If it ain’t broke . . .

Blog008


New York Times:

Let’s Give Up on the Constitution

AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.

Consider, for example, the assertion by the Senate minority leader last week that the House could not take up a plan by Senate Democrats to extend tax cuts on households making $250,000 or less because the Constitution requires that revenue measures originate in the lower chamber. Why should anyone care? Why should a lame-duck House, 27 members of which were defeated for re-election, have a stranglehold on our economy? Why does a grotesquely malapportioned Senate get to decide the nation’s fate?

Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.

As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?

[...]

This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.


Funny, but I was just thinking last night how lucky we got two and a quarter centuries ago. Look at how many times in history that one dictatorship gets replaced with another. Or worse, a dictatorship gets followed by a bloody civil war. Think about the French Revolution or the former Yugoslavia.

With one notable exception we have managed to maintain internal peace and stability in this country since its founding. It hasn’t been perfect or entirely peaceful. There have been riots and assassinations. We paid a high cost for staying together as a nation, including the acceptance of slavery and Jim Crow segregation. African Americans bore the brunt of that cost.

But we muddled through somehow. How many nations on this planet have managed to keep the same government in place for over two centuries? Think about it.

Could we come up with a better system? Maybe. But it still won’t be perfect. But if we change what we have now we might fix some problems but we would also create new ones.

Also consider this – the reason that the Constitution gets in the way from time to time is that some individual or group invokes it. Sometimes it’s the other guys who do it. Some times it’s our side that feels the need to throw a monkey wrench into whatever the majority is up to.

The real problem isn’t that the Constitution gets in the way, it’s that it doesn’t get in the way often enough. (Can you say “Obamacare”?)


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45 Responses to If it ain’t broke . . .

  1. myiq2xu (D) says:

  2. myiq2xu (D) says:

  3. myiq2xu (D) says:

  4. HELENK says:

    well since they NYT gave up freedom of the press and became a rag that even makes Pravda look good they have no use for the Constitution but the rest of us do.
    Kind of like the Constitution, gave us a pretty good life in this country. People from all over the world came here to live under that document. Haven’t seen any better any where else.
    Isn’t the NYT in debt to a mexican billionaire?? Maybe that is why they are so willing to give up American values. Next they will be promoting drug cartels

  5. lyn5 says:

    The U.S. Constitution is our country’s foundation. Anyone who wants to ignore it is a fascist pig.

    • Lulu says:

      It seemed to work just fine through civil war, depressions, recessions, national disasters, world wars etc until Bronco Bama showed up. Logic would indicate that the problem is not the constitution but Bronco and the stooges like the author who is a professor of sedition, er, constitutional law. I would think the author is positive he would be a king’s counselor and perhaps run the Star Chamber. This ass may be worse than fascist, I think he is a nihilist and wants everyone as miserable as he is.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  6. Constance says:

    The Constitution is supposed to protect us from arrogant fools like the jokers at the NYT. It is stunning how arrogant east coast liberals are. Why don’t we just let them withdraw and form their own little liberal utopia, they can even print their own money. Then the rest of us could follow our original Constitution and get on with running our world.

    • Constance says:

      I saw that speech. What the hell was Bronco thinking? He basically said Republicans said they wouldn’t allow higher tax rates but that he has forced them to go back on that. How is that productive since negotiation is ongoing and nothing has been signed yet? Could he be more oblivious?!

  7. Gack! They make me sick. Was it always like this and I just had to move away from the East Coast and detoxify to see it?

    • Constance says:

      From my perspective it has always been like that. East coasters are arrogant and elitist and treat the rest of the country and the Constitution with contempt. Really a large part of the whole Palin mocking syndrome was the fact that she didn’t have the proper Ivy indoctrination and live in the elite part of the country.

  8. 49erDweet says:

    What could possibly go wrong?

  9. HELENK says:

    http://www.soopermexican.com/mexiblog/

    latest edition of the wheathermen underground

    the thing that really gets to me is that these brats all had a good life , education enough to make something of the themselves, never went hungry, always had a roof over their heads.
    I hope their parents DO NOT get them expensive lawyers to get them off.

  10. sadly, sounds like this guy must be in the beginning stages of Alzheimers……

  11. swanspirit says:

    Maybe we should all just vote to change what we don’t like about the constitution on facebook . Yeaah , that would work !

  12. westcoaster says:

    I have a better idea. Let’s drop the New York Times- it’s much younger and serves no visible purpose.

  13. DeniseVB says:

    This cracked me up…..

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/12/gregory-under-investigation-out-of-headlines-153043.html

    No, not that Gregory’s a suckie-uppie jerk, but thinking that a “person” under DC police investigation…cough….would be allowed within 10 feet of Obama ?

  14. angienc (D) says:

    Here I am having a nice Christmas vacation at home, away from the internet & I check in to find this stupidity.

    First, until people are willing to LITERALLY (note proper use of this word) to risk their lives and sacred honor to implement a new system of government, then it will not be “better” than the one we have, so the idea that these corrupt dickheads could “maybe” come up with a better one is impossible (and that’s not even considering the fact that “honor” doesn’t mean what it used to, which in & of itself makes any system “better” than the one we have an impossibility).

    Second, the fact that someone who actually teaches Con Law can write: “We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.” sums up everything that is wrong with this country.

    “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.

    BTW, that’s James Madison in the Federalist Papers.

    Third, my mom has one of her students staying with us over the holiday — she’s only 19 & here from Latvia on a volleyball scholarship but because of money she couldn’t afford to go home over the break & my mom didn’t want her to stay in the dorms all by herself. She’s such a sweet girl, it’s been really nice having her. But to the point — during our very first conversation I asked her if she wanted to stay here after graduation or live in Latvia and she said: “Oh, I want to stay here. I’ve wanted to be an American since I was 10 years old.” No one EVER says that about ANY OTHER FUCKING COUNTRY IN THE WORLD & yet these assholes want to make the USA like those other fucking countries. Is it me? Am I the one who is fucking out of her mind or is it these assholes? For the love of fuck.

    Happy New Year.

  15. votermom says:

    NYT is seriously offending me. How about they give up their Constitutional rights right now and STFU.

  16. myiq2xu (D) says:

    My Hillary post has been updated with more information about her condition.

  17. Roberta says:

    Want to change the Constitution? Then follow the process in Article V of the Constitution. Any other way…..over my dead body.

    There are things worth fighting and dying for. I will defend the U.S Constitution with everything i’ve got.

    Where do these idiots come from?

    • myiq2xu (D) says:

      This one came from Chicago:

      Louis Michael Seidman is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, a widely read constitutional law scholar and major proponent of the critical legal studies movement.

      [...]

      Seidman received an A.B. from University of Chicago and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1971. After graduation, Seidman clerked for D.C. Circuit Judge Skelly Wright and later clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall. Following his clerkship, Seidman joined the public defender service of the District of Columbia.

      • Roberta says:

        Read that article some place yesterday and was disgusted and fearful. Did not do any research on author.

        Chicago: Why does this not surprise me?

        Clerking for Thurgood Marshall though does surprise me.

  18. HELENK says:

    off topic

    http://www.wtop.com/209/3176581/Float-Honors-Vets

    my late husband and many of our friends were in the forgotten war.
    I am glad to see some recognition for them

  19. yttik says:

    This is absolutely the most appalling thing I’ve read all year! How somebody who actually teaches constitutional law can be so darn dumb is beyond me.

    “Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country.”

    I have imagined that! Heck, I’ve SEEN that. Now imagine that government official with no checks and balances at all, no constitutional limitations,nothing but unbridled power. It’s a terrifying thought. Most of the world’s greatest evils have been done by someone with unbridled power believing they know what’s best for the country…and everyone else be damned.

    • Constance says:

      But but but…they are the elite, they exist to determine what is best and impose it on us, the contemptible unindoctrinated. We are all just too simple to see how really really special they are.

  20. myiq2xu (D) says:

  21. sonrisa says:

    “can you say Obamacare?” uh, how about FISA & the NDAA? how abot the suspension of habeaus corpus? the problem isn’t the Constitution. The problem is the Constitution is being gutted & trashed

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