We are pleased that, over the last week, a number of prominent and well-respected conservatives have taken the time to weigh in on the merits of the “Whole Constitution” pledge. For example, Ed Whalen and Eugene Volokh, have pointed out that calling for repeal of constitutional amendments is not proof of lack of fidelity to the Constitution, noting that Article V gives all Americans the right to call for the repeal of aspects of the Constitution they think are inconsistent with fundamental constitutional principles. Likewise, Ilya Somin has noted that even, after 27 Amendments enacted over 220 years, the long running struggle for a better, fairer, and just system of government still continues. Notably, and to their credit, neither Ed Whalen, Eugene Volokh, nor Ilya Somin show any interest in making the case that the Tea Party’s vision of the Constitution is the correct one, or that their call for repeal of numerous, deeply-rooted parts of our constitutional order should prevail. In fact, Ilya Somin agrees that Seventeenth Amendment – high on the Tea Party hit list – is an important and enduring part of our constitutional order.
These are all important and correct points. Article V is incredibly important to our constitutional story. Because the Framers recognized that the Constitution they created was not infallilble, generations of Americans have been able to change the Constitution in fundamental ways, ending slavery, guaranteeing equality, and ensuring a vibrant democracy that respects the right to vote free from discrimination. But none of these points, in fact, cut against the Pledge. On the contrary, with the Tea Party seizing on Article V to demand repeal of numerous Amendments ratified by the American people over the full sweep of our history, it is critical for the American people to understand the full arc of our constitutional story and to take our Constitution back. Now more than ever is the time for all Americans to affirm that the Constitution’s greatest achievements – protection of birthright citizenship, protection for the full range of civil and human rights, and a system of government capable of solving national problems – must be celebrated, not rolled back.
So the focus isn’t on the Constitution, as a document, but certain provisions–which could be eliminated–that David likes. Spare me the enthusiasm.
And, as I noted, Adler was wrong to criticize the CAC for failing to support the Privileges or Immunities Clause. They would not support, I don’t know, the 10th Amendment though.