Joy Behar and Bill Press discuss Republicans’ announcement that the Constitution will be read when the new Congress is convened:
Behar: Do you think this Constitution-loving is getting out of hand? I mean, is it a nod to the Tea Party? What is this about, exactly? And, Is it the first time a lot of congressmen will have heard about it, read it?
Press: First of all, I think on the one hand, it’s hooray for Hollywood. It’s just a so obvious – publicity stunt. I gotta tell you there could be some benefit here, because I think most Republicans haven’t read the Constitution, to be honest. I hope they listen carefully. There’s some good stuff in there about the right of privacy they probably never heard before. There’s something in there that says only Congress can declare war, not a President of the United States. I bet they never heard of that before.
Behar: Probably never did.
Ms. Behar’s questioning of the reading of the Constitution in Congress comes on the heels of another mainstream media analyst who takes issue with Constitution loving. MSNBC’s Ezera Klein recently said, “the issue of the Constitution is that the text is confusing and was written more than one hundred years ago.” According to Ezra, people don’t read the text of the document and believe they’re following something that isn’t actually in it.
One example of someone who may or may not have read the document is Bill Press who seems a bit confused himself. He is apparently unaware that no such “right to privacy” is defined in the Constitution. Our founding document does, however, provide protections in the fourth amendment so that the people are secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures without probable cause or a warrant. It seems neither Joy Behar, Bill Press, DHS chief Janet Napolitano, or President Obama read that particular portion of the Constitution when they were supporting and/or implementing new security screening procedures at the Nation’s airports. The California Supreme Court itself may have failed to read the founding documents, as evidenced by a recent decision which claims law enforcement has the right to search the cell phone of anyone taken into custody when placed under arrest in the state. Examples like this pervade our country and lead to thousands of Constitutional violations by federal and state officials every day.
While it can’t be denied that many of the Republicans in Congress are in it to make a show of the reading of the Constitution, We the People are somewhat bemused that our politicians didn’t think of it sooner, especially when you consider that Congressional representatives take an oath which specifically says:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.”
It may be in the best interests of the country for those representing us in the Federal government to not only read the Constitution every time a new Congress convenes, but to take a preliminary pass or fail assessment prior to their their names being added to the ballot. The assessment would simply ask potential House and Senate candidates to match the amendment number with what it actually says. We could even standardize the test with multiple choice answers to ensure the test is culturally and socially sensitive.
When you take an oath to support or uphold something, it’s usually a good idea to understand what that entails.