In his New York Times op-ed article on May 29th titled “Our Imbecilic Constitution,” a law professor named Sanford Levinson demonstrated wacky, imbecilic progressivism in action.
Professor Levinson believes that our Constitution itself is the source of what he characterizes as the “dysfunctional, even pathological” American political system. The learned professor would do away with our system of “separation of powers” and “checks and balances” altogether. It’s just too darned difficult, he believes, to allow legislative and judicial interference to an omniscient president whose superior wisdom we should just learn to accept, unless of course a future president happens to be conservative.
Levinson would “permit each newly elected president to appoint 50 members of the House and 10 members of the Senate, all to serve four-year terms until the next presidential election.” I wonder if Russian President Vladimir Putin is listening.
The Senate, according to Levinson, is too unrepresentative to be accorded equal weight with House of Representatives’ majority rule. The rights of the minority, be damned – unless it involves groups anointed with favored minority status by patronizing progressives.
Levinson also mentions the idea of having Congress override Supreme Court decisions it doesn’t like and requiring “seven of the nine Supreme Court justices…to overturn national legislation.”
Finally, Levinson complains that it is far too difficult to change the Constitution through the amendment process set forth in Article V. In another piece he wrote several years ago attacking the legitimacy of the Constitution, he claimed:
Because it is so difficult to amend the Constitution — it seems almost utopian to suggest the possibility, with regard to anything that is truly important — citizens are encouraged to believe that change is almost never desirable, let alone necessary.
Our Founding Fathers provided a framework for government that purposely made it difficult to allow the passions of the moment to override reasoned debate and prudent action. They tried to find a balance between an unchangeable document cast in stone for all time and an overly malleable document that could be sacrificed to transient whims. As James Madison described the amendment process in Federalist 43:
It guards equally against that extreme facility, which would render the Constitution too mutable; and that extreme difficulty, which might perpetuate its discovered faults. It, moreover, equally enables the general and the State governments to originate the amendment of errors, as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side, or on the other.
There are currently twenty-seven amendments to the Constitution. The first ten, the Bill of Rights, confirm the protection of our basic liberties. Other amendments have expanded the reach of these liberties. However, if Professor Levinson had his way and constitutional amendments were as easy to pass as legislation, Obamacare would be a constitutional amendment enshrining the made-up “right” to universal health care on terms dictated by the government. Amnesty would be granted to all illegal immigrants in some sort of made-up open-borders human rights amendment. And so on.
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