Law professor defends call to 'give up' on Constitution
Mike Seidman explains radical suggestion to fix America's political system
- Duration 8:51
- Date Jan 4, 2013
Mike Seidman explains radical suggestion to fix America's political system
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Well the recent fight over the fiscal cliff in Washington again -- highlighted the deep divisions.
Politically that we have in this country and revived the debate about whether our system of government is broken and how can fix it.
Now one Georgetown law professor says he knows the answer quote.
Give up on the constitution.
At the heart of our democracy.
A document that this professor says is not only dated a perhaps even downright evil.
-- is -- Georgetown law school professor and author of the forthcoming book on constitutional.
Professor thanks for being here.
May get it's it's just a pleasure and I do want to say I and my guess is that you and a lot of you viewers don't agree with what I have to say.
So I think it just speaks very well abuse that you're willing to give me the time to say what I think.
Obsolete we're happy to have you on and I -- -- did the piece you wrote is it is actually very interesting and thought provoking it's received a lot of criticism as well but I love -- talking about it so.
You I want to tell our viewers if you have devoted to your profession to educating.
-- students about the constitution.
Teaching constitutional law.
You say -- -- -- -- you.
-- in your profession.
Why do we show such appearance to this arcane document.
And do you need to first tell us your theory.
It in -- -- it's it's really very simple.
This is our country.
We live and -- we have the right to have the kind of country do we want.
I don't think most Americans.
Would be happy with the French telling us what kind of government to have for the British of the United Nations -- the Russians.
Or some law professor.
It's our country and I'm not very happy with having a bunch of folks.
Who've been dead for over 200 years that's very small group of people who were not even representative of the United States at the time -- They wrote.
Telling us what kind of country we have we have a right to decide that for ourselves.
Now there -- a lot of things they got right and when they got them right we ought to do them because you're right.
But we ought not to do them just because they said to -- -- we we need to think about all of that now and what's best for Americans now not.
What was best for them something to -- in line.
A part of the beauty of the document is that it it -- solve this neat and and an article five provided an amendment process by which.
Folks like you and me and our viewers can can go out there -- say you know what we do think this thing is outdated and needs to be update and let's amend it why isn't that good enough.
So actually make and I think that's one of the biggest problems with the document.
Of all the constitutions in the world.
The American constitution is the most difficult swim.
It's only been amended 27 times only seventeen times if you don't count.
The bill of rights it hasn't been amended recently at all.
I have and it went with some of those amendments are pretty good -- that because -- Biller writes summer's women's suffrage civil rights amendments.
Absolutely some are terrific but.
The fact of the matter -- as things stand now.
It's almost impossible to amend the constitution.
If -- if you have even a pretty small minority.
They can they can block commitments and that means that even if the vast majority of Americans are not happy with some aspect of the constitution.
They can't do anything to change.
Using to be arguing your in your piece and -- perhaps in your book as well which I have not yet read but that what we need is is something that would be more akin to majority rule.
That's problematic because as you know we have shifting.
Political majorities in this country and people worry OK so let's take something that many folks on the left.
Like the right to privacy and -- -- us on the right don't believe that that exists in the constitution but let's say it's in there.
Or or let's say were subject to majority rule they've got a president.
Bush who comes -- -- -- not believing that there's no right to privacy and we're not having any rovers is waiter.
Protection of abortion rights and he got pres Obama comes in years later and completely -- that had a what what what of the rule of law -- of consistency.
The first well I'd I'd I don't think I've said anything about.
Majority rule in either in my book -- -- in the how does it work -- there's no I -- tuition so so there's this basically what I think.
If civil liberties the First Amendment the Second Amendment.
If those are going to be secure.
In the long run.
They cannot be secure the American people are just -- This is the way it's got to be whether you like it or not because some dead people along time ago -- -- The way it's going to be secure is by our defending it now and convincing our fellow Americans that the user.
Our rights that.
We ought to who cherish if if we don't do that then in the long run they're not gonna survive anyway.
So let let me just give you an example I I happen to be.
Against most forms of gun control.
Now but but if you ask me why am against it it it it's not because of what the framers had 200 years ago.
It's because I agree I happen to agreement for the most part with the NRA what they say today about how it's just.
Not likely to work -- not likely to be worth the cost if it does work.
Now now what happens if you turn that question into a question of constitutional obligation.
Well then the warriors kept hold of it and the lawyers do with this kind of thing what lawyers do so you and I.
Without having to bid document a constitution I mean it ended in so many ways it's a beautiful document -- and speaks a limited government.
You know to individual liberty to sustaining the rule of law and it it was meant to constrain the government and and folks who love -- believe in the absence of -- -- though it may be.
What would there be to constrain the government the government's -- a lot of bad things that the constitution has said.
No that's not gonna happen I mean -- it even folks on the left.
We're so happy when.
You know habeas corpus was suspended for gitmo detainees in the Supreme Court set came -- and said.
You can't do that why because of the US constitution free speech restrictions which so many politicians have tried.
And the constitution was always there to say you can't do it this is a founding principle what would be there to stop those government overreach is if not the constitution.
-- really a terrific question and so here's my answer first of all the constitution is a beautiful document.
-- How wonderful things and -- -- the preamble it's poetic and by the way you slightly misquoted me in your introduction I.
I did not think the constitution with evil I I think there were some provisions that we use.
Say it yes you say.
Our our insistence on obedience of the constitution with all of its archaic idiosyncratic and downright evil provided some -- That's right there like some provisions that I do think we're evil and I'm glad to go into those if you want -- that.
But but I I agree with you dad.
By and large the constitution -- remarkable document and and we ought to.
Certainly good -- great principles of it forming a more perfect union.
Limiting the government.
Those are things that ought to be followed not because people -- them about them 200 years ago.
But because we now think that they are.
Correct and I'm not even saying that.
We shouldn't have for example -- Supreme Court which is a matter of political morality would stop the government from over reaching I do think that if we have a Supreme Court they ought to be honest about what they're doing.
So that when they decide cases like cases about gay rights or about affirmative action.
They're they stop pretending you're getting those outcomes somehow from the constitutional -- which is nonsense.
But about it and as a billionaire like from folks on the right and who believe that as well as you he -- some comment that this.
This is not an argument about why -- left this is an argument about taking control of our own country.
And being honest about what we're doing I'll tell -- what professor said it's interesting to listen -- -- wonder what.
Jefferson and Madison an Adams would think about that found that it be too happy with -- will Jefferson.
That would be very happy he.
He said over and over again that he was against constitutional obligation you right -- -- -- Hamilton might be more of a -- In recent a lot of his time about it -- -- any net present interesting talking to you thanks so much for being here thank you for having me it was a pleasure to look -- -- book.
Taking your thoughts on follow me on Twitter at -- Kelly let me know what you think thought provoking right.