Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday constitution blogging

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Yes, the regular features here have become quite irregular. This morning I came across a post by NWTerriD that falls under Constitution blogging, so even though it is not Thursday....

It seems John McCain deviated from his scripted speech on constitutional issues to proclaim something erroneously. It was quickly scrubbed from most tapes but he evidently really did make the gaffe.

In a speech at Wake Forest he said:
The year 2005 also brought the case of Susette Kelo before the Supreme Court. Here was a woman whose home was taken from her because the local government and a few big corporations had designs of their own on the land, and she was getting in the way. There is hardly a clearer principle in all the Constitution than the right of private property. There is a very clear standard in the Constitution requiring not only just compensation in the use of eminent domain, but also that private property may NOT be taken for "public use." But apparently that standard has been "evolving" too. [emphasis in NWTerriD's article]
NWTerriD checked to be sure that was really what was said. Here are NWTerriD's concluding comments:
I think it's a big deal when a candidate for the Presidency of this country, who starts a speech talking about how the President must swear an oath to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution [insert emphatic hand motions here], just a few minutes later erroneously alters his scripted speech to completely change the meaning of a phrase describing what he says is one of the clearest principles enunciated in the Constitution.

Yes, there is a clear principle in the Consitution, but it is not what he said it is. Does he really not understand what eminent domain is? Did he forget, because he is tired from his hard work on the campaign trail? Who knows?

To those who have been saying that bringing up McCain's age is "ageism," or that it is beneath us as the supporters of a man who is seeking to avoid the politics of personal attack, I say, res ipsa loquitor -- one of those fancy Latin legal phrases meaning, "The thing speaks for itself." His age is a legitimate issue.
There has been much talk about John McSame representing a third Bush term and what I found even more frightening in his speech was this line:
I'm the living proof that an undistinguished academic record can be overcome in life -- or at least that's the hope that has long, long sustained me.

After W, that should scare the living shit out of us all. I'm not talking about academic elitism or saying we need brilliance in that office, only that someone who can think critically and clearly and always be learning is important.
--the BB


Grandmère Mimi said...

That's all we need. Another president with an undistinguished academic record. Why it seems to have become nearly a sine qua non to be president.

Where are you physically located at the moment, Paul? NOLA or ABQ? One never knows with these intertubes.

Paul said...

Mimi, I was in ABQ from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. Back in NOLA now until Thursday of next week.

Jane R said...

I want a president like Mimi who knows how to use sine qua non.

"I'm not talking about academic elitism or saying we need brilliance in that office, only that someone who can think critically and clearly and always be learning is important." Ah, helping people to acquire those abilities is part of my current job description in my day-and-night job. (Yes, only part of the job description, I also have to write useless reports and deal with academic politics and undergo infantilizing evaluations. And do pastoral care which I love but which doesn't count for anything in the institution's eyes.) Let me tell you, it's a job and a half to teach people to think critically and clearly these days. I don't know what they are teaching in our primary and secondary schools, but there's not a lot of critical thinking going on -- except in Jesuit high schools and a few other places, sigh. Oops, sorry for the rant. I am happy to say we did graduate some students with those abilities the other day, and at least two that I know want to run for office some day. Not president though -- I'd better stop here, I was going to rant again. Sorry, I am cranky.

Paul, thank you for the post, I missed your Constitution blogging (not that I am pressuring you... you have enough to deal with these days) and am always happy to read your Constitutional posts.

Paul said...

Thanks, Jane. I miss doing the regular features too but such is life. Thanks for being part of the struggle against the darkness.