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article imageNew York Times writer wants U.S. to 'give up on the Constitution'

By Andrew Moran     Jan 3, 2013 in Politics
New York - The United States Constitution and Bill of Rights gives every American the right to life, liberty and property, but one op-ed writer and professor wants the U.S. to only pick and choose from the Constitution and abandon the rest.
Last week, Louis Michael Seidman, a Georgetown University Professor of Constitutional Law, published a controversial op-ed piece titled “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution,” which essentially states that the constitution is the culprit of all the problems facing the country because citizens’ and lawmakers’ “insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.”
Seidman went onto write that the U.S. should not disobey all Constitutional amendments, such as freedom of speech and religion, because they should be followed “out of respect, not obligation.” By abiding by the Constitution, Seidman writes, it has given the U.S. a destabilized political system and has agitated public debate over contentious political issues.
“What would change is not the existence of these institutions, but the basis on which they claim legitimacy. The president would have to justify military action against Iran solely on the merits, without shutting down the debate with a claim of unchallengeable constitutional power as commander in chief,” stated Seidman.
“Congress might well retain the power of the purse, but this power would have to be defended on contemporary policy grounds, not abstruse constitutional doctrine. The Supreme Court could stop pretending that its decisions protecting same-sex intimacy or limiting affirmative action were rooted in constitutional text.”
He concluded that before disposing the idea that Americans are self-governing, they have to first extricate “ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.”
Since the op-ed was published, many right-wing and libertarian-leaning outlets have criticized Seidman for even suggesting the U.S. should just let go of the constitution and impose an unwritten document.
For instance, Joel Griffith of Policy Mic opined the importance of the “idiosyncrasies” that Seidman spoke of. Checks and balances, for example, is an important aspect of the Constitution because it “could prevent this new nation from ever being enslaved by a tyrannical government.”
Meanwhile, Andrew Hyman over at Red State believes the country should “give up on him, instead.”
“Why anyone thinks this guy is qualified to be a constitutional law professor boggles my mind,” added Hyman. “Maybe it’s time to give up on tenure, too.”
Liberty Blitzkrieg’s Michael Krieger called the op-ed piece “one of the most absurd and dangerous articles I have read in a very long time.”
More about New York Times, Constitution, LOUIS MICHAEL SEIDMAN, Oped, United States
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