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Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Constitution Day: House holds first-ever floor reading of founding document

By Felicia Sonmez

Updated: 11:45 a.m.
After -- what else? -- a little partisan wrangling, the much-anticipated reading of the U.S. Constitution has begun!

The House began its ceremonial reading shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday morning--after a brief debate about which Constitution they would be reading.

The chamber's Republican leaders--who organized the first-of-its-kind event--had touted it as a way to bring the country back to its political roots. But they didn't want to go all the way back: Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.), who was running the procedure, said they would read a Constitution that had been edited to remove sections negated by later amendments.

"Those portions superseded by amendment will not be read," Goodlatte said. He said he had consulted the Congressional Research Service, among others, in choosing this version of the document.

--David Fahrenthold

Updated: 10:18 a.m.
The new 112th Congress has already made a little bit of history, but on Thursday it looks to make some more with the first-ever reading of the U.S. Constitution on the House floor.

The reading is expected to begin around 11 a.m. and last about two hours. (Our "Meet the 112th Congress" page will stream the proceedings live.)

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who proposed the idea and is organizing the effort, will give an opening statement. Then House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will speak, and any other members interested in participating can take turns on a first-come, first-served basis. Members will line up in the center aisle.

The reading is included as part of the new rules package passed by the House on Wednesday. Republicans have promoted it as a way to return members' focus to the country's founding principles.

"This historic and symbolic reading is long overdue and shows that the new majority in the House truly is dedicated to our Constitution and the principles for which it stands," Goodlatte said in a statement on Tuesday. "As the written expression of the consent the American people gave to their government -- a consent with restrictions and boundaries -- the public reading of the Constitution will set the tone for the 112th Congress."

USER POLL: Will reading the Constitution have an effect on legislation?

The GOP leadership has invited Democrats to take part in the reading as well, although some Democrats have met the plan with skepticism.

Later Thursday, the House will vote on a resolution sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) that would cut by 5 percent the budgets of congressional offices and committees. The plan would also cut the House Appropriations Committee's budget by 9 percent.

Things are quieter over on the Senate side on Thursday; the chamber recessed Wednesday night and won't return until Jan. 25. But leaders of both parties are planning news conferences to stake out ground on key issues.

In a morning session, Democratic Sens. Richard Durbin (Ill.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) plan to unveil Senate Democrats' estimate of the impact of the new House budget rules on the deficit. Later, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to address reporters at the Capitol after Democrats hold their weekly caucus luncheon.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Republican Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), John Thune (S.D.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), John Cornyn (Texas) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) have scheduled a press conference of their own following their caucus's issues retreat at the Library of Congress.

By Felicia Sonmez  | January 6, 2011; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

The reading of our most fundamental political document is good, but will it be followed? Especially with the erosion of the first amendment.

http://policychange.org/2011/policies/civil-liberty/erosion-of-the-first-amendment/

Posted by: donttweetblog | January 7, 2011 1:13 AM | Report abuse

What a memorable political stunt starring the New Speaker of the House that clearly needs to go to rehab. Too bad none of these damn Republicans believe in what they read today. Yesterday they took the voice of 5 million LEGAL citizens who vote and told the people they elect that they had no say on the House Floor. Today they are having a hearing on repealing a Healthcare Law that saves people money on their insurance premiums. And yes, as of January 1st my Premiums and co-pays have gone down saving me money as promised. But the Republicans want me to pay more. The 112th Congress in two days have done more too destroy parts of the Constitution and the American People need to stand up against Mr. Boehner who believes in Booze and Golf more than he does doing the job he was elected to do. Thats why todays Political stunt will be remembered in 2012.
The GOP cares about Wall St. Big Business and does not give a damn about the poor and middleclass. Damn them all to hell.

Posted by: sumo1 | January 6, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Elena Kagan and all Liberals, Black Caucus and their Black Panther protegees will walk out in protest against the reading a White Human created document.

Posted by: kim24

_______________________________________

People who make comments like this don't know the degree to which they expose their true hearts.

Posted by: mypitts2 | January 6, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I am so proud of the 112th House I could burst. How beautiful they cared enough to read the Constitution. I know they must be reading this for those members who cannot read the bills they vote for. They should make it a requirement for Pelosi to sit there to listen since she is so dumb as to admit she did not know what was in Obama care when she put it up for vote. Watching her pass the gavel was the highlight of my day. And I had my first good nights sleep in a long time.

Posted by: greatgran1 | January 6, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Democrats and Liberals walked out on the reading of our US Constitution.
Why?
---It Offended their Black Masters

Posted by: kim24 | January 6, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"What is racism?

Racism is racial prejudice that has been incorporated into the activities and procedures of major institutions, corporations, social systems (such as those related to housing, education, and health), and other arenas of major social activity (such as politics, the media, finance, and banking). Racism serves both to discriminate against ethnic minorities and to maintain advantages and benefits for White Americans."

Excerpts from what was Written by ..., PhD
At the request of the American Psychological Association
Public Interest Directorate


You can bet that this "reading" and stunt is in service toward white supremacist racism...

... and NOT pursuant to supporting or being bound to:

the "Amendment 9 The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

or the "Amendment 10 The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

and CERTAINLY NOT the Amendment 14 (Ratified July 9, 1868) Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws….

long live white supremacist forked tongue speech and practices - on that we can ALL agree!

Posted by: stephendavid2002 | January 6, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

a better idea would be to have the people living on reservations read the 9th, 10th, and (section one of) the 14th Amendments: wealth white corporat.. er "persons" and the 'Ran Paul let's bring discrimination in the workplace back' clan would get a real stimulus from that!

long live judeo-christian white supremacist media stunts.


btw:

"Amendment 9 The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

and
"Amendment 10 The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

and
Amendment 14 (Ratified July 9, 1868) Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws….


Except judaic-christianic extremist officials interpret the aforesaid as - for example: “[W]hen the custody of children is the question … the best interest of the children is the paramount fact. [Constitutional and inalienable] rights of father and mother sink into insignificance before that.” Kartman v. Kartman, 163 Md. 19, 22,161 A. 269 (1932).

but at least the judaic-christianic extremists allow their victims to live - so they can participate in an economy rigged for the top 1% of white supremacists. (plus they promise you get to go to all white Heaven after they're through with you here - unless thou does protest...)

Posted by: stephendavid2002 | January 6, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

For many of these Republicans (the RINOs), this is exactly a publicity stunt; they care as much about the Constitution as the Democrats do. This includes Boehnner, who suddenly "found religion" when the Tea Party Movement endorsed candidates won so many of the elections.

However, Rep. Goodlatte, who proposed the reading, is a staunch consrevative, and dedicated to the Constitution. Therefore, it is a good and worthwhile event, if for no other reason, than to call attention to the limits it imposes on the federal government.

Posted by: ScottinVA | January 6, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

ScottinVA wrote:
"typical Leftist ignorance or spin."

I merely described what happened and the assessment of the economy of leading conservative leaders, no spin involved.

Please consult primary sources, the indexes and market information during that time - not news sources, they were behind the curve anyway. If you can't understand or do that, at least look at the Khan Acadamy's(www.khanacademy.org)tutorial on the subject. Or just read Warren Buffet-your choice.

Posted by: plaza04433 | January 6, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The House is literally a pile of clowns.

2 Year term virtually guarantees that only a party pawn / short term interest driven scumbag is going fill that position.

I've come to realize that when politicians make ridiculous, misleading statements to pass legislation and serve personal/party interests that they often actually believe what they are saying to be true.

They aren't lying, they are just ignorant.

Posted by: DCSNARK | January 6, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The House is literally a pile of clowns.

2 Year term virtually guarantees that only a party pawn / short term interest driven scumbag is going fill that position.

I've come to realize that when politicians make ridiculous, misleading statements to pass legislation and serve personal/party interests that they often actually believe what they are saying to be true.

They aren't lying, they are just ignorant.

Posted by: DCSNARK | January 6, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The House is literally a pile of clowns.

2 Year term virtually guarantees that only a party pawn / short term interest driven scumbag is going fill that position.

I've come to realize that when politicians make ridiculous, misleading statements to pass legislation and serve personal/party interests that they often actually believe what they are saying to be true.

They aren't lying, they are just ignorant.

Posted by: DCSNARK | January 6, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Republicans love to cite the Founding Fathers. Our founders believed in a peaceful and non-interventionist foreign policy- the opposite of the warmongering Republican/neocon establishment.

Posted by: David77 | January 6, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Chagasman wrote:
"By the way, if it had been conservatives who wrote the Constitution, it would be a much different document, and the USA would probably be a third world country....just like what the Republicans are trying to do to us today."

By todays standards, every one of the Founders was a Right wingnut Conservative (with the possible exception of Jefferson), just like me.

What leftist would place "endowed by their Creator" in a political document?

Keep trying to spin it, but that Kool0-aid dribbling off your chin is giving you away.

Posted by: ScottinVA | January 6, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

plaza04433:
typical Leftist ignorance or spin.
Try reading actual news outlets instead of the comPost.
The housing bubble was caused by interference by the government in the economy, with FM/FM, CRA and a plethora of regulations that both stifled business and relieved banks of the risk.
all of that was Leftist meddling.

Posted by: ScottinVA | January 6, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

stephendavid2002 wrote:

"Their "reading" is inexact?

Their "reading" is inexact! (e.g., "...to be twice put in jeopardy..." was read "...to be put twice in jeopardy...")"

Which means all they are doing is proving they can't read.

Posted by: plaza04433 | January 6, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"This historic and symbolic reading is long overdue and shows that the new majority in the House truly is dedicated to our Constitution and the principles for which it stands," Goodlatte said in a statement on Tuesday.

-------------------------------------
Any member of Congress who is truly dedicated to the principles for which the Constitution stands should not take money from corporations, allow lobbyists to write legislation, or hire lobbyists to work in their offices. Unfortunately, that's exactly what is happening. Hypocrites all. What a jingoistic display of hubris. Actions speak louder than words.

By the way, if it had been conservatives who wrote the Constitution, it would be a much different document, and the USA would probably be a third world country....just like what the Republicans are trying to do to us today.

Posted by: Chagasman | January 6, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Wow it's amazing how many people are offended that our representives would accualy read the Constitution.

Posted by: Halljd9 | January 6, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

###############################

No, those are your words. Most posters think it is a waste of time and a publicity stunt.

Posted by: maggots | January 6, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

ScottinVA wrote;
"All it takes is for the Leftists to leave it alone and let it run itself (with minor oversight)."

Yeah, we tried that for a decade and the result was both Pres.Bush and Candidate McCain proclaiming "the economy is fundamentally sound" at the exact moment interbank lending came to a smoking halt, the LIBOR went upside down, the volatility index went crazy, the exact composition and risk of all derivative instruments were found to be unknowable and 30 years of peoples investments in both Stocks and property were decapitated.

Posted by: plaza04433 | January 6, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Their "reading" is inexact?

Their "reading" is inexact! (e.g., "...to be twice put in jeopardy..." was read "...to be put twice in jeopardy...")

the "readers" appear unable to read a full section or amendment at a time - instead breaking up many of the sections and amendments amongst several "readers" - obfuscating the meaning of such sections and amendments by breaking up the context...

what a farce.

i'd be interested in a continuous program about what each member of Congress thinks is the MEANING of such sections and amendments as e.g. "Amendment 9 The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." or ". Amendment 14 (Ratified July 9, 1868) Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

It would be interesting to discover through the media - for example - what the Senators and Congresspersons from Maryland think about the Maryland Court of Appeals statement that “[W]hen the custody of children is the question … the best interest of the children is the paramount fact. [Constitutional and inalienable] rights of father and mother sink into insignificance before that.” Kartman v. Kartman, 163 Md. 19, 22,161 A. 269 (1932).

certainly on it's face or "prima-facie" or at first look, the aforesaid statement by the Maryland Court of Appeals does not comply, support, nor appears bound to the 14th amendment.

but then living under judaic-christianic extremist rule - where even black potus much teach the females of his family that experiencing the free and natural love and affection they and their children would have for the natural texture of their own hair is a taboo - it's no wonder why such a farce of an event is promoted...

Posted by: stephendavid2002 | January 6, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Democrats uncomfortable with reading Constitution on the House floor. Imagine that.

Posted by: wingrider | January 6, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Wow it's amazing how many people are offended that our representives would accualy read the Constitution.

Posted by: Halljd9 | January 6, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

tokenwhitemale:
the newly elected members DO take the Constitution seriously, as do I.

The fact that a document is 225 years old (or 5000 years old) does not make it either wrong or irrelevent.

You must be under 30 to make such an ignorant observation.

Posted by: ScottinVA | January 6, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

It's too bad that Christine O'Donnell and the other idiot Teabaggers aren't there to hear this reading. They might actually learn something, like what's in the first amendment for example.

Posted by: adl1652 | January 6, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

They campaigned on cutting "waste, fraud and abuse" in government. It seems like wasting two hours of 435 congressmen/women is not a good start towards doing that.

Posted by: BootmanDC | January 6, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

whatever

Like today's Congress or judicial branch is seriously going to be concerned with a 225 year old document. It might as well be a copy of the Iliad.

We all know their real concerns are simply taking over the government and doing everything they can to help the rich get richer.

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | January 6, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Jaxas70 wrote:
"just look at the silliness--reading the Constitution as though they are qualified to lecture the rest of us on its meaning when the most brilliant minds in history have had colossal battles over its scope and meaning. Requiring a Constitutional citation on every bill knowing full well that the pedestrian and sometimes tawdry business of legislating, which has been compared to sausage making, is not something the Founding Fathers saw fit to include in the Constitution."

The only "colossal battles" fought over its scope and meaning have been started by those who wish to circumvent and abuse the clear meaning of its words and the words of the Founders explaning it in such documents as the Federalist Papers.

It is quite clear in most instances, unless you twist it to fit an agenda. The reason it must be read on the floor of the House is to remind the members (who, for four years now, have treated it like toilet paper) what they have sworn to uphold.

And as to your assertion that it takes great intellect to run this vast economy, you are quite mistaken. All it takes is for the Leftists to leave it alone and let it run itself (with minor oversight). It is too vast for any man or group of men to "run".

Posted by: ScottinVA | January 6, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse


I just found out that when the part in the Constitution stating that the President must being a "natural born citizen" was being read in Congress that somebody yelled out "What about Obama?!"

Posted by: janet8 | January 6, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

An all-too-obvious, embarrassing, adolescent stunt.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | January 6, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

The US Constitution and Bill of Rights are basically worthless since the Washington Regime and their secret police do whatever they want. The US Govt is an evil group of crooks and criminals.

Posted by: max21c | January 6, 2011 6:46 AM | Report abuse

##################################

Then move to Somalia. Good riddence!

Posted by: maggots | January 6, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Desertstraw wrote:

"Presumably all members of Congress have read the Constitution..."
If that is true, then this drama is a colossal waste of time and tax dollars. However, if the statements of one of the (failed) candidates from Delaware is any indication, your presumption is probably in error.

"...or they have very dumb constituents who elected them."
Well, that is obvious, you can change the "or" to an "and".

Posted by: plaza04433 | January 6, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

If a teabagger reads the Constitution in the forest and doesn't understand it, does he still get Medicare?

Posted by: 8-Man2 | January 6, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Watching these people read the constitution is akin to watching a track wreck about to happen 5 minutes down the road.

Quite the spectacle indeed.

Posted by: richdj25 | January 6, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Good! Read it, and uphold it. That would be a welcome change.

Posted by: wmpowellfan | January 6, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Good! Read it, and uphold it. That would be a welcome change.

Posted by: wmpowellfan | January 6, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

We the Congress...in order to screw up a perfectly good country...

Posted by: criticalcitizens | January 6, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't Boehner hire the Glee actors to sing the constitution and perform an interpretive dance? If he wanted theatre, he should have at least tried to make it entertaining.

Posted by: maggots | January 6, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

They read the Constitution and all you liberals get the vapors. Imagine if they read the Bible!

Remember when your Black Jesus put his hand on a Bible and swore to defend the Constitution?

Did you call that a stunt? I agree with you liberals, though: Barry has no intention of defending the Constitution and his hand must have burned when it touched that Bible.

Posted by: diesel_skins_ | January 6, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

--------------

Well, since you put it that way, I believe your bible is nothing but used toilet paper, and the Constitution of the USA a holy scripture.

Posted by: johng1 | January 6, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

So what? They all ignore the Constitution when they vote for blatantly unconstitutional bills, and then claim it's not their duty to determine constitutionality.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | January 6, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

So what? They all ignore the Constitution when they vote for blatantly unconstitutional bills, and then claim it's not their duty to determine constitutionality.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | January 6, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

How about asking them about their understanding of each section, instead of just reading it? That would be interesting and probably very revealing. Would probably end in a riot on the floor.

Posted by: criticalcitizens | January 6, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

This is nonsense that our almost worthless media present as news. Presumably all members of Congress have read the Constitution or they have very dumb constituents who elected them. The red-neck tea-bagger types for whom this show is be enacted don't look at C-SPAN. This is a waste of House time and operating costs just to feed some fodder to Fox News. Don't tell me that Republicans are fiscally responsible.

Posted by: Desertstraw | January 6, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

What a bunch of Effing idiots. And, we're supposed to take politicians seriously?? Give me a freekin' break.

Posted by: Pete433 | January 6, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

----------

Pete, you made the best post of the day. No more posts need be made.

Posted by: johng1 | January 6, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Don't you love farce?
My fault, I fear.
I thought that you'd want what I want.
Sorry, my dear.
And where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.
Don't bother, they're here.

Posted by: mocmao | January 6, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

diesel_skins_ said: "They read the Constitution and all you liberals get the vapors."

Yeah, if you call that reading. Great way to start out, Mr. Speaker:

"Uhhh, we the people..."

Like, y'know, totally.

Posted by: laboo | January 6, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Just because the U.S., Constitution is being read on the House floor DOES NOT mean Conservative Republicans will always interpret it correctly.

Reading is one thing, but interpreting it's meaning is a whole new different story, and based on the historical behaviors and attitudes of Conservatives, overall, they're are too dense and too boneheaded to understand the true meaning of anything that they read. Just look at their negative hostile behavior's and attitudes towards their fellow men, women, and children when it comes to the Christian teachings and principles in the Bible.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | January 6, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

It will be interesting that the reading will not reflect that corporations are persons. It would be appropriate if the section on there being no religious test for holding public office would be read by a Muslim or a member listing no religious preference.

Posted by: ejgallagher1 | January 6, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Amendment to come.

Posted by: youngnation | January 6, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Just because the U.S., Constitution is being read on the House floor DOES NOT mean Conservative Republicans will always interpret it correctly.

Reading is one thing, but interpreting it's meaning is a whole new different story, and based on the historical behaviors and attitudes of Conservatives, overall, they're are too dense and too boneheaded to understand the true meaning of anything that they read. Just look at their negative hostile behavior's and attitudes towards their fellow men, women, and children when it comes to the Christian teachings and principles in the Bible.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | January 6, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse


How extraordinary to read so many negative posts about what...Reading the Constitution?

Since when has the Constitution become so scary for democrats? I hope this reading becomes the tradition for every new congress regardless of the party in charge.

Posted by: familynet | January 6, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I would be laughing if it weren't so scary.

Posted by: chrisbr1111 | January 6, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Given that 100% of House Democrats and the overwhelming majority of their Republican colleagues in the recent congress did not know that ex post facto laws were expressly prohibited by the US Constitution (Article 1, Section 9, part 3) when they absurdly tried to tax Wall Street bonus money in the spring of 2009, I would suggest that this action makes tremendous sense.

You knew the described event and subsequent dead end bill was an exercise in utter stupidity by how quickly the Democratic controlled White House and US Senate both quickly moved to bury it. So yeah, I guess I am okay with reading the Constitution. Much like a manufacturer's directions on Christmas eve, the US Constitution is a really good piece of gear to have on hand when all else fails.

And so it goes...

Posted by: packard1 | January 6, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

They read the Constitution and all you liberals get the vapors. Imagine if they read the Bible!

Remember when your Black Jesus put his hand on a Bible and swore to defend the Constitution?

Did you call that a stunt? I agree with you liberals, though: Barry has no intention of defending the Constitution and his hand must have burned when it touched that Bible.

Posted by: diesel_skins_ | January 6, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Quick observations:

-- Who's Mr. Joker Eyebrows sitting at the head of the tribunal who started off the proceedings? What a pompous, truculent windbag.

-- Interesting to look at the choreography behind the dance number. Advertised as "first come, first served with exceptions". And the first exception was to allow Boehner to demonstrate his humility by claiming the preamble for himself.

-- Then Cantor of VA finagled it so he could read Article 1, Section 2 and fortuitously omit the clause that mentions "3/5 of other persons", e.g., slaves.

-- As conservatives worry about whether some of our female soldiers might be lesbians, it becomes clear that the House is certainly under-represented by thespians. More than anything else, this readathon is demonstrating just what poor public readers most of our legislators are. One hopes they can recite their prayers more fluently.

-- At least it's bipartisan in the sense that apparently there are enough sentences in the Constitution and its appurtenances that each representative can read one of their very own and report said accomplishment back to their constituency in order to prove their patriotism beyond dispute.

-- Unfortunately, this highly granular reading process means that we, the enthralled listeners, are spending 2/3 of our time watching the "Apres vous, Alphonse!" "Non, apres vous, Gaston" circus of Congressional etiquette as they yield back and forth to one another every thirty seconds to read one sentence apiece.

When do they get to the sausage making? It's almost lunchtime.


Posted by: laboo | January 6, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Not a big surprise from the party of "Do Nothing" and "Undo what has already been done".

So whats next? Read the Bible on the House floor? And after that, maybe read Mark Twain (oooops nope, they want to ban Huck Finn) -um -OK maybe "War and Peace"?

This charade is a big clue that the Republicans have no clue about what to do about the very serious problems they caused.

On the other hand, I can think of no other group that needs to FINALLY read and (perhaps this is a bridge too far) understand the Constitution than the Republicans.

Posted by: plaza04433 | January 6, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Haven't Members of Congress already read the Constitution? Aren't they supposed to already have a good understanding of the principles involved? Spending two hours reading something they should have read in the 8th grade seems a bit like remedial education!

When you play in an orchestra, you learn the music to be performed BEFORE the rehearsal. Can't we expect the same of the House? How much is this little gambit costing the taxpayers??

Posted by: gibsonmf73@hotmail.com | January 6, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Shouldn't they have read the Constitution before they took the oath of office?

Clearly some Republicans were lying when they took the oath to uphold the Constitution without mental reservation, since some of them want to change it.

No Republican would have the courage to reintroduce the Equal Rights Amendment. They want to eliminate rights, not include equal rights for women.

Posted by: BettyW1 | January 6, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

techresmg, Are you standing at attention as a good teabagger? We mock you, we mock the political theatrics, and mostly, we mock how utterly foolish it all looks. It's my Constitutional right to mock your idiocy. Please stop trying to interfere with my rights. Fool.

Posted by: swatkins1 | January 6, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

You have to wonder if they said "We the people of the United States of America" instead of "We the people of the Republican Tea Party." A little issue over inclusion here.

Posted by: ChrisW1958 | January 6, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Can someone explain this to me?

1. I would hope House members are able to read themselves, and don't require documents read to them in order to understand them.

2. I would hope members are already quite familiar with the Constitution.

So again, what's the point? It's a waste of time. How about doing real work?

Posted by: eeepc | January 6, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Any word on who gets to read that section where slaves are 3/5 of a person? Or are they going to just pretend that's not really there?

Posted by: tracymohr | January 6, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The only thing the lame stream media sees fit to do is mock this plan. They mock reading The United States Constitution? That tells us everything they need to know; the free press is charged with protecting democracy and the 1st Amendment? Yeah, right, heard ya; only when they're doing the talking.

Posted by: techresmg


___________________________________

The Constitution is not being mocked. It's the political stunt that's being mocked.

Posted by: mypitts2 | January 6, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Which teabagger will be forced to read the 14th amendment? Just wondering considering they hate it and want it repealed.

Or perhaps they will just skip over the parts that they don't like and only read the parts they think only apply to white people (real Americans).

Posted by: 8-Man2 | January 6, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"Who remembers the Contract with America? Who remembers the Bridge to the 21st Century? Who remembers George H. W. Bush's "READ MY LIPS--NO NEW TAXES" pledge? Who remembers Obama's "Change has come to Washington"? Or George W. Bush's pledge to be a "uniter, not a divider"?"

jaxas70, your point is better made by citing things we don't all remember. Just saying.

Posted by: zukermand | January 6, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I predict that a year from now, we will look back on this as they always do in those New Years reviews and include this as one of those ridiculous off-the-wall events that had its one day in the news cycle and disappeared into the oblivion it richly deserves.

Who remembers the Contract with America? Who remembers the Bridge to the 21st Century? Who remembers George H. W. Bush's "READ MY LIPS--NO NEW TAXES" pledge? Who remembers Obama's "Change has come to Washington"? Or George W. Bush's pledge to be a "uniter, not a divider"?

My point is that this is political gimmickry and a bit surprising given that the Tea Party led us all to believe that they were going to be different and avoid this sort of game playing. Now that they have entered political office, just look at the silliness--reading the Constitution as though they are qualified to lecture the rest of us on its meaning when the most brilliant minds in history have had colossal battles over its scope and meaning. Requiring a Constitutional citation on every bill knowing full well that the pedestrian and sometimes tawdry business of legislating, which has been compared to sausage making, is not something the Founding Fathers saw fit to include in the Constitution.

This is silliness that simply goes begging for mockery. It is an embarrassment and makes our country look foolish.

Posted by: jaxas70 | January 6, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

What a bunch of Effing idiots. And, we're supposed to take politicians seriously?? Give me a freekin' break.

Posted by: Pete433 | January 6, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Conservatives know this is a meaningless gimmick.
They don't care.
They still like it because they believe it angers liberals.

Posted by: zukermand | January 6, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The Biggest Dog and Pony Show......Ever!!

Posted by: dargregmag | January 6, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

“I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | January 6, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

How condescending the GOP/Tea Party hacks are. The problem is they can read the Constitution but they don't understand it. Because they don't understand it our country will be subject to two years of hell.Lets hope they don't finish the job Bush/Chaney started. Rather than read the Constitution they should have explained to the brain dead in their party what will happen if the debt ceiling is not raised.

Posted by: mondaytothursday | January 6, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

The Biggest Dog and Pony Show......Ever!!

Posted by: dargregmag | January 6, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

What sanctimonious bull from a bunch of drama queens. Shouldn't they have read this already? ... like, a long time ago?

Observe your tax dollars at work: remedial education for idiots on full public display. And you know how this will turn out, we've seen this movie before: each and every phrase in the constitution will be interpreted to serve their corporate masters, just as they do to the bible. Funny how the words of Jesus somehow always turn out very nicely for the Koch brothers.

Posted by: vinyl45 | January 6, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

The Biggest Dog and Pony Show......Ever!!

Posted by: dargregmag | January 6, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

So for the first time in their lives Boner and backma'am and can't-or are going to hear the words of the US Constitution.

Too bad they still won't have any idea hat them fancy high fallutin liberally influenced words mean.

Posted by: John1263 | January 6, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Mike85, you have made the comic assertion that the previous Congress acted in an unconstitutional fashion. If you believe that, as a citizen, you have the right to contest it in court. Indeed, as we quibble back and forth on this ridiculous blog, there are cases before the courts on the unconstitutionality of certain parts of the Health Care bill. Some courts have dismissed those claims, others have upheld them. Eventually, they will get to the High Court and a final disposition will be made.

However, I suspect that if the High Court rules against you and the Tea Party, you will not respect that decision and make a claim that the High Court is "legislating" instead of interpreting the law. That has been the typical refuge of conservatives who lose the final decision and they typically spend the rest of their waking lives trying to upend it even though it is the "law of the land".

Posted by: jaxas70 | January 6, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Please- what a dog and pony show. And then there is the probable result that some of them are going to use it as an up-to-date road map- like those who believe that everything in the Bible happened EXACTLY as described.....you realize that when the document was framed, slaves were possessions, women could not vote and had no domestic legal rights, and the notion of the Gay community, or interstate highways- or airplanes or Blackberrys, or a country that went to the Missippi- let alone the Pacific ocean- had no context?
And, this is like Palin who could not cite anything from the Constitution except what I guess she had been told by some fish gutter or moose hauler. This will not help solve modern problems.
The states are not capable of having more power and more responsibility because many are close to being bankrupt and are not being managed by their own citizens- who always thought that Washington would take care of the loose ends- but now??? So do we now start to bail out the states? How can we bail out states that are mis-managed back to health- so do we federally take over the states? Gee there is nothing in the Constitution about that! Are people now going to think more than ever that they need to raise a neighborhood militia? Please can we get some sanity from somewhere?

Posted by: poppysue85 | January 6, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Each legislator swears an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. They SHOULD know what they are defending.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | January 6, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

What is this thing called "The Constitution?"

I thought we just allowed the socialists Obama, Reid and Pelosi to tell us what is best for us peasants?

Posted by: pgr88 | January 6, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

What is this thing called "The Constitution?"

I thought we just allowed the socialists Obama, Reid and Pelosi to tell us what is best for us peasants?

Posted by: pgr88 | January 6, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Why is the left so offend about the reading of the Constitution?

Posted by: Edknowsbest | January 6, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Why is the left so offend about the reading of the Constitution?

Posted by: Edknowsbest | January 6, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Enough with the ceremonial, empty, political actions by the new leadership and legislators, I want them to take the Tea Party Pledge and act and live by it and then we can judge them by it, if they can't find it here it is www.teapartypledgeofallegiance.com

Posted by: denver88 | January 6, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I have to think that the evangelical wing of the Tea Party is going to defecate in their pants when they come to that section of the Constitution that reads: "but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States".

Watch and listen closely folks. I would bet that whomever is selected to read this portion will attempt to gargle, cough, harrumph, mumble, stutter or otherwise attempt to muffle their reading of that phrase because it will ruffle the feathers of the more religious Tea Party turkeys.

Posted by: jaxas70 | January 6, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Mike85 wrote: "Actually every piece of legislation has not been subject to constitutional and legal reviews."

Your statement is factually incorrect. The review may be subject to differing legal opinions and a best guess about whether it can withstand a court challenge, but the analysis is always done.

Once again, just because your interpretation doesn't agree with their policies doesn't mean that the review wasn't done. The review is standard procedure for committee staffs.

You're not entitled to your own set of facts.

Posted by: RufusPlimpton | January 6, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

If the words in the constitution are too big they can always read "My Pet Goat" aloud instead. Oh, and by the way, where are the jobs????

Posted by: Jihm | January 6, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Mike85 wrote: "Actually every piece of legislation has not been subject to constitutional and legal reviews."

Your statement is factually incorrect. The review may be subject to differing legal opinions and a best guess about whether it can withstand a court challenge, but the analysis is always done.

Once again, just because your interpretation doesn't agree with their policies doesn't mean that the review wasn't done. The review is standard procedure for congressional staffs.

You're not entitled to your own set of facts.

Posted by: RufusPlimpton | January 6, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

How is reading the Constitution helping to strengthen the economy and create more jobs?

Posted by: binaryboy | January 6, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad they're finally reading it. I just would have hoped they read it before they ran for office. Silly me.

Posted by: saymyname | January 6, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: jaxas70

/// Unlike Speaker Boehner, you hit a home run.

Posted by: Keesvan | January 6, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Ohioan wrote: "For Republicans to start off with reading the Constitution is incredibly astute and adult in so many ways. The past 2 years have proven to us, more than anything, that there are some people in very high positions who Don't respect the Constitution,"

Ohioan - this reading of the constituion is theatrics designed to pander to people like you. It's nothing but fodder for TV and you're being played for a fool.

Every piece of legislation is subjected to constitutional and legal review and always has been.

So your glib and uninformed accusations that people in high positions didn't respect the constituion is nothing more than your particular interpretation of the constitution disagreeing with theirs.

It's a sad reflection on people like you who accuse elected representatives of ignoring the constituion when the real issue is that you don't agree with their policies. The teabaggers accuse those representatives of not listening to the "people", when the reality is that they listed to their constituents and the people who elected them. They just didn't listen to you because you lost the election that put them in power.

So the only thing you're "taking back" is taking the country backwards by oversimplifying the complex task of managing the largest economy in the world through a global economic restructuring. That's serious business that requires serious thought, education, and global awareness that the plumber that you sent to congress doesn't have.

Posted by: RufusPlimpto
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Actually every piece of legislation has not been subject to constitutional and legal reviews. That has been part-and-parcel of the problem. During the 109th and 110th Congresses, the Democratic majority studiously ignored the Constitution and made laws without regard to their constitutionality, challenging the people to test the laws in court years after their approval.

Posted by: mike85 | January 6, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

LarryG62, rather than making juvenile comments about my screen name, why not address my arguments? Look. Reading the Constitution on the floor as the opening act of the 112th and requiring a constitutional citation for each bill proposed is presumptuous and arrogant. It is the attitudinal equivalent of what was once called "prinking", by which was meant to adorn one's self for show.

When the Tea Party blows flatulently about the Constitution, it is prinking. When you test them on their actual knowledge of the Constitution, you find that they are completely ignorant. For example, when they and their gullible legislators recently elected talk about the Constitution or read it aloud on the floor, they are ignoring the real basis for America's marvelous rise to power--the actual history and application of the Constitution in its accumulated decisions over the 230 plus years of our existence as a Republic.

Let me give you a salient example. If we were to only go by the Constitution itself and the Bill of Rights, you could--as a prank--yell "Bomb!" on a fully loaded aircraft causing widespread panic and chaos and get away with it on the basis that the Congress is prohibited from making any law abridging the freedom of speech. However, wise and prudent judicial review of such questions and disputes has expanded and clarified the meaning of "freedom of speech". Thus, you can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater and get away with it--unless there really is a fire.

Thus, unless you and your silly and childish compadres in the Tea Party movement and in the GOP House want to read all of the Judicial cases over the past 23O years, you are simply wasting valuable time--yours and ours.

Most Americans will not be tuned in to this sort of silly, meaningless hokum.

Posted by: jaxas70 | January 6, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

If reading the Constitution at the beginning of the Congressional sessions were important, then Jefferson would have written that into the Constitution.

It's ironic that this bit of theater is being performed as though the Founders would approve of it. Rather, I imagine, they'd consider it like homework, something that should be done before coming to class.

Posted by: Keesvan | January 6, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

If reading the Constitution at the beginning of the Congressional sessions were important, then Jefferson would have written that into the Constitution.

It's ironic that this bit of theater is being performed as though the Founders would approve of it. Rather, I imagine, they'd consider it like homework, something that should be done before coming to class.

Posted by: Keesvan | January 6, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Why would anybody be opposed to reading the document all of these people just SWORE to defend?

Could it be that the simplest answer is in fact true, that perhaps all in Congress could use a refresher on the Constitution?

Absolutely NOTHING wrong with this and in fact I would like to see this done in BOTH chambers regardless of who is in the majority. It serves as a reminder to those we elect that they should know the Constitution and govern accordingly.

Posted by: jlarranaga | January 6, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I guess they have to do this for the voters that new completed 8th grade Civics class. They only like some parts of the Constitution. On a real world level clueless. Another day in 3rd World America, thanks to the Repukes!

Posted by: fare777 | January 6, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

There's no problem with the way the Constitution is written -- it's how we interpret it. Just like the Bible.

Posted by: djmolter | January 6, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

A lovely idea. I do hope the ceremonial aspects of today's reading translates into an equal dedication to the contemplation and digestion of such a weighty and significant document. Similarly, if bills were read aloud—not just the health care bill—but all bills, and the implications of each of their provisions properly understood by the populace, perhaps the pace of legislation could slow down to meet the real world impact of any proposed new introductions to law and practice.

Posted by: lindsaycurren | January 6, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

The only thing the lame stream media sees fit to do is mock this plan. They mock reading The United States Constitution? That tells us everything they need to know; the free press is charged with protecting democracy and the 1st Amendment? Yeah, right, heard ya; only when they're doing the talking.

Posted by: techresmgt | January 6, 2011 9:40 AM |
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I hate to disabuse your conspiracy-addled brain, but where exactly did the mainstream media mock this plan? Can you cite one news story in the WaPo, NYTimes or any other respectable newspaper, etc., that did so? Didn't think so.

Posted by: Dan4 | January 6, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Some of these new members of Congress were frozen in time in their tri-cornered hats during the Revolutionary War, only to be awoken in 2010 for Civil War II.

They need to read the Constitution so they can re-invent the wooden wagon wheel while the rest of the world is flying around in jet-packs. I'm sure Ben Franklin would be amused!

Posted by: SOSICLES | January 6, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Pinning a specific piece of legislation or legislative authorization is a fantastic idea; an incredible question to ask whenever people like me want to know 'where in the Constitution does it give Obama the authority to decide who gets elected in Cote d' Ivory'...if anything, these kinds of foreign interventions were strongly discouraged by founders whose countries were bankrupted by the wars of kings.

...and I'll bet my grade in CONSTITUTION LAW at a top ten law school on the impact of this 'regulation' on the behavior of congress critters.

Posted by: Common_Cents1 | January 6, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

The only thing the lame stream media sees fit to do is mock this plan. They mock reading The United States Constitution?
Posted by: techresmgt |
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Mock reading the Constitution? hardly. Mock the people who feel that reading it in Congress is significant? Absolutely. You would have thought that the people elected to Congress would have read it by now....

Posted by: tfspa | January 6, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

jaxas70: Your comments show that you have a very appropriate screen name.

Posted by: LarryG62 | January 6, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

This is a great idea. When the republican members get done sounding out all those big, antique words they and their followers will be disabused of the notion that the U.S. Constitution does not mention God or establish religion as a source of law or policy for the United States. It might begin to dawn on them that many of the Founding Fathers were stone cold athiests.

What these clowns really want to do is read the Bill of Rights, just that, and not to bother with the other amendments, or the articles of the document. They had better get through to the 15th Amendment, at least, unless some of their southern colleagues want to scratch 13-15 for lack of legitimate amendment procedures, i.e., a war.

In their ignorance they overlook that reading out the entire document and its detailed discussion on issues and practices that are either irrelevant or abhorrent to current universal standards of logic and morality undermines their theater and questions the entire idea of "strict" construction, or what being faithful to the "principles" means.

Posted by: wharwood | January 6, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Are both sides of the political spectrum starting to finally get it? Our government is completely corrupt and being looted by the banksters, corporate greed, and global elitists.

Bush was controlled by the military industrialists, and Obama is controlled by the Fed (a private bank) and the globalist agenda.

Neither party really cares about "We The People", or the Constitution, or inalienable rights enshrined by a creator that most of them don't believe in anyway.

Obama continues many of the same policies as Bush. Anyone had their TSA scan yet? Guantanomo closed yet? Another 1400 troops to prop up the drug dealers in Afghanistan? Fed still looting the treasury with the same Fed chairman appointed by Bush? Same defense Secretary?

Does America really understand we're all being suckered, or is anyone still out there that actually believes in the change?

Here's the change. Goldman Sachs has seven insiders working in this administration. The Federal Reserve is the largest money-laundering scheme in history, and our economy is being flushed into a global currency on purpose. The large banks are the ones profiting on Wall Street right now, while Main Street is going out of business. The large Corporations are getting rid of their small business competitors.

The net result: We the people have to overcome this political party system charade if we're going to save what's left of our country from the global elitists. Our government has been hijacked by the very rich for a long time now. The real issue is the same as it has been throughout the history of mankind. The very rich will use the law, the courts, the government, the police, the banking system, the legal process, the regulations, the judges, the politicians, military, and anything else that money can buy in order to keep the masses enslaved in a perpetual state of indentured servitude.

Abraham Lincoln said it best: It is the eternal struggle between these two principles -- right and wrong -- throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, 'You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it.' No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.­­"”

Posted by: raydeanturner | January 6, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Ohioan wrote: "For Republicans to start off with reading the Constitution is incredibly astute and adult in so many ways. The past 2 years have proven to us, more than anything, that there are some people in very high positions who Don't respect the Constitution,"

Ohioan - this reading of the constituion is theatrics designed to pander to people like you. It's nothing but fodder for TV and you're being played for a fool.

Every piece of legislation is subjected to constitutional and legal review and always has been.

So your glib and uninformed accusations that people in high positions didn't respect the constituion is nothing more than your particular interpretation of the constitution disagreeing with theirs.

It's a sad reflection on people like you who accuse elected representatives of ignoring the constituion when the real issue is that you don't agree with their policies. The teabaggers accuse those representatives of not listening to the "people", when the reality is that they listed to their constituents and the people who elected them. They just didn't listen to you because you lost the election that put them in power.

So the only thing you're "taking back" is taking the country backwards by oversimplifying the complex task of managing the largest economy in the world through a global economic restructuring. That's serious business that requires serious thought, education, and global awareness that the plumber that you sent to congress doesn't have.

Posted by: RufusPlimpton | January 6, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Shouldn't the 'pubes have studied BEFORE they came to class?

This is a tremendous bit a grandstanding and the 'pubes set THAT bar pretty high to begin with.

Posted by: spike591011 | January 6, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I don't think this will distract the fox who has burst into the hen house. He will simply go about his business: a couple of you gonna grease his chin.

Posted by: LoyalDem1 | January 6, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Elena Kagan and all Liberals, Black Caucus and their Black Panther protegees will walk out in protest against the reading a White Human created document.

Posted by: kim24
_____________________________________


I love it when tea party leaders drop in to share the racist underpinnings of their movement. Hey Kim24, why do you think a Supreme Court justice would be there for this? Or did you just add Justice Kagan to round out your hideous post with some anti-semitism?

Posted by: veritasinmedium | January 6, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse


The really good thing about the pubicans reading the Constitution is that they can't screw anything up during that time. Of course, they can skip words or mispronounce, but they won't be harming the American people.

At least the 111th accomplished some things. I can't see the 112th doing anything, which may be a good thing.


Posted by: mortified469 | January 6, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Let me give you an example of just how pathetically absurd the strict construction view of the Constitution can be. The First Amendment prohibits Congress from making any law abridging the Freedom of Speech. The Strict Construction of that wording means that if you are an idiot with a weird sense of humor, you can jump up out of your seat on an aircraft in flight and yell "Gun!" or "Bomb!", which of course could result in panic and chaos aboard the aircraft which could even cause a crash.

So, clearly we do not allow that extreme form of freedom of speech because we deem it harmful to the peace and stability of the community just as we do not allow someone to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Thus, decades upon decades upon decades of judicial precedent have established a more expanded view of what the Founding Fathers intended the phrase "freedom of speech" to mean.

The absurd, logical extension of a Strict Constructionist view on the First Amendment would prevent the government from making laws prosecuting such a malicious abuse of that freedom. The expansionist, "living Constitution" view would argue that the government has a duty to protect its citizenry against such abuses of freedom.

Posted by: jaxas70 | January 6, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

It is interesting. As a dyed-in-the-wool Massachusetts Liberal, there is not a single word I'd want to change in the Constitution.

So I find it oddly amusing that Conservatives who profess such love and devotion for our founding document offer up amendments right and right to "fix" what the profess to be "perfect."

Even John Kerry's hair couldn't flop flip that quickly.

Posted by: mstrfly | January 6, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Glad Obama kept his promise and brought the troops home! I saw some news sites that were lying and saying he now has changed his mind and will keep our troops their for four more years! Why do all the news organizations hate Obama? Four more years! Like someone would believe that! If Obama really did such an evil thing he would be the worst liar in the history of the world not to mention a war monger!

As James Carville observed not so long ago, “If Hillary gave up one of her balls and gave it to Obama, he’d have two.” Thanks for the laugh you Dems are almost like real people just very stupid and believe every lie the warmonger Obama tells you! "Obama/Cheney in 2012 warmongers you can believe in!"

Posted by: Loxinabox | January 6, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

The only thing the lame stream media sees fit to do is mock this plan. They mock reading The United States Constitution? That tells us everything they need to know; the free press is charged with protecting democracy and the 1st Amendment? Yeah, right, heard ya; only when they're doing the talking.

Posted by: techresmgt | January 6, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

All you have to do to fool the wingnuts is spout off with the correct bumper-sticker-sized slogans, and wrap yourself in the flag. After that, it does not matter WHAT you do.

Trade missiles to Iran and illegally finance an armed movement in Central America? Sure, no problem!

Lie us into an unnecessary war in Iraq, thereby killing over 4,300 of our troops for nothing, and wounding over 30,000 for nothing (many missing arms, legs, and eyes, many horribly burned, or with awful traumatic brain injuries), and wasting $1 trillion? Oh, that's just fine!

Refuse to regulate Wall Street, cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations that ship jobs overseas, and put two wars on a Chinese credit card, thereby causing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression? Okey doke!

They can wrap themselves in the flag or the Constitution all they want, but republican hypocrisy and lies have done tramendous damage and caused untold suffering to America.


Posted by: losthorizon10 | January 6, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

To quote Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va. "As the written expression of the consent the American people gave to their government -- a consent with restrictions and boundaries -- the public reading of the Constitution will set the tone for the 112th Congress."

Well, the American people gave consent through the Constitution for their government to promote the general welfare.
But for nearly 40 years both political parties as corporate pawns have instead been in a very un-American and un-Constitutional way promoting the general welfare of their corporate patrons and leaving the general public to sink or swim, and we're mostly sinking along with our country.

Gary Brumback
www.democracypowernow.com

Posted by: garybrumback1 | January 6, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Hey if Obama said we need to stay there for four more years it must be true! Obama is famous for telling the truth...not in a good way..Bush secured America's oil interest in the region so what is Obama doing? Protecting a steady flow of drugs from Afghanistan? Not there is any thing wrong with that! "Buy some heroin support a terrorist!" Another of Obama's campaign slogans for 2012. Obama/Cheney in 2012 warmongers you can believe in!
Support the war Support Obama!!

Posted by: Loxinabox | January 6, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Where is the FBI?

BP, Transocean, Halliburton blamed by presidential Gulf oil spill commission

Why isn't the FBI investigating this matter?

Congressional investigations do nothing except sweep matters under the rug.

Do congressional investigations change the behavior of elected officials regarding special interest money and back door influence? NO!

Why would a congressional investigation have any impact on BP,Halliburton and Transocean? These corporations throw big bucks into campaign cookie jars.

Bring on the FBI and the Grand Jury!!!

Case in point:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee.

The report was part of a multi-pronged assault on the credibility of private insurers by Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.).

Insurers make paperwork confusing because "they realize that people will just simply give up and not pursue it" if they think they have been shortchanged, Potter said.

More on this story:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

Where is the FBI and the grand jury?

Posted by: rheckler2002 | January 6, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Most intelligent Americans respect the Constitution and understand what it means to this country.
Those who ignore, disrespect, or underestimate the Constitution are only showing their total ignorance and shallowness.
For Republicans to start off with reading the Constitution is incredibly astute and adult in so many ways.
The past 2 years have proven to us, more than anything, that there are some people in very high positions who Don't respect the Constitution, they haven't even read it, and these people Don't have the best interest of the Country in mind; the last 2 years have proven some people, in very powerful positions-- have a whole other "self-serving agenda" in mind.

Posted by: ohioan | January 6, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Look. This is the same pious sanctimonious approach the Religious Right used in the 1990s as a predicate for their social demands. Whether one is talking about the Bible or the Constitution, conservatives always end up peddling the absurdly laughable proposition that only they have the correct and proper interpretation.

In fact, conservatives won't publicly admit it but if they had their way, there would be no opposition because they believe that all other interpretations of anything--the Bible, the Constitution, history--are completely improper and heretical.

Posted by: jaxas70 | January 6, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I want to see all the pushing and shoving by the Republicans to read the 14th Amendment. Anyone born in this country is a citizen, you know. Wait, those darn liberals must be misinterpreting that.

Posted by: ggilby1 | January 6, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

-------------------------------------
Including the children of foreign diplomats?
Including American Indians up until 1924??
Including the children of foreign military officers governed by a status of forces agreement???

Law is against you on these...

Posted by: PALADIN7E | January 6, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The lefts attack on the reading of the US Constitution shows once again their alienation from mainstream Americans. Ezra Klein, WPO's young Journolist, opined that the Constitution is a 100 year old document with no binding power. How does anyone so uniformed get to write opinion columns for a prestigious paper? Is he unaware that incoming members swear thier allegiance to the constitution? Is he unaware that the Constitution is the source of America's freedom and uniqueness?

Posted by: jkk1943 | January 6, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

It is fitting that the new Congress reads the Constitution, because that is the document that makes the institution so dysfunctional.
Direct representation - as opposed to proportional representation (which most other democracies have) - results in lawmakers who are interested only in their own immediate interests. It also prevents the emergence of third (and fourth and fifth) parties. The organization of the Senate and its current rule which enable a minority who can theoretically represent about 10 percent of the US population to block any legislation further obstructs legislative effectiveness. Add to that the abuses associated with Gerrymandering and rules that make it easy for lobbyists and special interests to legally influence legislation, you wind up with a lawmaking body that is incapable of addressing big issues.
The United States needs a lot of the reforms proposed by one party or the other: health care reform, tort reform, better environmental regulations, deficit reduction, better oversight, prison reform, etc but is incapable of producing effective legislation because it blocks itself. No wonder people are fed up with Congress.
When pollsters ask voters if they trust or admire Congress, the answer is overwhelmingly "no" regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans are in control. That indicates that the problem is not with one party or the other - the problem is the institution itself and the two-party system that the institution produced.

Posted by: Berliner | January 6, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Hey Repugnants - just because you can read it doesn't mean you are intelligent enough to understand it.

Posted by: temuchin | January 6, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

It is fitting that the new Congress reads the Constitution, because that is the document that makes the institution so dysfunctional.
Direct representation - as opposed to proportional representation (which most other democracies have) - results in lawmakers who are interested only in their own immediate interests. It also prevents the emergence of third (and fourth and fifth) parties. The organization of the Senate and its current rule which enable a minority who can theoretically represent about 10 percent of the US population to block any legislation further obstructs legislative effectiveness. Add to that the abuses associated with Gerrymandering and rules that make it easy for lobbyists and special interests to legally influence legislation, you wind up with a lawmaking body that is incapable of addressing big issues.
The United States needs a lot of the reforms proposed by one party or the other: health care reform, tort reform, better environmental regulations, deficit reduction, better oversight, prison reform, etc but is incapable of producing effective legislation because it blocks itself. No wonder people are fed up with Congress.
When pollsters ask voters if they trust or admire Congress, the answer is overwhelmingly "no" regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans are in control. That indicates that the problem is not with one party or the other - the problem is the institution itself and the two-party system that the institution produced.

Posted by: Berliner | January 6, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

The constitution is a concept of how this country is to be governed. The framers must be turning over in their graves at the thought of the mental lightweights who are now interpreting it to mean whatever aligns with their ideology. When the constitution was written our country was primarily an agrarian society. There were no corporations with the scope and power of today's companies. Polution was not an issue. There few global enterprises with the ability to move labor and finances around the world to avoid taxes and regulations. We were weak militarily and had no standing army. Those are but a few of the factors that the framers did not envision. Take us back to the good old days when the constitution was written!

Posted by: cdierd1944 | January 6, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Read any good constitutions lately?

Actually, we had a pretty good Constitution until Bush and Obama got elected. We have undeclared foreign wars costing trillions, a Patriot Act turning our nation into a police state while trampling on the Bill of Rights, and a U.S. Treasury printing near worthless dollars 24/7.

Hey, Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Posted by: alance | January 6, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Less than 2 words per page of the power and money grab scam disguised as Health Care Reform.

Everyone that voted for any bill they didn't read should be stripped naked and forced to read the constitution aloud in public since... they don't bother reading the legislation they enacedt on us.

Posted by: Straightline | January 6, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Robbob wrote: "Only the Republicans could find a way to turn the great Constitution of the United States into a political stunt."

Maybe it is a political stunt, but it's better than the Democrats who treat our Constitution with utter contempt and disdain.

Posted by: liberalsareblind | January 6, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I want to see all the pushing and shoving by the Republicans to read the 14th Amendment. Anyone born in this country is a citizen, you know. Wait, those darn liberals must be misinterpreting that.

Posted by: ggilby1 | January 6, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Only the Republicans could find a way to turn the great Constitution of the United States into a political stunt.

Posted by: RobBob | January 6, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

"Hey sidprejean let me knock on your forehead for a second or two by saying this, we can't have one document without the other, you did know that didn't you?

Posted by: vatownsend | January 6, 2011 7:36 AM | Report abuse"

So you agree that sidprejean was correct and that samscram was incorrect. Thanks for clarifying.

Posted by: Observer691 | January 6, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Politics. Both parties. Summed up by the best political satire video ever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyZ0kUnMIgk

Posted by: scottycamp | January 6, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse

The two documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, do stand alone and neither is the predicate for the other. The Declaration was given little heed until Lincoln stressed it referring to "all men are created equal" which was in conflict with the Constitution at that time.

Nor were either actually required. The founders chose a Constitutional government. England has no constitution.

Posted by: timothy2me | January 6, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Should be interesting when they don't get to the part where Corporations are persons but women aren't.

And then there's the "Thou shalt torture until the accused confesses."

And who knows what they do with the right an armed militia.

But if they are reading, they aren't doing any harm, right? Maybe they should have oral reading every day. A reading list might be a great idea to round them out as human beings, especially when they want to start slashing the arts and believe in bombs and hate parks.

They could start with Charles Dickens as a counter to Ayn Rand who they probably haven't read either and contemplate a world without love.

Posted by: SarahBB | January 6, 2011 8:37 AM | Report abuse

i hope they don`t read it half in english and half in spanish,like every piece of paper that comes out of d.c.

Posted by: SISSD1 | January 6, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone else think it would be awesome if, after reading the Constitution, they then proceeded to read the 200+ years of case law that has interpreted the Constitution in amazingly different ways? I think that would be awesome. I'd show up for that, mostly because it sounds like such a good use of time of Congress's time.

Posted by: joe_killiany | January 6, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Who gets the honor of reading the passage that says African Americans are 3/5 of a human being? And will they need to shower afterward?

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | January 6, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

-----------------------------------------
The ones who have read that the North actually wanted slaves not to count in the census so as to reduce the representation in the South or the ones who have read in the South actually wanted slaves to count as whole persons so as to maximize the representation of Southern states in the Congress?

Posted by: PALADIN7E | January 6, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Maybe they should invite Eric Holder to the reading. He's not much for reading documents, you know.

Posted by: richard36 | January 6, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

"This historic and symbolic reading is long overdue and shows that the new majority in the House truly is dedicated to our Constitution and the principles for which it stands," Goodlatte said

Well Mr Goodlatte, I think it doesn`t show that at all. Future actions may, we hope, show that.

Posted by: nanonano1 | January 6, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

"This historic and symbolic reading is long overdue and shows that the new majority in the House truly is dedicated to our Constitution and the principles for which it stands," Goodlatte said

Well Mr Goodlatte, I think it doesn`t show that at all.

Posted by: nanonano1 | January 6, 2011 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Hello, Samscram,
Two of the citations you provide as fundamental to your "constitutionalist" argument are not from the Constitution; they're from the Declaration of Independance.
You do know that they are different documents, don't you?


Posted by: sidprejean
============================

Sid...I think he knew that...he mentioned that the first two were written by Thomas Jefferson...who wrote the Declaration...so it was an 'understood.' Thomas Jefferson didn't write the Constitution...he was serving in France at the time. And for those who think the two documents stand separately, you're right. For those who think you coldn;t have one without the other...you're also right because the USC codifies the liberties in the Declaration. No Declaration...no framework for the USC. Reference? "...and secure the blessings of liberty...."

Posted by: PanhandleWilly | January 6, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Oh, now I bet Christine O'Donnell is really bummed she lost! This would have been much more enlightening than Freshman Orientation!

Posted by: capecodner424 | January 6, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Kim 24, you have exceeded the bounds of ignorance. The members of the congress and the general public are not constitutional scholars and there are layers of law that have been added to the meaning of the constitution. Talk about a waste of time and the money we pay house members to SOLVE PROBLEMS.

Posted by: denver13 | January 6, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Kim 24, you have exceeded the bounds of ignorance. The members of the congress and the general public are not constitutional scholars and there are layers of law that have been added to the meaning of the constitution. Talk about a waste of time and the money we pay house members to SOLVE PROBLEMS.

Posted by: denver13 | January 6, 2011 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Kim 24, you have exceeded the bounds of ignorance. The members of the congress and the general public are not constitutional scholars and there are layers of law that have been added to the meaning of the constitution. Talk about a waste of time and the money we pay house members to SOLVE PROBLEMS.

Posted by: denver13 | January 6, 2011 8:06 AM | Report abuse

'Read alouds' in congress. Now we pay them to participate in kindergarten activities. Get off your lazy humps and do some work!!

Posted by: 12345leavemealone | January 6, 2011 8:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Elena Kagan and all Liberals, Black Caucus and their Black Panther protegees will walk out in protest against the reading a White Human created document.

Posted by: kim24 | January 6, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Hey sidprejean let me knock on your forehead for a second or two by saying this, we can't have one document without the other, you did know that didn't you?

Posted by: vatownsend | January 6, 2011 7:36 AM
___________________________________________
Not true. We could have easily have had either one without the other. The Declaration of Independence was important, but not necessary, for the Revolution to occur. The Constitution was not necessary after the revolution. The thirteen colonies could have gone in many directions. While related, each of these important documents stands on it's own.

Posted by: Lefty_ | January 6, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Who gets the honor of reading the passage that says African Americans are 3/5 of a human being? And will they need to shower afterward?

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | January 6, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I am shameful. I failed on practically all the questions you asked about the US Constitution yesterday. And yet, as an AFS student in Tucson, Az I learnt American History in 12 grade!!!

Posted by: pepiveas | January 6, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Today is a great day of shame for the United States as the blackguards "honor" their murder victim.

This is nothing more than a funeral sermon for the US Constitution whose guiding principles have been long ignored by both parties.

Banjamin Franklin was right: "A republic, ma'am, if you can keep it."

We didn't.

RIP, rule of law.

RIP, US Constitution.

Posted by: bloggersvilleusa | January 6, 2011 7:48 AM | Report abuse

They will need to do a second reading in Spanish.

Posted by: hipshot | January 6, 2011 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Hey sidprejean let me knock on your forehead for a second or two by saying this, we can't have one document without the other, you did know that didn't you?

Posted by: vatownsend | January 6, 2011 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Theatrics yes but, also a good thing. Know who wrote the constitution, a bunch of radical forward thinking revolutionaries. The amendments have also been the work of “liberal” causes.

The republicans have offered up time after time amendments which have not been added to the Constitution Of The United States of America because they were either to conservative, too repressive and not in the best interests of the people of the United States of America.

The constitution is not, nor never was a conservative manifesto. It is a living liberal guide of governance created by man designed to keep our people free, our nation strong and our laws centered on a solid path into the future.

Maybe, just maybe this will sober up the repressive and fascist factions of the republican party so the they can truly do the peoples work, so that they will truly act in our nations best interests and put politicks aside.

Who am I kidding, this will only serve to give them a freakish sense of empowerment on this I would like to be wrong.

Posted by: cario1 | January 6, 2011 7:34 AM | Report abuse

WaPost: "Later Thursday, the House will vote on a resolution sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) that would cut by 5 percent the budgets of congressional offices and committees. The plan would also cut the House Appropriations Committee's budget by 9 percent."

Wonder how high the priority for cutting the IRS personnel budget is? For every $100K IRS collector's salary that gets cut, the Nation losses about $30 million in revenue that is constitutionally due. But people living in the Bahamas or Aruba won't have a problem with the $60 billion in currently uncollected taxes.

Posted by: arjay1 | January 6, 2011 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Contemptible Political Grandstanding!


Posted by: demtse | January 6, 2011 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Hello, Samscram,
Two of the citations you provide as fundamental to your "constitutionalist" argument are not from the Constitution; they're from the Declaration of Independance.
You do know that they are different documents, don't you?

Posted by: sidprejean | January 6, 2011 7:23 AM | Report abuse

The Tea Party conservatives are going to be sorry they did this, when they see what is actually in and not in the Constitution (if any of them show up for its entire reading).

And max21c better stop spending so much time in his survival shelter watching too much Glen Beck. His paranoia is starting to reach clinical levels.

Posted by: odonnell521 | January 6, 2011 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Why don't the Democrats join in?

Do they not approve the Constitution as having established the fundamental protection for our personal liberties which, according to Thomas Jefferson is its fundamental purpose?

"...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,"

Or perhaps these words are anathema:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." U.S. Constitution, Amendment X

Posted by: samscram | January 6, 2011 7:00 AM | Report abuse

These people are so lame.

Posted by: johng1 | January 6, 2011 6:55 AM | Report abuse

These representatives are being paid 100K+ for such political theatrics? If they are qualified to be representatives, they should already be familiar with the Constitution. Complete waste of time. I say sit down and get to work. (I feel the same way about the vote to repeal health care. How about doing something constructive, not destructive? Get to work.)

Posted by: davidlhanegraaf | January 6, 2011 6:52 AM | Report abuse

I think it would be instructive if they read it in its original form, slavery and all.

Posted by: bierbelly1 | January 6, 2011 6:47 AM | Report abuse

The US Constitution and Bill of Rights are basically worthless since the Washington Regime and their secret police do whatever they want. The US Govt is an evil group of crooks and criminals.

Posted by: max21c | January 6, 2011 6:46 AM | Report abuse

@kms123: Are you referring to Article I Section 6 which says, "The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States," or Article I Section 8 which gies the Congress power "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces"?

Posted by: Rob63 | January 6, 2011 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Will they read the part of the Constitution that states what salary and perks (including the hated socialized heath care benefits) that members of are allowed?

Posted by: kms123 | January 6, 2011 6:21 AM | Report abuse

I was in primary school the last time I needed something read to me. As one of the first acts of this Congress, how much money did this waste?

Posted by: DGSPAMMAIL | January 6, 2011 6:01 AM | Report abuse

Would someone please note which Representatives are actually on the floor when the Constitution is read? We won’t be able to tell from C-SPAN.

If one is to make a ‘show’ of the Constitution one should really show up.

Posted by: gustav2 | January 6, 2011 5:30 AM | Report abuse

Would someone please note which Representatives are actually on the floor when the Constitution is read? We won’t be able to tell from C-SPAN.

If one is to make a ‘show’ of the Constitution one should really show up.

Posted by: gustav2 | January 6, 2011 5:29 AM | Report abuse

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