Do We Really Need the Constitution?
Louis Seidman: Why should long-dead white men be calling the shots?
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 31, 2012 12:29 PM CST
Is it time to get rid of the Constitution?   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A Constitutional scholar has an announcement to make: That old document is obsolete. "Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues, and inflamed our public discourse," writes Louis Michael Seidman in the New York Times. "Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago." The whole process is "bizarre."

For instance, US leaders could arrive at a conclusion through reasoned thought, only to be shut down when someone points out that "a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law, and thought it was fine to own slaves" could have opposed the idea. Indeed, the US has often rejected Constitutional tenets throughout history for the better, as in the process of ending slavery. The lack of a constitution wouldn't mean a "state of nature"; it would mean arguing based on present-day merits and long-held tradition, as Britain does. Click through for Seidman's full column.

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Showing 3 of 152 comments
LReyes
Jan 15, 2013 10:15 AM CST
Only if you happen to be a member of the Anti-human life NRA.
g8m3
Jan 3, 2013 2:33 PM CST
There are some levels of stupidity that require advanced degrees. You have to have gone to college to say something so incredibly stupid. "Constitutional Scholar" my aching ass, that may be what it says on his fucking diploma, but his opinions are obviously his personal political agenda rearing it's ugly head. What would cause someone who's been studying the constitution for decades to say it's suddenly "Obsolete"? Why don't you just say what you really mean? "Guns are scary, and those crazy rednecks who like to shoot everything that moves have been using the constitution to stay armed and dangerous for years, and that makes me wee wee in my diaper." The Constitution is not obsolete, it carries none of our forefathers' flaws or prejudices, It is not harmful, suppressive, or biased in any way, it is a simple document with alot of simple truths on it. It was never meant to be the end-all-be-all of our legal system. It is and always was a framework of a simple, basic system of government which we then build a legal system around. It establishes our rights and liberties, and the roles of the different components of government and how they should be run equitably. All other laws are addendum, not to supersede the original unless properly overturned by a large majority. It was designed so that no matter how divided and adversarial we became in our political discourse, one group could never deny any other the basic freedoms guaranteed in the constitution. Oh, and IT'S BEEN CONSTANTLY CHANGING AND EVOLVING SINCE THE DAY IT WAS WRITTEN. It was designed to never be obsolete, because it was designed to change with the country, but only if the huge majority of the country agreed. Let's say the entire country goes nuts, starts voting on alot of crap that is just stupid and crazy (let's just say...) it's designed to change with the country, but to change back when the country comes to it's senses. Prohibition, for example. Once a long time ago, Americans looked at the facts and said "Wow, alcohol is just so dangerous, it's killing all these people, let's make it illegal." and so they did, but then they realized what a horrible mistake they made because they'd just created a black market and started funding practically all organized crime... Alcohol related deaths went up, not down, not to mention crime went up across the board because now criminals are organized, well armed, and extremely well funded. So they changed it back... Well, guess what? If you get your way, you're gonna see a really great case of history repeating itself. If you try to ban guns, you'll only be taking them away from law-abiding citizens. Criminals don't have to register anything, so there's no way to track their guns and no way to know who has them. On the other hand, now Criminals know that normal, law abiding citizens no longer have guns, so they are free to do whatever they want. They have the power... The UK and Australia both experienced MASSIVE spikes in their rates of crime, murder, gun deaths, and saw an unprecedented phenomenon they'd never seen before... Home invasion... Knowing that no one but criminals have guns, criminals have no problem walking into your house while you're home, robbing, raping, murdering, and taking their sweet time doing it, because you are no threat to them whatsoever. Not to mention, you'll be taking away the only thing that has stopped the government from crossing the line between corrupt and tyrannical. The constitution set up a system of checks and balances, presidential veto, judicial review, the 3/4 rule, etc. The second amendment is ours. The peoples'. The founding fathers didn't make guns a primary freedom because they liked to go hunting, or because they were afraid of criminals, or because people just had muskets, so they were no real threat. Hell, these guys had just gotten finished defeating a vastly superior leviathan military force using nothing but farmers with muskets and bayonets. The founding fathers knew perfectly well the man is the true weapon. And that's exactly what they had in mind when they guaranteed us all the right to bear arms. Not for safety, not for hunting, not for recreation, for freedom. They gave us the right to bear arms because they KNEW, not thought, KNEW that one day the people of America would rise up and overthrow the government violently if they became too powerful. Most second amendment advocates are aware of this fact. They're waiting for their cue. What cue is that, you may ask? What event will spur the "Gun nuts" to commit this act of treason? The answer is almost unanimous. "The day they come to take our guns away..." Good luck starting the next civil war, genius.
LenettW3
Jan 1, 2013 7:24 PM CST
If you can not say anything nice say nothing at all.