These wingnuts are almost cultish about the Constitution

That’s one reason why the fetishizing of the Constitution is unsettling. It’s not that it isn’t worthy of veneration or study. It’s that too often, the Constitution is wielded as a political cudgel, even if, as Garrett Epps wrote this week at the Atlantic, the cudgelers fail to grasp the document’s finer points. Both parties are desperate to claim themselves as the true descendants of the framers, and they drape themselves in the constitution like a political safety blanket, since it’s one of the only unassailable quantities in contemporary politics. (Among the others, I count jobs, capitalism, liberty, faith and not a whole lot else.)…

Admittedly, I’m radically oversimplifying this idea, which far smarter people than me (Scalia included) subscribe to. But the notion that our governing document should never evolve has always struck me as mildly insane. And while most politicians treat the Constitution as sacrosanct, their actions often don’t jibe with their words. As Dahlia Lithwick wrote Tuesday in Slate: “Unless Tea Party Republicans are willing to stand proud and announce that they adore and revere the whole Constitution as written, except for the First, 14, 16th, and 17th amendments, which totally [itals hers] blow, they should admit right now that they are in the same conundrum as everyone else: This document no more commands the specific policies they espouse than it commands the specific policies their opponents support.” In September, TIME’s legal columnist, Adam Cohen, also made a good argument for why strict originalism is problematic.

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