Lion of the Blogosphere

The liberal push give up on the Constitution

Louis Michael Seidman, a professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University, writes in a NY Times op-ed:

Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.

As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?

The Constitution, by limiting the power of federal government, prevents the majority from oppressing the minority.

Forty years ago, liberals still vividly remembered the McCarthy hearings when a conservative-controlled government used its powers against the left. Nixon was the President 40 years ago, and no liberal would want to give more power to a government controlled by Nixon. Yet at the same time, the Supreme Court was somehow liberal and using the Constitution as an excuse to do stuff that liberals approved of. Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. So the Constitution seemed like a good deal for liberals 40 years ago.

But we skip ahead 40 years, and now liberals dominate the government bureaucracy. (How many government workers in Washington DC voted for Romney in the last election? Not very many.) It’s not likely that there will be another Republican president in the foreseeable future. Exit polls show that Romney’s support primarily came from whites, and Seidman surely knows that whites will be a declining percentage of the electorate in every election going forward as the nation becomes more diverse.

Without a Constitution to get in the way, liberals could finally make the nation a better place. Obama, who is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, could remain president for many more decades. Disenfranchised undocumented immigrants can finally be given the citizenship they are entitled to. Evil people such as racists and homophobes can be sentenced to mental institutions for their deviant thoughts. We can finally do something to stop global warming. Obstructionist Republicans will just use the Constitution to get in the way of all these good things.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 31, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Posted in Law

32 Responses

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  1. It never ceases to amaze me how people can argue for eliminating or enacting laws for their own present benefit while not realizing that the tide will eventually turn and those same laws will be used to decimate all they presently hold dear. I guess this is the “educated” version of low future time orientation.

    ASF

    December 31, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    • The chances that the shit-canning of the Constitution will backfire on the Democrats when the Republicans win is silly. The tide will continue to roll in, not turn. WASPs are in decline, and Derbyshire’s “Sun People” are ascendant in the U.S. Change is nigh-impossible, and becoming more impossible every day

      Geofwww.nobizofyours.comf

      December 31, 2012 at 4:51 PM

      • “Sun people” actually comes from the Right Honorable Dr. Reverend Bishop Emeritus Leonard Jeffries. Steve has joked that if they’re the loose, outgoing “sun people,” then why is the liberals’ latest excuse for The Gap that black infants don’t hear enough verbal stimulation?

        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Jeffries

        ATC

        December 31, 2012 at 6:56 PM

      • ASF did not say that the Repubs would decimate what white liberals hold dear. Repubs haven’t threaten anyone on the bill of rights in many decades.

        But make no mistake: Dems need Repubs as a foil to hold their stupid coalition of people with opposite interests together. If it weren’t for Republicans as the common enemy, minorities in many US cities would turn on white liberals who presently run things “on their behalf” in places like New York and DC

        Just look at how the freedom-loving, educated liberals in Egypt and Libya have been tossed in the garbage the moment their usefulness expired.

        Dan

        December 31, 2012 at 8:05 PM

  2. Bork points out the same tendency in The Tempting of America. He also associates it with a new ruling class.

    dexelpred

    December 31, 2012 at 4:45 PM

  3. Why would they need to revamp the Constitution? If they kill the filibuster it will end most of the GOP’s ability to block legislation. At the Congressional level, redistricting and the density of liberals in cities means that it would take a huge Democratic sweep for them to regain the house (Republicans lost the Congressional popular vote yet still hold a majority). Changing this doesn’t require a change in the Constitution, only a sweep in State legislative houses.

    You’re building a straw man here, and you lose credibility.

    differentiated87

    December 31, 2012 at 5:54 PM

  4. The US Constitution is the most liberal document ever written.

    Anyone who wishes to abolish it is not a liberal, more like a Nazi.

    not too late

    December 31, 2012 at 6:00 PM

  5. The constitution is getting in the way of the liberal agenda? News to me!

    anonymous

    December 31, 2012 at 6:28 PM

  6. Reblogged this on and commented:
    The Lion of the Blogosphere, mentions some liberal professor of Law that wants to do away with the Constitution. According to him, it is a document produced today by “white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries”, and therefore has no relevance today… I would remind that professor that the Constitution was drafted to secure the rights of the first colonists and “their posterity”, and, being most certainly a latecomer, he has nothing to do with that. Apparently, after the election liberals are so emboldened that they think they can do anything, from gun control to changing the Constitution. If they really think so, they will have a bad surprise.

    zenocosini

    December 31, 2012 at 7:35 PM

  7. “How many government workers in Washington DC voted for Romney in the last election? Not very many.”

    Are you sure? What about just the white ones?

    Prole whites say, “Da Constitution blah blah blah”, as if because such and such is prohibited by the Constitution it is right to prohibit it, as if the Constitution were delivered at Sinai.

    The Constitution can be amended. That’s part of it. The whole thing could be rewritten at a new convention. It should be hard to amend, but not as hard as it is now. This applies to campaign finance reform and gun control. Liberal judges are disgusting, but the solution isn’t strict constructionism, it’s a more easily amended Constitution.

    Nicolai Yezhov

    December 31, 2012 at 8:30 PM

  8. Lefty’s just can’t handle the fact that they aren’t MORE popular. The constitution can be changed, the left just can’t muster the votes to do it because a substantial chunk of the country doesn’t agree with what they want.

    Some Guy

    December 31, 2012 at 8:31 PM

  9. The constitution is meaningless, it’s a fetish for republicans/tea partiers most of whom have never actually read the entire thing much less spent even a semester on it. It’s also not written very well, brighter men would have made the second amendment a little clearer for example, maybe left out one of the commas.

    We have not had a budget for 3 years (4?), of course the constitution kind of requires that. Obama came out and declared he would not enforce immigration law. It’s one thing to quietly consider other laws as requiring primary attention, quite another to declare it to the hoi polloi, anything happen? Of course when reasonable questions were brought up regarding his eligibility, were they seriously addressed by anyone in congress? Of course not, republicans and democrats alike just mocked the questioners. The constitution is dead by the hands of the republicans starting with John McCain.

    Regardless, the truth is the writers were pretty much elites who by and large were okay with slavery and indentured servitude and were perfectly okay with my ancestors being cannon fodder so they could embiggen their plantations, some things are simple and I don’t hold any respect for slavers regardless how pretty they could talk.

    Of course, when the elites declared that the southern states had no right of secession, they tacitly affirmed the colony’s had less of a right as such it’s all a big joke.

    S_McCoy

    December 31, 2012 at 9:23 PM

  10. THIS is subtlety? Same goes for the Maxim post.

    Comrade

    December 31, 2012 at 9:46 PM

  11. Part of the conservative response to an academic system that is completely insane (much more so than any Communist regime or any Communist leader) should be defunding the liberal academic bureaucracy by automating* most professor’s jobs out of existence via MOOCs and by eliminating the need to take redundant core courses that simply help divert funding to the loony tunes non-STEM and non-business departments** :

    http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2012/11/napster-udacity-and-the-academy/

    http://www.businessinsider.com/tom-keefe-jr-wants-to-change-law-school-2012-12

    St. Louis University School of Law’s interim dean Tom Keefe Jr. talked this week with The Madison-St. Clair Record about “this terrible problem with student debt.” Keefe, who does double duty as a plaintiffs’ lawyer and called himself “unconventional” during the interview, suggested cutting law school curriculum down to two years to save students money.

    He took over control of SLU law this semester after former dean Anette Clark penned a very public resignation letter attacking the university’s president for using the law school’s money to keep the entire university afloat and for leaving her out of big decisions.

    http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/12/18/does-law-school-have-a-future/

    One solution, he says, is for professors to teach more courses each academic year to cut back on law school salary budgets. Other schools could rely more on part-time professors and offer two-year degrees to shave the overall tuition bill.

    Several prestigious law schools have targeted the third year for overhaul, including New York University’s School of Law which, in October, agreed to open the third year of study to international experience, or work in a specialized area like environmental or antitrust law. Another cadre of students could choose to focus on specialties like patent or tax law.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    December 31, 2012 at 11:37 PM

  12. If Democrats hold the Presidency for the next few elections they’ll get a 6 or 7 liberal majority on the Supreme Court. So they will be able to rewrite the Constitution even more than they already have.

    TUJ,

    The conservatives should have jumped on pushing online education. But they totally failed. Fortunately it is taking off anyway. But conservatives could still make a big difference by changing state laws to allow licensing for occupations by passing tests without getting a degree.

    Most notable: I believe only Virginia allows a person to become a lawyer by passing the bar without going thru law school. More states should allow this path into professional occupations.

  13. ” . . . kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse.”

    Extraordinary. Has anybody noticed how the Constitution has been restricting our needed “debate” on divisive issues? And how our public discourse has been “inflamed” by all this– er– non-debating of divisive . . . augh, wait a minute . . . .

    –Oh, right! He’s talking about those “honest conversations” we need to be having– you know, the ones where the Left tells everybody else how irredeemably wicked they are, and how they must abjectly surrender their freedoms and their goods to those they have systematically deprived of equality, and how they must be silenced so as to end their destructive discourse, all of which is intrinsically patriarchal, racist, and repressive, as you would expect coming from a Fascist ideologue like James Madison, who, one can only hope, dies violently in the new Quentin Tarantino joint.

    Do not underestimate the power of the Honest Conversation of the Force.

    Lucius Somesuch

    January 1, 2013 at 1:38 AM

  14. I think liberals are happy to keep the presently existing administrative structures, as they were outlined by the Constitution. I don’t think too many liberals are eager to be done with the three branches of government, or a bicameral legislature,and so forth. What I do think they want is for any rule or stricture written in the Constitution to be overridden on an ad hoc basis. “Oh, the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms? It’s not up to date now! We all know that the First Amendment shouldn’t be given to people spewing out fascist racist garbage!”

    You don’t hear too many people calling for a different kind of constitution. What you do hear are calls for the one we have to be ignored.

    Sid

    January 1, 2013 at 2:02 AM

  15. What’s interesting is how little self-awareness the good professor possesses as to the emotion which drives his thinking process. 40 years ago, the Constitution was good for his team. Today, much less so.

    He reminds me of partisan hacks who are OUTRAGED when the other side subverts the democratic process by engaging in filibusters. But when their own side does it 4 years later, it’s a natural and reasonable part of the democratic process.

    sabril

    January 1, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    • This is an excellent point about the law professor’s lack of self-awareness about why he changed his mind about the Constitution.

      The Lion

      January 1, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      • In terms of what “worked for his team” (so to speak) 40 years ago vs. today, this is doubtless true.

        However, he’s surely disingenuous to pretend he’s only now just though tof it like this.

        Behind the fashionable rabble-rousing about “propertied white men” is a long-standing Progressive belief that the Constitution must eventually give way before Progressive technocracy, as witnessed, for instance, by my estate sale copy of McLaughlin’s “Constitutional History of the United States” (1936). He only gingerly slides this in towards the end, but the confidence is there.

        In our profesor’s case, the belief in the obsolescence of the things he doesn’t like about the Constitution probably antedates by decades this seizing upon the Founder’s objectionable whiteness– now fashionable because there’s a larger, more vigorous non-white audience for this abuse.

        Lucius Somesuch

        January 1, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    • Y’all do this too. Conservatives support science except when it comes to global warming. Liberals support science except when it comes to evolution, race, and gender/sex.

      Conservatives ignore the role of the collapse of the labor movement in the redistribution of wealth upward. Liberals think the answer is to send everyone to college (not coincidentally, making money for their team in the universities).

      Conservatives think the subprime crisis was caused by the Community Reinvestment Act. Liberals ignore that but blame conservatives for deregulating banks and letting them take out lots of loans.

      Conservatives ignore the role of guns in crime (why doesn’t Canada have lots of crime, they have minorities too?). Liberals ignore the role of race (why doesn’t Switzerland have lots of crime, they have lots of guns too?)

      This would make a fun topic for a blog.

      SFG

      January 1, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      • Chicago had over 400 murders in 2011. 20 were whites. Chicago is a little less than half white, so about 1.2 million whites. That is about the same murder rate as northern Europe.

        not too late

        January 2, 2013 at 9:44 PM

  16. Best post of the Lion era.

    I have noticed this trend to arbitrarily redefine things to get around what they want to do. Such as this “2 platinum coins” thing that captivated liberals
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/07/could-two-platinum-coins-solve-the-debt-ceiling-crisis/

    Since the GOP controls a majority of the states, the way forward is Constitutional amendments to limit the Federal government ad redefine certain things that have gotten out of hand, like the Commerce Clause. The liberals would be free to make their states progressive utopias and leave the rest of us alone.

    Lion of the Turambar

    January 1, 2013 at 9:31 AM

  17. “Lion”, could you write an article about this Above the Law article?

    http://abovethelaw.com/2012/12/medical-schools-make-reforms-while-law-schools-make-excuses/

    Medical School has announced it’s letting some students finish school in just three years instead of four to save them some money.But the change has led some to wonder if a medical school can do that for its students, why can’t law schools?

    The New York Times announced the change last week, writing that administrators are planning on “eliminating redundancies in their science curriculum, getting students into clinical training more quickly and adding some extra class time in the summer.”

    Those changes will save students about a quarter of the cost of med school. And while we’re sure future doctors are praising the changes, they do lead to questions about why NYU Law, one of the top schools in the country, can’t do the same thing.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/medical-schools-versus-law-school-2012-12

    So, despite what you may have heard from your law dean, educators are capable of understanding that an extra year of school COSTS MORE MONEY. They are able to understand BASIC MATH.

    Again, if you speak to legal educators as much as I do, the above knowledge might come as a revelation. Law deans have been trained to avoid the basic fact that the third year of law school explodes the cost of the education without conferring any real benefit.

    For a case study in this, we just have to look at NYU! At their medical school, they’re experimenting with ways to streamline the education. But what are they doing with their highly respected law school? Remember, this fall, NYU Law basically admitted that the third year of law school was a gigantic waste of time. But did that lead them to a pilot program eliminating the third year? Of course not. Instead, NYU Law “revamped” their 3L curriculum to make it a glorified study abroad program where students nonetheless have to pay the full cost of another year of school.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    January 1, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    • Law school is a cash cow. They’re not going to give up their cash cow.

      Medical school is rather pricey–the big money goes to the hospitals for having residents. The medical establishment also seems to have enough loyalty to their guild to avoid overproducing doctors the way the legal establishment overproduces lawyers. (This is good for doctors, for America, not so much.)

      SFG

      January 1, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      • Physician advocacy organizations like the AMA do not determine the number of training spots on their own. They only represent parts of the bodies that actually have final authority, and at the residency level, the government has strong input because of the funding it provides for residency positions. No one in their right mind would go into medicine if there were overproduction. You’re talking about people giving up a minimum of seven years of their lives (ten-plus years for subspecialties like cardiothoracic surgery), at least three of which are spent enduring the miserable hell of residency, and assuming a mortgage-sized debt with the possibility of not having a job at the end. That’s even worse than the deal that law students currently get, which is awful.

        Janon

        January 1, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      • Law school is a cash cow. They’re not going to give up their cash cow.

        Medical school is rather pricey–the big money goes to the hospitals for having residents.

        Law school funds could be forced to cut via state level legislation.

        Medical schools can count on their budget being funded because their work is inherently more valuable and harder to outsource than the “work” of law school professors. This budget security allows medical school professors to be more open to ways of decreasing the tuition burden without having to worry about driving themselves into bankruptcy. Law Schools don’t enjoy the same security for the reasons listed above.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        January 1, 2013 at 10:21 PM

  18. Louis Seidman, a professor at Georgetown University writes in a NY Times op-ed:

    How many alarm bells does THAT set off: Enough said.

    Firepower

    January 1, 2013 at 2:29 PM

  19. The conservatives should have jumped on pushing online education. But they totally failed. Fortunately it is taking off anyway. But conservatives could still make a big difference by changing state laws to allow licensing for occupations by passing tests without getting a degree.

    Randall, Republican governors like Rick Perry and Rick Scott are jumping on the online education bandwagon because of the increasingly intolerable tuition burden. Both those governors are pressuring their state universities to come up with degrees that will cost students $10,000 in total tuition. Online MOOCs would be used frequently under these new degree paths, especially for the introductory 101 courses which should be the easiest to automate.

    Eliminating unnecessary basic core classes and electives as NYU medical school has proposed doing would also cut the cost of tuition by 1-2 years for undergrad and graduate level students. Eliminating basic class requirements* would also lead to layoffs of most of the liberal professors in the country because most liberal arts profs are teaching basic humanities courses because only a small percentage of undergrads major in the liberal arts. The college bubble still presents an excellent opportunity to significantly disable much of the leftist machinery by laying of crackpot liberal professors.

    Venture capitalists are also interested in funding MOOCs and pushing olleges to accept credit for taking them because startups like Udacity and Coursera collect course performance information recruiters would be willing to pay top dollar. For example, Sebastian Thrun gave the resumes of some of his top MOOC students to Google and other tech companies and those students were all hired.

    *
    http://www.popecenter.org/commentaries/article.html?id=2763

    Restricting general education courses to a select few will be extremely unpopular with some faculty. There are large numbers of teaching jobs at stake: many departments that now teach popular general education courses could lose half or more of their students. If that were to occur, financial sanity dictates that faculty jobs in those programs be cut. (Of course, new jobs will be created at the same time for specialists in the essential subjects.)

    The Undiscovered Jew

    January 1, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    • One point about online vs. residential college is that most of the staff increases in colleges have been administrators not instructors. Yes, there are more instructors, many of whom who do better to be helpers with many more students watching better teachers online. Also, tons of college admin jobs are chick jobs.

      not too late

      January 2, 2013 at 9:52 PM

      • One point about online vs. residential college is that most of the staff increases in colleges have been administrators not instructors.

        Sure. I knew most of the hiring has been for administrators and that professor salaries have been stagnant. But my real objective is to layoff the professors, not administrators for political advantages either through automating professors of basic level courses out of existence with MOOCs or just eliminating those courses completely and letting undergrads get a bachelors with 60-90 credits instead of the current 120. Financial concerns are secondary IMO.

        Ironically, I’ve heard and read that professors have been complaining the female heavy administrators are very eager to embrace MOOCs because laying off professors will help the college’s budget. The feminist administrators may be turning on the profs for financial gain.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        January 3, 2013 at 3:31 PM

  20. The two coins option would make for great theater.

    “Barack Robert Mugabe Hussein Obama just added twelve zeros to our coinage as expected.”

    Dan

    January 2, 2013 at 12:56 PM


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