News headlines, politicians, and hot-button issues come and go, but one 225-year-old document continues to emerge in our conversations about the important questions and challenges of our day: the Constitution. More than ever, citizens, pundits, and politicians are turning to the Constitution for answers–and sometimes ammunition, as they try to prove the Constitution is on their side.
Here’s a brief look at the top constitutional news stories and commentaries from this week.
1. The Constitution and… civic awesomeness
On Jan. 18, a cohort of popular sites, such as Wikipedia and Reddit, blacked out in protest of the SOPA and PIPA bills proposed in Congress. Millions of Americans signed petitions condemning the bills, and on Jan. 20, congressional leaders announced the bills would be indefinitely shelved. If you’re ever feeling cynical or discouraged about the state of our democracy these days, take a look at the graphic below (from ProPublica) of how congressional support for SOPA and PIPA changed in 24 hours.
Yeah. Is active citizenship awesome or what?
2. The Constitution and… a 28th amendment?
Jan. 21 marked the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s unpopular Citizens United v. FEC decision. Rallies were held across the country in protest of the decision that permits corporations to contributed to campaigns. Amendments to repeal Citizens United have already been proposed, but Saturday’s rallies reflect a swell of public support for the idea of a 28th amendment clarifying that corporations do not have the same political rights as people; 80 percent of Americans disapprove of the Citizens United decision.
3. The Constitution and… GOP one-upmanship
On Jan. 17, a voter asked GOP candidate Rick Santorum to explain his view of the Constitution, considering rival Ron Paul’s claim to fame as the most constitutionally devoted candidate. Santorum’s response was to pull out the miniature copy of the Constitution he carried in his pocket, saying, “I have a very good grasp of the Constitution.” He then went on to criticize Paul’s libertarian view of the Constitution, arguing that Paul failed to focus on “God-given rights… and responsibilities” and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.
Holly Munson is Assistant Editor of Constitution Daily, the blog of the National Constitution Center.