Ackerman on Entrenchment. If Social Security is entrenched, why isn't the Constitution?

October 3rd, 2009

(this is a repost from my liveblog of Panel 3).

Bruce Ackerman made these comments (not transcript, but my best attempt to capture what he said):

Bruce Ackerman is commenting that a constitution should be an entrenchment device. How hard is it for next generation to move it around? Compare Brown v. Board to Social Act. Brown is a failure. In Parents involved, Supreme Court gave up on social aspect of Brown.

FDR considered social security as a entrenchment device. If FDR put it in, it will never go away. We need to design constitutional ideals and landmark statutes so they are hard to appeal. Bad entrenchment for healthcare would be disastrous.

I love Ackerman’s unbridled cynicism, but unfailing genius to persuade. He wants these landmark statutes to become so entrenched they can never be removed. I would say the text of the Constitution is the ultimate entrenchment device. Article V is the total entrencher! But somehow, Ackerman thinks that the Social Security Act is entrenched, but the text of the Constitution isn’t. Does that make sense ?