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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Boxing Day!

Gerard N. Magliocca

In honor of the holiday, I give you this passage from A.V. Dicey (the famed British constitutional scholar) written more than a century ago that fits well with some of the themes of this blog:

"The constitution of a Federal state must, as we have seen, generally be not only a written but a rigid constitution, that is, a constitution which cannot be changed by any ordinary process of legislation. Now this essential rigidity of federal institutions is almost certain to impress on the minds of citizens the idea that any provision included in the constitution is immutable and, so to speak, sacred. The least observation of American politics shows how deeply the notion that the constitution is something placed beyond the reach of amendment has impressed popular imagination. The difficulty of altering the constitution produces conservative sentiment, and national conservatism doubles the difficulty of altering the constitution. The House of Lords has lasted for centuries; the American Senate has now existed for more than one hundred years, yet to abolish or alter the House of Lords might turn out to be an easier matter than to modify the constitution of the Senate. To this one must add that a federal constitution always lays down general principles which, from being placed in the constitution, gradually come to command a superstitious reverence, and thus are in fact, though not in theory, protected from change or criticism."

Comments:

The closing sentence of the Dicey quote may have been the status of our Constitution pre-New Deal. This was followed by the Warren Court and somewhat by the Burger Court. But then came originalism in the late 1970s, early 1980s, perhaps as "superstitious reverence," seeking "restoration," "rehabilitation" and "redemption," the three "Rs" of conservatives (with a partial apology to Jack Balkin on "redemption"). Perhaps if Dicey were alive today, he might give a nod to my suggestion that constitutional law has become a blood sport- or at least a tad dicier than in his days.

By the Bybee [expletives deleted], I wonder what Sandy's thoughts might be on this from Dicey:

"The House of Lords has lasted for centuries; the American Senate has now existed for more than one hundred years, yet to abolish or alter the House of Lords might turn out to be an easier matter than to modify the constitution of the Senate."
 

Did the Dicey quote come before or after the 17th Amendment?
 

Before.
 

Did you know there is a Parliamentary committee studying whether the UK should adopt a written constitution? They are having a hearing tomorrow.
 

The House of Lords has lasted for centuries; the American Senate has now existed for more than one hundred years, yet to abolish or alter the House of Lords might turn out to be an easier matter than to modify the constitution of the Senate. Cheap Fifa 14 Coins
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But then came originalism in the late 1970s, early 1980s, perhaps as "superstitious reverence," seeking "restoration," "rehabilitation" and "redemption," the three "Rs" of conservatives (with a partial apology to Jack Balkin on "redemption").League of Legends Boosting
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