I read a piece yesterday asking if censuring President’s was an enumerated power of Congress and one of the commenters, J Philip the Red Guy in a Blue State, asked an interesting question of his own.
Is our constitution really that “tattered?” I am not trying to make excuses for the administration, but rather look at things in the context of history. What “good old days” of constitutional integrity would you have us return to? 40 years ago banks denied mortgage applicants solely due to race or redlining, and it was not only legal, it was written into FHA guidelines. Before that we had internment camps, Jim Crow, the institutionalized subjugation of women, genocide, the suspension of habeas corpus and plenty of other accepted and established abominations of inalienable rights. That we can openly discuss and dissent these things tells me that the protection of consitutional rights has never been healthier. That does not mean we should be ambivilent to areas we need to improve/overhaul, but it does take some of the unproductive visceral antithought out of the mix as we search for answers.
I’m not sure that all the abominations he referred to are actually Constitutionally prohibited. In fact, I’m sure at least a couple of them aren’t, but his general point is correct. Though there are certainly blind spots (the Second Amendment being a huge one), I doubt there has been a time in our nation’s history when the idea of Constitutional rights was taken as seriously or extended as far. In fact, as I see it, the worst danger to those rights at present is not that we don’t take Constitutional rights seriously, it’s that we’re manufacturing new ones out of whole cloth, devaluing the document and the rights actually written into it in the process.