nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

Congress and the constitution

The new session of Congress will open with a reading of the constitution, and the Constitution will have to be cited with every new law.

The first strikes me as just silly grandstanding, and I'm not sure whether the second will be of any use.

On the other hand, I might not be quite fair about reading the Constitution out loud-- I tend to space out during long recitations but not everyone does, and I should hope Congress members will have more knowledge of constitutional matters so that it will be easier for them to focus.

Still, it doesn't seem like a great use of their time, though I can imagine that some of them might have a "Hey! I didn't remember that was in there!" reaction, especially on details which haven't gotten a lot of partisan attention.

inquisitiveravn suggested that congress members should have to pass a quiz on the constitution before taking their oath. This might be useful, and it occurs to me that even if the creation of the quiz is somewhat partisan, knowing the other sides' interpretations is worthwhile. The quiz should be made public at some point so that it can be checked for accuracy.

My notion (and this might already exist) is an advisory organization (committee? civil service?) which vets laws for constitutionality before they're voted on.

Actually, it doesn't seem to me that lack of a grasp of the constitution is much of what's wrong with congress. Opinions?

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