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Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:55 PM

Professor: Take our country back, from the Constitution

Last edited Sun Jan 27, 2013, 07:04 PM - Edit history (1)

Professor: Take our country back, from the Constitution

(CBS News) Is the U.S. Constitution truly worthy of the reverence in which most Americans hold it? A view on that from Louis Michael Seidman, Professor of Constitutional Law at Georgetown University: CBS Sunday Morning 1/27/13
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I've got a simple idea: Let's give up on the Constitution. I know, it sounds radical, but it's really not. Constitutional disobedience is as American as apple pie. For example, most of our greatest Presidents -- Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, and both Roosevelts -- had doubts about the Constitution, and many of them disobeyed it when it got in their way.

To be clear, I don't think we should give up on everything in the Constitution. The Constitution has many important and inspiring provisions, but we should obey these because they are important and inspiring, not because a bunch of people who are now long-dead favored them two centuries ago.

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Worse yet, talking about gun control in terms of constitutional obligation needlessly raises the temperature of political discussion. Instead of a question on policy, about which reasonable people can disagree, it becomes a test of one's commitment to our foundational document and, so, to America itself.

This is our country. We live in it, and we have a right to the kind of country we want. We would not allow the French or the United Nations to rule us, and neither should we allow people who died over two centuries ago and knew nothing of our country as it exists today.
If we are to take back our own country, we have to start making decisions for ourselves, and stop deferring to an ancient and outdated document.

video CBS>

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3445_162-57566014/professor-take-our-country-back-from-the-constitution/

24 replies, 1882 views

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Reply Professor: Take our country back, from the Constitution (Original post)
ErikJ Jan 2013 OP
elleng Jan 2013 #1
backwoodsbob Jan 2013 #2
ErikJ Jan 2013 #4
backwoodsbob Jan 2013 #6
ErikJ Jan 2013 #11
backwoodsbob Jan 2013 #15
X_Digger Jan 2013 #18
hack89 Jan 2013 #21
ErikJ Jan 2013 #23
JRLeft Jan 2013 #3
backwoodsbob Jan 2013 #8
JaneyVee Jan 2013 #9
backwoodsbob Jan 2013 #10
JaneyVee Jan 2013 #13
backwoodsbob Jan 2013 #16
JHB Jan 2013 #12
geek tragedy Jan 2013 #5
Nye Bevan Jan 2013 #7
Benton D Struckcheon Jan 2013 #14
Left Turn Only Jan 2013 #17
X_Digger Jan 2013 #19
aikoaiko Jan 2013 #20
NutmegYankee Jan 2013 #22
question everything Jan 2013 #24

Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 03:59 PM

1. And then we are left with WHAT, exactly,

considering how agreeable we are these days/months/years???

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:04 PM

2. wow..this is a constitutional professor?

so we ditch the 2nd....then the next time the repukes get in power they ditch the 1st and 4th and 5th.

GREAT idea

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Response to backwoodsbob (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:18 PM

4. Well?

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:22 PM

6. how about instead of ditching the constitution

we find ways to reduce gun violence that actually work

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Response to backwoodsbob (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:29 PM

11. THe more guns -the more gun violence.

Maybe tax them 500% to curtail production and sales and use the revenue for mental health/ anti-violence programs.

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #11)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:40 PM

15. great idea

tax them at 500% and after whetever group spends a few million in lawyer fees to defend it and loses we can try something that works.

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #11)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:59 PM

18. Except that's demonstrably false.

We have 160,000,000 more firearms since 1998 and a crime / gun crime / homicide rate not seen since the 1960's.

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/reports/20130102_1998_2012_monthly_yearly_totals.pdf

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #11)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:21 PM

21. So how do you explain historically low levels of gun violence?

violent crime is at a 30 year low in America - we have cut our murder rate in half.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #21)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:32 PM

23. The highest incarceration rate in the world?

could have something to do with it.

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:15 PM

3. I believe the constitution should be rewritten.

We are in the 21st century now and there are outdated rules attached to it.

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Response to JRLeft (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:23 PM

8. how would you rewrite the constitution?

write up a rough draft for us

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Response to backwoodsbob (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:26 PM

9. The Constitution has been re-written 27 times.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #9)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:28 PM

10. no it hasn't

it has been amended but it hasn't been rewritten.

Please rewrite the constitution for us

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Response to backwoodsbob (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:31 PM

13. Amending it is a form of re-writing it. Obviously the whole thing has not been re-written.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #13)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:41 PM

16. then what you are saying

is we should eliminate the 2nd.

Good luck

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Response to JRLeft (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:29 PM

12. True, but consider who'd be doing the writing if it happens anytime soon...

Imagine living under a constitution written by Rand cultists and the less specifically ideological believers in the Divine Right of Wealth, so that a government where money is sucked upward as much as possible, as fast as possible, as high as possible shall not perish from the earth.

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:20 PM

5. It should be amended, not worshipped. Nt

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:23 PM

7. If the police broke into this guy's house in the middle of the night,

searched his house with no warrant, took away some of his stuff, and roughed him up for no apparent reason, I wonder whether his thoughts on "giving up on the Constitution" would evolve at all?

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:37 PM

14. Horrific idea

It may not be perfect, but it's a sight better than anything any modern convention of politicians would come up with. Just thinking about what would be in it makes my head hurt.
And it's true: you can rewrite it via amendment. The way the President is picked was completely rewritten, for instance.
As for the 2nd: the problem with going after the 2nd is of course then you make all the others in the Bill of Rights questionable as well. Not a good idea either. We just are going to have to do the hard work of figuring out how to live with the 2nd so that far fewer people die from it.

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 04:48 PM

17. Baby and Bath Water

I agree that the Constitution is irritatingly vague in spots and agonizingly incomplete in others, but this is supposed to be a country that is run by the rule of law, and the Constitution is a major part of that law. If enough people didn't like something in the Constitution, it tells us how to amend it. And, if you are thinking about how difficult it is to amend it, then think how difficult it would be to get people to agree on how it should be amended. Laws don't work very well if groups of people can decide which laws they will follow and which ones they won't. Once people lose respect for the law, then law, itself, will not work; it's only real as long as the people believe it's real.

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:05 PM

19. I don't think the professor realizes the implications of his proposal..

Let's say you substantially re-write the constitution.

Then you'd have to re-write a substantial portion of US Code, various state constitutions that mirror the US constitution, and the state laws predicated on their respective constitutions.. then local / municipal law.

Ugh. No.

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:18 PM

20. Yeah, 'It's just a goddamned piece of paper'




There are clear mechanisms for challenging, extending, and even changing the constitution.

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 05:26 PM

22. I took an Oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.

Over my dead body! Amend if you wish, but do not abandon.

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Response to ErikJ (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 06:31 PM

24. Watched him this morning

Intriguing concept.

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