Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Constitution Check: Is devotion to the Constitution destroying democracy?
Yahoo! News ^ | 11/12/13 | Lyle Denniston - National Constitution Center

Posted on 11/12/2013 9:34:16 AM PST by NormsRevenge

Lyle Denniston looks at a claim that interpreting an old document, like the U.S. Constitution, is a doomed attempt to apply outdated legal principles.

THE STATEMENT AT ISSUE:

“Professor Neuborne describes this dysfunctional democracy very well, but he does not give the real reason for that dysfunction – the reverence for the United States Constitution. Each of the Supreme Court’s iniquities he lists is based on the interpretation by five of nine high priests of increasingly irrelevant documents written by wealthy white men in an unimaginably different and distant world.”

...

WE CHECKED THE CONSTITUTION, AND…

One of the fundamental issues that deeply divides the nine Justices now serving on the Supreme Court is the proper way to interpret the Constitution’s meaning for today’s world. Some of the Justices believe that the key is the “original meaning” of the document – that is, as it was understood in 1787. Others believe that the document is a “living Constitution” that is adaptable to changing times and thus acquires new meaning from time to time.

No one expects that disagreement ever to be finally resolved. At the same time, all of the Justices agree that the Constitution embodies enduring principles, and that it is the duty of judges in this country to apply them. Even a sincere devotion to those principles, though, is bound to produce disagreements about their contemporary meaning.

What is often misunderstood about the process of constitutional reasoning is that the Constitution itself does not provide all of the necessary answers to any legal problem that turns on enduring principles. No document, and certainly no legal document, can always be understood by its literal meaning. Words are means of expressing ideas, and the same words can mean different things to different judges.

(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: constitution; democracy; destroying; devotion
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-77 next last

1 posted on 11/12/2013 9:34:16 AM PST by NormsRevenge
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

Lyle Denniston is the National Constitution Center’s adviser on constitutional literacy. He has reported on the Supreme Court for 55 years, currently covering it for SCOTUSblog, an online clearinghouse of information about the Supreme Court’s work.


for your consideration and comment.


2 posted on 11/12/2013 9:35:26 AM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Libs and others try the same logic with the Bible. Both works were created in a way that they span time.


3 posted on 11/12/2013 9:36:04 AM PST by Resolute Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Devotion to the Constitution preserves republican government, which is the point.


4 posted on 11/12/2013 9:36:30 AM PST by cotton1706
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

No, devotion to democracy is destroying the Constitution.


5 posted on 11/12/2013 9:38:03 AM PST by Edgar3 (Libnorance is a mental disease, and it's getting Progressively worse!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

There is nothing wrong with the Constitution. The logic used internally works just fine.

It only starts to come apart as people try to invent crap to get around it.

Like this “democracy” crap. We are NOT a “democracy”. We are a Republic.


6 posted on 11/12/2013 9:38:29 AM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Why ever have a Constitution? Our Constitution is timeless. Communists want to be timeless. The Constitution ruins their evil plans.


7 posted on 11/12/2013 9:38:51 AM PST by dforest
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Ignoring the Constitution is what is destroying the Representative Republic.


8 posted on 11/12/2013 9:40:30 AM PST by Conspiracy Guy (On the evening of 10/16/13, the ailing republican party breathed its last breath.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

The Constitution is explicitly anti-democracy.

Thank God.


9 posted on 11/12/2013 9:40:39 AM PST by Jim Noble (When strong, avoid them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

I would hope so since America was set up as a Constitutional representative republic, not a democracy. The Founding Fathers hated and abhorred democracy.


10 posted on 11/12/2013 9:43:10 AM PST by Jack Hydrazine (I’m not a Republican, I'm a Conservative! Pubbies haven't been conservative since before T.R.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Yes, yes it is! And it’s about damn time! Let’s restore the Republic!


11 posted on 11/12/2013 9:43:46 AM PST by FrdmLvr ("WE ARE ALL OSAMA, 0BAMA!" al-Qaeda terrorists who breached the American compound in Benghazi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

“Lyle Denniston is the National Constitution Center’s adviser on constitutional literacy.”

Who does not seem to realize that this is not a democracy but a democratic REPUBLIC.


12 posted on 11/12/2013 9:44:00 AM PST by MestaMachine (My caps work. You gotta earn them.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

“National Constitution Center” Huh, This “outfit’s” “
Board of Trustees” looks like a Whose-Who is Elitist HACKS:
http://constitutioncenter.org/about/board-of-trustees/


13 posted on 11/12/2013 9:47:07 AM PST by US Navy Vet (Go Packers! Go Rockies! Go Boston Bruins! See, I'm "Diverse"!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

If someone is of the opinion that that Constitution needs changing, the method is clear; amend it according to the rules set forth in the Constitution. As amended, it remains a contract between the States and the Federal Government, and as long as there are States in the United States it needs to be observed as written, as do all written contracts. If the words in the Constitution don’t mean anything, then the words in all other contracts don’t mean anything, nor do they in law. Words may not be perfect or immortal, but they are all we have to communicate and come to agreement.


14 posted on 11/12/2013 9:47:29 AM PST by Old North State
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Only the Liberal version of the Constitution.


15 posted on 11/12/2013 9:47:46 AM PST by Usagi_yo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

The Founding Fathers Rejected Democracy
http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2010/06/29/the-founding-fathers-rejected-democracy/#.UoJpAeKRQSo

Democracy is Mob Absolutism
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2556848/posts

America is a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy!
http://www.scwteaparty.com/ConstRepublic.html

Todd Akin says The Founding Fathers despised Democracy
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/21/1122483/-Todd-Akin-The-Founding-Fathers-despised-Democracy
(It’s difficult to believe that the Kos Kiddies actually posted this on their own website.)


16 posted on 11/12/2013 9:48:28 AM PST by Jack Hydrazine (I’m not a Republican, I'm a Conservative! Pubbies haven't been conservative since before T.R.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

The Constitution was written to prevent democracy, thus ensuring freedom, essential rights, and the retardation of tyranny.


17 posted on 11/12/2013 9:49:45 AM PST by lurk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

We do not live in a “democracy”. Professor Neuborne needs to take a remedial America 101.


18 posted on 11/12/2013 9:51:01 AM PST by eyedigress ((zOld storm chaser from the west)/ ?s)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

The Constitution was designed to destroy democracy.

Next question.


19 posted on 11/12/2013 9:53:08 AM PST by EBH ( The Day of the Patriot has arrived.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Edgar3

Democracy is not exactly the virtue that it has been touted to be. Sure, the word is rooted in the Greek term for “rule by the people”, but the determination, of just exactly who “the people” should be limited to, has changed, seemingly by almost every person in the world who has chosen to use the term.

Everybody who happens to be within a particular region? Only individuals over that age of twenty-one (or eighteen, or twenty-five, or sixty)? Only to one gender, or both, or however many more can be “invented”? Should domesticated animals be included, and if so, why not the feral and undomesticated creatures that happen to dwell in close proximity? Should be there be some test of mental capability, or is that just “prejudice” on the part of the folks who determine things?

Democracy can run amok if it is permitted to.


20 posted on 11/12/2013 9:56:58 AM PST by alloysteel (Men may not always be capable of evil, but they are always capable of incompetence.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Keep in mind that democracy wasn’t pushed into this country until the early 1900s particularly with the Woodrow Wilson administration using his famous making the world “safe for democracy” catchphrase during WWI.

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/democracy.html
The American system is not a democracy. It is a constitutional republic. A democracy, if you attach meaning to terms, is a system of unlimited majority rule; the classic example is ancient Athens. And the symbol of it is the fate of Socrates, who was put to death legally, because the majority didn’t like what he was saying, although he had initiated no force and had violated no one’s rights.

Democracy, in short, is a form of collectivism, which denies individual rights: the majority can do whatever it wants with no restrictions. In principle, the democratic government is all-powerful. Democracy is a totalitarian manifestation; it is not a form of freedom . . . .

The American system is a constitutionally limited republic, restricted to the protection of individual rights. In such a system, majority rule is applicable only to lesser details, such as the selection of certain personnel. But the majority has no say over the basic principles governing the government. It has no power to ask for or gain the infringement of individual rights.


21 posted on 11/12/2013 9:59:11 AM PST by Jack Hydrazine (I’m not a Republican, I'm a Conservative! Pubbies haven't been conservative since before T.R.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
ACLJ: Tax Invasion
22 posted on 11/12/2013 9:59:22 AM PST by Berlin_Freeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: EBH
"The Constitution was designed to destroy democracy.

Next question."

Exactly correct!

23 posted on 11/12/2013 9:59:39 AM PST by GregoTX (Keep Calm and Cruz On)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Dead Corpse

“Like this “democracy” crap.”

Right. Notice that libs support any crazy repressive regime, even the Muslim Brotherhood, as long as they can gloat “democratically elected,” especially if the election had been certified by Peanuts Carter.


24 posted on 11/12/2013 9:59:55 AM PST by Zuse
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

I’d say the communist manifesto is also a very old document written by white men in a different world. Does this mean we can fire every left winger in Washington?


25 posted on 11/12/2013 10:00:16 AM PST by Viennacon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: alloysteel

Don’t dare ask for an I.D. card! That’s just plain Racist!


26 posted on 11/12/2013 10:01:51 AM PST by eyedigress ((zOld storm chaser from the west)/ ?s)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

I don’t give a rat’s patooty about democracy. Fidelity to the Constitution will preserve our Republic and limit it’s scope and power while defending the sovereignty of the people.


27 posted on 11/12/2013 10:02:08 AM PST by pgkdan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
IT IS NOT A DEMOCRACY! IT IS A REPUBLIC.

Libs have brainwashed the entire country into thinking otherwise.

28 posted on 11/12/2013 10:03:20 AM PST by Gamecock (If you have to be One,be a Big Red One.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

"It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this.
The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity."

~Alexander Hamilton

Speech in New York, urging ratification of the U.S. Constitution (1788-06-21)




Please support Free Republic
click the pic


29 posted on 11/12/2013 10:06:20 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

> Constitution Check: Is devotion to the Constitution
> destroying democracy?

I would certainly hope so!

Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for lunch.

In a Constitutional Republic, the wolves are limited by the Constitution and the sheep are armed.


30 posted on 11/12/2013 10:13:20 AM PST by Westbrook ()Children do not divide your love, they multiply it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: US Navy Vet
"Board of Trustees” looks like a Whose-Who is Elitist HACKS"

What is Dikembe Mutumbo doing on the Board of trustees?
31 posted on 11/12/2013 10:13:30 AM PST by Steve_Seattle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Steve_Seattle

Good Question!


32 posted on 11/12/2013 10:14:17 AM PST by US Navy Vet (Go Packers! Go Rockies! Go Boston Bruins! See, I'm "Diverse"!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock
Libs have brainwashed the entire country into thinking otherwise.

-----------------------------------------------------------

And they continue to do soo.

Public University’s Plaque Labels President Lincoln A Democrat

http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/15283/

 photo lincolnplaque_zpsc010a223.jpg

33 posted on 11/12/2013 10:17:32 AM PST by Zeneta
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Non issue. We don not live in a Democracy so there is none to destroy. We live in a Representative Republic.


34 posted on 11/12/2013 10:19:43 AM PST by SECURE AMERICA (Where can I go to sign is for the American Revolution 2013 and the Crusades 2013?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
"Is devotion to the Constitution destroying democracy?"

No, devotion to socialism is destroying the Constitution.
35 posted on 11/12/2013 10:20:30 AM PST by Steve_Seattle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Professor Neuborne is actually correct, but not for the reason he believes.

The Constitution provided for a strictly limited federal government, with everything else left to the States. It is entirely adequate, as amended, to function as intended.

The problem is that for the last 100+ years more and more people have desired a government that “runs the country” in the way European social-democratic governments do. With the parliamentary system of these countries, a party that wins an election controls both the executive and legislative branches and can quickly put into practice the platform it campaigned on. If the voters don’t like the results, they can elect another party at the next election, and it gets the chance to fully implement its policies.

Our system is specifically designed to keep this from happening. Checks and balances and all that. Fine for the limited scope of government for which it was designed, but just not adequate to “run the country.”

Which means we have just a few choices:

Amend or replace the Constitution to specifically put in place a system that is capable of efficiently “running the country.”

Ignore or “interpret” the existing Constitution so the government can function somewhat effectively at “running the country.” This is what we have done for the last 100 years, more and more as time goes by.

Return to the original intent of the Founders, with the government limited to a few specific functions that can be easily handled by the intentionally inefficient government the Constitution provides. That’s what I would prefer, but it seems a considerable majority of my fellow countrymen disagree.


36 posted on 11/12/2013 10:21:41 AM PST by Sherman Logan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Nothing can hold the Republic together more than adhering to the Constitution.


37 posted on 11/12/2013 10:21:54 AM PST by maxwellsmart_agent
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
They want to eliminate everything except Article II.

-PJ

38 posted on 11/12/2013 10:22:41 AM PST by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: alloysteel

> Democracy can run amok if it is permitted to.

It already has. The system has been gamed. Why do you think they want to grant free amnesty to illegal aliens while at the same time our Southern border is being permeated by large numbers of Muslims that are coming in through the Mexico border in large numbers posing as Mexicans because they look so similar? We under invasion by an administration that is encouraging it to retain their power.


39 posted on 11/12/2013 10:31:10 AM PST by jsanders2001
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: dforest
Communists want to be timeless.

A proof of the axiom of a sucker being born (at least) every second and good intentions paving the road. The concept of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" collapses the minute self-interest comes into play. The fact that Mr.s Marx & Engels have yet to be consigned to the ashcan of history convinces me that there is deviltry in this world let alone the Devil!

40 posted on 11/12/2013 10:32:16 AM PST by SES1066 (To expect courteous government is insanity!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Democracy is mob rule. We are a Constitutional Republic.


41 posted on 11/12/2013 10:32:59 AM PST by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed & water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS NOW & FOREVER!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Edgar3

One is always the converse antithesis of the other.


42 posted on 11/12/2013 10:33:53 AM PST by dps.inspect (rage against the Obama machine...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
A co-worker tried to argue the "living document" approach over lunch at a restaurant. I asked if we could take a less critical document such as the menu and make it a living document. We'll triple the price of your entree AFTER YOU ORDER. The restaurant needs the money and you're agreeable to the principle of a living document. Why should you expect the price of your lunch to be held as the originally value printed on the menu? It was printed by rich, old white restaurant owners. The current owners need some extra cash to cover their track bets. Fork it over or we will call the police.
43 posted on 11/12/2013 10:36:30 AM PST by Myrddin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge; All

I agree with Dead Corpse that there is basically nothing wrong with the Constitution. The main reason that the Constitution gets questioned is that the corrupt, unconstitutionally big federal government doesn’t want constitutonally ignorant voters to find out that the main purpose of the Constitution is to limit the federal government’s powers.


44 posted on 11/12/2013 10:49:44 AM PST by Amendment10
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

I don’t believe the Constitution has anything to do with ‘democracy’.

‘Democracy’ is the term that the moderates and liberals have cottoned to which they believes somehow connotes this miasma in which we now reside. They think it’s such a blessed thing that they want to make certain it’s exported to those countries we’ve invaded that don’t want it.

Our democracy means we get a complete jackass as president and another one as Chief Justice and an entire retinue of jerks who prance about the floors of Congress in front of C-Span cameras convincing themselves that they’re representing the people who were stupid enough to pull a lever and get them there!

Our ‘democracy’ means that we have an onerous IRS and a completely defiled military. It means we listen to the sentences of those we dare call allies. But then all of our conversations and writings are being read and noted by a faceless bureaucracy.

Those of us lucky enough might be able to clear out of this democratic paradise, but those of us who are forced to remain here in a 50 state gulag and better get busy trying to rip out everything that’s transpired since 1912.


45 posted on 11/12/2013 10:50:31 AM PST by IbJensen (Liberals are like Slinkies, good for nothing, but you smile as you push them down the stairs.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

If anyone is confused about what the Founding Fathers meant when they designed the Constitution all they need to do is read the federalist papers.


46 posted on 11/12/2013 10:52:07 AM PST by PATRIOT1876
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

For later


47 posted on 11/12/2013 10:55:24 AM PST by Tzimisce
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sherman Logan

Yes.

The issue is IMHO, one that cuts to the foundation of belief or the basis of laws.

“Rights granted by man or a Creator”

Rights granted be man have been gaining more and more acceptance over the past 100 years, to be certain, while rights granted by a Creator have lost ground.

It is ironic that both require “faith” in our fellow man.

In the case of faith in government run by people, it seems to have devolved into fear and insecurity.

As for the case of rights by a Creator, the faith is in ones self and certainty of human nature.

Liberals are fundamentally insecure. They are children that have found a political voice. They don’t do the hard work or address the difficult questions that have historically advanced society.

Relativism and their fear of being judgmental is at the top of their concerns.

They don’t trust people that can clearly define an issue.


48 posted on 11/12/2013 10:59:49 AM PST by Zeneta
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

“Is devotion to the Constitution destroying democracy?”

Gosh, I certainly hope so. This isn’t supposed to be a “democracy.”


49 posted on 11/12/2013 11:05:46 AM PST by Cyber Liberty (We're At That Awkward Stage: It's too late to vote them out, too early to shoot the bastards.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 14themunny; 21stCenturion; 300magnum; A Strict Constructionist; abigail2; AdvisorB; Aggie Mama; ...

Federalist, anti-Federalist and Constitution ping. Good article and good discussion.


50 posted on 11/12/2013 11:15:50 AM PST by Publius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-77 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson