This happened the other day when Dalia Lithwick, a blogger or reporter or something for Slate online magazine, did her best to show how clueless Delaware Republican senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell is about the U.S. Constitution. In so doing, Lithwick did nothing but embarrass herself. See if you can spot what is wrong with Lithwick's reasoning:
I have been fascinated by Christine O'Donnell's constitutional worldview since her debate with her opponent Chris Coons last week. O'Donnell explained that "when I go to Washington, D.C., the litmus test by which I cast my vote for every piece of legislation that comes across my desk will be whether or not it is constitutional." How weird is that, I thought. Isn't it a court's job to determine whether or not something is, in fact, constitutional? And isn't that sort of provided for in, well, the Constitution? In 2003, O'Donnell said of the Supreme Court that "it's kind of like we have the nine people sitting there in Washington who have a constitutional monarchy and that is an abuse of the system." So I do wonder a little whether she's claiming that her view of what's constitutional trumps theirs. Not a lot of space for checks and balances in that reading.Uh, Ms. Lithwick, any branch of the federal government can question the constitutionality of a piece of legislation. A member of Congress can refuse to vote for it if he believes it is unconstitutional. The President can refuse to sign a bill if he believes it to be unconstitutional. You don't have to wait for the Supreme Court to rule from on high. Even more unbelievably, Lithwick believes that the Congress or President questioning the constitutionality of a piece of legislation is a violation of the system of checks and balances that was set up through the Constitution.
I remember back in 2002 when Congress passed that piece of crap legislation known as the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill. That was bad enough, but I was almost went apoplectic when then-President George W. Bush signed that stinkeroo, with his reasoning that the Supreme Court was going to find it unconstitutional anyway. I remember conservatives cursing Bush for signing it, because he didn't have to; he punted instead. My question to Ms. Lithwick: If only the Supreme Court can find a piece of legislation to be unconstitutional, then why was the President given veto power in the first place?
Slate needs better editors.
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson