So as we celebrate Constitution Week and mark the important events that took place in Philadelphia 228 years ago, we should also remember that the Constitution has many anniversaries. And each of those anniversaries provides an additional reminder of the importance of our Constitution and the values—such as equality and due process under law—that it reflects. Our Constitution would not be what it is today were it not for the many Amendments that have been added since September 17, 1787, so as we set aside this week to honor and celebrate the Constitution, we should be sure to celebrate the entire document, not just the part the Framers signed on September 17.
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Legal experts, including ACA opponents like Case Western Reserve law professor Jonathan Adler, have argued that the new and questionable ground broken by Collyer’s decision merits “immediate” appellate review—which the Justice Department has already announced it will seek. If more evidence were needed, Boehner himself provided the clincher the day after the decision. Last Thursday, Politico reported that the speaker “might sue President Barack Obama again,” this time to challenge alleged non-compliance with reporting provisions of the legislation prescribing congressional review of the Iran nuclear agreement.
As none other than conservative Justice Scalia has made clear, when private individuals take public office their personal views must yield to the mandates of the law when acting in a public capacity. If a public official cannot in good conscience do her job for religious reasons or otherwise, then she should resign in protest.
After Obergefell, same-sex couples in Rowan County should have been able to walk into the Clerk's office and come away with a marriage license, without any hassle. Davis's actions have deprived such couples of their constitutional rights. And that's well beyond a hassle, it's a violation of the rule of law.
Surely the American people, and our federal judicial system, deserve better than this. When the Senate returns on September 8 after a month-long break, it needs to start doing the people’s business. It should begin with prompt yes-or-no votes on all of the judicial nominees pending on the Senate floor, and prompt hearings (and then floor votes) for all those in Committee. The American people, who rely on the federal courts for vindication of important legal rights, deserve at least this, as do the nominees themselves.
Birthright citizenship has split the GOP presidential field. Following Donald Trump’s call for an end to birthright citizenship for the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants, fellow Republican presidential hopefuls Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson and even longtime immigration reform advocate Lindsey Graham have said they support ending the practice. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have been the most vocally opposed. This didn’t used to be such a difficult issue for Republicans.
With the VRA turning 50, this generation’s leaders should look to the past and ask themselves how they’d like to be remembered—as a generation of Andrew Johnsons that shirked its constitutional duty to fight for political equality, or as the rightful heirs to Dr. King, L.B.J., and the civil rights movement, seizing this moment to continue to build “a more perfect Union.”
Back in the 1860s, after a brutal civil war, our country rejected the anti-birthright citizenship arguments that Trump and others are pushing today. That moment, and the changes to the Constitution that resulted, pushed our nation further along the arc of progress. Ending birthright citizenship, far from "making America great again," would betray our most fundamental values.
Many years ago, a leading scholar sat down to pen a letter and dated it “Year 1 of American Independence.” The date was not July 4, 1776; it was Feb. 1, 1865, the day after congressional passage of the 13th Amendment.