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Constitution: Dead or alive?
The Washington Times ^ | 2-27-06 | Paul Greenberg

Posted on 02/27/2006 12:16:31 PM PST by JZelle

He's ba-a-a-ck. Not that he ever really goes away. After all, he has life tenure. This time the Hon. Antonin Scalia was calling those of us who think of the Constitution of the United States as a living document "idiots." No, this wasn't Ann Coulter doing her stand-up routine, but rather an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Welcome to civil discourse, 21st century-style. A decent respect for those who hold to a different philosophy of law, or of anything else, now seems to have gone the way of powdered wigs, dress swords and chivalry in general. This time Justice Scalia was caught talking out of school, or rather his courtroom, at a meeting of the Federalist Society down in Puerto Rico -- although his formal opinions are scarcely more temperate. His subject on this occasion: The idea of a living Constitution and why it's wrong, wrong, wrong. Mr. Justice Scalia summed up the idea before dismissing it as idiotic. "That's the argument of flexibility," he explained, "and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break."

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...


TOPICS: Government
KEYWORDS: antoninscalia; constitution; supremecourt
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1 posted on 02/27/2006 12:16:33 PM PST by JZelle
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To: JZelle
When someone says that the Constitution is a "living documents", what they really mean is that it is dead.
2 posted on 02/27/2006 12:19:19 PM PST by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
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To: JZelle

God help me, but I detest, despise and hate this leftist filth.


3 posted on 02/27/2006 12:20:25 PM PST by butternut_squash_bisque (Borders, Language, Culture™)
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To: JZelle
Scalia is right. The "living Constitution" crowd reminds me of the "Spirit of Vatican II" crowd. What is in writing does not support their aims, so they talk endlessly about the "spirit" of the words.
4 posted on 02/27/2006 12:20:26 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: JZelle

Of course the Constitution can evolve as times and society change. That's exactly what the Amendment process is for.


5 posted on 02/27/2006 12:20:59 PM PST by SmithL (Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.)
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To: JZelle

Greenberg obviously is an idiot!


6 posted on 02/27/2006 12:22:28 PM PST by SWAMPSNIPER (MAY I DIE ON MY FEET IN MY SWAMP, BUAIDH NO BAS)
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To: JZelle
This time the Hon. Antonin Scalia was calling those of us who think of the Constitution of the United States as a living document "idiots."

Waaaahhh! He called us a name!

I would imagine being called an idiot is a relatively common event in the world of Paul Greenberg.

Living things radically transform even when the only variable is time. The Constitution changes when you follow the proscribed and rigorous procedures designed to alter the document. It doesn't age or mature or learn or grow on its own.

7 posted on 02/27/2006 12:23:24 PM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: JZelle

People who say that the Constitution is a Living Document ARE idiots.


8 posted on 02/27/2006 12:23:36 PM PST by Leatherneck_MT (An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.)
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To: BenLurkin
When someone says that the Constitution is a "living documents", what they really mean is that it is dead

What the democRATS mean is "lets meld it into something that we can use to get our socialist agenda passed"

9 posted on 02/27/2006 12:24:34 PM PST by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: Leatherneck_MT

Exactly!


10 posted on 02/27/2006 12:24:54 PM PST by stainlessbanner (I miss Mayberry)
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To: RobbyS
" . . . so they talk endlessly about the "spirit" of the words."

Except regarding the 2nd Amendment, where they reject not only the spirit, but also the letter of the law.
11 posted on 02/27/2006 12:25:03 PM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: JZelle
The Constitution of the United States is a masterwork of the plastic art of jurisprudence, subject to different interpretations at different times.

According to Greenberg, they might just as well have written the document on a chalkboard.

12 posted on 02/27/2006 12:27:01 PM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: JZelle
Paul Greenberg is a nationally syndicated columnist communist.

What's that old saying?

It's better to keep your mouth shut and appear to be an idiot, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

13 posted on 02/27/2006 12:27:06 PM PST by DrNo
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To: Puppage

I wonder if we inform Mr. Greenberg that his home mortgage is a living document which can be increased to reflect current realities in the mortgage market would he think us an idiot. What is it with liberals that they cannot understand contract law?


14 posted on 02/27/2006 12:27:28 PM PST by tigtog
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To: Steve_Seattle
The 2nd Amendment is an embarrassment, because it cannot be explained away.
15 posted on 02/27/2006 12:28:36 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: RobbyS

I disagree, it has been explained away very well. To the point where it is only relevant today.


16 posted on 02/27/2006 12:33:40 PM PST by JusticeForAll76
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To: SmithL

"Of course the Constitution can evolve as times and society change. That's exactly what the Amendment process is for."
But, that would take too much time and a majority of American citizens to support their socialist changes.


17 posted on 02/27/2006 12:38:57 PM PST by griswold3 (Ken Blackwell, Ohio Governor in 2006- No!! You cannot have my governor in 2008.)
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To: JZelle
Antonin Scalia is so smart that almost everyone he meets must appear to be an idiot. I saw him on C-SPAN a few days ago and in the Q & A part he was easily making mincemeat of his questioners.

Paul Greenberg is a good guy--in fact I think he's the one who first tagged Bill Clinton with the "Slick Willie" nickname. He was writing columns denouncing Clinton back when most people had barely heard of Clinton. But nobody's right all the time.

18 posted on 02/27/2006 12:39:13 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: JZelle


So the Constitution should live and breath with the times?

Okay, I think Journalists have WAY TOO MUCH freedom when it comes to printing stupid articles like this one. I say we ban the publications of stuff like this.

Freedom of the Press is an ancient idea 200 years dead anyway....


19 posted on 02/27/2006 12:40:06 PM PST by Tzimisce (How Would Mohammed Vote? Hillary for President!)
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To: JusticeForAll76

You need to compare the situation today with that in Europe. Federal guns laws bearely touch on the right. In Europe it is rare to find guns in the hands of private persons. Hunting in Germany, for instance, is much more tightly controlled than here in the states. If it much more difficult to hunt here than it used to be, it is because the scarcity of places to hunt has made it a sport for the well-to-do. Most restrictions are state imposed, and it is harder to argue that states have no right to regulate the use of guns.


20 posted on 02/27/2006 12:43:05 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: dead
According to Greenberg, they might just as well have written the document on a chalkboard.

Or not written it at all. If it only means what the current Supreme Court at any time wants it to mean, we don't need it. We only need the current SC of that time to make decisions based on their own feelings.

21 posted on 02/27/2006 12:43:16 PM PST by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some FReepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
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To: JZelle
Would you buy a house if the bank wanted you to sign a "living mortgage"? Would you lease a car from a dealer who wanted you to sign a "living lease"? Would you even play cards against someone who insisted on playing "living poker rules" which only he could interpret? If you wouldn't do any of these three, why would you ever want a "living Constitution"?

Would the "living Constitution" supporters be willing to have their nightmare version of a Republican president and his Supreme Court determine what the meaning of the Constitution is at their whim? However, at that point they would probably insist on the sacredness of Supreme Court precedent - kind of "Living Constitution, permanently engraved rulings".

22 posted on 02/27/2006 12:49:04 PM PST by KarlInOhio (Next Olympics I want wide track bobsledding. Four sleds on the track at once - like Ben Hur on ice.)
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To: JZelle

...This time the Hon. Antonin Scalia was calling those of us who think of the Constitution of the United States as a living document "idiots."...

And as usual, he's right.


23 posted on 02/27/2006 12:50:52 PM PST by the gillman@blacklagoon.com ("If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth!")
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To: JZelle
Another leftist author with the I.Q. and reasoning ability as a bag of hammers. I am a real estate broker and you can bet your sweet bippy that the meaning of a real estate contract does not change unless there is a specific term(s) specifying EXACTLY how it does.

Nam Vet

24 posted on 02/27/2006 12:52:01 PM PST by Nam Vet (The Democrat Party of America is perfectly P.C. * .(* P.C. = Patriotically Challenged)
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To: JZelle
Washington Times? Had to reread several times to make sure it wasn't Washington Post.
25 posted on 02/27/2006 12:52:20 PM PST by Sarastro
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To: Tzimisce
Freedom of the Press is an ancient idea 200 years dead anyway....

The first amendment freedom of the press was written in a time when newpapers were printed one sheet at a time, not on huge superfast "assault" presses. And it applied only to printing presses - not to anything associated with Ben Franklin's lightning like radio, television or the internet. < /sarcasm of mass destruction>

26 posted on 02/27/2006 12:53:05 PM PST by KarlInOhio (Next Olympics I want wide track bobsledding. Four sleds on the track at once - like Ben Hur on ice.)
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To: BenLurkin

"Its dead, Jim".


27 posted on 02/27/2006 12:54:53 PM PST by Supernatural (Lay me doon in the caul caul groon, whaur afore monie mair huv gaun)
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To: JZelle

By writing his lame-brained article, Mr. Greenberg has convinced me of a few things: 1) Mr. Greenberg is not a constitutional scholar. 2) Mr. Greenberg is not a judge. 3) Mr. Greenberg is a complete a$$. 4) Mr. Greenberg is an idiot. 5) Mr. Greenberg needs to go back in history and study what the constitution is, and what it says-not what he wants it to say. 6) Mr. Greenberg is a moron. 7) Justice Scalia was correct in his statement about folks saying the constitution is a "living document" being idiots.


28 posted on 02/27/2006 12:55:23 PM PST by geezerwheezer (get up boys, we're burnin' daylight!!!)
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To: JZelle

definitely need to read this


29 posted on 02/27/2006 12:58:48 PM PST by jeremiah (The biggest threat to Americas survival today, meth usage.)
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To: RobbyS
"The "living Constitution" crowd reminds me of the "Spirit of Vatican II" crowd."

For the most part, they are the same people.

30 posted on 02/27/2006 12:59:21 PM PST by Designer (Just a nit-pick'n and chagrin'n)
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To: Leatherneck_MT
People who say that the Constitution is a Living Document ARE idiots.

That's just fancy language for the amendment process. It's not the document that's "living", it's our democratic republic. Else the "strict constructionists" would have a hard time reconciling that women and Blacks have equal rights..

31 posted on 02/27/2006 12:59:31 PM PST by ziggygrey
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To: Leatherneck_MT
"People who say that the Constitution is a Living Document ARE idiots."

Nevertheless, they will steadfastly maintain that notion until their last, dying breath.

Hhmmm...Which might not be such a bad idea!

32 posted on 02/27/2006 1:02:24 PM PST by Designer (Just a nit-pick'n and chagrin'n)
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To: ziggygrey
That's just fancy language for the amendment process.

No, the author makes it quite clear he is talking about something in addition to amending the Constitution.

33 posted on 02/27/2006 1:05:52 PM PST by KarlInOhio (Next Olympics I want wide track bobsledding. Four sleds on the track at once - like Ben Hur on ice.)
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To: JZelle

with all respects to Chief Justice John G. Roberts, the man who should have gotten that post was Nino!


34 posted on 02/27/2006 1:05:59 PM PST by Vaquero (time again for the Crusades.)
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To: JZelle
The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break.

I think everybody can agree on that. What we disagree on is the method of change. They want judicial fiat where a few people have the power to change it, we want the amendment process as the Founders so wisely included in the Constitution.

35 posted on 02/27/2006 1:07:07 PM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: SmithL
Amen!!!
36 posted on 02/27/2006 1:07:30 PM PST by jamaksin
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To: Vaquero
with all respects to Chief Justice John G. Roberts, the man who should have gotten that post was Nino!

Considering the way in which Roberts beat the Senators, could you imagine if Scalia had a confirmation hearing? Fat Ted would have been crying for his mommy on C-Span.

37 posted on 02/27/2006 1:08:50 PM PST by KarlInOhio (Next Olympics I want wide track bobsledding. Four sleds on the track at once - like Ben Hur on ice.)
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To: KarlInOhio
No, the author makes it quite clear he is talking about something in addition to amending the Constitution.

Well, peoples' views do change over time. Privacy is one issue that has gained more importance as the methods of invading one's "personal affects" has multiplied with technology.

But the fact that the Founders left an amendment process means they anticipated that things were not going to remain static in this country.

38 posted on 02/27/2006 1:12:32 PM PST by ziggygrey
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To: RobbyS

Hunting is not protected in the constitution....GUNS ARE!

the second amendment is about protection from tyranny from within and without of our nation.


"Most restrictions are state imposed, and it is harder to argue that states have no right to regulate the use of guns."


".....the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed......"



39 posted on 02/27/2006 1:14:36 PM PST by Vaquero (time again for the Crusades.)
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To: JZelle
It can change. It's called the Amendment process. Otherwise, it stays exactly as it is. Scalia is dead on and should be lauded for saying so. Simple judicial activism, or even wrongly passed legislation, does not change the meaning.

"Supremem law of the Land", "Shall not be infringed", ect... still mean now what they meant back then despite judicial misinterpretations and outright unConstitutional laws that have been penned since then.

40 posted on 02/27/2006 1:16:07 PM PST by Dead Corpse (I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

"Greenberg obviously is an idiot!"

No, he's a self-serving mealy mouthed hypocrit. His concern for the anger level in the discourse only manifestes itself when the right fires back.

Back in the 70's and since then anyone who disagreed in any way with a liberal was a "nazi" among many other things.

Suck it up, Paulie.


41 posted on 02/27/2006 1:17:59 PM PST by TalBlack (I WON'T suffer the journalizing or editorializing of people who are afraid of the enemies of freedom)
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To: JZelle

I wonder what these people that call the constitution a "living document" would say if their bank decided that their mortgage was a "living document".


42 posted on 02/27/2006 1:19:47 PM PST by elmer fudd
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To: Tzimisce

I have never had a substantive reply, when arguing with a anti-gun nut, when I say that journalists should have to license their keyboards and typewriters, no one could have forseen the invention of these dangerous devices. They should only be allowed to write by longhand, or use an old style printing press.....unless of course they want to be severely regulated.


43 posted on 02/27/2006 1:20:24 PM PST by jeremiah (The biggest threat to Americas survival today, meth usage.)
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To: JZelle
OTOH, I wonder how well Scalia practices what he preaches. He supported the existing extreme expansion of federal powers into places where the federal was not given those powers by the Constitution. He helped bend to the breaking point the definition of "commerce" so the feds could legislate private personal matters in Golzales v. Raich.

O'Connor was actually more constructionist than Scalia in that case, although Thomas (in dissenting like O'Connor) said it best:

If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything–and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.

44 posted on 02/27/2006 1:21:23 PM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: Vaquero

Given that the Bill of Rights is meant to limit the national government, I don't go along with this. IMHO, each state is a separate poliitical community and ought to be free to make its rule of safety and comity. If you don't like the gun laws of New York. move to Texas.


45 posted on 02/27/2006 1:30:53 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: JZelle

In a diverse society, where its diversity is emphasized over its foundational roots, it is inevitable that there arise conflicts about whose moral code is to be adhered to.

Nevertheless, a society without a moral compass will eventually lose its heading.

Nations set themselves adrift when they have no steadfast point of reference.

A people who decide what is right or wrong solely on relative positions are like the nearsighted navigator who always finds them self on course by focusing on the twinkle just over the horizon.

They never realize that the twinkle is the captain’s lamp at the other end of the ship, steering them only to the course they’ve already predetermined.


46 posted on 02/27/2006 1:32:19 PM PST by pointoflight
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To: JZelle

As usual, Scalia is right.


47 posted on 02/27/2006 1:36:50 PM PST by EricT. ("I reject your reality and substitute my own."-Adam Savage)
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To: JZelle

Greenberg's got it wrong, easy for an idiot. The opposite of a "living" Constitution is a respected one.


48 posted on 02/27/2006 1:38:51 PM PST by Navy Patriot
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To: Tzimisce
Freedom of the Press is an ancient idea 200 years dead anyway....

Yeah! Let's require them all to be registered with the local law enforcement agency!

49 posted on 02/27/2006 1:41:18 PM PST by EricT. ("I reject your reality and substitute my own."-Adam Savage)
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To: ziggygrey
Else the "strict constructionists" would have a hard time reconciling that women and Blacks have equal rights..

Just what are you trying to say, newbie (suspected troll)?

50 posted on 02/27/2006 1:46:02 PM PST by EricT. ("I reject your reality and substitute my own."-Adam Savage)
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