Friday, June 25, 2010

It's the Fouth of July. Do you know what your Constitution Stands For?


As we prepare for our Fourth Of July celebration I am focused on the Elena Kagan confirmation hearings. It is ironic that the Republicans trashed Thurgood Marshall for being an activist judge after the recent rulings that have come out of the Robert's Court. Rulings from the Robert's court were made on ideology and not on precedence. (Contrary to their promise made during their hearings.) The shameful ruling giving corporations the status of a person and on the recent gun law ruling were the result of ideology. The rulings were handed down by conservative ideologues. The meaning of an activist judge was never more evident.

In the hearing on Elena Kagan the Republicans could not find a valid reason to oppose her so they had to stress the fact that she clerked for Thurgood Marshall, one of the most outstanding Justices in my lifetime. It was obviously a concerted effort to discredit Marshall and, by association, Kagan. It was a disgusting display of one after another Republican bringing it up.

Thurgood Marshall won more cases argued before the Supreme Court than any other lawyer. I love this quote from him on the Constitution:

"I do not believe the meaning of the Constitution was forever fixed at the Philadelphia convention. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, a momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights we hold as fundamental today."

I will not rant on the strict constructionists like Robert Bork and his ilk, but I strongly believe that our sacred document was meant to be flexible. How could it not be with the many extreme changes in society that have occurred?
Our Constitution has withstood the test of time and has seen this country survive so many serious trials. It is truly a remarkable document.

The Founders were wise men who knew that times would change, but even they could not envision such dramatic changes that the industrial age brought, or things like nuclear bombs or machine guns. (Don't get me started on the Second amendment.) The document has had to be flexible to adjust to these changes. We are no longer the agrarian society that our Forefathers lived in. Life is much more complicated now and the constitution has had to be a living document to adjust to these changes.


I can offer nothing better for a 4th of July
celebration than the link below. It is a web site with a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and the entire Constitution of the United States, a background of the Framers, and the history of the writing of these documents.

How long has it been since you read the entire Constitution? I can't remember when I read it last. Odd that we so often quote it without referring back to it. Even if you don't have time to read the information found on this web site, it is a good one to bookmark for reference at a later date. I confess that I have only scanned the material on this site, but I have bookmarked it for the next time I want to quote the Constitution.

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration.html

While the 4th is a time for bar-b-cues, picnics, and fireworks it should also include a thought about our Forefathers and how serious they took the challenge of trying to form a more perfect union.

Happy Fourth of July

20 comments:

tnlib said...

I'm not gonna read this until I write mine. You might intimidate me. : ) I'll be back though.

Joy Des Jardins said...

How long has it been since I read the entire Constitution? ForNEVER! Thanks Darlene.

Happy 4th to you sweetie.... ~Joy

Darlene said...

*tnlib - Me intimidate you? I think the opposite would be true. I jumped the gun on this one, but had it ready and decided, "What the heck - I may as well publish it now."

*Joy Des Jardins - It's a very long document and I doubt that any citizen has read it unless forced to. ;-)

Happy Fourth to you, too.

Hattie said...

I taught government and law when I was a prison educator and was pretty familiar with the Constitution and its interpretations at that time. I could probably use a review now.

Darlene said...

*Hattie - I could use your knowledge when I touch on Constitutional law. I am not a scholar of the law and need all the help I can get.

naomi dagen bloom said...

Another punchy post, Darlene. Love the Thurgood Marshall quote. NPR had a reading of the Bill of Rights this morning.

Jon Stewart last night spoke for many of us Americans who are Jewish, have lived on Manhattan's upper westside, in his riff on the focus by certain senators on this fact about Kagan. My entire family went to Xmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant here in Portland, OR. Along with many Chinese-Americans and folks of unknown ethnicity.

Darlene said...

*Naomi Dagen Bloom - Someone pointed out that the Chinese restaurants are the only ones open on Christmas Day. ;-)

joared said...

Great question and commentary! Happy Independence Day.

Nancy said...

Darlene,

My husband and I both LOVED Elena Kagan's remark about being in a Chinese Restaurant on Christmas.

What a line;and so spontaneous. She certainly had no knowledge of what she would be asked, but she shot this gem right back at them.

Confirm her immediately before she goes away....

Darlene said...

*Joared - I hope your are enjoying your holiday. Thank you for your nice words

*Nancy - Elena Kagan's mind races at lightening speed. It would take me a week to come up with that quip. She has a great sense of humor; what a wonderful combination.

Darlene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barry said...

Hi Darlene -

Love your post and will check the link. I have no clue (and I am pretty sure they have less of a clue) what the "tea baggers" really want. Aside from not-so-thinly veiled racism, there message is jumbled and crazy.

Here's a link to a Newsweek article I just read which, oddly enough, reminded me to check your blog. ;)

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/04/the-new-revolutionaries.html

Hope you are well. It must be sizzling hot there these days.

Ashleigh Burroughs said...

...in order to form a MORE PERFECT union.....

and so we amend, and confirm and struggle, forgetting that the search for perfect often gets in the way of the absolutely necessary(to quote President Obama). The document is beautiful and thoughtful and imperfect... hence we amend and confirm....
a/b

Darlene said...

*Barry - Thank you for the link to the Newsweek article. I don't know what the TB's want, but they are becoming a scary bunch. Mob mentality is never rational and this mob is made up of the uninformed and unreasonable.

Yes, it's sizzling alright; my air conditioner is running non-stop. I am doing the rain dance. ;-)

*Ashleigh Burrows - Thank you for your visit. I do hope you will return. That was very nicely said and I love "forgetting that the search for perfect so often gets in the way of the absolute necessity." So true.

Kay Dennison said...

I re-read or go back to the Constitution periodically because I like to see how things are supposed to be. Thanks for reminding me that I haven't done a post on the Bill of Rights in an age!!!!!

tnlib said...

Well, you did do it, so I'm glad I waited until now to read it. Excellent, excellent. I also think it's a hoot the GOP is worried about Kagan being an activitist judge. Hypocrisy as usual.

And who cares what the Baggers think? They're in their final death throws.

K. said...

Marshall's confirmation was one the most important moments in the history of the Supreme Court. For the Republicans to trash that legacy to score a few cheap points with their base shows how little they regard any part of the American past that does not conform with their 50s family sitcom view of it. Even for a party that has had more contemptible moments than a BP board meeting, that one stood out.

Darlene said...

*Kay Dennison - It is good to refresh our memories, isn't it?

*tnlib - I hope you are right about the baggers. I keep reading that they are a real threat.

Thank you for your kind words.

*K - You said it well and with humor, too. "-more contemptible moments than a BP board meeting." Tee Hee !1

K. said...

Any time I can make a girl laugh (on purpose) is a good time!

Darlene said...

*K - I'm still smiling.