Thus the new majority will open the next Congress with a full reading of the Constitution and establish a rule requiring that every new bill contain a statement citing the constitutional authority behind it.
My first response was to scoff at this obvious sop to the Tea Party movement. One can imagine that the rule’s primary practical result will be the creation of a small House bureaucracy responsible for churning out constitutional justifications for whatever gets introduced.
But on reflection, I offer the Republicans two cheers for their fealty to their professed ideals. We badly need a full-scale debate over what the Constitution is, means and allows – and how Americans have argued about these questions since the beginning of the republic. This provision should be the springboard for a discussion all of us should join.
From its inception, the Tea Party movement has treated the nation’s great founding document not as the collection of shrewd political compromises that it is but as the equivalent of sacred scripture.