Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Our second-rate Constitution
Tom Smith

Justice Ginsburg is evidently not a huge fan of our Constitution:

In a television interview during a visit to Egypt last week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court seemed to agree. “I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” she said. She recommended, instead, the South African Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or theEuropean Convention on Human Rights.

Via the dear old NY Times, via Instapundit.  So is it her fourth favorite constitution at least?  And she wouldn't even look to it if she were drafting a new constitution?  Aren't there some parts of it at least that she likes, that hold up pretty well? Personally, I think the next time someone is nominated to the high court, they should have to affirm that they really, really like the Constitution, even to the point of its being their very favorite constitution, or even their very favorite law.  If they say, "our constitution, meh, it's OK, I guess. Whatever" then to me, that raises a big red flag.  If they follow it up with "if you really want to see an awesome constitution, you should look at Canada, or Europe," that just makes it worse.  I mean, Canada, really?  Isn't Canada the country where if you say "I'm afraid the Muslims might be trying to blow us up" you can be sent to jail?  Ditto if you are a preacher and proclaim that the Bible decrees that homosexuality is a sin -- I recall something to the effect that you can get into big trouble in Canada for saying that, though no one can deny it is a fisherperson's paradise. Well no doubt Justice Ginsberg can try to whip our constitution into shape as much as possible, given that it is such a mess. I do hope she thinks our constitution is pretty good in its way at least, and that it wouldn't be a sow's ear into a silk purse sort of thing.  Now I feel guilty that we even make her work on the thing, so far beneath her it may be.


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Tom, obviously your law degree precludes you from understanding that when she swore to uphold "the Constitution", she was really thinking about more recent "constitutions". Our US Constitution is, like, so old, ya know? These newer ones are, like "cool" and "with it, man", doncha know?

Posted by: J. Mulis | Feb 7, 2012 6:31:45 PM

Personally, I don't blame her. She has to work really, really hard to twist the US Constitution to suit her proclivities, whereas more "modern" constitutions often contain language that does all that work for her.

On the other hand, regarding free speech, the truth is that all constitutions pay lip service to it, and all countries honor it in their own, shall we say, idiosyncratic way. Don't forget that pre-Citizens United--and to this day, in the minds of a great many Americans--the US Constitution officially protects naked dancing, but not political campaigning...

Posted by: Dan Simon | Feb 7, 2012 9:13:42 PM

2nd to SOUTH AFRICA?! Harsh. And shouldnt she at least give props to our Constitution's self-activated judicial review, which allows her defilement of the thing?

Posted by: StephanieandTimothy Gordon | Feb 7, 2012 10:44:38 PM

Nice post. I do look forward to the next judicial confirmation hearing. I hope a standard question, repeated every time, is,

"Justice Ginsburg has said
she would not look to the United States Constitution if she were drafting a constitution in the year 2012, and that she likes constitutions of South Africa and Canada better, and the European Convention on Human Rights. We didn't think to ask her about that when the last Democratic President appointed her. What constitutions do you like better than the U.S. Constitution?"

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Feb 9, 2012 8:42:41 AM