The Constitution This Week: Personhood, protesters, and partisanship
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.
The Constitution and… Personhood
On Monday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a proposed amendment to the state constitution, which would define a fertilized egg as a person, is unconstitutional.
The Constitution and… Tea Party Protesters
This week the Constitutional Accountability Center, a progressive think tank, released a video featuring on-the-spot interviews with people who had gathered at the Supreme Court building to protest the Affordable Care Act. The results were less than flattering for the interviewees, many of whom expressed a lack of knowledge or a misunderstanding of fundamental aspects of the Constitution (such as believing the articles, which made up the original document, were “added later”). Although this video does not seem to be objective or a representative sample, it certainly serves as an example of the worrying decline in civic education and knowledge.
The Constitution and… Partisanship
Political scientists Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein have released a new book, It’s Even Worse than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism. The book warns against politicians who prioritize political gains over careful legislating and good governance, and offers specific criticism of the Republican Party.
Constitution Daily offered several commentaries on this topic this week. Read the op-ed by Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson, who appeared at the National Constitution Center this week, and this post on civility. Plus, check out the book reviews at the Washington Post.
But wait, there’s more
Holly Munson is a programs coordinator at the National Constitution Center and the assistant editor of Constitution Daily.