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New York Times article bashes U.S. Constitution

Original post made by Hank Lawrence on Feb 7, 2012

Talk about bait and switch. The title of the article says "We the People' Loses Appeal With People Around the World".

The reality is that the U.S. Constitution was never liked by the editorial board of the NYT. Did you think it could turn harder to the left than it was under Howell Raines? Think again.

The NYT does not like the fact that the founding fathers knew how iniquitous politicians are and would pervert the constitution in a Noo Yawk minute for political gain. That is why our founding fathers made the amendment process difficult.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (formerly the GC for the ACLU) predictably says " "I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012"

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Breyer once said he thought the Constitution should be a living document. Don't you love those Clinton appointees? They truly advocate removing the protections to the U.S. Constitution given to us by our founding fathers so they can make our country more progressive. Progressive means European style socialism where the Government takes more from its citizens while stripping them of their freedoms.

To read this piece of "progressive" journalism click here.

Web Link

Many readers will refer to it as a piece of something else.

Comments (25)

Posted by Jody Rich, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 7, 2012 at 8:31 am

Rough morning, Hank?

It's true, many would model a new system on Canada's 1982 constitution. A parliamentary system more closely represents all.

You forgot one of the Justices quoted in the article you trashed:

"There are, of course, limits to empirical research based on coding and counting, and there is more to a constitution than its words, as Justice Antonin Scalia told the Senate Judiciary Committee in October. "Every banana republic in the world has a bill of rights," he said.

"The bill of rights of the former evil empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was much better than ours," he said, adding: "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," Justice Scalia continued, "it's just words on paper, what our framers would have called a 'parchment guarantee.' " "

Don't worry Hank, it's halftime in America, and our 2nd half is about to begin.


Posted by digitalis, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 7, 2012 at 9:15 am

Hank - are you an originalist? Strictly as its written?

There are times when I joke with my wife about how its all been downhill since wimen got the right to vote....

But only when she's in an exceptionally good mood! ;-)

Or do you prefer the whole 3/5ths of a person counting thing that gave the slave states power?

As for why other countries ignore our Constitution - seriously - would YOU recommend they adopt the electoral college?!?!?!?


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 7, 2012 at 10:06 am

The U.S. Constitution is the best constitution ever written. The framers perceptively envisioned how some people, primarily liberals, under the guise of progressivism would strip away our freedoms.

And of course you totally misinterpreted what Scalia was saying. Which does not surprise me. Scalia merely pointed out that it is not the paper but the commitment behind the paper. Conservatives cherish the U.S Constitution while many liberals see it as an impediment to their desire to transition the United States into a socialist state.

The difference between the United States and those countries many liberals love is that most people in this country cherish their freedom.

Your lack of ignorance of the electoral college is appalling. First you should understand why the U.S. Senate was created and after you become eduacated in that matter perhaps you will understand why there is an electoral college and why it will never be abolished. Your proposal to abolish the electoral college would benefit 17 states and be a detriment to 33 states. So how to you propose to get 3/4 of the states to approve your scheme when nearly 2/3 of the States would suffer? Do you think Joe Biden would go for Delaware having 2/3 of its voting power stripped away? I think not!


Posted by bob, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 7, 2012 at 10:28 am

Hank The US Constiution is one of the best written. However it was written in 1776 and probably needs to be updated. The example is the swearing in of the new president. Why does this still happen in Feb? Is does not take the incoming president that long to get to DC anymore. These and some other things should be updated.


Posted by Jody Rich, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 7, 2012 at 11:11 am

Hank: Digitalis did not recommend abolishing the Electoral College, read his/her comment again.

You were asked a series of questions - you ignored all of them and settled on a straw man - abolishing the College. We all know it is here to stay. He/she asked if you would recommend it to another country. Would you?

"Your lack of ignorance of the electoral college is appalling." One notes you did not defend the College, only noted that is here to stay for political reasons - "So how to you propose to get 3/4 of the states to approve..."

Your: "The U.S. Constitution is the best constitution ever written." What about the questions or points you ignored?

Inequality for women?

Slaves being counted as 3/5ths of a person?

Haven't seen that in many recent Constitutions.

I will, however, celebrate with you the great victory for the Constitution today - equality for Californians wishing to be married. Cheers!

"The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort." Web Link

Indeed, truly a great country, and a great Constitution.


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 7, 2012 at 11:22 am

Liberals,

You can thank Roger Taney, the fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and a virulent racist Democrat for the Dred Scott Decision. Republicans were the abolitionists but those democrats loved slavery.

Thee is also a process for amending the constitution which liberals seem to forget.


Posted by bob, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 7, 2012 at 11:35 am

Hank How many times has our constiution be amended , not many. This has nothing to do with liberals or conservatives. It stems from a system that encourages politicians to do what is best for them or their districts. There is no one in DC that cares what is best for the nation, too busy feathering their own nest. This applies to democrats and republicians.


Posted by Jody Rich, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 7, 2012 at 11:43 am

From Straw Man to deflection.

With all your bloviating and ignoring the direct question posed by Digitalis ("are you an originalist? Strictly as its written?") we will assume that you DO AGREE the Constitution is a living document.

You ignored the question. You ignored questions about women's rights and slavery.

You do favor amending the Constitution as needed and viable. ("Thee is also a process for amending the constitution which liberals seem to forget.")

You favor a living Constitution.

Good to know. That's two things we can celebrate together!

Still enjoying the glow of that great constitutional victory this morning - how about you?

"The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort."

Cheers!


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Yes it was a great constitutional victory. Our founding fathers never intended to have one class of people's rights subordinated to any other class. This will go to the U.S. Supreme Court and I believe it will either uphold the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision or refuse to hear the case which means the 9th Circuit Court's ruling will stand. The 9th Circuit Court usually has an abysmal record but on this day it shined. This is a good day for America.


Posted by Jody Rich, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm

At this point, I feel the Supremes will refuse to hear it.

Quite a bit of detail and such on Prop 9, Hank. What about the larger Constitutional issues you brought up but refuse to address?


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm

It is Proposition 8. Please get your propositions correct.

The Territory of Wyoming became a state in 1890. Wyoming was and still is a predominatly Republican State. It was also the first state to give women the right to vote-- a right that was granted when it was a territory.

The Teddy Roosevelt Bull Moose party was the first political party to endorse Women's voting rights. It passed through both houses by a two-thirds+ majority was ratified by 3/4+ of the states.

We have a perfectly sound constitutional amendment process. In fact the United States would not have been a country without the first 10 amendments known as the Bill of Rights. The founding fathers recognized that the Constitution was not perfect but did not want progressives, right wingers, or anyone of any political persuasion to change the constitution easily to suit the political views du jour. It is arguably a difficult process but one that allows much needed changes and deters meritless changes.


Posted by Jody Rich, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Sorry, hit the wrong key. As you may know, the 9 key is next to the 8 key. Again, so sorry to offend you superior intellect.

What about the larger Constitutional issues you brought up but refuse to address - by highlighting examples of the amendment process, are you telling us that you believe the Constitution is a living document?

By avoiding that question and the ones addressing slavery and women's rights, you have twisted yourself into knots.


Posted by Just Wondering.., a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm

For STRICT originalist...
How does the phrase about the MILITIA get left off??
As passed by the Congress:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

Were our founding fathers just sipping really hard tea when they started their sentence with all the MILITIA nonsense?? I think NOT. Historically? NOT!

As for adding amendments? If that's the only way to put POLITICIANS in their place so be it. Australia is a bit more reasonable and allows people to vote on referendums. They also make sure that everyone actually votes.

For a democracy we don't do democracy as well as some other countries. We can do BETTER, and that Hank, is the American Way!


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 8, 2012 at 6:18 am

"We don't do democracy as well as some other countries". What you really mean is "we don't do socialism as well as other countries". But we are trying. Give Obama another term and we will be well along our way to the utopian socialist state-- More regulation, less wealth, less freedom, no vibrancy, more guilt, more unhappiness and distant memories of what a great country the United States once was as we devolve into squalor.

We can always do better. That is how civilizations evolve. We just have different ideas about doing better. I believe in Capitalism and reasoned regulation that allows individuality and creativity to flourish. Many liberals believe that the State should reign supreme over the individual and decide what freedoms the individual will have and how much they will confiscate from people who work hard to fund idealistic pipe dreams.


Posted by Jody Rich, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 8, 2012 at 8:56 am

Hank:

You missed the last question posed to you (multiple times) which is odd for a fellow who is so detailed as to throw a fit when a 9 is typed instead of an 8.

"What about the larger Constitutional issues you brought up but refuse to address - by highlighting examples of the amendment process, are you telling us that you believe the Constitution is a living document?"

By not answering it - I guess we agree that is is a living, breathing document.

We already know why you won't address slavery and women's rights, don't we?


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 8, 2012 at 10:01 am

James Madison, one of the original Federalists along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay said "I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations…This danger ought to be wisely guarded against."

So James Madsion warned against people like Jospeh Breyer who would gleefully allow liberals to manipulate and usurp the constitution to suit their twisted political objectives.

The founders recognized this potential abuse and instituted a process that allowed needed change but required approval of 2/3+ of both the House and Senate and ratification of 3/4+ of all the states. It is a shame that Jody can't seem to grasp this simple concept.

While calling it a living document can cause different semantical interpretations I would call it a living document with significant protections against abuse by activists who seek to stultify the constitution and trample upon our individual rights and freedoms.




Posted by Jody Rich, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 8, 2012 at 11:34 am

"It is a shame that Jody can't seem to grasp this simple concept. "

You are an amazing person - do you cop such an awful attitude when you are with someone - or just treat them that way when you are safely behind a computer screen?????

What on earth makes you think I did not understand the amendment rules as they stand?!?

Glad we can agree the Constitution is a living breathing document. Only took asking 5 times for you to answer it. So on one hand you hate calling it a living document ("...Breyer once said he thought the Constitution should be a living document. Don't you love those Clinton appointees? ")

And a day later you say: "...I would call it a living document with significant protections ..."

But according to Hank, I can't "grasp this simple concept."

Have a good day...


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Jody,

partial quotations can result in misinterpretations.

I said

"I would call it a living document with significant protections against abuse by activists who seek to stultify the constitution and trample upon our individual rights and freedoms".

This is done to protect against hijacking the constitution by people who don't like what it says and want to change it into something entirely different. The difficult amendment process was done so purposely to thwart perversion of the constitution by political opportunists who have no loyalty to their country but only loyalty to their self serving political agendas.


Posted by Jody Rich, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm

"I would call it a living document with significant protections against abuse by activists who seek to stultify the constitution and trample upon our individual rights and freedoms".

vs

"...Breyer once said he thought the Constitution should be a living document. Don't you love those Clinton appointees?"

To the tune of the Mickey Mouse theme song... Everyone sing!

"H-Y-P, O-C-R (are ya listening?) I-S-Y...

Hypocri-sy.... see ya real soon!"

Not even going to touch "The difficult amendment process" vs "Thee is also a process for amending the constitution which liberals seem to forget".

Hank - please be careful! There could be serious health concerns with you constantly wanting your cake and eating it too.





Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Hank -

Thanks for the link to the NYT article - I'd missed it somehow. It is quite thought provoking how other nations have stopped looking to our constitution for inspiration in designing their own.
One paragraph from the article stood out for me and I wondered what your thoughts were, given that you apparently think the Constitution the founding fathers handed us is near perfect and doesn't need much updating:
"Other nations routinely trade in their constitutions wholesale, replacing them on average every 19 years. By odd coincidence, Thomas Jefferson, in a 1789 letter to James Madison, once said that every constitution "naturally expires at the end of 19 years" because "the earth belongs always to the living generation."
Sounds like you're not exactly in agreement with this founding father.


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm

For those of you who might want to consider reading something other than the Nation I would like to pint out a great piece from Investors Business Daily. Nation readers might refer to IBD as that Iniquitous Capitalist Pig Rag. I think it is a great newspaper.

Warning what you are about to read is contrary to Obama Socialist Dogma

"The Constitution doesn't seem to be of much use to Barack Obama, either. The president who also thinks U.S. power and prestige are no longer what they were, and aren't that important anyway, recently lamented that the Founders 'designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes'."

Obviously the framers failed to carve out enough power for the "I" branch of the government to suit him.

A lack of respect for the Constitution isn't peculiar to Obama. It's shared among Democrats, in particular, even Democrat-appointed Supreme Court jurists.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Clinton appointee, said last week on Egyptian television that if she were drafting a constitution in the year 2012, she wouldn't look to ours.

She reportedly recommended the South African Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the European Convention on Human Rights.

These documents are awash in enumerated rights, but enumerated rights are not the gold standard. Roger Pilon, constitutional scholar at the Cato Institute (a Den of iniquity according to leftists), contends the more important characteristic of a nation's founding charter is how it limits government.

"The framers protected rights mainly by limiting power," he said.
A look at the constitutions recommended by Ginsburg reveals that some of the "rights" they secure aren't in fact natural rights at all but licenses to plunder. The "right" to food or health care can be provided only when someone else's right to the fruits of his labor or the use of his property has to be violated.

We're not ashamed to declare the U.S. Constitution a magnificent document that, along with the Declaration of Independence, forms the greatest national charter in human history.

No other document has ever guarded freedom the way it has, and no other contract has provided such a foundation for prosperity. It's not perfect, but it's as close to perfect as man has come.


Posted by Ethan, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Feb 8, 2012 at 6:59 pm

"Your proposal to abolish the electoral college would benefit 17 states and be a detriment to 33 states."

On the other hand, it would result in a democratically elected president. Can't have that. It's so un-18th century.


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 9, 2012 at 6:55 am

Ethan,

That is like saying we should abolish the U.S. Senate. The U.S. Senate and the Electoral college were both created so that the larger states would not run roughshod over the smaller states. This was done to even the playing field. Our Founding Fathers had the prescience to realize that the larger states could impose their will on the smaller states unless there was a check. That is why there is equal state representation in the Senate regardless of population and is also why the number of electoral votes each state gets is equal to the number of Congressman plus Senators that State has representing it in the Nation's Capitol.

Again I pose the question: Do you believe that Vice President Biden would advocate abolishing the electoral college thus stripping Delaware of 2/3 of its voting power in presidential elections?


Posted by gunste, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Feb 9, 2012 at 9:50 am

The Constitution was a very good document when it was written. It required crucially important amendments as soon as it came into force. That alone indicates that it must be a living document, responsive to the times. The strict constructionists would have us think in terms that the Ford Model T is perfectly good for the 21st century.
It is also very important to recognize that the people who wrote and approved the original document believed that only property owners could vote, that women were second class citizens, that slavery was acceptable. - The changes implemented in the amendments to date prove that it is a living document and must adjust to changes in society.
If the Constitution covered everything and outlined the rules for life today, we would not need the Congress to make endless changes.
The strict constructionists found that the Constitution allowed corporations to be people and that money equals speech - a very long shot, politically influenced. It does reflect the 18th century belief that the elite should govern the (ignorant) common people, which is hardly accepted today, though the plutocratic oligarchy that governs us perpetuates it.


Posted by Kathy, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Why are we discussing a NYT article in the Almanac?? Statements like, "The reality is that the U.S. Constitution was never liked by the editorial board of the NYT" is not helpful for discussion, relevant, or even very interesting. Suggest that if the Almanac is going to print diatribes, it limits said diatribes to subjects of local concern.


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