Friday, September 29, 2006

The Constitution As Figurine

And even some Republicans who said voted for the bill said they expected the Supreme Court to strike down the legislation because of the habeas corpus provision, ultimately sending the legislation right back to Congress.

"We should have done it right, because we're going to have to do it again," said Senator Gordon Smith, a Republican from Oregon, who had voted to strike the habeas corpus provision, yet supported the bill.
NYTimes, "Senate Passes Detainee Bill Sought by Bush"

This is exactly what happened with the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform. The legislature passed that bill expecting its grossest requirements to be struck down, yet the Supreme Court failed to oblige. That a legislator can acknowledge that he has voted for a bill he believes to be unconstitutional shows the sorry state of limited government.

The next time we laugh at the antics of England's House of Windsor, deriding them as figureheads, let's remember that our Constitution might itself have become a mere totem. Our fierce and respected political foundation has lapsed into a sentimental icon; it is turning into a Precious Moments figurine, put on display for a bit of fawning civic discussion before being returned to its small cabinet, easily ignored until the next tea party.

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