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Constitution is Too Confusing for Dems to Understand





jwellsy
Here's another excuse why liberals don't like the Constitution. I think it was Plato that said "no one does wrong knowingly". This is a good example of a prelude to how perverse thinking can lead to inappropriate actions.

Quote:

The issue with the Constitution is not that people don’t read the text and think they’re following it. The issue with the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than a hundred years ago.

http://www.therightscoop.com/ezra-klein-constitution-too-hard-to-understand

Bikerman
No one errs or does wrong willingly or knowingly.
(Socratres)

I didn't find anything surprising in the clip and I'm not sure what you are saying. Is it your opinion that the US constitution is generally clear and unambiguous? If so then I must differ. I'm no expert but I have studied it a little some time ago and it is not a simple document to interpret.

The whole point about the US constitution is that it made no attempt to cover every eventuality since it was intended from the start to be a 'living' constitution - ie it would be changed and adapted over time as needed.

At least that's what my Professor told me, and he is considered to be a leading authority on the constitution....
standready
I think the Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves with all the bull we must endure.
Bikerman
Its quite interesting to me, as a Brit, to see that many Americans hold the founding fathers in such high esteem - almost like saints. They were just men, like other men, and although they did a pretty good job it is bizarre to think that their words are somehow so wise and so prescient that they cannot be altered...That seems to me to be turning politics into religion.
deanhills
standready wrote:
I think the Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves with all the bull we must endure.
Agreed. As far as I can see, for example, is that the Federal Government is no longer a Federal Government. States don't have as much autonomy in the governing of their affairs as the Founding Fathers intended for them to have. The Health Reform Bill being a very good example of that.
liljp617
standready wrote:
I think the Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves with all the bull we must endure.


They were dealing with plenty of "bull" in their time as well...the state of politics today is tame compared to the days of the founding fathers.

Bikerman wrote:
Its quite interesting to me, as a Brit, to see that many Americans hold the founding fathers in such high esteem - almost like saints. They were just men, like other men, and although they did a pretty good job it is bizarre to think that their words are somehow so wise and so prescient that they cannot be altered...That seems to me to be turning politics into religion.


That idea might get you proverbially stoned in the US, unfortunately. You would probably be taken aback if you sat in a middle or high school US history classroom. These men are the best men to ever grace the Earth with their presence apparently Confused

I think Jefferson does portray a good view, though, and probably a common one of those around him:

Quote:
I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.


deanhills wrote:
standready wrote:
I think the Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves with all the bull we must endure.
Agreed. As far as I can see, for example, is that the Federal Government is no longer a Federal Government. States don't have as much autonomy in the governing of their affairs as the Founding Fathers intended for them to have. The Health Reform Bill being a very good example of that.


I'm curious: Are you content and supportive of extending the Bill of Rights, as written in the US Constitution, to individual States? After all, Chief Justice John Marshall was clear in saying: [the first ten] "amendments contain no expression indicating an intention to apply them to the State governments. This court cannot so apply them."

It wasn't long ago that the Bill of Rights applied to the federal government's interaction with citizens. State and local governments had no obligation to abide by them. So when John Barron decides to sue Baltimore for taking his private property without just compensation, the courts rule that the 5th Amendment is wholly irrelevant.

Or in the aftermath of the Colfax Massacre, United States v. Cruikshank, are you content with the court's ruling that the First Amendment's expression of right to assembly was not intended to limit the powers of the state? Rather, it's application was solely to the federal government. Similarly, the court stated the second amendment "has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government." Are you also content with the ruling that the 14th Amendment, particularly the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, applied only to state actions, not actions of individuals?

After all, is this not an expansion of Federal Government to say the States shall incorporate and apply the Bill of Rights? Shouldn't the States be developing their own Bill of Rights?
ocalhoun
liljp617 wrote:

After all, is this not an expansion of Federal Government to say the States shall incorporate and apply the Bill of Rights? Shouldn't the States be developing their own Bill of Rights?

Trick question.
I'm for keeping power at the lowest feasible level.
This often means taking power from the federal government, and giving it to local governments...
But ideally, it means taking power from any level of government, and granting it to individuals.

Since the change you're talking about there -- having the bill of rights apply to state actions as well -- takes power from the states and gives it to individuals, I support it.


A law that took power from the states and gave it to the federal government, however, I would usually oppose.
liljp617
ocalhoun wrote:
liljp617 wrote:

After all, is this not an expansion of Federal Government to say the States shall incorporate and apply the Bill of Rights? Shouldn't the States be developing their own Bill of Rights?

Trick question.
I'm for keeping power at the lowest feasible level.
This often means taking power from the federal government, and giving it to local governments...
But ideally, it means taking power from any level of government, and granting it to individuals.

Since the change you're talking about there -- having the bill of rights apply to state actions as well -- takes power from the states and gives it to individuals, I support it.


A law that took power from the states and gave it to the federal government, however, I would usually oppose.


Razz I knew your likely response. I'm curious of Dean's.

I guess I should amend that post and also ask (as a general question to the thread): Wasn't that expansion of the Bill of Rights somewhat of a change in the Constitution? Wasn't it an interpretation of the Constitution that isn't made clear by the original text, as Marshall seems to have thought? To me, it's quite an alteration of the application of the Constitution, and one that is fairly ambiguous. However, I think most people would agree it was a change for the better.
deanhills
liljp617 wrote:
I'm curious: Are you content and supportive of extending the Bill of Rights, as written in the US Constitution, to individual States? After all, Chief Justice John Marshall was clear in saying: [the first ten] "amendments contain no expression indicating an intention to apply them to the State governments. This court cannot so apply them."
I think I'm out of my depth here liljp617, as I can't make head or tail out of the court actions. Maybe you can explain them to me in simpler language. I did look them up on the Internet, but could not figure it out there either.

In my opinion the Federal Government was set up to do certain things that are common to all the States, like fighting a war, or representing the United States at International Meetings etc. If the Founding Fathers had intended for the Federal Government to have lots of power, then they would not have chosen a Federal system of Government, but rather a central Government.

I support Ocalhoun's point of view of taking power back from Federal Government to the States, and from the States to individuals. And since by your example the legal experts are prone to interpret the legislation a million ways, perhaps going back in history and try to analyse what was meant by the Founding Fathers is just going to confuse things more. Perhaps people should rather get together and simplify all of it, starting from scratch. Which is with the Bill of Rights for individuals. Individuals giving up certain freedoms in order to receive certain services from the State, and the States giving up certain freedoms for services by the Federal Government.
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