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A Bad Constitution Ė Wonít Get Ratified, Canít Work
Special to FreeRepublic ^ | 17 September 2005 | John Armor (Congressman Billybob)

Posted on 09/15/2005 11:19:25 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob

Dateline, 17 September, 2005, National Capitol

It is self-evident that this new constitution is fatally flawed. It is unlikely to be ratified. And even if it is, it will fail in practice.

Begin with ratification. One province is so opposed that it refused to take part in the drafting. The governors of two provinces refused to sign the document and are committed to its defeat. There is a hotbed of opposition in another province. One of the leaders there walked out of the drafting, and returned home to lead the effort to defeat the constitution, taking a majority of his delegation with him.

With one province already committed in opposition, and ratification in serious trouble in several other provinces, it will likely be rejected in at least four provinces. And only a majority is required for defeat. The press may contribute to the defeat, being controlled by regional leaders and political parties.

But this constitution ought to be defeated. It is grossly inadequate in providing for the rights of women and of ethnic minorities. It will override and perhaps destroy the natural rights of the provinces. There is inadequate protection for personal and religious rights of various groups in the nation. This constitution is so defective that the whole process should begin anew.

With all these negatives, what are the chances of ratification? The provinces are unequal in size. The largest is one-fifth of the whole nation; and many of its leaders oppose the document. Defeat there will in effect mean national defeat. But I predict a win here, by a margin of ten votes. Another major province is evenly split. I predict a 3 vote margin there.

The province which refused to take part in drafting the Constitution will also refuse to consider ratification. Eight provinces will demand various amendments in the Constitution that should be enacted immediately. One of those will refuse to accept the Constitution until certain amendments are made.

Despite this shaky beginning, I believe this constitution will succeed. This document has “all its faults.” But contrary to the pessimistic views of most people in the international media, it is both “a blessing to the people if well administered” and that no different group would “be able to make a better constitution.”

* * *

The only errors in the report above, are the date and calling the states “provinces.” All this applied in the US, on 17 September, 1787. Here’s the identification of all the people and states in this report, in order. Rhode Island. Gov. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts and Gov. Edmund Randolph of Virginia. Robert Yates of New York. Unlike the Iraqi Constitution, only a simple majority was required to defeat ratification. See the Anti-Federalist newspapers, particularly active in New York and Virginia.

Women had no right to vote. Blacks could be held in slavery, although free blacks who owned property were eligible to vote. Lack of guaranteed rights was the principle objection of the Anti-Federalists. This is why a Bill of Rights with its 11 articles was drafted, and passed in 1789 (11th article passed in 1992). Three states passed resolutions demanding that a new Constitutional Convention should be held to produce a new document.

In the 1790 Census, Virginia was one-fifth of the US population. In addition to Governor Randolph’s opposition, other staunch opponents included the likes of Patrick Henry and George Mason. The contest was hard-fought and close in Virginia. Its ratification convention voted yes by 89-79. In New York, the vote was 30-27. In both, the promise of a Bill of Rights was essential.

Rhode Island refused to hold a ratification convention. Not until 1790, when threatened with taxes on its “imports,” did Rhode Island ratify, 34-32. North Carolina demanded a Bill of Rights and refused to ratify until that was accomplished, in 1789. The 200+ demands from all eight states were distilled into the 12 articles of the Bill of Rights as passed by Congress, eleven ultimately ratified.

This history of the near failure of US Constitution is distilled from the Introduction to the 1987 facsimile reprint of Robert Yates’ Secret Proceedings and Debates of the Convention to Form the US Constitution. As history has demonstrated, despite its shaky beginnings, it has become the longest surviving and most successful constitution in history. The quotes are all from the speech by Benjamin Franklin, urging all delegates to set aside their differences and sign the Constitution. Here’s the source for that: http://www.usconstitution.net/franklin.html

While you’re on this subject, wish our Constitution a Happy Birthday today, and wish the Iraqis success with their constitution, too.

About the Author: John Armor is a First Amendment attorney and author who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Free Republic; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: New York; US: North Carolina; US: Virginia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: antifederalists; benfranklin; billofrights; congressmanbillybob; constitution; convention; drafting; edmundrandolph; elbridgegerry; geogremason; governors; iraq; johnarmor; newyork; northcarolina; patrickhenry; provinces; ratification; rhodeisland; robertyates; virginia; votingrights; womensrights
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A timely piece which I believe you will find interesting.

John / Billybob

1 posted on 09/15/2005 11:19:31 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob
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To: Congressman Billybob

I figured you were talking about our own Constitution. It reminds me of Rumsfeld's reference to September 11, 1776, in his remarks about another group of Americans that stood up for what was right. He made those remarks at Arlington National Cemetery this past Sunday.

Good job BillyBob. /unintentional rhyme


2 posted on 09/15/2005 11:26:11 AM PDT by Christian4Bush (The modern Democratic Party: Attacking our defenders and defending our attackers.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
While you’re on this subject, wish our Constitution a Happy Birthday today, and wish the Iraqis success with their constitution, too.

I wish the Iraqis success in coming up with a good constitution, and not just approving whatever constitution is handed to them just so they can say they adopted a constitution within whatever timetable they were told to have one ready by.

3 posted on 09/15/2005 11:26:32 AM PDT by inquest (FTAA delenda est)
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To: Constitution Day
You, especially, should see this. Happy Birthday to you, too.

John / Billybob
4 posted on 09/15/2005 11:27:04 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob (This Freeper was linked for the 2nd time by Rush Limbaugh today (9/13/05). Hoohah!)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Thoroughly enjoyable! Thank You for posting!

I remember a story about Ben Franklin that took place as he was leaving the convention.

A woman approached him and asked;"What kind of government will we have,sir?".Franklin answered;"A constitutional republic,madam,if you can keep it!".

I've always liked that story.Franklin knew how difficult it had been to get to that point,but he was also well aware that the hardest work was yet to come.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY U.S. CONSTITUTION !!!

5 posted on 09/15/2005 11:36:28 AM PDT by smoothsailing (Qui Nhon Turtle)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Nice work . . . you had me there for awhile.


6 posted on 09/15/2005 11:46:51 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters but PR.)
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To: Congressman Billybob; Lando Lincoln; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; Valin; King Prout; SJackson; dennisw; ..

Nailed It!

This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for the perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author all 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention. You can see the list of articles I pinged to lately  on  my page.
You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about). Besides this one, I keep 2 separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card.  

7 posted on 09/15/2005 12:13:52 PM PDT by Tolik
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To: Congressman Billybob

Well done!


8 posted on 09/15/2005 12:16:44 PM PDT by sarasota
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To: Tolik
Glad you liked the article. It is an honor to earn the famous "Hammer and Nail" Award. LOL.

John / Billybob
9 posted on 09/15/2005 12:19:22 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob (This Freeper was linked for the 2nd time by Rush Limbaugh today (9/13/05). Hoohah!)
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To: Congressman Billybob

good stuff, as ever.


10 posted on 09/15/2005 12:21:37 PM PDT by King Prout (and the Clinton Legacy continues: like Herpes, it is a gift that keeps on giving.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Why isn't this author comparing our constitution to the one MacArthur put together and IMPOSED on the Japanese? Why? Because that was a good constitution, not a piece of crap like the ones the Iraqis have come up with.

MacArthur himself commented early on that meeting this goal would certainly require a "revision of the Meiji Constitution." But even he could not have imagined that a few months later, his young American staff would write an entirely new constitution, one that has governed Japanese affairs ever since without the change of a comma.

The Japanese did go to work,>>>>but MacArthur rejected their efforts<<<<< in early February 1946 as "nothing more than a rewording of the old Meiji constitution." Eager to avoid interference from other allies, MacArthur took matters into his own hands. He ordered his government section to draft a document themselves, and to do it before the first meeting of the Far Eastern Commission, set for February 26. Staff member Beate Sirota Gordon, then in her early twenties, still remembers the day well:

And he said, "You are now a constituent assembly." "And you will write the Japanese constitution. You will write a draft and it will have to be done in a week."

Their work resulted in a thoroughly progressive document.

A bi-cameral legislature with a weak upper chamber was established, and with the exception of the Imperial family, all rights of peerage were abolished. Thirty-nine articles dealt with what MacArthur called "basic human liberties," including not only most of the American bill of rights, but such things as universal adult suffrage, labor's right to organize, and a host of marriage and property rights for women. But the most unique and one of the most important provisions came in Article 9, which outlawed the creation of armed forces and the right to make war. It's not clear whether or not the "No-war clause" originated with MacArthur, but it certainly would not have been included without him, and its presence in the constitution has had an enormous impact on Japan's postwar history.

The new Iraqi constitution
Article (2):
1st - ISLAM is the official religion of the state
AND
is a basic source of legislation:

(a) NO law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of ISLAM

These two clauses act as Koranic Vetoes over the rest of the constitution and thus render it null and void.

Lets remember that the radical Shiites are 60 percent of Iraq, yes Iran is also - in fact Shi'a Muslim 89%, and thus the Shiite are the ones who will interpret what CONTRADICTS Islam. You think women will be able to wear shorts when its 110 degrees outside let alone have equal rights? Do you think Christians will be able to worship? Nope. But you can bet Americans will still be called infidels.
Listen to what the present SHIITE Prime Minister has to say about that:

....Iraq's Prime Minister is Ibrahim al-Jaafari....
Asked if his government would institute Islamic Shari'a law, al-Jaafari replied: "Yes … that is only natural in a country that is populated mainly by Muslims."

"This is a new chapter in relations with Iraq," enthused Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref during al-Jaafari's visit. Agha Panayi, an Iranian intelligence official, has offered a similarly enthusiastic assessment: "Throughout Iraq, the people we supported are in power."

Our troops are giving real sacrifice they should be recieving for that REAL FREEDOM.

No blood for Islam.

We must insist that the Constitution of Iraq is one that is not one that will allow them to become another Iran. Those Iraqi politicians want those Oil pipes guarded and their own security guards then they need to guard against going back to 7th century Islam.
11 posted on 09/15/2005 12:37:36 PM PDT by TomasUSMC (FIGHT LIKE WW2, FINISH LIKE WW2. FIGHT LIKE NAM, FINISH LIKE NAM.)
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To: smoothsailing

A woman approached him and asked;"What kind of government will we have,sir?".Franklin answered;"A constitutional republic,madam,if you can keep it!".
====
Yea well, in Iraq Franklin might answer "An Islamist Iran Redux, madam, oh and by the way put your berkha on!".


12 posted on 09/15/2005 12:45:55 PM PDT by TomasUSMC (FIGHT LIKE WW2, FINISH LIKE WW2. FIGHT LIKE NAM, FINISH LIKE NAM.)
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To: TomasUSMC
I agree with you about the Constitution that MacArthur imposed on the Japanese. But there is no entity that can do in Iraq now, what he did then, in Japan. General MacArthur was, in fact, a military dictator, given the powers that he had as a result of the Unconditional Surrender and the fact that MacArthur was in sole charge of the "Allied" occupation of Japan.

When it works well, the "best" form of government is a benevolent dictatorship. It is an extension of Plato's philosophy of government by "philosopher kings." It worked with MacArthur in Japan. It worked with Kemal Ataturk in Turkey. In all other instances in history, such efforts led to bloody dictatorships, did they not?

John / Billybob

13 posted on 09/15/2005 1:03:23 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob (This Freeper was linked for the 2nd time by Rush Limbaugh today (9/13/05). Hoohah!)
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To: Congressman Billybob
It worked with MacArthur in Japan. It worked with Kemal Ataturk in Turkey. In all other instances in history, such efforts led to bloody dictatorships, did they not?


I think the United States has plenty of men who could accomplish what MacArthur did given the leeway. Political support that is. IMO, its not so much MacArthur as what he was offering the people of Japan - real freedom. If he had allowed the Tojo mindset to stay in power in Japan, there would not have been real freedom there anymore than if Truman had declared Nazism an Ideology of Peace as our own President Bush has declared with Islam.

So I don't see it as the Person in charge as much as what that person offers to the people.

And today we are offering to the Iraqi people a trip back to the 7th century with this new constitution that demands that NO LAW CONTRADICT ISLAM.

Its as if the Germans would have been allowed, after losing WW2,to come up with a constitution that said NO LAW CONTRADICTS NAZISM.

If the Kurds have any sense they will pull out and form their own government with real Freedom of Religion - but that's if they have any sense.
14 posted on 09/15/2005 1:55:07 PM PDT by TomasUSMC (FIGHT LIKE WW2, FINISH LIKE WW2. FIGHT LIKE NAM, FINISH LIKE NAM.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

The contest was hard-fought and close in Virginia. Its ratification convention voted yes by 89-79. In New York, the vote was 30-27. In both, the promise of a Bill of Rights was essential



How do you think the Iraqi bill of rights will stand up against "No law shall contradict Islam"?

You know if the Shiites didn't comprise 60 percent of the population, then I'd say the Islamic interpreting would be more liberal and modern. But with Shiites, its 7th century all the way.


15 posted on 09/15/2005 2:00:52 PM PDT by TomasUSMC (FIGHT LIKE WW2, FINISH LIKE WW2. FIGHT LIKE NAM, FINISH LIKE NAM.)
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To: TomasUSMC
There are differeing schools of Shi'ite throught just as there are Sunni schools.
Take a look at the views of the people of Iran and compare these to the Mullahs. Most Iranians want change.
16 posted on 09/15/2005 2:15:41 PM PDT by rmlew (http://nycright.blogspot.com/)
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To: Congressman Billybob

LOL

The pleasure is all mine. Thanks for the great article.


17 posted on 09/15/2005 2:41:29 PM PDT by Tolik
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To: Congressman Billybob
Good thing the UN wasn't there to help out.
18 posted on 09/15/2005 3:49:22 PM PDT by .cnI redruM ( "Go ahead, punk, make my Earl Grey." - Mark Steyn)
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To: TomasUSMC

There's a big difference between "No law shall contradict Islam" and "The law shall require Islam".


19 posted on 09/15/2005 5:02:04 PM PDT by AZLiberty (Binary: The Power of Two)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Good job.


20 posted on 09/15/2005 5:05:03 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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