Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Constitution Day

Ken Masugi has an excellent post, with good links. Most importantly, he calls our attention to a colloquy during the Roberts hearings between Tom Coburn--not a lawyer--and John Roberts, with the former pushing toward, and actually mentioning, natural law and the latter apparently resting content with the common law tradition. One can quarrel with Coburn’s characterization of the theological character of the tradition--natural law, after all, is a deliverance of reason, not revelation--but it is striking that Roberts, who by all accounts is a good Catholic, did not seize the teachable moment. One can only hope that it was his (flawed) political judgment that led him to remain silent.

Here’s a story on what some colleges and universities are doing to celebrate Constitution Day--some of it involves very little that could honestly be described as education. What’s striking is how an unfunded mandate--a string attached to federal funding for other purposes--is often described (in a way unquestioned by the author) as a violation of the Constitution. That’s a position of which I’m far from convinced.

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Best not to invite (most) liberals to get into the Constitution business, even peripherally. They will only mislead the children.

One of the few, marginal advantages conservatives might be said to have in academe is that we understand the Constitution. Our voices certainly do not match the liberals’ for volume or frequency on this issue. But at least we can minimize their dominance by not encouraging them to teach their mostly nonsensical perspective and pass it off as constitutional scholarship.

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