Monday, December 31, 2012

Subverting the Constitution

by Thomas Lifson

Another line is being crossed in the campaign to fundamentally change America. The Left has long regarded the American Constitution as an obstacle to the sort of fundamental change it desires, and now the seeds of delegitimizing the Constitution itself are being planted by powerful members of the progressive establishment.

Louis Michael Seidman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law at Georgetown University, is no fringe figure. He is a pillar of the left wing legal establishment, graduate of Harvard Law, former clerk for Thurgood Marshall, and notable figure in the Leftist "critical legal theory" movement. His law school's most prominent recent graduate is Sandra Fluke, and its former dean, Peter Edelman, is most famous for resigning a senior position in the Clinton Administration to protest the wildly successful welfare reform measures enacted when the GOP controlled Congress and signed by President Clinton.
Seidman has taken to the pages of the daily bible of the progressive establishment,  the New York Times, to lend respectability to a movement to subvert the Constitution, and turn to an undefined system which inevitably means the loss of our safeguards against tyranny.  All expressed in superficially reassuring prose. In a stunningly-titled piece, "Let's Give Up on the Constitution," he writes, for example:
The deep-seated fear that such disobedience would unravel our social fabric is mere superstition. As we have seen, the country has successfully survived numerous examples of constitutional infidelity. And as we see now, the failure of the Congress and the White House to agree has already destabilized the country. Countries like Britain and New Zealand have systems of parliamentary supremacy and no written constitution, but are held together by longstanding traditions, accepted modes of procedure and engaged citizens. We, too, could draw on these resources.
What has preserved our political stability is not a poetic piece of parchment, but entrenched institutions and habits of thought and, most important, the sense that we are one nation and must work out our differences. No one can predict in detail what our system of government would look like if we freed ourselves from the shackles of constitutional obligation, and I harbor no illusions that any of this will happen soon. But even if we can't kick our constitutional-law addiction, we can soften the habit.
My colleague Rick Moran has already treated the shallowness of the arguments. However, the real intent of the piece is not to persuade by logic, but rather to put on the table the very foundation of our lives as Americans, and devour it by increments, as it becomes increasingly respectable to mouth the opinion that it really doesn't matter what the Constitution says, if an important issue is challenged.

A republic, if we can keep it.

Thomas Lifson


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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