis which I abhor.

    Horatio (55069c)

  44. Horatio well said.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  45. Gun Control is subduing that gangbanging thug.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  46. trying to run you over.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  47. The mark 86:25 starts the exchange between Feinstein and Scalia. And it ends with something close to a “nevermind” by Feinstein, looking like Emily Litella. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3FnpaWQJO0

    But it doesn’t get much better after that. What a lightweight. I think she would have felt more comfortable talking to a Sotomayor.

    AZ Bob (ffd720)

  48. Gotta love the left and some on the right insisting being against illegal immigration is the same as being against legal immigration.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  49. Because the Right is composed of Haters; you know, like Harry Callahan: He hates everybody – equally!

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (41579f)

  50. Milhouse, on your take on the 16th, I suggest you collect all of your thoughts and statements on this subject, and forward them to Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe, and Tennessee Law Professor Glenn Reynolds, and get their input as to the accuracy of your position.

    Why would I want to bother them, and why would they bother responding to me? What could they possibly contribute to the discussion?

    Personally, I think that you are far outside the “mainstream” of thought on the subject, both on the legal aspects, and the historical ones too.

    Almost everything I wrote is a matter of indisputable fact, not opinion. If “mainstream thought” has a problem with it, then that “mainstream” is utterly ignorant and deserves to be scorned. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts, and the fact is that a tax on wages and salaries is not a direct tax, and there has never been any question about Congress’s power under Article 1 to impose one.

    The only part of my comment which is opinion, and which you are entitled to dispute if you have a decent argument, is my claim that no court today would entertain the argument which the Supreme Court bought in 1895, that taxing income derived from property is the same as taxing the property itself. That is my assessment, and I stand by it, but I can’t prove it. I believe that today’s Supreme Court would reject such an argument 9-0, and so would all the lower courts, except to the extent that they felt bound by the precedent. But if you have an argument why the decision was correct, or at least plausible, feel free to present it. However you do not have the right to claim that the question ever had anything to do with taxing wages.

    Milhouse (644f18)

  51. Milhouse, your belief that you can dictate to others the terms of debate is one of the reasons you don’t have the respect you seem to expect.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  52. SPQR, I’m still waiting for an apology from you. You claimed that you were an expert on the subject, and that I was wrong, and yet when I posted my explanation all you had to say was “meh”, as if it had not completely demolished your position. It’s not I who dictates that you can’t have your own facts; those are the terms of all debate.

    Milhouse (644f18)

  53. A Legend in his own Mind!

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (41579f)

  54. Hey, do you claim that you can make up whatever facts you like? That facts are subjective? Or are you claiming my facts are wrong? If so, why don’t you tell me what you think the true facts are, and why you think so? If you think Congress’s power to tax wages has ever come under question, say when that was, and what argument was made against it. But if you look it up you’ll find that I have my facts exactly right.

    Milhouse (644f18)

  55. with egg on his face
    exhorts “I am not a crook”
    what it is, milhouse?

    ColonelHaiku (a4b693)

  56. What are you on about, Colonel? Who’s got egg on his face? When have I ever had my facts wrong?

    Milhouse (644f18)

  57. milhouse’s “mainstream”
    is nothing but yellow stream
    he invents own “facts”

    ColonelHaiku (a4b693)

  58. I’m just a retired Ferrari mechanic,

    SWEET

    Dustin (b2fb78)


  59. What bothers me is when the R’s control the senate and house that they act just like D’s.


    While I am hardly happy with the way the Rs behaved in 2000-2006, I think the behavior of the Ds 2008-2010 more than amply showed the falsehood of the above quote.

    I concur, however, that it is most unfortunate that we have no choices but between someone who spends like a proverbial drunken sailor and someone who spends like a sober sailor looking to get drunk sometime soon.


    the 16th amendment did not make the income tax possible;


    Funny, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the perception of just about anyone at the time…


    Almost everything I wrote is a matter of indisputable fact, not opinion.


    Ahh, yeeAH. Sure. Ah-huh.

    A couple minutes of search reveals these quotes, about the amendment itself and about the difference between direct and indirect taxes per the Constitution:


    “In 1895, in the Supreme Court case of Pollock v Farmer’s Loan and Trust (157 U.S. 429), the Court disallowed a federal tax on income from real property. The tax was designed to be an indirect tax, which would mean that states need not contribute portions of a whole relative to its census figures. The Court, however, ruled that the tax was a direct tax and subject to apportionment. This was the last in a series of conflicting court decisions dating back to the Civil War. Between 1895 and 1909, when the amendment was passed by Congress, the Court began to back down on its position, as it became clear not only to accountants but to everyone that the solvency of the nation was in jeopardy. In a series of cases, the definition of “direct tax” was modified, bent, twisted, and coaxed to allow more taxation efforts that approached an income tax.”

    AND


    “The legal distinction between direct and indirect taxes was important enough to warrant the passage of a Constitutional amendment – 16th Amendment – in 1913. Prior to this amendment the law was written in such a way that all direct taxes imposed by the government had to be directly apportioned to the population. In other words, any state having half as many people as another state would only have direct tax revenue that equaled half that of the larger state. The direct tax legal definition prevented the government from imposing personal income taxes prior to the passage of the 16th Amendment because of the apportionment requirement. The 16th Amendment ended the apportionment requirement and created personal income taxes.”

    So your claimed “mainstream”, inarguable position is that no one but you apparently knows what the correct interpretation is:

    Cranium, Rectum, Greater Separation Highly Recommended.


    Or are you claiming my facts are wrong?

    I don’t know what HE’s claiming, I’m claiming your claim that they are FACTS is wrong… not that your “FACTS ARE WRONG”.

    Unfortunately, all too many people fall for the binary-logic approach to common discussion. Most English isn’t well suited to binary Yes/No, True/False answers. Trinary logic is far, far more effective in dealing with statements in English: True/False/Nonsense
    The most obvious example is the “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” meme. The answer for most men isn’t “Yes”, because that suggests you WERE beating your wife. The answer isn’t “No” because is suggests you CONTINUE to beat your wife. The answer is “Nonsense” because the question, in English, has a subtle, built-in presumption of a fact which is not a fact — that you have ever beaten your wife. If that is NOT true (and hopefully it is) then the question makes NO SENSE.

    Your arguments are incorrect because your presumed “facts” that they are based on are ludicrously and egregiously wrong in the first place. It’s impossible to “prove you wrong” because your statements are nonsense in the very first place.


    When have I ever had my facts wrong?


    You’ve had your non-facts wrong a lot of the time, from what I’ve noticed. Not always, but often enough to make that a good even-odds bet before any discussion has occurred. You seem to have learned at the feet of the (post)master himself, Cliff Clavin.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  60. P.S., Karl — good piece.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  61. Legislative gridlock….a feature, not a bug!

    Loren (998d8f)

  62. Yeah, right – as if good government were the objective.

    Our people want stuff and they want politicians who will get it for them.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  63. If the 14th amendment applied to women, why did they need to pass the 19th amendment?

    The 14th defined citizenship for all, but only mentioned voting rights for “male citizens.” (And those rights could be abridged, at the “price” of seats in Congress.)

    The 15th probably should have settled it, although the fact that it removed “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” as barriers to voting could have implied that sex was still a barrier.

    The 19th removed sex as a barrier to voting.

    NJ Mark (ebc589)

  64. Is Scalia serious??

    The bill of rights of the former evil empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was much better than ours. I mean it. Literally, it was much better. We guarantee freedom of speech and of the press. Big deal. They guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, of street demonstrations and protests, and anyone who is caught trying to suppress criticism of the government will be called to account. Whoa, that is wonderful stuff!

    Of course, it’s just words on paper, what our Framers would have called a “parchment guarantee.” And the reason is that the real constitution of the Soviet Union — you think of the word “constitution” — it doesn’t mean “bill” it means “structure”: [when] you say a person has a good constitution you mean a sound structure. The real constitution of the Soviet Union *** that constitution did not prevent the centralization of power in one person or in one party.

    The Gulag Archipelago and Lubyanka prison were full of people who took that so-called “real constitution” too literally.

    SFC MAC (720cad)

  65. Thank you ^^^ for your comprehensive reading. Now you know that Scalia was absolutely serious.

    Icy Texan (ea6941)

  66. @Another Drew -10/8/2011 @ 10:49 am

    If the 14th and 15th amendment guaranteed citizenship and voting rights for all U.S. citizens; male, female, black, white, et al, there would have been no need to pass the 19th.

    Up until 1920, the constitution didn’t make it clear enough that females were included in the voting rights of all U.S. citizens.

    All of those concerns should have been consolidated in the 15the amendment like so:

    “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, previous condition of servitude, or sex.”

    Simple enough, yes?

    SFC MAC (720cad)

  67. How can someone as low-functioning as Ezra Klein still be around, especially after that idiot Journolist fiasco?

    Federal Dog (7d267b)

  68. Excellent post!
    Great words from Scalia, which ought not to be considered trivial. A divided legislature was a great idea, as well as division of power between executive and legislative branches.

    Best Regards,

    PS: found you via a link from Don Surber

    CAPT Mike (92ef17)


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