For the people or for the elites?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Avatar4321, May 28, 2010.

  1. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    In another thread, I saw an intersting post by Jillian mentioning how we have Constitutional Scholars to interpret the Constitution. And I had to sit back and ask myself: Why?

    The Founders created a government for and by the people. It wasn't a government designed to benefit only the elites.

    The people aren't stupid, contrary to some people's opinions. We can understand English. And the Constitution isn't a complicate document. The idea that the people don't understand what it says is ludicrous.

    And yes, there is caselaw, but caselaw is often wrong. That's why there was a Written Constitution, so that it would remain as the structure for the government. And that people could always refer back to it to keep their leaders in check.

    We don't need scholars to tell us what we can read for ourselves. Stop treating people like children or you'll be surprised when they treat you the same way.
     
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  2. Modbert
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    Modbert Daydream Believer Supporting Member

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    In several areas of the Constitution, ten people can come up with ten different thoughts on one line. Funny thing is, all ten think they're right too.
     
  3. Madeline
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    Madeline BANNED

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    Avatar, the application of the constitution to new facts is never going to be clear or easy. I don't disagree that ordinary people can read the document and get a sense of how it works, but the SCOTUS was included as one of the branches of government because the Founders knew we would need a Final Arbitrator of how it is to be applied...and the SCOTUS should not be filled by plumbers and chefs, but rather by the best legal minds we can find.

    I think some of the frustration Jillian has is that after the poster has mistakenly stated a constitutional rule incorrectly and she suggests a case to read to clarify, it seems like very often, no one does. The "wish that things were different" does not change the objective fact -- the constitution is as the SCOTUS has interpreted it over time, in a body of case law, and not in any other way.

    I often disagree with the decisions and reasoning the SOCTUS uses. I think some of their decisions are wrong....but I live here, their decisions cannot be overturned (except by future SCOTUS decisions) and that's the way it is, at least for the time being. Discussions about how wrong they are only entertaining if we are designing a Utopia from scratch, not if we are talking about the US.
     
  4. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    The Supreme Court was not included to be the final arbiter. They assumed that role themselves. And Jefferson and a number of other Founders had a fit.
     
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  5. Madeline
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    Madeline BANNED

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    Well first, that is how things are. And second, if there is no Final Arbitrator, then there is chaos, or struggle.

    I'm sorry you are not fonder of the SCOTUS, Avatar. There are days I'm not their biggest fan either.

     
  6. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    Actually the constitution has numerous parts that were put in under the assumption that the people COULD be stupid. You also have to remember that voter franchise was not universal at the time of the founding of our current government, most of them at the time were proponents of voter restrictions based on land, education, profession etc.

    Such institutions as the senate, with its 6 year turnover cycle, the amendment process, and ths lifetime appointments to the supreme court were designed to prevent radical change from happening. Add in the electoral college and you create a buffer between "stupid" acts.

    I understand people wanting and thinking that "ordinary" people can do everything just as well as experts, but that sadly isn't the case. A normal person can fight a fire but I would rather have a trained firefighter do it. Same with engineering. Any person could try to build a bridge, but I wouldnt want to cross one desgined by a baker.
     
  7. Madeline
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    Madeline BANNED

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    Maybe you could teach just about anyone Con Law. I dunno; I really struggled with it but then I had a wretched prof. What you CANNOT do is expect anyone, no matter how bright, to read the naked constitution and apply it to modern facts without any reference to the case law, and still arrive at the correct result.

    "Correct" meaning the one the SCOTUS has laid down.
     
  8. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    I agree that judical review was an assumed power of the court via Marbury vs. Madison, but if the other branches and the states felt so strongly against it there was (and is) a simple remedy, amend the constitution to remove the judciaries ability to do so. That then begs the question, who now takes over for them?

    The earlier congress/executives felt the judiciary was excercsing a needed task, and wisely kept it the way it was.
     
  9. Cecilie1200
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    Cecilie1200 Gold Member

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    The problem isn't that we need the elite scholars to tell us what the Constitution says, which we can read perfectly well for ourselves. What we need the elite scholars for is to tell us all the dozens of ways the words can be parsed, twisted, and tortured in order to make it say completely different things than what any reasonably intelligent, literate American adult can read for himself. Let's face it. What average, everyday American would even know what an "emanation from the penumbra" WAS, let alone be able to find them in the Constitution without an Ivy League-educated Supreme Court Justice to tell him?
     
  10. Cecilie1200
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    Cecilie1200 Gold Member

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    And how many of those ten have been influenced by listening to Constitutional scholars?
     

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