Constitutional Opinions

Constitutional Opinions

Conventional Thinking

By From the November 2013 issue

POLITICS 'HAVE REACHED civil war levels’…” was the headline on the Drudge Report the other day. It linked to a story in National Journal quoting Sen. Tom Harkin as saying, “We are at one of the most dangerous points in our history.” It quoted Sen. Ted Cruz likening the Republican moderates to the appeasers at Munich. Another article quoted an aide to President Obama as comparing Republicans to “terrorists, kidnappers, arsonists…” Yet another quoted the Senate’s chaplain as saying “Lord, deliver us from governing by crisis.”

Constitutional Opinions

Ex Parte Scalia

By From the October 2013 issue

IF WE CONSTITUTIONAL fundamentalists ever triumph in the courts, the person to have whispering the reminder that all glory is fleeting would be Hendrik Hertzberg. A former chief speechwriter for President Carter and now a writer for the New Yorker, he is an honest liberal—and a crafty constitutionalist. He is just out with a column on the only remaining feature of the Constitution that the parchment itself says can’t be amended, namely the equal representation in the Senate of each state, no matter what its population.  Hertzberg’s column came up on the scope when I started poking around about the logic of the Senate, which has been creeping into the national conversation. There was the 13-hour filibuster against drones mounted by Rand Paul. There are all of Harry Reid’s threats to use the “nuclear option”—to change the chamber’s rules so that certain filibusters can be ended with just a simple majority, instead of the 60 votes now required.