Categorized | Opinion

Louis Michael Seidman: Time to scrap the constitution

I first thought this was going to be some kind of parody.  It isn’t.  My first clue should have been that it was published in, you guessed it, the New York Times.

AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.

Consider, for example, the assertion by the Senate minority leader last week that the House could not take up a plan by Senate Democrats to extend tax cuts on households making $250,000 or less because the Constitution requires that revenue measures originate in the lower chamber. Why should anyone care? Why should a lame-duck House, 27 members of which were defeated for re-election, have a stranglehold on our economy? Why does a grotesquely malapportioned Senate get to decide the nation’s fate?

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

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

And this guy teaches constitutional law at Georgetown. I’m guessing libidinous Georgetown Law School graduate Sandra Fluke was one of his favorite students. On the bright side, if we scrapped the constitution the Senate could get away with not passing a budget for four years, the Supreme Court could decree that mandates for private citizens to enter into contracts with private businesses is a-ok, and the President could choose which laws to follow and which to ignore. He could even appoint an army of unaccountable czars to help him rule us. Oh wait.

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  • John_Frank

    Doug, thanks for bringing this op-ed to people’s attention.

    No Professor Seidman, our system of government is not broken, but then I suspect like Michael Moore, he prefers all things Canadian, including bearing allegiance to a foreign monarch.

    What is being exposed are the foibles of our leadership, who consistently fail to honor their oath of office.

    We have a narcissist for President, who is unable to accept responsibility when things go wrong and who has a real problem with telling the truth. He is not a leader, but rather an agitator and a divider, who uses class warfare rhetoric, racism and crisis to pursue the Democratic Socialist agenda. He looks at the constitution as an obstacle and he is not transparent.

    We have a Majority Senate leader who is a highly partisan hack, who refuses to honor his oath of office, the Senate not having produced a budget in over three years.

    Needless to say, the Republican leadership is flawed as well. We have a Speaker who is a deal maker, when we need a fighter and a Minority Senate Leader who has all the charisma of watching paint dry.

    To make matters worse, many in the media have stopped carrying out their responsibility of holding the Democratic leadership to account, but instead have become cheer leaders and guard dogs, acting like the Ministry of Truth.

    That Professor Seidman is what is wrong.


    • BrianusBerkleianus

      Bravo, JF!!

  • 1776er

    This is classic Critical Theory.

    "One of the distinguishing characteristics of critical theory, as Adorno and Horkheimer elaborated in their Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), is a certain ambivalence concerning the ultimate source or foundation of social domination, an ambivalence which gave rise to the “pessimism” of the new critical theory over the possibility of human emancipation and freedom. This ambivalence was
    rooted, of course, in the historical circumstances in which the work was originally produced, in particular, the rise of National Socialism, state capitalism, and mass culture as entirely new
    forms of social domination that could not be adequately explained within the terms of traditional Marxist sociology."

    What we have here is a would be Marxist intellectual expressing an ambivalent pessimism concerning the U.S. Constitution.  Cultural Pessimism. A pessimism about the U.S. Constituion’s ability to effect human emancipation and freedom  from tyranny. Freedom from tyranny outside of Marxism is not possible, don’t you know?

    This pessimistic commentary on the U.S. Constitution is just another step in the Gramscian "Long March" to subvert and sabotage ALL the essential institutions of Western Civilization.   Can you think  of any more essential institution of Western Civilization that needs to be subverted and sabotaged than the U.S. Constitution?

    Michael Moore would probably agree with him. Certainly half of the Harvard Law School faculty would agree with him. Obama asked all his classmates to embrace in their hearts, as he had, Critical Race Theory which condemns the U.S. Constitution as a fatally flawed document.

    Nothing new here. Nothing new at all.

    • BrianusBerkleianus

      Thanks, 1776er.

      As you are, of course, aware, "critical theory" has a stranglehold, a death-hold, on many US humanities departments.

      These places are run like Communist fiefdoms–not a breath of intellectual freedom.  One must conform to a rigid, anti-objective-truth, anti-American, anti-Western "philosophy" if one hopes to gain tenure in such places.

      They are like Tolkien’s Mordor.

      Thank God we have places like Hillsdale College and scholars like Victor Davis Hanson.

      God bless, and Happy Yew Year!!

      Edit: Stand up at a faculty party or meeting in one of these places and express a word of support for Sarah Palin, for example, and see what would happen …

      • Christoph DeHaven

        I sometimes despair that many conservatives don’t understand the ideological roots of their opponents. Thank you for providing a counterexample.

        As a conservative social scientist who was once not renewed because I refused to give an anti-Bush teach-in my boss requested, dared to criticize Marx in class, and would not tell my boss my electoral choice–yes, Mordor is an apt metaphor. Only orcs and trolls need apply.

        • BrianusBerkleianus

          Thank you and kudos, Christoph, for the brave stand that you took!!

          In my humble opinion, it is actions like yours that will help to save our Republic.

          God bless and Happy New Year!!

  • UnhyphenatedAmericanVet

    the same folks that say this, want the Bible ignored and/or kicked out too…you know the foundation of the Constitution… yeah no big suprise here!

  • RomanBarbarian

    How do we allow communists and America haters to teach our kids about the Constitution or constitutional law? It’s just like asking a pedophile to teach our fist graders or to babysit them.  Beyond me!

  • Steve_Flesher

    The fact that liberals really believe this stuff and choose to stay here shows a cowardice on their behalf.

    In their deluded minds, they think our economy can continue producing the demand and wealth it has in the past while they socialize all of it at the same time. 

    But once they find out differently, it’s too late.

  • bongobear

    Over my dead body…

  • BrianusBerkleianus

    Conservatives: TIME to Scrap the New York TIMES!!

    Thanks, Doug.

    Happy New Year to you and yours, and good luck to your Cleveland Indians next season!!

  • William Legge

    This guy and those like him are evil and a danger to this country

  • dmac8889

    Well said Doug.   This Law Professor is an idiot. To start with, what takes place on January 1st is not our nation’s fate.  The legislative process does not end.  Obama, who has claimed he has stood by the 98%, will have the chance to prove it after January 1st, when he offers up a Tax Cut for the 98% that matches that of the Bush Tax Cuts, or, he will be a LIAR. 

     So the Constitution doesn’t get in the way of any politician to have his say.  What the Constitution does get in the way of is an all powerful centralized Federal Gov’t from dictating to its citizens how they will conduct their affairs.  As we can see there are those of the LEFT from their Ivy League Classrooms believe they can Construct a Utopia in which they call all the shots.  

    Persons of history, with their personal flaws, don’t get to return to tell modern day men how to live, but the Constitution and the laws they put forth to prevent persons such as Louis Michael Siedman from doing the same was pure genius.  If Siedman wants to start a new country, by all means do so.  He can go to his corner with his ideas and I’ll go to my corner with the US Constitution, which includes my right to Carry Arms.  I think Mr. Seidman might not be in such a hurry to to leave, and maybe then he should learn to think before he speaks.  All that education, and he sounds like an idiot and a fool.

  • Art Telles

    Time to scrap…

    … the ‘EVIL’ communist manifesto.

    10 Points For Transition
    From Capitalism – Through Socialism – To Communism

    1-Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

    2-A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. []

    3-Abolition of all right of inheritance. [… now also called the "death tax"]

    4-Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

    5-Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

    6-Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

    7-Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

    8-Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

    9-Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country.

    10-Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.

    According to the Communist Manifesto, all these were prior conditions for a transition from capitalism through socialism to communism.


  • LLDub

    I’m sure he’d be just happier than a pig in slop in Cuba.  

  • Terrenceor

    Listen to Obama and the left, they are purposely working against the Constitution to show it doesn’t work. Listen and they will repeat the phrases: The system is broken, there is something wrong with the way Congress operates, etc. The Constitution they are sworn to uphold they are subverting as fast as they can. The left does not want our system to work.

  • alien4palin

    Seidman & those like him will sell their own grandmas to achieve their sick agenda.
    All freedom loving people should band together and send them to North Korea. They should feel right at home there. 

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