Iraqi and American democracy

mschor at mschor at
Sun Jun 12 05:29:39 PDT 2005

==============Original message text===============
On Sun, 12 Jun 2005 11:19:11 am GMT JMHACLJ at wrote:

In a message dated 6/12/2005 5:07:24 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
SLevinson at writes nothing much that would advance a reasoned  discussion of 
constitutional law.
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Certainly, it is a fair question whether the sinews of democracy are being undermined by this Administration and the question has obvious implications for constitutional law. I'll throw in a few examples:

1. The administration along with its principal cheerleader, Fox news, has consistently sought to attack and undermine the "fairness" of the mainstream press.  Civil society has a tough job of monitoring what government does when the press is not trusted.  The results range from falsified reports on climate warming to a faith based (if not falsified) rationale for war. 

2. The post you complain of noted that gerrymandering has made Congress more partisan.  That is an obvious problem in any government particularly one of divided powers such as ours that requires a certain amount of co-operation to get anything done.  Jeffrey Rosen has a terrific piece in the Sunday New York Times Magazine that points out that the Supreme Court is today more centrist than our so-called representative institutions because of electoral engineering.

3. There is a significant minority that believes that compromise of any sort is not possible on core issues ranging from marriage to homosexuality for religious reasons.  Chris Hedges has a wonderful article in Harpers entitled “Soldiers of Christ II” that points out the real problems in a democracy when a sizeable portion of the population has such anti-democratic values.  Polities have fought civil wars over such religious and constitutional divides.

It is a rather impoverished view of constitutional law that would limit its scope simply to the workings of the courts.  A number of dictatorships throughout the world have sought to engender positivism amongst the judiciary precisely because such a crabbed view of law facilitates, among other things, authoritarianism.  Constitutional law and, more importantly, constitutional disagreement has important implications for the republic that we would all, quite obviously, passionately desire to preserve.


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