Does the constitution matter to you?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by fivepoint, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWCQhAx_U38

    There is so much truth here, but in my experience people really don't care. Policies which should require a amendment of the constitution are passed anyway, without regard for our founding documents. What do you think? Do the ends justify the means? Do you care about the constitution? Do it's words matter in today's society? Is it OK to just pick and choose when it applies to you?



    For the record... Here is what the constitution says the congress CAN do:

    http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#A1Sec8



    And... Here is what the constitution says the congress CAN'T do:

    http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Am10
     
  2. squeeks macrumors 68040

    squeeks

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    #2
    i believe in staying as close to the constitution as possible but remembering that there are things in today’s society that never would have been though of back then, such as gay marriage, back when the constitution was written no one ever thought they would have to pass a law saying only men and women could marry, they never thought it would be any different.

    just an example of how far away from the morals of the constitution our society has become

    :(
     
  3. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #3
    Yes, if only we could go back to the days of black people being slaves and women being nothing but property. ;)


    Lethal
     
  4. Anuba macrumors 68040

    Anuba

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    #4
    The constitution should be a living document. Those who want to toss it out in its entirety are wrong, but strict constitutionalists like Ron Paul are wrong too.
     
  5. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

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    #5
    As for the black people being slaves and women being nothing but property, those were immoral decisions. There are many things that have been declared legal at times that are immorally wrong.
     
  6. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #6

    Are you serious? The constitution IS a living document. This is probably the most ingenious article of the constitution. A big portion of the video (if you watched it) talks about this... many of the things that congress is doing, they CAN do, assuming they amend the constitution accordingly. Unfortunately, they skip this step completely.


    http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Article5

     
  7. jplan2008 macrumors regular

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    #7
    The guy's economic arguments don't make sense (and he totally mis-stated what Obama had said on the issue). There's nothing unconstitutional about congress' bailout bill. Different people have different ideas of "the common good," but there's no way that the overall financial system of the country as a whole should be left to the states, and the constitution doesn't say so. I agree with the issues of personal freedoms such as habeas corpus that have been taken away. I think the constitution is a great blueprint -- for example, even if the founding fathers didn't think Black people, women, gays, should have equal rights, they are given equal rights under the constitution. We have a Supreme Court to enforce the constitution, and hopefully this judge will never make it there. There are lots of bad rulings the supreme court has made, but that's all part of the process.
     
  8. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

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    #8
    I'm definitely in favor of maintaining a strict interpretation of the document. It is foundational to the Republic. When it needs change it has to be amended. The folks who decided to split from the monarchy, although not infallible were certainly driven by divine providence in my opinion.

    The world changes, they would have never imagined internet neutrality as an issue for instance, but in many of the current governing challenges the basis of the constitution provides a guide. In that instance Free Speech.
     
  9. jplan2008 macrumors regular

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    #9
    Well, actually, I don't agree with those that think that this amendment gives individuals the individual right to bear arms, it seems to me very clear (although I know conventional wisdom doesn't agree with me) that it's giving the militia, run by congress, that right. I think the supreme court decision that individual self defense is included in this amendment was wrong. And I think the fact that congress can have a militia is a good thing to have in the constitution, just in case.
     
  10. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #10
    Hmmm... I'm a bit confused here... doesn't labeling a person a "strict constitutionalist" mean that that person is simply abiding by the law? Being a strict constitutionalist does not mean you don't support amendments... you support amendments because that's PART of the constitution. Obviously. The constitution is not a "BLUEPRINT". It's the law, which is available for updating and amending as time goes on. It IS NOT ok to simply ignore the constitution and claim it as a "blue print". If you disagree with any part of it, you should be supporting an amendment to it, not illegally and unlawfully pretending it doesn't exist.

    Also, Anuba, I don't know what you have against people having the right to defend themselves... but it doesn't matter, and is not the issue here. If you feel the right to bear arms should no longer be a right... you should be supporting an amendment to that effect. Agreed?




    +1
     
  11. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

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    #11
    I agree.

    I agree. By the way, I do feel that the right to bear arms is a necessity.
     
  12. jplan2008 macrumors regular

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    #12
    You're misunderstanding my use of the word blueprint. I gave an example of what I meant, which was that, for example, the equal protection clause does not mention specific groups of people, but any and all groups and individuals are protected equally.

    There's nothing in the constitution I disagree with. I have disagreements with some people's interpretations of two areas: do we have an inherent right to privacy? I think the answer is a resounding yes, but not everyone agrees. Does the second amendment protect an individual's right to bear arms or a common right? I think it's the latter, but many or most disagree.
     
  13. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

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    #13

    The problem with accepting the Constitution being a "living document" means it loses ALL meaning. If the Constitution is completely interpreted to a society's (or the government's) current values then it is no longer a "firewall" between personal rights and freedom and what the government can or can't do to you. Instead it becomes the much discussed "slippery slope," with nothing to grasp onto.

    In fact many of the Founding Father's understood that the Constitution by itself was not enough to protect people from an encroaching government. That is why many INSISTED on a Bill of Rights before they would agree to sign the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was not part of the the first draft of the Constitution and many understood it was meaningless without one.

    Justice Scalia, et all are often criticized for the philosophy that the Constitution and other laws should be interpreted in their original context and legislative intent and then applied to modern day rather than the other way around. I for one agree. If we do not uphold the Constitution as a timeless safeguard of our liberties we will eventually cede them all back to the government.

    If you want an example that we are all familiar with, take copyright law. Of course copyrights are granted in the Constitution. The FFs understood that protection of intellectual property was required to foster ideas and advance the Republic. But they also realized that one should not be allowed own ideas forever which is why copyrights expire.

    But if you look at Copyright law today, the DMCA is a great example, it far exceeds what the Constitution intended. Under a Living Constitution one could justify the concept of an unending copyright, as corporations would like. This is not possible, however, if you interpret the Constitution contextually.
     
  14. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #14
    I agree with much in your entire post. Very important stuff.

    However, I think you're not understanding what we mean by "living document"... or at least what I meant by it... All I mean is that the document is open to amendment, and open to change. I generally feel the words are clear, obvious, and the "interpretation" should not change much over the years.... but the fact that it is open to amendment is absolutely essential.
     
  15. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #15
    No, that is not what they are criticized for. They are criticized for advertising Constitutional originalism, but implementing conservative judicial activism.
     
  16. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

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    #16
    I'm an atty. so I understand the concept of a "living document" very well. The Constitution is very clear that it can be changed and amendend (and has 17 times since it was originally adopted). To add, delete, or amend the Constitution, however, requires passage by Congress, 2/3rds of the States, and signature of the President. It is not something a judge should be able to do with the slam of a gavel, and that is traditionally what is meant by a "living document."
     
  17. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

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    #17
    No, that is what the supporters of the "living document" theory push out to damage the theory. If you actually read Justice Scalia's writings on texualism, and how he distinguishes it from "original intent," you will come to understand his philosophy. In fact I can point you to many of Scalia's opinions on the 4th and 5th Amendment that run counter to modern day "conservative" positions.
     
  18. Anuba macrumors 68040

    Anuba

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    #18
    If the words were clear and obvious, there should be no room for interpretation, and since people have been arguing endlessly for 230+ years over what the FF's actually meant, it's clearly an imperfect document. And if the FF's were alive today and saw what the world looked like, they'd probably wipe their asses with the constitution and start over from scratch.

    So rather than bend over backwards in order to figure out how to do the bidding of some geezers who lived 230 years ago, when men wore wigs and rode horses to get from A to B, you should focus on what you the people want NOW.
     
  19. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #19
    Agreed. 100%

    What we are talking about here though (watch the video in the first post) is the congress's lack of constitutional authority to do half of the things they do. The question I am posing to the forum is whether that matters to them. If they think that is 'ok?' I'm attempting to ascertain the value people post on the document. The answer would seem fairly obvious... but looking at a few posts here (and based on what we've all seen in these forums previously) would lead you to a different conclusion.

    • "blue print" (jplan, even if that's not how you meant it, others mean it exactly that way)
    • "strict constitutionalists like Ron Paul are wrong too"
    • "How about this museum piece:"
    • "it's clearly an imperfect document"
    • "if the FF's were alive today and saw what the world looked like, they'd probably wipe their asses with the constitution and start over from scratch."
    • "So rather than bend over backwards in order to figure out how to do the bidding of some geezers who lived 230 years ago, when men wore wigs and rode horses to get from A to B, you should focus on what you the people want NOW."
     
  20. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #20
    I'm familiar with the differences between Scalia's rhetorical theories and his judicial realities. We could also point out any number of decisions where Scalia's "originalism" went out the window in favor of a desirable result. Both sides in this debate tend to argue their judicial philosophies right up to but not beyond the point where they get results they want.
     
  21. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #21
    When the Constitution was written there were only 13 nascent states. There was also no provision for adding more but Jefferson easily got around that.

    My point being that the FF did not anticipate that the process of amending the Constitution would become almost impossible with the addition of 37 states.

    I think people like fivepoint love to trumpet the amendment process simply because they know in today's divided US, it's virtually impossible to pass an amendment.
     
  22. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #22
    It's not often that a mod will call for a political thread to please remain on topic, but in this case, seeing as it's a potentially substantive and interesting thread, I'd like to ask that the topic of gun rights gets put to one side in this thread.

    It's such potent and emotive issue that it can easily take over this thread. Those who feel strongly about it and its relationship to the US Constitution are free to create another thread. :)

    Thanks.
     
  23. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #23

    How does adding states increase the difficulty? The percentage required still remains. BTW, your assetion that the FF didn't anticipate that additional states would be added to the union is ridiculous.

    Amendments are supposed to be hard. They are supposed represent a large majority of congressional support, making them less likely to change repeatedly over time with the winds of public opinion. That was the intention of the 2/3rds requirement. The FF, as shown in these documents, intended for a small federal government which didn't overly control the lives of it's citizens. One that the citizenry wouldn't be dependent on for every little thing and had a very limited set of responsibilities to take care of. They knew that the general trend would be for things to get out of control, and for the people to ask more of the government... they wanted to avoid this.

    Like it or not, they made amendments difficult for a reason... and all we do is circumvent the explicit laws they laid down.
     
  24. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #24
    +1
    Gay rights and judicial activism as well.
     
  25. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

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    #25
    The fact the the FFs realized the gov't would "cheat" on the Constitution is how the S.Ct, as we know it today, came into being and is why a "hard" Constitution is required to preserve citizen's rights. But the S.Ct. has long held that the Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to enact much of the laws it does. Even Justice Hugo Black, who was also a textualist (not a strict constructionist)... there really is a difference), agreed with this principle.

    But there are plenty of laws passed by Congress, signed by the President, that the S.Ct. tosses out every year. For example Congress has tried many times to ban porn from the Internet. They've had legislation requiring special domains for anything sexually related, even if it was clincial, requiring public libraries to block any sexually related sites, etc. etc. They were all thrown out, even by "conservative" Scalia based on the Free Speech Clause.

    The Constitution is an imperfect document because it was written by humans. Anyone who thinks they can do better it clearly arrogant and foolish. There are gaps, irrelevant portions, and even parts that the countries best legal minds and historians have yet to fully grasp.

    Just a little more food for thought. The former Soviet Union had a Constitution very similar to ours. It offered freedom of religion, freedom of press, etc. The difference is it WAS most definitely a living document, and the court would interpret it the way Stalin, Khruschev, Breznev, Andropov, etc order them to. It had no real meaning and was merely propaganda.
     

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