My review of Noah Feldman’s The Broken Constitution: Lincoln, Slavery, and the Refounding of America at The Bulwark. Continue reading The Constitution at War with Itself
Democracy: A Journal of Ideas today published a new draft constitution for the United States. Editor Michael Tomasky describes this special symposium as “probably the most ambitious project ever undertaken by this journal.” This was an extraordinary endeavor that brought together legal academics, political scientists and some journalists to return to the fundamentals and rethink the American political order and the role the present Constitution plays in generating or enhancing the political pathologies now gripping the United States. I was one of the 55 delegates to this drafting convention that spent the last year deliberating — and I have an … Continue reading A New Constitution for the United States
Because she showed no signs of interest in legislating anyway, the House of Representatives’ forthcoming vote to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments is largely symbolic — which is fine; symbols should matter to self-governing peoples. Still, Greene is not wanting for platforms for her demagoguery, so the move will probably not much punish her. What it will do is punish her constituents, who will lose leverage in the forums where routine, transactional politics occurs. That is a good thing. They, not just she, should be accountable for her behavior. Holding voters responsible is essential to the … Continue reading Stripping Marjorie Taylor Greene of Her Committees Would Punish Her Constituents. Good.
I’m a bit late to the party on this, but Marco Rubio, the Republican senator from Florida, recently offered one of the more strained arguments against an impeachment trial for former President Trump. It would be, he said the weekend before last, “arrogant” to disqualify Trump from running for office again. “Who are we to tell voters who they can vote for in the future?” Rubio mistakes not just the impeachment power but also the nature of constitutional government itself. Written constitutions place all manner of restraints on the people. Try Rubio’s argument from the opposite side. Consider, hypothetically, an … Continue reading Constitutions as Self-Restraint
Ben Kleinerman and George Thomas have eloquently said what most needs saying about yesterday’s unspeakable events. There is not yet enough distance to process them soberly. But a preliminary thought: The insurrectionists’ chant, and apparent self-justification, as they plowed through security barriers, scaled walls and smashed windows of the U.S. Capitol, was “Our House!” Never mind whether they act that way in their own homes. The question is: Whose house, exactly? This was an “our” contraposed to a “them”: real Americans versus traitors, with the latter category encompassing not only 81 million Americans who voted for Joe Biden but also, evidently, the millions more who … Continue reading Insurrections and Abstractions