May 9, 2005

IT MEANS WHAT IT SAYS AND IT SPELLS OUT ITS ENDS:

Christian Restorationists: For DeLay and the Christian right, denaturing the filibuster is the first step toward theocracy. (Joel Bleifuss, In These Times)

Jim Wallis, Sojourners editor and evangelical progressive, has rightly characterized Republican plans to dismantle the filibuster as “a declaration of religious war.”

But the central issue in this war between the Christian right and the rest of America is not the ultimate confirmation of a handful of reactionary judges. What’s at stake is ownership of the U.S. Constitution: Who controls this 218-year old document and to what end?

Two basic schools of thought exist as to how to interpret the Constitution. One holds that we are ruled by a “living constitution”—one in which legal scholar Ronald Dworkin says “key constitutional provisions, as a matter of their original meaning, set out abstract principles rather than concrete or dated rules.” The second school applies a “strict constructionist” approach that maintains the Constitution provides a “rule of law” that is to be interpreted literally. As one strict constructionist justice put it: “The constitution that I, Antonin Scalia, interpret and apply is not living, but dead.”


He's got the divide right, though it's only a religious war to the extent that the Founders were religious and the modern Left is anti-religious. It'
s helpful to recall what Jefferson wrote:
On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry
ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the
spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be
squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable
one in which it was passed.
-- Thomas Jefferson to Justice William Johnson, 1823

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 9, 2005 11:52 PM
Comments

What phone booth do the 'evangelical progressives' meet in?

Maybe, I need to stop using my KJV but I don't see one word in there about filibusters being godly.

Posted by: bart at May 10, 2005 7:40 AM

The only thing that matters is the Constitutional language.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 10, 2005 7:48 AM
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