The Times Has A Piece on the Whole Constitution Pledge

September 17th, 2011

It’s funny that the TImes, which has no use for the Second Amendment, finds it fitting to dedicate its article on Constitution Day to Doug Kendall’s silly “Whole Constitution Pledge.”

Progressive groups, accusing the Tea Party of selectively reading the founding document, have responded with a campaign to “take back the Constitution.” They are urging Americans and lawmakers to sign a pledge to honor the whole Constitution, even the parts many Tea Party supporters would prefer to ignore — say, the amendments allowing an income tax, and granting birthright citizenship. And they are trying to get people to see the Constitution not as a limit on federal power but as the spirit behind progressive laws.

The struggle over the holiday is yet another proxy in the fight over the proper role of government. On one side are those who embrace an “originalist” view of the Constitution, where New Deal judicial activism started the country down the path to ruin. On the other are those who say that its language — allowing Congress to levy taxes to provide “for the general welfare,” to regulate commerce, and to do what is “necessary and proper” to carry out its role — affirms the broad role of the federal government that has developed over the last 100 years.

“It has evolved to the point where it seems many in the Tea Party believe the entire 20th century is unconstitutional,” said Doug Kendall, the president of the Constitutional Accountability Center and a leader of the progressive coalition behind the effort to, in his words, “rebut the fairy tales being peddled by the Tea Party.”

I’ve blogged about the pledge here, and here, noting that it ignores Article V, which permits the Constitution to be changed by Amendment.

More from John Adler:

Not only does the whole Constitution include Article V, as Eugene notes, but it also includes the Contracts Clause, the Privileges and Immunities Clause [sic], the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, the Second Amendment, the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments as well.

In fairness to Kendle, he signed a brief, along with Randy Barnett, in McDonald advocating for a reinvigoration of the Privilges or Immunities Clause. Though he probably disagrees with Randy’s interpretation.