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Supreme Constitutionalist

The conservative rag American Spectator is calling for Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to resign. They say “If she can no longer support and defend the Constitution, as she is sworn to do, she should leave — and take the New York Times with her.”

What brought this on? It turns out that during a recent visit to Egypt, Ginsburg told the Egyptian people (who are drafting a new constitution) that they should look at newer constitutions like the ones used by South Africa and Canada, or at the European Convention on Human Rights, rather than at the US Constitution.

The US Constitution is the oldest constitution still in force. By analogy, it is the Windows 3.1 of constitutions. One of its problems is how difficult it is to amend, so it has trouble keeping up. Even Thomas Jefferson said that constitutions naturally expire every 19 years, because “the earth belongs always to the living generation.”

I remember an experiment a few years ago where some constitutional organization rewrote the Bill of Rights to put it in more modern (but equivalent) language and tried to get a number of Congressmen and other politicians to sign it, and they all refused. So our own politicians don’t seem to be in favor of at least a major part of our constitution.

But what makes this whole story hypocritical is that the American Spectator took Ginsburg’s comments totally out of context. They ignored her stirring praise for the First Amendment, her references to the “genius” of our Constitution, and her statement of how powerful it is that our Constitution places power in “We the People”.

Wasn’t it just a few months ago that Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the US Constitution is vastly inferior to that of the now defunct Soviet Union? He said:

The bill of rights of the former evil empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was much better than ours. I mean it literally. It was much better. We guarantee freedom of speech and of the press, big deal! The guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press of street demonstrations and anyone who is caught trying to suppress criticism of the government will be called to account.

Are they calling for Scalia to resign?



  1. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    I’d never heard of the American Spectator or anything its said. Sounds like a far far right machine. Personally I like that the Supremem Court is divided with both liberal and conservative thinkers, same as our congress. I think it’s healthy to hear more then one opinion although it can be madening sometines and other times frustrating when it doesn’t agree with my opinion.
    There are newer versions, but we have yet to see if they stand the test of time. To be fair, we’ve been updating ours as we go along and if we can ever get past the current bruhaha political bull-hockey parhaps we can discuss meaningful changes.
    I don’t know about the USSR’s constitution being better then ours, if it did say that then thye obviously never followed or used it except maybe to set a dissenters house on fire while they still occupied it.
    I saw this write up some where else as well (the windows 3.1 analogy caught my eye) I believe.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink
  2. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    Oh man, sory for the numerous typos, I gotta stop typing in the dark and or go back to 2 fingers 🙂

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    The “windows 3.1” analogy was originally made by Professor David Law of Washington University, and was quoted in the NY Times article linked in my post —

    That was the article that caused American Spectator to go apeshit too.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink
  4. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    Oh yeah, thats exactly where I read it. Thanks. I keep getting unsolicited emails (spam) from lesser know conservative (and some liberal) pubs but AS hasn’t been one of them. I keep unsubscribing, but it just seems to encourage more. Thanks IK keep up the good work!

    Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 5:55 am | Permalink