purpose of the Constitution

Mortimer Sellers msellers at ubalt.edu
Tue Nov 8 10:34:17 PST 2005

The task that the Constitution has set for itself is not "government by the people".  The people of the United States established the Constitution in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty.  These useful aims are served by popular sovereignty, but (for the founders) "government by the people" was a means to these ends, not an end in itself.  They did not expect that everyone would vote.
Tim Sellers
Regents Professor
University System of Maryland

-----Original Message-----
From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu [mailto:conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu]On Behalf Of Malla Pollack
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 1:14 PM
To: JMHACLJ at aol.com; conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: RE: Working right?

Yes, the constitution has set itself the task of government by the people. About the only way of voting "against" the entire government apparatus, or the Constitution, is to ignore it - by not getting involved.  Many people don't vote (based on anecdotal evidence) because they do not think their vote "counts" for many reasons - including that they no longer have the power to make "their" representatives act in a representative fashion.  

             Whatever peoples' individual reasons for not showing up, to the extent that citizens do not vote, the government is not by the people.


Malla Pollack

Professor, American Justice School of Law

Visiting Univ. of Idaho, College of Law

mpollack at uidaho.edu



-----Original Message-----
From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu [mailto:conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of JMHACLJ at aol.com
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 10:03 AM
To: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: Re: Working right?


In a message dated 11/8/2005 12:51:01 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, mpollack at uidaho.edu writes:

The most
"objective" proof is the relatively low voter turnout on major elections. 

This is a perplexity to me.  Is it because you have concluded that low voter turnout is confirmably the product of voter dissatisfaction, and that voter dissatisfaction is confirmably proof that the constitution is not working?


What if voter dissatisfactions only prove that apathy is holding sway.  How do we know that the constitution is broken only based on low voter turnout?  Has the constitution set for itself a task of maximized voter participation?


Jim Henderson

Senior Counsel


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