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"I would not look to the U.S. Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012." - Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Part 1 of 2.
Occupy Wall Street poster: 'You cannot evict an idea whose time has come'
On May Day, a relaunch of sorts of the Occupy movement took place. In venues around the country, Occupy reminded folks it was still around and it still had a lot to say.

The weekend before May Day, I was at a conference at the Yale Law School (segments viewable here) on Jack Balkin's book Living Originalism  (which I wrote about here).

One of the running themes of the conference was an attempt at understanding where exactly we are in terms of the Constitution. Is the Roberts Court in the process of (or at least a threat to) a constitutional counterrevolution, reversing the constitutional understanding established by the New Deal? Or as President Obama phrased it, is the Roberts Court intent on returning us to the Lochner Era?

Conservative legal scholar Michael Greve described the atmosphere in this fashion:

It is impossible to convey the constitutional establishment’s near-clinical obsession with, and hysteria over, the possible invalidation of the ACA’s individual mandate. It would, they say, amount to an unconscionable act of aggression on the democratic process. A reversal of the New Deal and a resurrection of the ancien régime of the Second Republic. A judicial coup d’état.
Jack Balkin described it as "constitutional dread." Persons who have read me know that I am of that school. (See Justice Kennedy's revolution,  When the court said Congress could regulate inactivity; They are who we thought they were: the extreme and radical Republican Party; and The contorted contours of Congressional power according to the radical Roberts Court.)

The Yale conference featured what I think of as the "sane" conservatives—the ones who no longer wield power in the Republican Party. Greve writes:

[Liberals cannot] seriously believe that, but for their extravagant positions, we would hand over the country to Opus Dei, bind our wives’ and daughters’ feet, allow George Soros or David Koch to buy their very own Congressmen, or for that matter toss ailing widows and orphans into the streets. The real fear is that the Constitution might pose some limit to progressivism’s anything-goes imagination.
At the conference, Greve said "the culture wars are over. Liberals have won." I suggest Greve, who in my personal interactions I found to be supremely intelligent, erudite and just plain nice, is not paying attention to what is happening in our country. That said, Greve thinks of progressivism only in terms of social justice. What Occupy has demonstrated, at least to me, is that the progressive project goes well beyond that: It encompasses a demand for economic justice and fairness. Its central point is that our government is working for the 1 percent and marginalizing the 99 percent.

Similarly, former federal appellate judge and Stanford law professor Michael McConnell pooh-poohed the idea that the conservative Republican movement is not extreme. He said conservatives do not want to repeal the New Deal. With all due respect to Judge McConnell, somebody forgot to tell DC Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown, who recently opined:

First the Supreme Court allowed state and local jurisdictions to regulate property, pursuant to their police powers, in the public interest, and to “adopt whatever economic policy may reasonably be deemed to promote public welfare.” Nebbia v. New York, 291 U.S. 502, 516 (1934). Then the Court relegated economic liberty to a lower echelon of constitutional protection than personal or political liberty, according restrictions on property rights only minimal review. United States v. Carolene Products Co., 304 U.S. 144, 152–53 (1938). Finally, the Court abdicated its constitutional duty to protect economic rights completely, acknowledging that the only recourse for aggrieved property owners lies in the “democratic process.” Vance v. Bradley, 440 U.S. 93, 97 (1979). “The Constitution,” the Court said, “presumes that, absent some reason to infer antipathy, even improvident decisions will eventually be rectified by the democratic process and that judicial intervention is generally unwarranted no matter how unwisely we may think a political branch has acted.” Id.

As the dissent predicted in Nebbia, the judiciary’s refusal to consider the wisdom of legislative acts—at least to inquire whether its purpose and the means proposed are “within legislative power”—would lead to only one result: “[R]ights guaranteed by the Constitution [would] exist only so long as supposed public interest does not require their extinction.” 291 U.S. at 523. In short order that baleful prophecy received the court’s imprimatur. In Carolene Products (yet another case involving protectionist legislation), the court ratified minimalist review of economic regulations, holding that a rational basis for economic legislation would be presumed and more searching inquiry would be reserved for intrusions on political rights. [...]

The practical effect of rational basis review of economic regulation is the absence of any check on the group interests that all too often control the democratic process. It allows the legislature free rein to subjugate the common good and individual liberty to the electoral calculus of politicians, the whim of majorities, or the self-interest of factions. See Randy E. Barnett, R estoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty 260 (2004)."

I believe Judge Rogers Brown's views are closer to those of the Republican Party today than those of Judge McConnell. Thus, in my view, the case for "constitutional dread" is strong. And I think that the extreme and radical Constitutional agenda of the Republican Party is not only anathema to the goals of the Occupy movement, but if triumphant, it would block any real chance of achieving these goals.

But the conference also provided approaches of "constitutional optimism." Professor Balkin himself sees in his Living Originalism approach as a real way to bring to fruition the goals of economic justice that undergird that Occupy idea for economic justice. University of Texas law professor Sandy Levinson has an audacious idea of constitutional optimism—a constitutional convention. Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman's theory of constitutional moments might also offer solutions to consider for the Occupy movement.

(Continue reading below the fold)

Book cover: 'Framed: American's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance,' by Sanford Levinson
Framed: Why our federal Constitution has failed
In his most recent  book, Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance, Professor Sandy Levinson argues that our federal Constitution is irremediably broken. Much of his argument was first formulated in his 2006 book Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (And How We the People Can Correct It).

In a 2007 interview with Bill Moyers, Professor Levinson discussed his ideas:

BILL MOYERS: Let me play back to you one of your own thought experiments that you described in the book. "Imagine that the United States Constitution contained a provision whereby every 20 years, the electorate could vote for a new Constitutional convention that would assess the Constitution, and recommend changes." If this were such a year, would you, Sanford Levinson, vote in favor of a new convention?

SANFORD LEVINSON: Oh, of course I would.

BILL MOYERS; But wouldn't you be opening a Pandora's box? Wouldn't you be risking losing some of the tested safeguards that have developed through 200 years of more or our own Constitution?

SANFORD LEVINSON: Well, since this is the most often asked question, especially by friends and members of my family, I have an answer to it. And I'm not so fearful, for a number of different reasons. First of all, how would I choose members of the convention? My answer is to go back to ancient Greece, or to look at the way we choose juries. And I would have 700 or so of our fellow citizens chosen at random. Meet for two years, pay them the salary for those two years of a Justice of Supreme Court, United States Senator, because they would be fulfilling the highest possible function of citizenship. Give them time to reflect and learn about these issues.

And one of the things they would learn is if they insisted say, on whatev-- what is everybody's worst nightmare, getting rid of the Bill of Rights, or any of the other really hot button issues. Then one of the things you learn if you look at the roughly 220 state Constitutional conventions that have been held over our history, is that those attempts at reform fail. You may recall that Texas tried to reform its Constitution in 1972, I think it was. I think it's fair to say that most Texans of all political persuasions believe that the reconstruction era Constitution needs some reform.

What brought down the reform? It's easy. Big business couldn't resist the temptation to put a right to work provision in the Constitution. So that led labor unions, in turn, to vote against the new Constitution. And then there were other people who say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Or, "If it's good enough for grandpa, it's good enough for me." Or they might not have liked some other feature. So the only way you would ever get significant change, is if you convince people across the political spectrum. Then, I think, you might be able to imagine these being approved in the ratification process.

If, on the other hand, you had a convention taken over by single issue zealots, whatever the single issue is, then the most likely thing is that the convention would just break down. People would simply start shouting at one another. And then it would never be ratified.

Interestingly, I see this as a strong argument against a constitutional convention, as I told Professor Levinson at the conference. He had additional thoughts in defense of the idea, and I am no doubt giving them short shrift.

However, I think the thought experiment of what a modern, progressive constitution would look like is of great value to the Occupy movement specifically and to progressives generally.

As I state, I am a "constitutional dreadist," but there is no doubt that our system of government is suffering systemic failure, and some serious rethinking is in order (and it requires, in my view, more than just "eliminate the filibuster" type thinking).

What would an Occupy constitution look like? It's a worthy question. One the answer to might help us make headway in our daily fight for progressive values.

Any proposals out there? I'll offer some of my own in Part 2 next week. I wll also explore how the ideas of Professors Balkin and Ackerman can be incorporated into the fight for a a progressive Constitution.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Progressive Hippie.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Save the buildings and start over? (3+ / 0-)
  •  I was actually just reading (8+ / 0-)

    the Weimar constitution last night. And with the exception of the provisions that made it useless, it actually seems to have been a thoroughly progressive and functional document, not unlike many U.S. state constitutions. But that's just an aside.

    In my view, the best starting point would be to eliminate the Senate as we know it (on man, one vote, or bust).

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:43:01 AM PDT

    •  By the way, the Weimar example (4+ / 0-)

      suggests to me that worrying about the actual text of the Constitution might be a distraction, at best.

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:44:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Or more modestly (7+ / 0-)

      Restore the Senate to majority rule.  Why does the Constitution give the Vice President the right to vote to break a tie, if every legislation requires 60 votes and you can't have a tie vote with 60 votes?

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:46:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I actually disagree with this (7+ / 0-)

        The Senate is malapportioned to the advantage of the Republicans.

        Ok, so I read the polls.

        by andgarden on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:47:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Senate is grossly unfair, period. (8+ / 0-)

          As a matter of fairness, whether the Ds or Rs have the upper hand, it is outrageous to give two senators to California while giving a total of 42 senators to a group of states (i.e., the 21 least populous states) that,
          combined, have fewer residents than California.

          And as a practical matter, our government would function much better if we had a single, representative legislature.  Right now we have institutionalized obstructionism that allows almost everyone inside the beltway to avoid accountability.  

          Please help to fight hunger with a donation to Feeding America.

          by MJB on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:24:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am a founding member (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            notdarkyet, MJB

            of the "abolish the Senate" party.

            Ok, so I read the polls.

            by andgarden on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:27:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good reasons for that except apportionment (0+ / 0-)

              as it stands for the house and the various Republican co-tweaks and fiddles,... voter suppression, Citizens United etc... would need to be looked at... or a stifling Republican semi-control or nullification would continue...

              or... maybe voters would pay attention to at a unicameral house more.. more at stake... and one with  4 year terms? ...with perhaps half elected in overlapping terms... so there would be elections every 2 years for half the house but not the whole house... so there would be reasonably frequent review by voters but each rep would not be entirely in permanent re-election mode... so they would still have shorter terms than the senate but not as ephemeral as now.

              Or if a bicameral govt is retained... have a redone senate that would have a less suffocating effect... powers redefined, more limitations a second stage review but with more sharply defined roles and less power to be a veto of the people's choices...

              and of course it would all work better regardless if more people paid attention to politics and bothered to vote...

              Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

              by IreGyre on Sun May 06, 2012 at 11:18:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Fairness (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            subsidiarity, DSPS owl

            The Senate is only unfair if your only consideration is of fairness is proportional representation. That was given to the House. One of various arguments for uniform representation in the Senate is that the large states cannot simply run roughshod over the interests of the small.

            The drafters also wanted to insure that, while one body was responsive in the most purely democratic way (proportional representation and frequent elections), another part of the national government would be institutionally more deliberative, with election at one remove from popular vote ( (originally by state legislatures) and longer tenure in office. The intent was precisely to thwart the occasional mania of crowds, something they saw as a perpetual cause of instability in democracies.

            •  State boundaries are arbitrary or accidental (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              andgarden, zedaker, semiot

              Arbitrary political boundaries that are really just accidents of history (i.e., state lines) are not more important than representative democracy, at least not in my view, so the senate is not "fair" in any sense of that word.  The founders' perceived intent to check democracy is, at best, a quaint anachronism from today's perspective.  

              By the way, nonproportional representation in state and local legislative bodies, even when modeled after the U.S. senate, has been held unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court based on the 14th amendment to the U.S. constitution.  Every state house and state senate has proportional representation now.

              Please help to fight hunger with a donation to Feeding America.

              by MJB on Sun May 06, 2012 at 11:23:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Anachronism (0+ / 0-)

                "The founders' perceived intent to check democracy is, at best, a quaint anachronism from today's perspective."

                This would need more than a bare assertion. Myself, I see no evidence that there is any anachronism in the notion that crowds are subject to runaway emotional judgment, or are liable to rhetorical manipulation. I anything, I suspect that manipulation, using the tools of widespread instant communication now in our hands, is even more of a threat than ever before. Isn't that ultimately the argument against the Citizens United decision?

                Historically, there was much evidence in front of the founders to support the notion that pure democracy was a recipe for an unstable state, let alone for one spread over such a geographical extent and with such a large population. What contrary evidence have we got in the past 200 years to counter with?

            •  true, but the problem of our times (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              David Kaib

              is hardly the problem of an unruly mob having too much power.

              Popular power has been decreased so much that our system is dying of its lack.

              Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:34:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Problem of our times (0+ / 0-)

                The point of the Constitutional arrangements (explicitly) was not for when times are good, but as a brake and a limit for when times get bad. Frankly, I see no evidence that our system is dying, let alone for lack of democracy (as opposed to widespread voter disinterest in using the tools of democracy).

                •  Wow. Really? (0+ / 0-)

                  Um, I'm not sure how to respond to that.

                  Perhaps two questions are best:  why do you think there is widespread voter disinterest in using the tools of democracy?  And, who do you think controls the options presented to people in elections?

                  Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

                  by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 02:24:01 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I wish I could answer (0+ / 0-)

                    the question of voter disinterest. So near as I can tell, a great many people are dissatisfied with all sorts of things about our public life, and yet the majority of these people can't be bothered to even vaguely inform themselves about issues and choices, let alone bestir themselves enough to get to a polling place.

                    As for the options presented—it's another side of the same issue. If voters showed interest, the options they showed interest in would be presented. Ultimately, we get the government we're willing to work for. When we're not willing to work, we get the government we'll settle for.

                    •  It depends on what you mean by (0+ / 0-)

                      'voters showing interest.'

                      If by 'showing interest' you mean taking some action that brings at least a piece of the system to a screeching halt until their concerns are dealt with, I agree with you.  But if you mean showing up to your local party's central committee, or running for office, or working a campaign, I'd have to say no.  

                      To pick on just one issue, if campaigns cost an incredible amount of money, it becomes necessary to either be incredibly rich or be friends with the rich in order to win elections. (A county council race in my county cost a quarter of a million two years ago).  The exceptions exist, and hooray for those of us who make those exceptions possible.  But the field is heavily, heavily tilted against those who do not either have rich friends or wealth themselves.  And that usually--not always, but usually--means that certain platforms will be adopted by the candidates, and certain platforms will emphatically not be.  Again, all praise to the Alan Graysons of the world, but there aren't enough of them.

                      You are also ignoring the way in which the parties choose candidates--something I don't know enough about, but I'm learning more.  These choices are often made far out of the public eye.  And that links back to funding as well.  

                      You are talking about defeating a machine, and you're talking as if we can do that with simple democracy.  But if that were true, we would have already succeeded.  

                      Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

                      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 03:31:59 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Your argument (0+ / 0-)

                        seems to suggest the dissolution of political parties (which Madison might have applauded). Even the noblest political party can't over the long term drum up enough interest in day-to-day operation to prevent minorities from seizing effective control of the organization. And I've yet to see a program for elimination of money's influence in politics that persuaded me that it would accomplish that goal. Which means, IMO, that getting out the vote is the only option. Australia, I believe, legally requires its voters to vote (as does Italy, but nobody enforces the requirement any more). It would be interesting to know if it could be constitutionally done here.

            •  i don't think this is correct. (0+ / 0-)
              another part of the national government would be institutionally more deliberative, with election at one remove from popular vote ( (originally by state legislatures) and longer tenure in office.
              the legislative branch wasn't created bicameral for this reason. if that was the reason, then the Senate would have been designated as such by direct vote of the people, too.  it took an amendment to try to make the Senate over into that.  

              the Senate was set up in order to give State governments a place at the legislative table. it basically acted to pit the governments of the States against the people of the nation. it was a bone to "the powers that be" as they existed at that time in order to get the new constitution ratified. you need to recall that the individual States were actually nations in their own right at that time. the Senate was created as a sop to State's sovereignty.

              with the advent of the directly elected Senate amendment, that all changed and the Senate came to be viewed as more of an Upper House. it doesn't quite function like that, though, mostly because of other structural problems, i think... such as the limitations on numbers of reps.

              blink-- pale cold

              by zedaker on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:39:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why the Senate (0+ / 0-)

                "the Senate was set up in order to give State governments a place at the legislative table. it basically acted to pit the governments of the States against the people of the nation."

                This is certainly not the view of the Senate that was recorded in the notes on the Philadelphia constitutional convention or the Federalist papers (#62 & 63 most specifically). Among lots of things that could be cited, here's a bit from #63:

                " As the cool and deliberate sense of the community ought, in all governments, and actually will, in all free governments, ultimately prevail over the views of its rulers; so there are particular moments in public affairs when the people, stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn. In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career, and to suspend the blow meditated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice, and truth can regain their authority over the public mind? What bitter anguish would not the people of Athens have often escaped if their government had contained so provident a safeguard against the tyranny of their own passions? Popular liberty might then have escaped the indelible reproach of decreeing to the same citizens the hemlock on one day and statues on the next."

                •  i don't disagree (0+ / 0-)

                  with the idea of a Lower/Upper house bicameral set up, but that isn't what the framers actually gave us, even if the idea informed their thinking on the issue. they gave us a peoples' house and a governments' house with the assumption that the States' governments' house would act as an Upper/deliberative house.

                  that assumption proved to be a poor one as the history behind the 17th Amendment shows us. the 17th attempted to remedy that, but all it really did was function to eradicate States' suffrage in the legislative process, in contravention of the States' suffrage clause of Art. V. so the 17th effectively repealed that clause as well. if it hadn't done that then the 17th would be an unconstitutional amendment, and therefore, moot. it can be argued that equal apportionment satisfies the States suffrage clause, but i find that to be a weak argument. a stronger argument is that the ratification requirement does satisfy States' suffrage as it gives those governments the power of final approval or rejection over amendments. since the states did ratify the 17th, i submit that they found one of those two arguments to be persuasive.

                  my problem with the 17th as a corrective to re-establish the Senate as an Upper House and not a States' House is that it didn't go far enough to redefine it's structure to insulate Senators from the same kinds of pressures that Reps face, i.e. 10 Senators /state, a 10yr term, term limits, etc. without those kinds of structural changes, categorizing the Senate as a functioning Upper House is wishful thinking, i think. Senators are mere Representatives with slightly longer terms and somewhat different duties.

                  blink-- pale cold

                  by zedaker on Sun May 06, 2012 at 05:22:39 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  and to think I used to love the Senate (0+ / 0-)

            I wanted to work as a staffer there.

            I never thought it would come to this.

            Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:33:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  One could just as easily say (0+ / 0-)

          That the various states boundaries are badly drawn to the advantage of the Republicans.

      •  That's not enough imo (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        andgarden, Seneca Doane, Eric Nelson

        It's an easy complaint, but really does not get to the issues.

        •  OK, here's an idea about Senate reform (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          notdarkyet, semiot

          The Constitutional stumbling block, as you know but some readers here may not, is that eliminating the Senate has been taken to require two Constitutional amendments, due to the last clause of Article V"

          Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
          (The first part of that is the prototypical example of how the Founders managed to talk about slavery without talking about slavery.)

          This "superconstitutional" clause about "equal Suffrage in the Senate" for states makes it, in a sense, our most basic constitutional provision: you can't amend the constitution to get rid of it!  You would arguably literally need an amendment to eliminate this last clause of Article V, followed by a separate amendment to get rid of it, and even some scholars have argued that this should by rights cause the Constitution to explode.

          How to get around this?

          First, nothing in the Constitution prevents establishment of new Houses of Government to take over some roles of the Senate as well as for roles to be transferred from the Senate to these new bodies.  The Senate could be left as a purely ceremonial body.

          Second, of course, "zero" is a number.  You can honor this clause of the constitution by giving states no representation at all.

          Third, you could elect people to the Senate on a national basis, but force them upon entry (or even upon challenge) to suspend their citizenship in a given state and transfer it to the federal district (i.e., DC).

          If I were writing a Constitution from scratch, the House might be as it is, but the Senate might be a parliamentary style list of parties (including parties of one) that would place people in office based on the proportion of the vote going to that list.  (Or maybe the House and Senate selection procedures should switch here.)

          I'm not holding my breath for any of this, of course.

          Democratic Candidate for California State Senate, District 29, running on an Occupy platform. Also Civic Liaison for Occupy Orange County.

          "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinsky

          by Seneca Doane on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:30:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  But the 60-vote rule (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        David Kaib

        in the Senate is not a creation of the Constitution, but of the power of each house to make its own rules. The Constitution certainly foresaw the concept of other than a 51% majority, e.g. in the 2/3 necessary for an impeachment conviction or to override a veto.

      •  Just get rid of the Senate. (0+ / 0-)

        The Senate is there so that the smaller states can have a voice, so the states with large populations don't run everything.

        I'd like to hear from the folks in the smaller states about how much they feel represented by the Senate at this juncture.

        Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:32:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Majority rule is still used in the Senate. (0+ / 0-)

        The filibuster rule is a part of Senate rules. Every bill requires 60 votes now only because Repubicans threaten to filibuster every bill the Administration supports.

        "Mistress of the Topaz" is now available in paperback! Link here: http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/single.php?ISBN=1-55404-900-8

        by Kimball Cross on Sun May 06, 2012 at 06:16:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  According to a friend who teaches (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, fladem

      a course on the Holocaust, the Allies imposed a Constitutional republic on Germany, which had never had either previously and didn't want it then either.  

  •  Just as long as we don't go the way... (20+ / 0-)

    ...of Latin American nations who 1) got into rewriting their constitutions at the drop of a revolution or golpe de estado, 2) got really, really long-winded with the list of specifics instead of general principles. While it's tempting to write down prescriptions for every situation; this can make things worse.

    As always, enforcement is key. The Soviet Constitution was, in many ways on paper, a far better document than our own. In practice, of course, it was a horrorshow.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:43:10 AM PDT

    •  Legitimacy is the key (11+ / 0-)

      or as Franklin said, here is a Republic, if you can keep it.

      •  Yes -- exactly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        notdarkyet, semiot

        And the fecklessness of some Republican jurists suggests a third possibility in addition to "constitutional dread" and "constitutional optimism," which would be "constitutional implosion" or "constitutional irrelevance," where the Courts become blatantly political and the Constitution loses any living vitality a foundation for the rule of law.  This situation has existed historically in many Latin American countries where a written constitution -- often modeled on the U.S. Constitution -- did nothing to protect the rule of law or limit the power of oligarchs. It seems like this is what the governing faction of the Republican Party wants  -- the erosion of the rule of law will make it easier to loot economic resources before the system implodes.

      •  Question is not can we keep it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, David Kaib

        But can we get it back.

        Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:39:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your last point is key (6+ / 0-)

      I think we could have a pretty good Republic with the document we possess today. But various human factors (cough, cough) make that difficult.

      Britain manages to get by with no written constitution at all.

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:48:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Re (5+ / 0-)

      The institutional respect for the document and enforcement of the limits of the document are generally (IMO) almost more important than the contents,I agree.

      The problem wasn't the Soviets' constitution, the problem was their willingness to violate it.

      That being said, I am not convinced that a constitutional convention would solve anything and there is a high probability it would just make things worse. As you quasi-point out, unintended consequences are hugely worrisome, and I'm not even sure how you would fix 'economic fairness' issues in the Constitution given that you can write whatever you want on paper, but economic principles do not change.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:56:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with your distrust of a convention (6+ / 0-)

        I'm hoping to get Prof Levinson in to give his defense of the proposal.

      •  I wrote above (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades

        it is impossible for government to be anything but a government of men.

        The only real limiting force of it comes from respect for the Consitution.

        In the end, it is tradition as much as anything.

        A Convention would destroy the respect for the Consitution, and would be a disaster.

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:27:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Institutional respect for the document (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hmi, Meteor Blades

        That is the best argument against a new U.S. constitution.

        Any new constitution will lack the institutional respect given to the original.

        Any new constitution will be viewed, institutionally, politically, and otherwise, as nothing more than a set of laws that can be changed just as easily as anything passed by Congress or a state legislature last week.

        Figuratively, we treat the original Constitution as a great monument carved in stone like Mount Rushmore, and we would treat any new constitution like something written with dry-erase markers on a whiteboard.

        From either a liberal or a civil-liberties/civil-rights perspective, we are far better off sticking with the flawed but greatly-respected constitution we have now than we would be replacing it with any other constitution that would instantly be disrespected and abused by every bad-intentioned group of people you can imagine.  The Kochs, the bigots who want to erase civil rights, the anti-choice and anti-contraception nutjobs, religious radicals who would effectively abolish the First Amendment's free speech protections ... all of those evildoers and more would be waiting in the wings to tear a new constitution to shreds the minute it replaced the original.

        Please help to fight hunger with a donation to Feeding America.

        by MJB on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:35:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My real problem with a convention (0+ / 0-)

        (and I'm a fence-sitter on that issue)
        is that what's really fucking up this country is a power structure that sometimes uses the law, sometimes abuses it, and sometimes ignores it.  The law often seems almost irrelevant, as do the personal opinions of politicians. In my view, we are in danger of transforming politicians from powerful people who determine policy into PR agents for whatever wealthy faction at the Chamber or on the Street calls them up. A marketing division with an army attached.

        That said, fixing the Constitution will not, by itself, fix the problem.  As Krugman said recently, we need to get beyond the influence of a malign minority.  All our political thought needs to be bent on how to get out from under this incredibly ugly dynamic where the plutocrats get whatever they want, no matter how outrageous.  Changing the Constitution might help, but would never be sufficient.

        Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:46:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly, and therefore one of the hundreds of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando

      reasons that the USSR had a long run but in the end, did not survive.  

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:03:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The California state constitution (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hmi, oculus, Meteor Blades

      is a prototypical example of that sort of "list of specifics" horror show.

      Democratic Candidate for California State Senate, District 29, running on an Occupy platform. Also Civic Liaison for Occupy Orange County.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:32:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think we're far from that (0+ / 0-)

      volatility is not the problem around here. Paralysis is...the paralysis of a man confronted by a gun at the head of an innocent hostage.

      "Stick 'em up! Or I'll melt down the global economy again!"

      Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:38:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  SCOTUS has been grabbing power for 210 years (5+ / 0-)

    We have a federal system with laws passed by Congress. The court's desire to overrule Congress
    is the issue. It's a dictatorship like in Iran.

    •  Kennedy's comment on the ACA was horrible (12+ / 0-)

      When he asked the government's attorney - Doesn't the government have a "heavy burden" to justify that the law is constitutional?

      When I took constitutional law decades ago, I was taught that the statutes enacted by Congress were presumed to be constitutional, and it was the party seeking to have the law declared unconstitutional that had "heavy burden."  When did this change?  Isn't this just one symptom of the radicalism of these 5 ideologues?

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:56:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I disagree with this take on Kennedy's remark (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Navy Vet Terp, 714day, notdarkyet

        but I have fleshed it out in previous diaries (and comments to Armando) and don't have the time to do so today.  I'll just say that I think the we liberals are dramatically overestimating our ability to make a rejection of the ACA mandate to look stupid, political, and craven.  I think that even I could write a decision rejecting it that would leave the public saying "ok, seems reasonable -- at least not frightening."

        Our bigger political problem is that upholding the mandate could be seen as an expansion of the power of federal government on the order of the Kelo decision -- which was rightly decided, but was a main contributor to the Tea Party because it just didn't seem like what the government should be able to do.

        To address NVT's statement: yes, there is a "presumption," but a presumption is generally rebuttable.  Part of this comes down to whether one thinks that the source of the power to enact a constitutional provision should (or should have to) be specified.  Liberals say: "no."  Conservatives say "yes" -- and while it's not a clear constitutional requirement, it's one of the more seemingly appealing parts of their mostly bogus and hypocritical "small government" philosophy.

        This case should not be about the Commerce power at all -- but liberals and moderates made it so.  It was not a wise move.

        Democratic Candidate for California State Senate, District 29, running on an Occupy platform. Also Civic Liaison for Occupy Orange County.

        "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinsky

        by Seneca Doane on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:39:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

      Let's wiiiiind it back just a bit ....

    •  The Constitution gives the federal judiciary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hmi

      power to hear cases arising under the Constitution, and the original Judiciary Act made provisions for under what circumstances federal courts could hear an appeal when states courts ruled a federal law unconstitutional.  (Also the Federalist Papers clearly states that judiciary review was part of the Constitution).  

      What's more, there are vast areas where the courts play little or an entirely deferential role, even in areas where courts are supposed to be the key players.  

      I'd say the problem is how the judiciary has wielded that power and how the rest of us tend to defer to the Court as if it alone had power to decide constitutional questions (in certain areas).  

      Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. @DavidKaib

      by David Kaib on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:54:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  terrifying and insane (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LuckyLu, MJB

    Greve's remarks are not sane and if he represents someone's idea of sane thinking we have vast amounts of work to do to set the record straight and overcome MSM and Fox and etc.

    The notion of fucking with the Constitution right now is suicidal for progressives.  We have neither the clout nor the money and we do not want to open that box.  

    The problems we need to address right now are climate change, and how the communication and community making powers of the99% can overcome the guns, state, capital without bloody revolution.  History, esp euro history is not encouraging.

    This is us governing. Live so that 100 years from now, someone may be proud of us.

    by marthature on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:54:57 AM PDT

    •  I'm not sure (0+ / 0-)

      you understood the post.

      Which of Greve's remarks were not sane in your opinion?

      Wrong, yes. Insane? Hardly.

      •  insane parts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        714day

        [Liberals cannot] seriously believe that, but for their extravagant positions, we would hand over the country to Opus Dei, bind our wives’ and daughters’ feet, allow George Soros or David Koch to buy their very own Congressmen, or for that matter toss ailing widows and orphans into the streets. The real fear is that the Constitution might pose some limit to progressivism’s anything-goes imagination.
        At the conference, Greve said "the culture wars are over. Liberals have won."

        This is us governing. Live so that 100 years from now, someone may be proud of us.

        by marthature on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:13:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ok (3+ / 0-)

          That's wrong from Greve. But it's not insane to think your fellow travelers are not insane.

          I think he misunderstands who is driving the GOP car.

          •  you are more charitable than I (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Armando, 714day

            In my experience a wrong analysis can be modified by fa ct but a conclusion reached - the liberals fear that the GOP will bind women's feet, etc.  the liberals won the culture war- shows such disconnection from reality as to equal insanity.

            This is us governing. Live so that 100 years from now, someone may be proud of us.

            by marthature on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:20:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  He certainly seems to misunderstand (0+ / 0-)

            that winning the culture wars doesn't matter if the other side wins the financial wars.

            and yes, his compatriots would do anything if it gave them more power, more money, and more control.  If he can't face that, I guess he's not the first person who can't bear to face the flaws of people he's worked with.

            Maybe he should talk to outgoing Sen. Olympia Snowe.

            Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:52:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Agree with the problems as you stated them (0+ / 0-)

      How do we get out from under the complete dominance of a small number of insanely wealthy and unscrupulous men?

      But I don't necessarily agree that fucking with the Constitution is suicidal.  I think, simply, that it may not be effective enough strategy for us to spend massive amounts of resources on doing it.

      Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:50:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  we need a constitution which is about (12+ / 0-)

    protecting people, not property.

    We need a constitution that asserts the human rights of all over anyone's property.

    What the fight to hold onto public space was about was that people came outside, joined in public space and held that space in order to look at the profound injustices meted out by our corrupt system of governance.

    We were evicted because some lawns or some concrete or a lamp might get nicked or broken.

    Our constitution privileges property rights over human and nature's rights. Human civilization and our ecosystem are not sustainable this way. We need a constitution which privileges the rights of all humans and the sustainability of our ecosystem over property - regardless who "owns" it. (Ownership is something else we need to consider. We steward. We do not own. We need to think of everything in terms of whether we are stewarding things justly and sustainably.)

    •  Well said, especially this part (5+ / 0-)
      We need a constitution that asserts the human rights of all over anyone's property.
      Amen to that, for sure !!

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:05:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Reminds me of de-accession of (0+ / 0-)

      property of white farmers in Africa countries. Is this what you advocate?

    •  Philosophically (0+ / 0-)

      One belief which needs to be opposed is one that sees individual rights as a subset of property rights, flowing from the notion of our bodies as our properties.  There needs to be a justification for human rights that does not rest upon that flawed idea which subjugates all rights to the right of property.

    •  This is not true. (0+ / 0-)
      Our constitution privileges property rights over human and nature's rights.
      Quite the opposite. The basic human rights in the First Amendment -- a ban on state churches, and freedoms of speech, religion, press, and public assembly -- are protected by the absolute restriction "Congress shall make no law."

      By contrast, defense of property rights is limited to eminent domain in the Fifth Amendment:

      nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
      The absolute restriction "Congress shall make no law" does not appear in connection with property rights.

      As written, the constitution leaves the extent of economic regulation to Congressional discretion. And that's good enough for me. There are changes I would like to make to the Constitution, but let's not overlook the clear meaning of the text.

      "Mistress of the Topaz" is now available in paperback! Link here: http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/single.php?ISBN=1-55404-900-8

      by Kimball Cross on Sun May 06, 2012 at 06:34:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Occupy exists because "Color of Law" has become (8+ / 0-)

    a plague upon our society.

    Feigning adherence to good values and then propogating things like Citizens United; demonstrates the clear fact that might makes Right in this country.

    Might being money, power and special interest influence.


    PLEASE Stop Mitt (the Pitts) Romney from stealing the Presidential Election!

    by laserhaas on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:59:05 AM PDT

  •  Speaking practically, it could (6+ / 0-)

    well be that only one change would preserve the republic. That would be election finance reform.

    However, believing the problems we face, and we see in the Constitution in exile being increasingly embraced by many in the federal courts, is simply an American problem, is short sighted imho.  

    We live in an age of international threat to the rights of the 99% in the form of the rise of neoliberalism/conservatism and the allegiance of the 1% solely to multinationalism.  

    The solutions to these are regulation of the shadow banking industry and free trade agreements.

    "A Republic, if you can keep it."

    by Publius2008 on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:03:47 AM PDT

  •  Would not the Constitution, in it's present form, (9+ / 0-)

    be adequate to our needs - as progressives - if a majority of Supreme Court justices were progressive, rather than Conservative as we now have. This would suggest that the remedy for a flawed Constitution is indeed political. The U.S. Constitution reminds of the Bible, individual interpretation being key. If the Constitution can be interpreted to suit a preconcieved agenda, then that agenda needs to be progressive in nature. The ballot box is the remedy.

    •  No. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy, notdarkyet, a2nite

      The Bill of Rights has already been subverted beyond hope of restoration.

    •  no nt (0+ / 0-)

      The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

      by a2nite on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:14:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I remember when Nixon-appointed judges (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MJB

      handed down judgments that were fair and in the best interest of our country.

      What we're seeing is a vast and terrible re-alignment of morality in this country, in which the notion of serving one's country instead of one's party--or one's donors--is quaint, a re-alignment that allowed a Midwestern Senator to say in my hearing:  "Why should my voters give money to help with climate change mitigation on our coastlines?  So what if we lose coastline?  My voters don't live on the coasts."

      To which Sen Lautenberg of NJ said:  "You might as well ask why my voters should give money to help your people when the Mississippi floods.  It's like when I fought in WWII.  You don't ask `What's in it for me?' You put on your uniform and go."

      We have always been individualists, but this level of unabashed self-serving is unprecedented and terrible.

      Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:59:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Judges are another topic altogether (0+ / 0-)

        ... that is worth a diary of its own.  

        One issue with today's SCOTUS, IMO, is that the first and perhaps only criterion for nominations is ideological reliability.  

        Talented judges, attorneys, and academics who might excel on the SCOTUS never make it to the short list because they are presumed to be not ideologically pure, or not a completely reliable vote for whichever special-interest group has the White House's ear, or perhaps too much of an independent thinker.

        The dividing line might be the SCOTUS justices appointed after the SCOTUS decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that re-affirmed Roe.  The anti-abortion ideologues -- who, as we know now for sure, are also anti-contraception ideologues -- immediately started shouting "No more Souters", and GOP administrations who kowtow to these ideologues obediently made the anti-abortion/anti-contraception agenda the #1 priority when selecting SCOTUS nominees.  

        The most talented conservative judges and lawyers, who like all talented judges and lawyers are capable of considering all sides of any issue, stand little chance of passing that litmus test.  Democratic administrations, while far from being ridiculous like the GOP, have also crossed talented judges and lawyers off of their SCOTUS shortlists because someone thought there was a possibility they were "soft" on some issue that is important to some interest group.

        IMO, this rigidity is bad for the SCOTUS and the country, even if it is a Democratic litmus test, and even if it is an issue that I care very much about.

        Please help to fight hunger with a donation to Feeding America.

        by MJB on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:20:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  An Occupy Constitution (9+ / 0-)

    Not in any sort of legalese, but

      -- Only people have fundamental rights, not corporations, coupled with publicly funded elections as a fundamental principle.

      -- A fundamental right to health care, maybe shelter.

      -- A much stronger limitation on the right to curtail protest than what is now considered proper with "time, place and manner" restrictions, and a much stronger limitation on "reasonable searches", because the Bill of Rights has not proved adequate.

      -- Provisions that would invalidate a lot of the NDAA, the Patriot Act, national security bullshit, etc, again, because the Bill of Rights has not proved adequate.

    •  I'd be interested (4+ / 0-)

      to hear the ideas in plain English and I wonder how we would translate them, if we have to, into "Constitutionalese."

    •  Constitutions can't (0+ / 0-)

      create fundamental rights.  If they are created by law, they can be many things, but they can't be fundamental.

    •  The Bill of Rights (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lady Libertine, MindRayge

      isn't what has proved inadequate, jp, it's the people in the system fucking ignoring the Bill of Rights that's caused the problem.

      The Constitution is a contract, and it's gotten broken in many ways, many insidious, many so blunt I can hardly believe it. The powerful have decided that they do not need to abide by our social contract, including laws. That isn't the fault of the laws or of our founding documents.  It's the fault of those of us who let it get this far--and the more powerful we are, the more responsibility we hold for how badly things have gotten out of hand.

      Why would the people who break with one agreement ( the BOR) hold true to another, even if you liked the way it was stated better?

      What's destroying us is that a lot of really powerful people are not abiding by any standard, legal or moral, if it interferes with the expansion of their power. They don't care what the piece of paper says, and won't, no matter how you re-write it.  As Rothschild said, let me print the money and I don't care who writes the laws.

      Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 02:08:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some guidelines? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orestes1963

    "Greve thinks of progressivism only in terms of social justice. What Occupy has demonstrated, at least to me, is that the progressive project goes well beyond that: It encompasses a demand for economic justice and fairness. Its central point is that our government is working for the 1 percent and marginalizing the 99 percent."

    If I understand you, our constitution is at present defective on grounds of "economic justice and fairness." Without some clear definition of these, of "social justice" and how these are different from each other, it is difficult to know what are the precise defects that need to be addressed. Could you please say specifically what these things are and what they require?

  •  Look north! (4+ / 0-)

    Canada has an excellent constitution.  The government functions only while it commands a majority in parliament; otherwise it must resign, and new elections are held. That is in fact the way government works in pretty much every industrialized democracy on earth except the United States, which won't give up its eighteenth century notions until someone pries its cold dead finger off the trigger.

    Sigh.

  •  Spirit of the Law (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando

    So what matters more than the letter of the law is the spirit of the law? And the crisis we're facing is a conflict between two spirits?

    If I'm reading the post (and, mostly, the comments) correctly, then what I'm taking away is: the field of battle has little to do with the language of the constitution, or legal precedent or argument. So the most effective response to fringe-right legal extremism is cultural activism, of some sort?

    "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

    by GussieFN on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:15:59 AM PDT

    •  My response is: I don't freaking know (0+ / 0-)

      I don't want a violent revolution.

      I don't know how else to get rid of the iron clutch that big money currently has over our government, apparently from the feds all the way down to local PDs.

      Most good ventures currently are either being stopped politically, or are being starved for funds, both politically and in private-sector ways, such as denying credit, hoarding money, etc.

      Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 02:12:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The only way to change that is via revolution (0+ / 0-)

        If the monied interests use their money (power) to prevent the ballot box variety of revolution then the other form of revolution is inevitable. In both forms of revolution the monied interests lose some power but at least in the ballot box revolution they get to continue breathing.

        1932 was an example of accept the ballot box revolution or face the alternative. The monied interests chose to live another day.

        I still think the American people will give the ballot box version a try but it will take another recession to set that in motion.

  •  This comment from my congresscritter! (3+ / 0-)

     He sends out a weekly missive and this week is was about "religious freedom".  Here is the take-away /final comment:
    The Constitution guarantees Americans the freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.  

        While I don't have a preference for organized religion or religion in general - my question is who's Constitutional right's am I trampling on by NOT practicing (or freeing myself) from religion?

  •  Noam Chomsky on May Day (11+ / 0-)


    A sensible revolutionary will try to push reform to the limits, for two good reasons. First, because the reforms can be valuable in themselves. People should have an eight-hour day rather than a twelve-hour day. And in general, we should want to act in accord with decent ethical values.

    Secondly, on strategic grounds, you have to show that here are limits to reform. Perhaps sometimes the system will accommodate to needed reforms. If so, well and good. But if it won’t, then new questions arise. Perhaps that is a moment when resistance is necessary, steps to overcome the barriers to justified changes. Perhaps the time has come to resort to coercive measures in defense of rights and justice, a form of self-defense. Unless the general population recognizes such measures to be a form of self-defense, they’re not going to take part in them, at least they shouldn’t.

    If you get to a point where the existing institutions will not bend to the popular will, you have to eliminate the institutions. May Day started here, but then became an international day in support of American workers who were being subjected to brutal violence and judicial punishment. Today, the struggle continues to celebrate May Day not as a "law day" as defined by political leaders, but as a day whose meaning is decided by the people, a day rooted in organizing and working for a better future for the whole of society.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:25:15 AM PDT

    •  The job of goverment is to provide for the greater (0+ / 0-)

      good of the people.   That does not always entail "bending" to the flavor of the moment will of the people.

      I paid for MY silver spoon.

      by SpamNunn on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:43:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When government no longer serves the people? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, priceman, TheMomCat, PhilJD

        And OWs is not a "flavor of the moment" -  it's been going on since August 2011.

        ❧To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:06:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We'll see. Where are the Yippies today? (0+ / 0-)

          I paid for MY silver spoon.

          by SpamNunn on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:53:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you are vastly misjudging (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            a2nite, Agathena, priceman, TheMomCat, PhilJD

            the depth and breadth of problems in this country.  System-breaking problems.

            If you compare Occupy to the movements of the 60s, I think you are making a fundamental mistake to begin with.

            Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 02:14:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are entitled to your opinion, which (0+ / 0-)

              I believe to be optimistically incorrect.

              Things are not significantly different than the 60's.  The oligarchy still owns both parties.  

              I paid for MY silver spoon.

              by SpamNunn on Sun May 06, 2012 at 02:33:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, no. (6+ / 0-)

                Not optimistically incorrect.  If anything, pessimistically incorrect.

                Sure, the oligarchy owns both parties.  Far more so now than in the 60s, in my opinion.

                No, the difference is in the movement.  Except perhaps for the Civil Rights movement, the movements in the 60s were movements of principle, or movements of choice.  In other words :  "Shit, I hate the system! It's doing horrible, immoral things! I'm going to protest!"

                This movement is a movement of necessity, like the movements of the 20s and 30s.  It's a movement where people show up because they have no other alternative. Because they've been thrown out of their houses. Because they can't get jobs. Because they can't get by even with jobs. The system isn't "wrong" the system is unworkable, in that they don't have a way to live within it.  That's already begun, but if things develop economically and ecologically as I suspect, it will get more and more true.  

                It's not "Shit! I hate the system!"  it's, "Shit, I can't live."

                Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 03:18:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  constitutional dread (5+ / 0-)

    I'm with you there, Armando.  I get to teach Dred Scott next week, and I'm grappling with the concept of "worst" in the face of Citizens United because it seems to me the Taney court, if not Taney himself, was actually observing the principles of stare decisis in its opinions.

    Great diary and I'm looking forward to seeing what you have to say in part 2.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:27:47 AM PDT

  •  The Constitution means whatever.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notdarkyet, a2nite

    ....five justices with lifetime appointments say it means.

    Which, ultimately, makes it meaningless.

    If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

    by Bush Bites on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:28:38 AM PDT

  •  I have to say that I agree fully (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orestes1963

    with your contention that the Prof. Levinson's view is actually a strong argument against a convention.

    Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:31:13 AM PDT

  •  The Constitution, in its present form, is a well (0+ / 0-)

    thought out document that protects the weak and the small from the tyranny of the majority.    Don't lecture me about slavery.   The Constitution was amended to address changing attitudes about balancing property rights and the rights of human beings.   I am quite happy that our present form of government makes it nearly impossible for a short term majority to "fundamentally change" our way of life - in any direction.

    That type of change should be hard to accomplish.

    I paid for MY silver spoon.

    by SpamNunn on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:37:31 AM PDT

    •  It's a "well thought out document"... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      notdarkyet

      ...that had to be amended to disallow slavery.

      Okay......

      If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

      by Bush Bites on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:44:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no it isn't nt (0+ / 0-)

        The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

        by a2nite on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:17:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Slavery was the norm then. (0+ / 0-)

        Try to figure out a way to deprive power companies of their nuke plants today, and fund it.    That will give you an idea as to why it took so long to make slavery illegal.  
        It probably would have been phased out under some sort of compensation plan, had the South not seceded first.

        Read a book.  

        I paid for MY silver spoon.

        by SpamNunn on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:52:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No I think there would still b slavery....,oops (0+ / 0-)

          There was and is; it's called Jim Crow, (now 2.0 version). Black people have the illusion of freedom. Too many people made money off us including former Presidents.

          The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

          by a2nite on Sun May 06, 2012 at 02:41:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The weak and the small (4+ / 0-)

      are not under threat from the majority. They are under threat from elites. We have elites making fundamental changes in the short term.  That is the problem.

      Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. @DavidKaib

      by David Kaib on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:59:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Franklin D. Roosevelt, The Second Bill of Rights (6+ / 0-)

    Yes we won (are winning) the Culture War. They are winning the Economic War. Through having won, at least for the moment, the Political/Judicial War. The War to appoint a Judiciary that would carry out their economic vision.

    As far as solutions? One REALLY good one is already waiting to be put on the table. THIS is what a Constitutional Convention should be called to address, imo. And only so as to get them through faster than the normal amendment process.

    The Second Bill of Rights was a list of rights proposed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the then President of the United States, during his State of the Union Address on January 11, 1944. [1] In his address Roosevelt suggested that the nation had come to recognize, and should now implement, a second "bill of rights". Roosevelt's argument was that the "political rights" guaranteed by the constitution and the Bill of Rights had "proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness." Roosevelt's remedy was to declare an "economic bill of rights" which would guarantee:

        Employment, with a living wage
        Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies
        Housing
        Medical care
        Education
        Social security

    Roosevelt stated that having these rights would guarantee American security, and that America's place in the world depended upon how far these and similar rights had been carried into practice.

    The only other alternative is to get "our" people on the Court to give their interpretation.

    So I think your idea of spelling out "our" interpretation and getting some consensus built is brilliant!

    The days of assuming the good will of a loyal opposition are over. Time to codify our economic rights.

    And then fight back as they try to destroy them yet again, as always, lol.

  •  This... (0+ / 0-)
    the judiciary’s refusal to consider the wisdom of legislative acts
    ...isn't a call for constitutional democracy, it is oligarchy.  We rejected this once before (Lochner is where they want to head), and we can do it again.  Part of that means understanding that the issue isn't just who staffs the courts.  It also involved how regular people and the political branches understand their role and the meaning of the Constitution.  

    There are many ways we can advance a progressive view of the Constitution. Trying to protect First and Fourth Amendment rights from evisceration as part of the War on Drugs and the response to protest like Occupy would be a good start. So would fighting for public funding for elections at the state level.

    Simply rejecting the idea that "markets" (i.e. corporate activity) are natural and government action to protect people is "intervention" would also be central.  This was a key element of the legal realist attack on Lochner.

    Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. @DavidKaib

    by David Kaib on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:10:13 AM PDT

  •  Shamelessly plagiarizing an unknown source (0+ / 0-)

    We Are EVery WHere.

    I saw that on a T-shirt decades ago at some rock concert with no recollection of the context or author.

    Thomas B. Colby and Peter J. Smith wrote in 2009:

    Originalists might despise the notion of a “living constitution,” but they have gone a long way toward creating a living constitutionalism of their own—the very existence of which undermines much of their own rhetorical and normative claims to superiority.
    source (pdf)

    The article got my attention then when originalists were planting the seeds for Sean Hannity's current mantra "The Framers intended...".

    The article attacks originalism with what is, in my opinion, a rather weak argument by positing:

    Originalists routinely argue that originalism is the only coherent and legitimate theory of constitutional interpretation. This Article endeavors to undermine those claims by demonstrating that, despite
    the suggestion of originalist rhetoric, originalism is not a single, coherent, unified theory of constitutional interpretation, but is rather a disparate collection of distinct constitutional theories that share little more than a misleading reliance on a common label.
    That notion can be applied to any constitutional interpretation theory - there will be as many sub-theories and opinions as there are scholars and lawyers.

    The elephant in the room (again, imo) is the hubris of claiming to know what, how, and why a deceased person's intent can be applied to situations unforeseen and fundamentally different than those encountered when that historical figure wrote the words.

    That sort of interpretation is, of course, the reason for the existence of the Judicial branch of government and I bristle at the notion of any one theorist claiming to have some divine insight.

    I completely agree with you, Armando, that a constitutional convention is a terrible idea. I believe that we have in place in our judicial system the most effective mechanism for realizing Living Originalism.

    "If we want to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we need to reduce the number of our senators dependent on fossil fuel contributions." - Rodney Glassman

    by Darryl House on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:14:30 AM PDT

  •  The Constitution (0+ / 0-)

    Was written two and a quarter centuries ago. Consider society at the time. It was more than 90% agrarian, blacks were considered property in the south, women weren't much better off, life spans were in the 50's for anyone who made it past childhood, and travel and communication were severely limited. The Constitution was written with average Americans at the time in mind, and with some serious compromises needed to get the southern states on board.

    Consider where we are today, and the journey it took to get here. A civil war, a number of major and minor financial crises, two world wars, and an un-fought conflict against our major rival of the twentieth century, even though we all used our surrogates badly.

    Today, we are a mobile society, with people frequently moving from one state to another, occasionally through several states over the course of a lifetime. Communication is beyond easy, I can post a comment here, on FB, twitter, send an email, text message, or call on my phone, and get a response almost immediately. Or I could send by snail mail, and it might take all of a week to get half way round the world. And with global commerce, as well as education, family visits, and trips to Disney, the world is literally no more than a day away. What it also means, however, is that China has more of an impact on our daily lives today, than the next town over had on the Americans of 200 years ago.

    All of this gets to my point. The Constitution made a lot of sense in 1788, when states really were the important government in their daily lives, but with one technical and social advance after another in transportation, communication, health care, expanded civil rights, and so on, that old society no longer exists. The amendments since then, important as many of them have turned out to be, are themselves antiquated, and badly in need of an update.

    It took a lot of wise men and women, coupled with a good bit of violence and civil disobedience to make just enough changes that we could have a somewhat functioning society, especially over the last century. Any move backward is almost certainly going to be disastrous.

    Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

    by corwin on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:17:19 AM PDT

  •  The problem is that we have any constitution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notdarkyet

    Any written constitution will inevitably grow to be misunderstood as a set of axioms for the law.  It could be called Euclid's Curse, this tendency of human thought to project a deductive system onto any organized thought, no matter that the original and more appropriate organizing principle is inductive.

    So let's just junk the Constitution we have now, and not replace it with another axiom set.  The thing we have now wasn't designed to be an axiom set.  It's sole, and very modest, design function was to serve to limit the new superstructure of the federal govt and federal law that the was being constructed over the existing states and the common law.  The states and the common law were meant to persist as the fully competent government and law, with the new federal level carefully limited to specific functions.

    If we are serious about having an actual Union, which is pretty much what we have had in practice since the Civil War, and serious about having one common law in this country, we need to rid ourselves of this limiting Constitution.  It was designed for a highly imperfect Union, a hybrid monstrosity in which states could nullify federal law, and there was a Right of Rebellion, at least if any state sanctioned the rebels.  The US needs to become the one and only govt we have, the govt that has all the legitimate governmental power, not some limited set thereof.  The states have to become mere creatures of that one govt.

    And if we are to have one govt, SCOTUS cannot continue to be the unlimited dictator atop that unitary system.  The law, with ius carefully distinguished from lex, has to return to being an inductive enterprise, with hundreds of lower level courts calling whatever balls and strikes that any court should be calling.  That's your Living Non-Constitution, which is just another name for the Common Law.

    We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

    by gtomkins on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:40:33 AM PDT

  •  Is the Constitution irremediably broken (0+ / 0-)

    As Sandy Levinson claims?

    Sometimes, I think the correct path to reform is to try and force a constitutional crisis that leaves no choice but to scrap the current Constitution in favor of a more democratic government.

  •  This is going to sound off-the-wall. (0+ / 0-)

    Some ideas for a progressive constitution could be borrowed from the historic principle of share-cropping (as a model for economic fairness), which is commonly referred to as a negotiating-base (accepted prototype for formulating business relations) in a variety of situations other than agriculture, although the formulas must often be adjusted to be made applicable to varying situations (this bears repeating, so I hope I don’t have to).
    An example I’ve seen used often is very similar to the model in which the land-owner gets 1/3 and the farmer (who must supply the labor/equipment, operating expenses etc.) gets 2/3, (the simplest example is hay bailing. The owner gets a bale, the farmer gets a bale, and the baler/tractor gets a bale).
    Of course, since workers usually don’t own the company (i.e. property and equipment), it would be closer to the company getting 2/3 of gross-net (gross-net meaning net sales minus the cost of goods and services sold) because companies usually supply property and equipment etc., and workers getting 1/3 of gross-net (i.e. 1/3 of net sales minus the cost of goods and services sold). I suspect it would be a sizable raise for workers if they were able to get 1/3 of gross-net (i.e. 1/3 of net sales minus the cost of goods and services sold).  

  •  I am having difficulty with the "Occupy" (0+ / 0-)

    references in this post. Is the Occupy mvt. Expressing dissatisfaction w/the U.S. Constituion?

    Also, although I fervently hope SCOTUS majority will not apply 1930 interpretation of our Constitution to it's decision re health challenge, wouldn't such a ruling be a form of  "stare decis"?  Although, based. On oral argument, this doesn't look a likely path.

  •  My list (0+ / 0-)

    One of the core targets of the Occupy movement has been the Citizens United Decision. I'm not sure what the best Constitutional remedy for this would be, but possibly it would involve explicitly stating that the 1st Amendment doesn't prevent Congress from placing limits on political expenditures, including those by organizations such as SuperPACs that are allegedly not connected to a candidate.

    In addition, I'd like to see the Constitution amended to:

    1. Explicitly recognize equal rights for women and LGBT individuals.

    2. Remove the filibuster by disallowing Congress from adopting a super-majority requirement for cloture on legislation. Also possibly: allow Presidential appointments to just take effect if not ratified within a set time period, say 180 days.

    3. Update the 4th Amendment to provide privacy protections for electronic communications and data repositories.

    All of these are things the Framers didn't consider.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or a Constitutional scholar. All or some of these proposals may be flawed in various ways.

  •  The constitution and our system (0+ / 0-)

    of government have been around long enough that the bad actors--chiefly people with money, and lots of it--have figured out how to game the system. They know what the loopholes are, and exploit them. The forces Occupying the constitution--which was, after all, written hundreds of years ago--might bring it up-to-date, and make it a more inclusive and progressive document from a human-rights standpoint.

    But they'd have to proceed very carefully. I am thinking of a principle that holds true in the arts, in music, or whatever: To break the rules in an ingenious way, you must first understand the rules you are breaking. Cold. To fudge here is to reveal yourself as a rank amateur, a pretentious one.

    I suspect the very same applies to any attempted revision of the constitution. You have to understand how and why what you're editing, came into being.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun May 06, 2012 at 11:20:00 AM PDT

  •  Reading arguments from various lawyers (0+ / 0-)

    and other informed scholars on DKos is fascinating, if not always illuminating to this lay person. Carry on.

    I think, therefore I am. I think.

    by mcmom on Sun May 06, 2012 at 11:28:22 AM PDT

  •  Make it harder for the Pres to continue a war. (0+ / 0-)

    Iraq War II made it painfully clear that the President has nearly unilateral authority to declare peace. Short of defunding the entire military, the Congress has no power to end wars once they start. Shorten the length of Presidental terms or require annual reauthorization of sustained conflicts and drafts.

    Spring has sprung and Occupy is not to be found. The predictions have proved false. Game over.

    by DeanObama on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:02:00 PM PDT

    •  Rotation on the SCOTUS (0+ / 0-)

      We need a way to prevent justices from retiring when a particular type of President is in office. As it stands, liberal judges try to retire under Democratic Presidents, conservative judges try to retire under Republican Presidents. We need a way give both political wings a chance to rule the court.

      ... or, require a 2/3s majority to confirm an appeals court or SCOTUS nominee. Presidents would have to appoint moderates who can command the overwheling majority needed obtain confirmation.

      Spring has sprung and Occupy is not to be found. The predictions have proved false. Game over.

      by DeanObama on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:08:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Congress can end wars (0+ / 0-)

      and it can end funding without ending funding for the entire military. It has repeatedly done so in the past.  One reason for requiring bi-annual reauthorization of all military appropriations was to force Congress to give its assent to continue wars at regular intervals.  

      Here again, the problem is not the Constitution but how we've (mis)understood it.

      Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. @DavidKaib

      by David Kaib on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:44:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem with even "good" conservatives (0+ / 0-)

    these days is the self-evident failure of what I'd call their moral imagination, that is, an inibility and/or unwillingness to allow for any more progress or reform than they are personally comfortable with or can relate to. They are not inherently anti-progress. They're just not willing to allow, or agree to the obvious need for, any more progress than they are comfortable with. And as anyone with more than a passing knowledge of history knows, progress is never completely comfortable.

    And I'm talking about the "good" conservatives, who aren't stupid or crazy or evil and do mean well, for the most part, as opposed to the "bad" conservatives, who are all these things and against ANY progress for ANY reason. But even the good ones display a certain cluelessness verging on heartlessness, however unwitting. They think that things aren't as bad as we KNOW they are, because they're doing ok themselves, and choose to keep their heads in the sand.

    As for suggestions, IANAL let alone a constitutional scholar, but I'd suggest that the 9th amendment be made a core principle of any new constitution. With a few obvious changes to the core constutution (i.e. the 1787 one, pre-amendments), it might just be the most important amendment by making it clear that unlike the government's powers, individual and group rights are inherent and unenumerated and can only be taken away, and then only by explicit declaration in the core constitution or by amendment. So no need for a 2nd or 4th amendment, because it's implied. But yes a need for a stated power of search and seizure, and then only upon probably cause and due process and so forth.

    Of course, the chances of such a thing happening in the foreseable future are nil.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:12:04 PM PDT

    •  There is no such person kovie (0+ / 0-)

      The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

      by a2nite on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:18:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Meaning? (0+ / 0-)

        That there are no "good" conservatives, or that there are, and they're not as clueless as I make them out to be.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:29:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's no good conservatives IMO (0+ / 0-)

          The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

          by a2nite on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:42:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

            Both historically and today, there have always been good conservatives--some more good than others. The bad ones are either not really conservative but rather reactionary, or just plain stupid, crazy and evil (which is really the same thing).

            I'll take a Hamilton, Burke or TR anyday over today's "Conservatives".

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:47:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Where are they? I dont see any; they don't believe (0+ / 0-)

              In civil rights.

              The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

              by a2nite on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:56:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

                John Dean, Kevin Phillips, Andrew Bacevich, Mark Zandy, etc. They've all been marginalized on the right for their progressive stances and willingness to tell the truth about today's GOP. You're no less a conservative just because you're on the outs with your people. We're using the wrong word in calling them conservatives. They're actually reactionaries and authoritarians.

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:01:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Acknowledged nt (0+ / 0-)

                  The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

                  by a2nite on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:25:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think you may have unwittingly (0+ / 0-)

                    acceeded in this discussion to the right's decades' long and largely successful effort to move the ideological frame of reference rightward, such that what people still call conservative is really nothing of the sort. I.e. you proved my point by not initially understanding it--just like me not that long ago.

                    Moving the goalposts is a major part of their strategy.

                    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                    by kovie on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:57:10 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  I seriously believe this (0+ / 0-)
    [Liberals cannot] seriously believe that, but for their extravagant positions, we would hand over the country to Opus Dei, bind our wives’ and daughters’ feet, allow George Soros or David Koch to buy their very own Congressmen, or for that matter toss ailing widows and orphans into the streets.
    I believe it because they'd do it in a heartbeat and laugh all the way to the bank.

    We believe in government, but government doesn't believe in us. We believe in capitalism, but capitalism doesn't believe in us.

    by Visceral on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:46:21 PM PDT

  •  thank you, Armando (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matthew D Jones

    one of the more useful diaries I've ever read.  something that might actually lead somewhere.

    Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:27:20 PM PDT

  •  Obama might have to pull an 'FDR' and... (0+ / 0-)

    ...pack the court.

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