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Posted at 5:10 PM ET, 01/ 4/2011

GOP to invite Dems to join in reading of the Constitution

By Greg Sargent

After taking heat for their plan to read the Consitution on the House floor, House Republicans will send out a letter to the whole House membership tonight -- Dems included -- inviting them to participate in Thursday's reading of the founding document, aides tell me.

The GOP leadership has extended a direct invitation to the Dem leadership along these lines too, I'm told.

The "dear colleague" letter inviting Dems and Republicans alike to join in the reading will go out later from the office of GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, who has been organizing the reading for the GOP leadership, his spokesperson, Kathryn Rexrode, confirms.

It's unclear whether this is the result of criticism of the plan from Dems, who have spent the past few days blasting it as a sop to the Tea Party and a blatant effort to paint the GOP as the only real adherents to the Constitution.

Dem Rep. Brad Sherman of California, for instance, has been privately prodding the GOP leadership to grant Dems equal time for the reading, he tells me, on the grounds that failure to do so would make it clear the GOP's real goal is to "send a message that Republicans care about the Constitution and Democrats don't."

There are still several unanswered questions: Will Dems get to read precisely the portions they choose? How will time be alloted? Will an equal number of Dems and Republicans be allowed to participate? How will the Dem leadership response?

All that said, Dems should seize this opportunity in a general sense. As I argued here yesterday, Dems should welcome an open debate about the Constitution and the country's founding, because it affords an opportunity to undercut the case that contemporary conservatives and Tea Partyers are somehow more in sync with the founding generation than the rest of us can claim to be.

By Greg Sargent  | January 4, 2011; 5:10 PM ET
Categories:  House Dems, House GOPers  
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Comments

This is all nice and well, but I'm not sure what this does to help the country move forward. It's all show and theatrics, sound and fury signifying nothing.

I read the Constitution in my own time. It's really not that long of a document. http://archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html

Knock yourself out. Can we get back to work now?

Posted by: Alex3 | January 4, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Alex, agreed it's theatrics, but if it's going to happen, Dems should join the argument...

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 4, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Perfect and right on subject... http://imgsrv.gocomics.com/dim/?fh=a11d7244483b8476c06e8f432603fcec

Posted by: Alex3 | January 4, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

This but of Fireside Theater, or theater of the absurd will be quite short, (there really isn't all that much to the Constitution. A Solemn Reading of the Passion on Palm Sunday would take longer)

But It will of nature have to cover certain clauses that the Republicans like to ignore in their day to day interpretations of the document. Especially galling will be the articles creating the Executive and the Judiciary, and the 14th amendment, which declares their refusal to extend the debt ceiling to be acceptable ONLY if they have a fully balanced budget that can pay for EVERYTHING, including paying on the national debt.

Essentially, if they don't raise the debt limit, they HAVE to raise taxes a bunch.

Were I a Rep I would have a great deal of office organization to do during this Oratorio.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 4, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Perfect and right on subject... http://imgsrv.gocomics.com/dim/?fh=a11d7244483b8476c06e8f432603fcec

Posted by: Alex3 | January 4, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Republicans know they can't really serve corporate interests unless they get the White House back. They have to mark time with choreography, a tableau here, a posture there, so as not to acknowledge the fact that they did not win the political upper hand in November and to divert attention from the equally important fact, they have no leadership, the Party organization is a train wreck and their slate of candidates for 2012 is a punch line. Sorry for the run on sentence, multitasking's a female dog.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I think Boner wants to live stream this all on Facebook, too.

How can it be a bad thing to stream members of congress from both parties reciting the constitution? If I was a teacher...

Posted by: sbj3 | January 4, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Let the Republicans read it all.

And be sure to get it all on tape.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 4, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"Alex, agreed it's theatrics, but if it's going to happen, Dems should join the argument... Posted by: Greg Sargent"

The Dems need to leave the stage to the Republicans for the next coup[le weeks. The R's seem hell bent on acting very badly, why is a question. John Kasich has decided that he will be inaugurated at home, no press allowed because of security concerns about his wife and kids. His days on Wall Street have gone to his head. The R's intend to vote, sans discussion, on their tantrum bill repealing HCR. Boehner is going to cut $100 billion out of Obama's overdue budget.

This kind of stage craft needs to be left entirely to the R's because it is definitely going to make them look really really puerile. The Dems need to look like adults dropping their kindergartners off for the first day of school.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 4, 2011 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Apologize for the double post.

Yeah, Greg. I agree that it is politically necessary, but I also tire of the dancing the the dance Republicans order up.

But if it makes some folks aware that the Constitution belongs to ALL Americans, I guess that is a good thing. Certainly it couldn't hurt. It just seems so... superfluous. But I guess that's the nature of Congress these days.

Posted by: Alex3 | January 4, 2011 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I still think they should form break out sessions for the study of the Federalist Papers, some of Jefferson's letters and the like. The groups should be charge with electing a person to collate the opinions of their group and put together a digest with recommendations for further study on points of contention. In this way, they might be forced to go back to work.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 4, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Incidentally, which ultra Conservative, ultra Christian Republican gets to tackle the First Amendment?

Posted by: DDAWD | January 4, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Why should Republicans be inviting Democrats to a reading of the Constitution when it is only their 'interpretation' that counts?

This is just more posturing from the party that isn't in power. All incoming newbies of the, what was it?, Tea thing, have already been swept up by the Republican Establishment, surrounded by corporate lobbyists. For those who thought there was going to be this great big change, so what's a little demo going to hurt by reading the Constitution?

Posted by: petesnydero | January 4, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

The appropriate thing for Beohner to do would be to have the Constitution printed on rolls of Charmin that are supplied in the Senate and House lavatories.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | January 4, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh gee, the Republicans can read the Second Amendment and the Democrats the First and the Fourth...

Posted by: areyousaying | January 4, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Once again, the whining of the liberals is as music to the ears.

Reading Mr Sargents latest smarm-o-gram I wonder what happened to all the calls for bipartisanship. by seeing everything that the Republicans do as the manifestation of some nefarious plot, Mr Sargent not only stirs the pot but insures that his camp followers have a splendid time.

As to the debt ceiling, I think tough talk about it is just the thing. Here's a quote I think the Republicans should rely upon during the looming battle:

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

I have little doubt that Mr Sargent knows the origins of the words quoted above. They would never have made it into one of his blog posts however. So I thought I'd share them. They are just so appropos of today's environment.

Tough talk about raising the debt ceiling is perfect. I, for one, have no problem shutting down the government. NONE. I can imagine how stricken the liberals will knowing that the folks who were scheduled to attend the Dept of Agriculture meeting about the difference between Extra Large and Jumbo eggs will be out of work.

I wonder too what a shut down of a couple of weeks will do to the coffers of the public sector unions.

Such fun.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 4, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

"Oh gee, the Republicans can read the Second Amendment and the Democrats the First and the Fourth..."
-------------------------------------------
You mean the 1st and 4th that Obama is violating?

The only party that is dedicated to running a government according to the Constitution is the Libertarian Party. The other parties are just acting.

Posted by: BradG | January 4, 2011 5:57 PM | Report abuse

One can only assume that republicons got part way into practicing the Preamble and realized they did not know how to pronounce the big words like "posterity"

Democrats should politely inform in a very public letter, say in a full page ad in every major new outlet in the nation, that they have already read the Constitution many times, the President has taught Constitutional Law in University, and if republicons have not read it they should be very ashamed of themsleves and resign immediately.

This is a nonsense theatrical act by the tea oh pee.

Posted by: John1263 | January 4, 2011 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Once again the drivel from skip seeps from his orifices.

Maybe he'll eat a tainted egg from a non-inspected supplier and save us the trouble of having to scroll past his utterances here.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 4, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats will read the hard words.

Posted by: djah | January 4, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Boehner:

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

...

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

What? What's all that doing in there!

:: sobs like a baby ::

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 4, 2011 6:16 PM | Report abuse

If they truly wanted to demonstrate understanding of the constitution, they would take the same test that immigrants take to become citizens. I bet most of them would fail. This just another political ploy.

Posted by: boleson02 | January 4, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

How dissappointed are the baggers going to be when they find on their first time hearing our Constitution that it does not mention God, Christ, Christian, Jesus, Christianity, Christian Nation, and that the only two times religion is mentioned in the entiore document is to keep govenrment and religion separated -- no religious tests for office, and the establishment/free exercise clauses? Man are they going to be even more confused or what??? They are going to be on the crazy town right winger blogs claiming that there was a liberal conspiracy to strip religion out of the Constitution.....

Posted by: John1263 | January 4, 2011 6:20 PM | Report abuse

If they truly wanted to demonstrate understanding of the constitution, they would take the same test that immigrants take to become citizens. I bet most of them would fail. This just politics as usual.

Posted by: boleson02 | January 4, 2011 6:20 PM | Report abuse

How dissappointed are the baggers going to be when they find on their first time hearing our Constitution that it does not mention God, Christ, Christian, Jesus, Christianity, Christian Nation, and that the only two times religion is mentioned in the entiore document is to keep govenrment and religion separated -- no religious tests for office, and the establishment/free exercise clauses? Man are they going to be even more confused or what??? They are going to be on the crazy town right winger blogs claiming that there was a liberal conspiracy to strip religion out of the Constitution.....

Posted by: John1263 | January 4, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

For a majority of the Dems in Congress I am certain it will be the first time they have ever actually read the Constitution.

Posted by: gillee | January 4, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I wonder who will have the privilege of reading Article 1, wherein black slaves are counted as 3/5ths of a person for representation purposes!

Posted by: dhenken1 | January 4, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

What a complete waste of the taxpayers time and money.


What, are we supposed to be impressed with the extremist Republican parties reading skills?


Everyone who isn't a braindead member of the Republican base (Teabaggers) already learned the Constitution from beginning to end back in JR HIGH!

WHERE ARE THE JOBS, REPUGS ?!?!!!!!


.

Posted by: DrainYou | January 4, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

And then when they're done with their stagecraft-qua-witchcraft-qua-bipartisany constitutionals, Booner with his tears like orange juice, Reid sniffling and toasting with his frail ex-boxer's fist, then have another media go at it, this time have Obama stagecraft his own Consitution reading, after all, he is there to remind us the President and the Congress are two different things and he has so little power over these unruly political simpleton deviant children that run Congress, and the President's reading can feature his own public guests also reading in turn, a read-along, and Obama's turn is between readings by Pastor Warren and Lt. Dan Choi, proving that he is the true bi-partisan. O great day, soon we will all get along reading the Constitution. We will remember, we are Americans, and that is more important than the sum of our factions, just like Israel is always greater than the sum of its factions because theirs is a tie made in blood.

Posted by: Papagnello | January 4, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Or, if not that great day, at least, "Look I read the Constitution, You Tube it yourself, re-elect me" -- thus spoke all these politicians.

Posted by: Papagnello | January 4, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

are they going to read by candlelight and ask the descendants of former slaves and all the women to leave the room?

Posted by: NorthernNeighbour33 | January 4, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

No Northern Neighbor, they are going to ask all the descendents of slave owners to leave they room, they are not worth the voice of memory.

Posted by: Papagnello | January 4, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

You guys want to really cause trouble? A massive reading by the public, for the public, of the Constitution against the cartels hiding behind both sides of the political aisle. The masses reading the Constitution to the bank cartel like the Fr. reading the bible to the possessed one in Exorcist. Oh well, one can dream, can't one, even if the nightmare is very real?

Posted by: Papagnello | January 4, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

John1263, how confused will YOU be to learn that the words "our Lord" (in reference to none other than Jesus Christ Himself) are included in the U.S. Constitution?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 4, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

The Constitution is to Democrats, like garlic is to a vampire. Too bad the Democrat party has been hijacked by America haters. Oh well

Posted by: kurttj2002 | January 4, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

No clawrence, it wasn't Our Lord in reference to Jesus Christ himself, it was in reference to Jesus Christ of the United States of America himself.

Posted by: Papagnello | January 4, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse

dhenkin1, I would nominate Charlie Bernard Rangel.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 4, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

What do they need help with, the big words?


Posted by: lindalovejones | January 4, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I'm wrong, it's not that, it's Jesus Christ of the United States of America of Manifest Global Destiny, isn't that right?

It is the duty of intelligent people to state the very very very very obvious because the country's gone dumb.

Posted by: Papagnello | January 4, 2011 6:53 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/happy_hour_roundup_158.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 4, 2011 6:54 PM | Report abuse

To All the Liberals:

To all who claimed that homosexuals in the military "would not affect readiness."


WRONG AGAIN

The Navy officer is already embroiled in a controversy over political correctness.


Don't ask, Dont Tell should be put back in.


ALREADY THERE IS AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER SET TO GO TO THE MIDDLE EAST AND A GAY CONTROVERSY IS AFFECTING THE DEPARTURE OF THAT AIRCRAFT CARRIER.


It is over


The liberals have been proven wrong and this too has to be repealed.


The liberals LIED again and again.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 4, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh Rainforest, don't you ever get tired of talking through stinking socks?

Posted by: Papagnello | January 4, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

The words "Our Lord" appear as a date, not as text in the Constitution. It was done as a convention of the day, and not to infer anything else.

Posted by: MichelleKinPA | January 4, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I've got news for the extremist Republican party:


Now that you have some actual power again (the House) you won't be able to get away with spending all of your time throwing verbal bombs at the Dems, going golfing at the whites only country club and then hitting the DC cocktail circuit at night every day. You either CREATE JOBS or you will be gone in 2012 so fast that your heads will spin.


Chop chop Repugs!


You've got two years!


Time's a wastin'!


.

Posted by: DrainYou | January 4, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

@RainForestRising: the controversy on the Enterprise is only coincidentally about gay issues... the main issue is an officer with no class, who lacked the sense to hide the fact.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | January 4, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I knew the Republicans weren't going to like what the U.S Constitutin says.

What's to argue, the document speaks for itself.

Do the Republicans also need help to read "My Pet Goat"?


Posted by: lindalovejones | January 4, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

MichelleKinPA, it is still the "convention" today. Did you read John1263's post.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 4, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

i plan to watch all the proceedings tomorrow and Thursday on CSPAN.

should be loads of fun.

I hear Rangel is going to read Amendment 8 - Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 4, 2011 7:24 PM | Report abuse

They are supposed to know the Constitution before they get there.

Ans also know it has been amended and re-interpreted numerous times over the last 220 years.

Posted by: AlanGoldberg54 | January 4, 2011 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Whomever the republicans chose to read aloud the constitution, I hope they get individuals who can read well, and read in a well modulated voice. So often when those in congress read aloud, you can tell they barely ever read aloud, and it shows.

Posted by: Listening2 | January 4, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

AlanGoldberg54, it doesn't hurt to read it at the start of the 112th Congress either (hopefully, they read the words "our Lord" too).

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 4, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Whomever the republicans chose to read aloud the constitution, I hope they get individuals who can read well, and read in a well modulated voice. So often when those in congress read aloud, you can tell they barely ever read aloud, and it shows.

Posted by: Listening2 | January 4, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

As it stands, the insurers set up a monopoly via consolidation. But a free market theory doesn't involve monopoly violating an anti-trust law.

1. Premise A : Human health is like commodity.

Without ACA, health costs will skyrocket, leading to more personal, corporate, and governmental bankruptcy.
Under historical interpretations of the Constitution, Congress can dictate the economic activity of citizens so long as that activity will have profound, large-scale effects on the national economy.  

2. Premise B : Human health is a fundamental human right.

The ACA has no problem with the constitution.

3. Confronting this simple truth, the U.S. has lost too many invaluable lives to unnecessary deaths.
I understand that lack of safety net, peace of mind has led to the unusual mental illness, obesity pandemic.
( To forget the uncertainty, many have a tendency to resort to "keep eating", and eating too much tends to prompt depression, mental illness, obesity )

"The Clean Air Act clearly says that its regulation and enforcement is to be the realm of state and local governments."

No it doesn't; this is a lie. The Clean Air Act says the states are free to create their own programs only if they meet certain minimum standards defined by the federal government.

Posted by: hsr06011 | January 4, 2011 7:45 PM | Report abuse

MichelleKinPA, here's a more recent instance of said convention:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/12/06/presidential-proclamation-50th-anniversary-arctic-national-wildlife-refu

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 4, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse

The past never happened to the GOP posters on this site. Dick Cheney never said deficits don't matter. Bush wasn't President when the bank bail out was voted on. Reagan and Bush Jr. didn't drive up the deficit. The GOP Presidents didn't seek to overthrow heads of state. The GOP congress never gives money to their favorite interest groups just because those interest groups back them in elections. The GOP congress isn't finding other ways to get earmarks to their districs. The Tea Party elected congressmen aren't whining about not getting all of their government goodies. Yeah right!

Posted by: Ralph_Indianapolis | January 4, 2011 8:00 PM | Report abuse

They need the Dems to let them know they are reading the Declaration of Independence and not the Constitution.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 4, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

What a collection of arrogant jerks!!! Why do the Republicans think they are the only ones to read the constitution. While the parties may not agree as to the meaning of certain clauses, it does not nean the Democrats have not read the constitution. Both Democratic and Republican administrations have had the Supreme Court throw out laws because they were deemed to be unconstitutional. George Bush - Junior and Senior - and Ronald Reagan had laws thrown out because those Republicans supported laws were found to be unconstitutional. Did Ronald Reagan hold the constitution in disregard? These fools in the House think we are all as foolish as they.

Posted by: merrylees | January 4, 2011 8:04 PM | Report abuse

merrylees, the thread that you are commenting is actually about "GOP to invite Dems to join in reading ..."

I'm glad to have cleared up that misunderstanding for you.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 4, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

A political stunt which is faltering. I work in a school, read the history textbooks almost every day with the complete Constitution in it; I read that a lot too. So do tons of others: students, teachers, citizens, etc. Can we have this new Congress grow up? Overexposure to that document could get really boring, especially defending all the really old stuff. Congress should focus on doing the job that the Constitution says it should do, including the elastic clause at the end of Article 1.

Posted by: dudh | January 4, 2011 8:29 PM | Report abuse

MichelleKinPA, here's a more recent instance of said convention:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/12/06/presidential-proclamation-50th-anniversary-arctic-national-wildlife-refu

Posted by: clawrence12
*************************************
I suggest you read Jefferson's letters - they make it quite clear that Christianity isn't to be preferred over anything else.
I quote .....

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom


The Hebrew Bible uses the word "Lord", so it's a thin assertion.

Posted by: MichelleKinPA | January 4, 2011 8:41 PM | Report abuse

dudh:

To which "elastic" clause are you referring?

MichelleKinPA:

The Hebrew Bible does not (explicitly) mention the birth of Jesus Christ, and Jefferson had his own interpretation of that too.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 4, 2011 8:55 PM | Report abuse

RainForestRising, I just read your post against the repeal of DADT. Do you not read my posts. DADT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. What part of this do you not understand? Read it again. DADT is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. I am disgusted to read posts from ignorant little twits like you. You display your ignorance with every word you write. And I have had enough of it.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | January 4, 2011 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Why don't they just swear fealty to a rectangle of colored cloth manufactured by underpaid Chinese workers just like everyone else?

What a waste of time.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 4, 2011 10:21 PM | Report abuse

The only party that is dedicated to running a government according to the Constitution is the Libertarian Party.

==

hahahhaha the libertarians, what a joke all by itself.

Don't see anything in the Constitution about letting people starve. Sorry.

Libertarians are the absolutely lowest form of life on earth

Posted by: caothien9 | January 4, 2011 10:29 PM | Report abuse

nyrunner101, do you really think that George Washington would have permitted open homosexuals serving in the Continental Army?!

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 4, 2011 11:03 PM | Report abuse

If the Republicans really want to prove that they want to cut waste from the budget, they can start by not wasting everyone's money on this read.

If you take the base salary..

Speaker of the house - 223,500 Annually - 107 an hour.
Minority/Majority Leader - 193,400 Annually - 93 an hour
Rank-and-file Member - 174,000 Annually - 83.5 an hour

(hourly is assuming a 40 hour week)

Now considering that there are 2 majority/minority leaders, and 432 other members of the House, this totals up to a grand scam of $36,500 an hour for them to do this reading. If it takes you 10 hours to read it, that will cost $365,000.

What a waste of money. If you don't know what the constitution says, I suggest you do your homework at night and get down to business during the day.

Posted by: Atomic_susan | January 4, 2011 11:44 PM | Report abuse

10 hours? All of those positions are salaried, so it doesn't matter if they read aloud or just take the afternoon off after getting sworn in. But, I'm glad you are this focused. I wish that Michelle Obama was as concerned about her wasteful spending.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 5, 2011 12:17 AM | Report abuse

As long as they read the Constitution (1787 version PLUS all the ammendments), this is fine. I would add a preamble to the reading exercise, that clarifies that the original articles (1776) called for a Confederacy that failed, and therefore required the Constitution which created a strong federal government that rules above the states.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | January 5, 2011 8:40 AM | Report abuse

"which created a strong federal government that rules above the states"

No, you're simply wrong. The federal government dos not "rule above the states." The Constitution and federal laws that are constitutional are the "supreme law," but the states retain their sovereignty and sole authority in all but the limited areas delegated to Congress.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 5, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

"1. Premise A : Human health is like commodity.

Without ACA, health costs will skyrocket, leading to more personal, corporate, and governmental bankruptcy.
Under historical interpretations of the Constitution, Congress can dictate the economic activity of citizens so long as that activity will have profound, large-scale effects on the national economy.

2. Premise B : Human health is a fundamental human right.

The ACA has no problem with the constitution. "


To call "human health" either a commodity or a "right" is patent nonsense. Perhaps you mean "health care."

Health care costs will skyrocket just because you assert it?

"Congress can dictate the economic activity of citizens so long as that activity will have profound, large-scale effects on the national economy."

This is a wild misstatement even of the precedents most favorable to ACA.

You need not worry about your B option, because the Constitution does not make health or health care a right. The idea of positive entitlements as rights is completely contrary to the Constitution. And, yes, even SCOTUS has held that the Constitution doesn't grant positive welfare "rights." Obama has lamented this very fact.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 5, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

And this is what the newly elected house thinks is a good expenditure, haggling over a reading of the Constitution and who gets to read what? I originally thought this was a good idea as it was clear during the elections that most of the Tea Party candidates had no idea what was in the Constitution, but now they are on our dime and this is just ludicrous.

Posted by: basilva1 | January 5, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

What did anyone expect from Republicans? They will have their morning prayer, they will say the pledge of allegiance and they will read the Constitution. Then they will all go to a fancy luncheon where lobbyists will pay them $2,500 for the privilege of eating rubber chicken with them. Then and only then, will they get down to the serious business of re-naming more post offices.

Posted by: codexjust1 | January 5, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Democrats, unite for a common purpose in this, our national crisis: to dissipate the propaganda that is created from the Republican Hydra; to create innovative leadership that includes functionally addressing unemployment, a rapidly failing infrastructure, a morally deteriorated banking industry, diminished availability of loans for small businesses: the old lifeblood of capitalism and free enterprise, a mind-boggling deficit, the good sense to return light manufacturing back to US cities, creating a pool of health care providers by offering quid pro quo federal student loan forgiveness for 5 years of national service for MDs, DOs, RNs, CNPs, psychologists, dentists, physical therapists...get a New Deal going and create a pool of unemployed technical professionals to rebuild America...get out of this expensive military-industrial war in Afghanistan and find a way for diplomacy (war by other means) to effect needed change...pull up your collaborative sleeves, stop the infighting and unite!! Through these actions, the Republican Hydra will look fatuous and their 'real politik' uncovered as deeply insincere and duplicitous.

Posted by: timeforhonesty | January 5, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Why would the dems want to participate in this repub charade to raise funds?

Posted by: grf67 | January 5, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I think it should be MANDATORY that ALL Congress members be present at the reading of our Constitution and its Amendments before EVERY new session of Congress. We have Congressional members who (at least when they were campaigning) didn't know much about the Constitution at ALL, so OBVIOUSLY have never read it!

It might help in having a more "educated" Congress and make them THINK and try to do RIGHT, instead of only politicking for futeure votes and positions! The corporate Lobby (BRIBERY) games should be abolished too!

Posted by: Maerzie | January 5, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

As Christine O'Donnell demonstrated it's not so much the reading that's important as it is the understanding.

Posted by: CocoLopez | January 5, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

CocoLopez, you do agree at least that the phrase "separation of church and state" will not be read aloud tomorrow as part of the First Amendment, right?

More details from Rep. Goodlatte (R-Starbucks): the reading will start at 10:30 a.m., is expected to take one to two hours only, and all Members of Congress are invited to read on a first come first serve basis.

http://goodlatte.house.gov/2011/01/goodlatte-to-lead-historic-reading-of-us-constitution-on-house-floor.shtml

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 5, 2011 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Ah, there it is! We now get to recognize the Constitutional bashers and thus the process of identifying the anti American attitudes of people in high places. Socialist will be especially offended by the reading of the Constitution, as will the liberals who think it is nothing more than a piece of paper used to wipe ones exterior upon. This is the opportunity of a life time to identify those who need to be purged from political life as the enemy of a free society based upon individual motivation and success. We cannot allow the (progress) socialist to succeed in the establishment of their new order of dependence upon government for all things of life. So, list the bashers and remember who they are on election day.

Posted by: lhudson828 | January 6, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

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