Mar 10

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The Constitution This Week: Super Tuesday, Santorum, and terrorists



Posted 2 years, 1 month ago.

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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… Super Tuesday

The GOP primary season reached its height on Super Tuesday, with Mitt Romney winning Ohio, Massachusetts, Idaho, Vermont, Alaska, and Virginia; Rick Santorum taking Oklahoma, Tennessee, and North Dakota; and Newt Gingrich winning Georgia. Check out this post from Constitution Daily to understand Super Tuesday’s history and relevance.

2. The Constitution and… Santorum

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoYsS8QSsoA

Along the campaign trail, Rick Santorum has routinely reminded voters that he carries a copy of the Constitution in his pocket. He has also invoked the image of the Founding Fathers in defense of his views. In a recent speech, he declared:

“If you actually go back and look up the dictionary definition of happiness at the time of our founders … happiness was not going out and doing whatever you want to do to make yourself feel good. Happiness was not doing what you wanted to do but doing what you ought to do, because that’s what leads to true happiness.”

PolitiFact took Santorum at his word and looked up the dictionary definition, in dictionaries from the Founders’ time. They also spoke with several scholars, including Richard Beeman, a member of the board of trustees at the National Constitution Center. The conclusion: “As it turns out, Santorum was right in some ways — and very wrong in others.” Read the full analysis here.

3. The Constitution and… Targeted Terrorists

Attorney General Eric Holder defended the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s position on targeting terrorists. In a speech to the Northwestern University School of Law, Holder argued that the U.S. government does not need judicial oversight in its efforts to target and kill terrorist operatives abroad, even when those individuals are American citizens. Holder stated:

“Some have argued that the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces. This is simply not accurate. Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, it does not guarantee judicial process.”

Constitutional Must-reads

“Rick Santorum isn’t crazy” – Stanley Fish, New York Times

“Egypt’s constitution: How 5 stakeholders would shape the document” – Kristen Chick, Christian Science Monitor

“Mandates and the Constitution: The government does in fact force you to buy vegetables” – M.S., The Economist

Holly Munson is Programs Coordinator at the National Constitution Center.



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