This week and the Constitution: SOTU, civility, education & more [VIDEO]

President Obama's 2012 State of the Union address. Photo via Pete Souza/whitehouse.gov

News headlines, politicians, and hot-button issues come and go, but one 225-year-old document continues to emerge in our conversations about our nation’s most important questions and challenges: the Constitution. The Constitution is a big buzzword for Election 2012, and 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… Abortion

Jan. 22 marked the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion on the grounds of privacy. The Obama administration issued a statement affirming the decision, while others voiced their disapproval–for various reasons.

2. The Constitution and… the State of the Union

On Jan. 24, as prescribed in Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution, President Obama gave his State of the Union address. What do you think about Obama’s plans for the year?

3. The Constitution and… Civility

On Jan. 25, the photo of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer waving her finger at a frowning President Obama went viral. Both Brewer and Obama have tried to downplay the encounter. At least the dispute prompted some thoughtful commentary, like this NPR piece, on the state of civility in politics.

4. The Constitution and… Supreme Court Nominations

Hendrick Hertzberg praised the idea of instituting 18-year terms, staggered every two years, for Supreme Court justices. (Read more at The New Yorker.)

5. The Constitution and… High School Dropouts

Writer Sam Chaltain said “Not so fast” to Obama’s State of the Union proposal to require kids to finish high school. (Read more at SamChaltain.com.)

Holly Munson is Assistant Editor of Constitution Daily, the blog of the National Constitution Center.

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