What a breathtaking editorial in today's New York Times expressing scorn for the Constitution!
The Times heaps scorn on the Republican plan for a public reading of the Constitution and for a requirement that each bill cite a Constitutional justification, calling it, "a ghastly waste of time" and "a presumptuous and self-righteous act, suggesting that they 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."
Certainly the Constitution that the Republicans plan to read will include the 14th Amendment, section two of which repealed the three-fifths clause. The Times doesn't mention that, preferring to smear the entire Constitution as some kind of racist tract.
The Times goes on:
There is a similar air of vacuous fundamentalism in requiring that every bill cite the Constitutional power given to Congress to enact it. The new House leadership says this is necessary because the health care law and other measures that Republicans do not like have veered from the Constitution. But it is the judiciary that ultimately decides when a law is unconstitutional, not the transitory occupant of the speaker's chair.
Again, the Times displays an astounding ignorance of the Constitution it is deriding. That document, far from leaving responsibility for legal adherence to the Constitution merely to the judiciary, places that responsibility on both the executive branch and on the legislative branch, going so far as to require an oath or affirmation to that effect. Article II, Section 1 includes the text of the oath for the president: "Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation — "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." And Article VI says, "the Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution."
If there's any vacuousness to be found here, it's on the part of the Times editorial writers, who seem to be saying that congressmen should disregard the question of whether legislation is constitutional, and so should presidents, because that's a job for the judiciary. That's not what the Constitution says. The Constitution says they have to swear an oath or affirmation to support, and, in the case of the president, to preserve, protect, and defend, the Constitution.
I've seen a lot of outrageous Times editorials in my days, but this is really one for the books.