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Last night on Facebook, I tried to calm some folks down who were upset that the House of Representatives read an “amended” version of the Constitution. But they were too hysterical to see where they were wrong.
While it is true that some parts were “omitted,” it is not true that the entire Constitution was not read. The parts omitted were those sections that have been amended or repealed. In other words, it didn’t make a lot of sense yesterday to read about Prohibition, because it’s not in there any more.
What’s most amusing is that the complaints were started by the left, but picked up by the right in a bit of “we don’t know what we’re talking about” hysteria.
Over at Power Line, there’s a bit more explanation, and a good admonition to Read it Again, John.
But if the purpose of the reading was to remind people of the contents of our fundamental law and to symbolize Congress’ commitment to adhering to that law, then it makes no sense to read portions of document that no longer apply. The reading Jackson and others wanted would make sense only if this were a history lesson. But it was not. History lessons are for speeches by individual members, each of whom has his or her own view about which aspects of history to emphasize. What all members of Congress have in common is their oath to uphold the Constitution as it stands today.
So, if there was any real “show” yesterday, it was from the left showing their disdain for the Constitution. But in a venue across the street it was from the right showing their tendency to react first and possibly consider the facts later.
UPDATE: As soon as I hit post, I saw a tweet from Jamie Dupree’s Washington Insider that shows that, while still a good thing, a little bit of clumsiness did actually mar the full reading yesterday. “The problem started when Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) finished his reading, because the next lamwaker, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), picked up the reading in Article 5. Either Nadler inadvertently turned two pages of the constitutional script that was on the lectern in the House Well when he finished, or a page had been left out by Republicans…Organizer Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) came down to the House floor several hours later to read the missed portions into the record of debate.”