Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Ding dong the witch is dead!

The "Old Grey Lady" is showing more signs of senility...

In Pomp, and Little Circumstance, on Capitol Hill the New York Times opines...
In any case, it is a presumptuous and self-righteous act, suggesting that [Republicans] alone understand the true meaning of a text that the founders wisely left open to generations of reinterpretation. Certainly the Republican leadership is not trying to suggest that African-Americans still be counted as three-fifths of a person.
The last point first: The NYT editorial staff seems to have forgotten that the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were passed by the Republican Party. The Party of Obama, on the other hand, fought tooth and nail to preserve slavery.

As to the meaning of the Constitution, I cannot recall any of the Founders suggesting that the English language would change over time. It simply did not occur to them that English is fluid over time. This concept was at the heart of Supreme Court's debate over the meaning of the 2nd Amendment during the Heller case. That court reasoned that the only interpretation possible to the Constitutional text is the original public meaning of the words. This is something that we can know. The Constitution is far from being the only document we have dating from the late 18th Century. We have plenty of examples of English usage from that period. The US Constitution is far from being a mystery to the modern reader.