Articles

Your Weekly Constitutional: The Cult of the Constitution

February 15, 2020


WHETHER WE ARE RELIGIOUS OR NOT, WE ALL IN SOME WAY BOW BEFORE SOMETHING IN OUR LIFE. STUART HARRIS IS A PROFESSOR OF LAW AT THE DUNCAN SCHOOL OF LAW AT LINCOLN MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY. YOU COULD SAY HE BOWS BEFORE THE RULE OF LAW. THE RULE OF LAW IS A GOOD THING. IN THIS EPISODE OF YOUR WEEKLY CONSTITUTIONAL YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO WORSHIP THE CONSTITUTION. I FEEL LIKE I NEED AN EXPLANATION. ABSOLUTELY. MARY ANN FRANKS IS A NEW, BUT VERY GOOD FRIEND OF MINE. SHE IS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI’S LAW SCHOOL, AND SHE HAS WRITTEN A BOOK CALLED THE CULT OF THE CONSTITUTION. HER PREMISE IS THIS, THAT WE DON’T TREAT THE CONSTITUTION LIKE LAW. OTHER LAWS WE WILL CRITICIZE, THIS COULD BE BETTER, THAT COULD BE BETTER LET’S CHANGE IT. WE HAVE THIS IDEA THAT THE CONSTITUTION IS WRITTEN IN STONE. ALMOST LIKE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. AND WE ESPECIALLY TEND TO FOCUS UPON THOSE PARTS OF IT THAT WE FEEL MOST STRONGLY ABOUT. YOU HAVE HEARD THE EXPRESSION, BIBLE THUMPERS? WE THUMP ON THE CONSTITUTION. SHE PARTICULARLY PICKS UP ON TWO AMENDMENTS, ONE IS EASY, THE SECOND AMENDMENT. PEOPLE ARE VERY STRONGLY PRO- GUN RIGHTS AND EXALT THAT RIGHT. ANY INFRINGEMENT ON THAT RIGHT IS WRONG. IT IS A VERY STRONG OPINION AND PEOPLE FEEL THAT IT IS TRUE, IT’S NOT, BUT PEOPLE FEEL STRONGLY THAT IT IS. MORE SUPRISINGLY TO ME IS SHE TALKS ABOUT PEOPLE WHO DO THE SAME TO THE FIRST AMENDMENT. PEOPLE INSIST THAT THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO TALK ALL OF THE TIME, NO MATTER HOW HORRIBLE THE SPEECH IS. WHEN SHE STARTED IN ON THAT I SAID “WAIT MARY ANN, I MAY BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. I THINK YOU ARE GETTING CLOSE TO WHERE I LIVE” AND WE HAD A REALLY INTERESTING CONVERSATION. IM NOT SURE SHE CONVINCED ME, BUT SHE MADE ME THINK A LOT MORE ABOUT BALANCING THE HARMS OF CERTAIN SPEECH, AGAINST PROTECTING SPEECH. AND CERTAIN FORMS OF SPEECH ARE EXTREMELY HARMFUL. SHE CALLS IT THE CULT OF THE CONSTITUTION, WHICH MAKES ME THINK, WITHOUT EVER HAVING MEET MARY ANN FRANKS, IS THAT SHE DOESN’T THINK VERY HIGHLY OF THAT IDEA OF WORSHIPING THE CONSTITUTION. EXACTLY, IN FACT, I TEASED HER ABOUT THAT AND SAID “YOU REALIZE YOU ARE IN THE TEMPLE AND YOU ARE A HERETIC” AND SHE LAUGHED AND SAID I SUPPOSE SO. THEN SHE SPECIFIED, NO I REALLY CARE ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION, RESPECTS IT, RESPECTS THE PEOPLE WHO MADE IT, BUT SHE WANTS US TO THINK MORE CRITICALLY ABOUT IT NOT SIMPLY SAYING THIS IS ABSOLUTE, NO MATTER WHAT AMENDMENT IT IS. THEN YOU HAVE THE HIGH COURT WHO IS HAVING TO JUDGE ORIGINAL INTENT. INDEED THEY ARE. AND THERE ARE SOME ON THE COURT WHO LOOK AT IT THAT WAY, AND OTHERS NOT SO MUCH. IT COMES ON THIS SUNDAY AT 3:00PM AND REBROADCAST TUESDAY AT 8:00PM CRITICALLY ABOUT IT NOT SIMPLY SAYING THIS IS ABSOLUTE, NO MATTER WHAT AMENDMENT IT IS. THEN YOU HAVE THE HIGH COURT WHO IS HAVING TO JUDGE ORIGINAL INTENT. INDEED THEY ARE. AND THERE ARE SOME ON THE COURT WHO LOOK AT IT THAT WAY, AND OTHERS NOT SO MUCH. IT COMES ON THIS SUNDAY AT 3:00PM AND REBROADCAST TUESDAY AT 8:00PM ON WETS FM 89.5 COMING UP–A FINAL LOOK AT TODAY’S STOP STORIES PLUS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *