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The constitutional ignorance of POTUS

Posted by Richard on January 30, 2010

Of the many falsehoods, misstatements, and disturbing statements the President made in his State of the Agenda speech, one that Ed Morrissey called attention to really struck me (emphasis by Morrissey):

… HA reader Marvin K and Patriot Post notice that the Con-Law prof seems a little confused about what’s actually in the Constitution:

We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution:  the notion that we are all created equal, that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it; that if you adhere to our common values you should be treated no different than anyone else.

As Morrissey observed, this is so wrong in so many ways.

First, it's not a notion, it's a principle. But I suppose to a post-modernist Alinskyite admirer of Said and Chomsky, notions and principles are pretty much interchangeable, both just pieces of some narrative

Second, it's not "enshrined in our Constitution," it's from the Declaration of Independence. Epic fail.

Third, the notion that only those who "abide by the law" and "adhere to our common values" are protected by the Constitution is truly disturbing. Especially coming from someone who once taught Constitutional Law. 

And since I'm growing more paranoid by the day, I have to wonder what exactly, in Obama's eyes, qualify as "our common values."  By his criteria, I'm not at all sure I'm protected by the Constitution.

Morrissey asked an interesting question: 

And if Obama really believed what he said, then why is he trying terrorists (who clearly reject our values and refuse to recognize our laws) in criminal court with these same Constitutional guarantees?

Well, Ed, I'm sure he really believed it when he said it in the context in which he said it. It's part of his narrative for dealing with the Congress and the American people. 

Mirandizing enemy combatants who are waging a declared war on the United States and treating them as no different from convenience store robbers is part of a different narrative. Which he also really believes.

We are in deep doo-doo, folks. For three more years.

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2 Responses to “The constitutional ignorance of POTUS”

  1. David Bryant said

    I actually listened to most of the POTUS’ SOTUS, and I too was struck by the apparent reference to the unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America. On reflection, though, I think he was referring to the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. That would almost certainly make more sense … the “equal protection of the laws” and having the same “rights, privileges, and immunities” adds up to “created equal”, for all practical purposes.

    The bit about “abiding by the laws” makes sense, too — the law only protects you (in the fullest sense) so long as you don’t break it. Yes, convicted criminals do have some legally protected rights (no cruel and unusual punishment, for instance). But generally speaking, the law seeks to punish convicted criminals, and not to “protect” them.

    The bit about “shared values” is more ambiguous, but it too can be understood to represent things like respect for other people; honoring their equal rights to life, liberty, and property; recognizing the obligation of contract,; and so forth.

    On balance, I think the quoted portion of the POTUS’ SOTUS is poorly phrased and ambiguous, and the reference to the constitution is too elliptical. That’s not Obama’s fault — that’s your fault. He went to Harvard, and you didn’t.

  2. rgcombs said

    Hey, wait just a minute! It’s not ”my” fault that Obama went to Harvard!


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