View Poll Results: Are the U.S. constitution and its amendments sacrosanct? Yes or No?

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  • Yes

    11 42.31%
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    15 57.69%
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Thread: Are the U.S. constitution and its amendments sacrosanct? Yes or No?

  1. #41
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    Re: Are the U.S. constitution and its amendments sacrosanct? Yes or No?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mathematician View Post
    Euler is credited for founding the study of graph theory, based on a paper he wrote in 1736. However, it took about two and a half centuries, two mathematicians, and a computer to prove the Four-Color Theorem. Good lucking convincing me that those credited with founding knew all the important details on what they founded.
    They didn't, that why we can change as time goes on.

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    Re: Are the U.S. constitution and its amendments sacrosanct? Yes or No?

    Quote Originally Posted by LesGovt View Post
    Excellent choices for reading material. While these may be within the links you provided, I have found these to be highly pertinent documents to understanding the Constitution:

    Avalon Project - Notes on the Debates in the Federal Convention - Notes on the Debates of the Federal Convention

    Elliot's Debates Home Page: U.S. Congressional Documents - This provides for Jonathan Elliot's five volumes of "The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution."

    When one reads these two sets of documents along with the Federalist Papers, one has a much greater understanding of the formation of our Constitution and its meaning.

    Occam, thanks for your links. My library just expanded... again. I will happily investigate them for their usefulness.
    Ahh, thanks for the link suggestions. They will be added to the list @ http://www.debatepolitics.com/histor...post1059742884

    Just a note, this list was a work of many contributors like you, I simply maintain it.

  3. #43
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    Re: Are the U.S. constitution and its amendments sacrosanct? Yes or No?

    Quote Originally Posted by MusicAdventurer View Post
    Ah ... as you clearly agree that we have rights independent of the constitution (i.e. we have rights regardless of the existence of the constitution), it should follow that you agree the constitution is not sacrosanct and is instead an attempt made by a group of individuals at approximating those rights. This is using your reasoning, which I agree with.
    Actually, the original Constitution had very little to do with rights and much more to do with the structure of our government. They primarilly left the discussion of rights to the States. Among other issues concerning how the government would operate, there was a strong emphasis for having the Federal Government split into three branches so as to provide checks and balances and to provide for split sovereignty between the Federal Government and the State Governments with each having authority to operate in its own arena. As Madison said in Federalist No. 45:

    "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government. The more adequate, indeed, the federal powers may be rendered to the national defense, the less frequent will be those scenes of danger which might favor their ascendancy over the governments of the particular States. If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy and candor, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of NEW POWERS to the Union, than in the invigoration of its ORIGINAL POWERS. The regulation of commerce, it is true, is a new power; but that seems to be an addition which few oppose, and from which no apprehensions are entertained. The powers relating to war and peace, armies and fleets, treaties and finance, with the other more considerable powers, are all vested in the existing Congress by the articles of Confederation. The proposed change does not enlarge these powers; it only substitutes a more effectual mode of administering them."

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    Re: Are the U.S. constitution and its amendments sacrosanct? Yes or No?

    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleDude View Post
    essentially yes based on the premises of the founders. BTW there is nothing in the constitution where the people delegated their rights to the federal government on this issue either
    To those (me being on of them) who do not hold the constitution as sacrosanct and see it as a document that may or may not represent societies current ethical positions, your argument using the constitution as evidence of what is ethically right or wrong, holds no water. Try making an argument from a cogent ethical standpoint.

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    Re: Are the U.S. constitution and its amendments sacrosanct? Yes or No?

    Quote Originally Posted by LesGovt View Post
    Actually, the original Constitution had very little to do with rights and much more to do with the structure of our government. They primarilly left the discussion of rights to the States. Among other issues concerning how the government would operate, there was a strong emphasis for having the Federal Government split into three branches so as to provide checks and balances and to provide for split sovereignty between the Federal Government and the State Governments with each having authority to operate in its own arena. As Madison said in Federalist No. 45:
    I am well aware of this .. however between the constitution and its amendments, certain rights were declared implicitly or not.

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    Re: Are the U.S. constitution and its amendments sacrosanct? Yes or No?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon W. Moon View Post
    Not sure I understand the question.

    Doesn't the Constitution provide a method for amending itself? So, doesn't that mean that it was intended to be amended at some point? If it is intended to be amended, does that make amending it part of the original intent?

    idk
    You hit the nail on the head! This is exactly what I hoped some people would realize ... it funny when people hold the constitution (and its amendments) as a declaration of some absolute truth when the constitution itself has already been amended several times.

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    Re: Are the U.S. constitution and its amendments sacrosanct? Yes or No?

    Quote Originally Posted by MusicAdventurer View Post
    You are correct that in a democracy we only get legally supported rights via societies decision. However, rights are ethical/philosophically based and therefore exists regardless of the law in every person's mind. This is to say that our rights are subjective in that people decide for themselves what rights people should have and that they exist regardless of the law. In a democracy, if enough people agree on particular rights, those rights are granted ... this however does not mean that there are not other rights that have not yet been acknowledged. In a democracy, the people decide what rights will be legally supported. The constitution is only a snapshot of a majorities honoring of certain rights at one time in history. Therefore, by definition, the constitution should always be scrutinized and ethically challenged as society grows. It is certainly not a set of undeniable truths.
    Rights exist because the people of a particular society say they do. Absent the people, the rights don't exist. It absolutely does mean that there are no other rights that have yet to be acknowledged, except in the sense that people haven't thought them up and agreed to them yet. Rights change over time and, as such, you are right that the Constitution and other founding documents should not be held up as the ultimate, unchanging standard. They need to change and grow with us, they do not need to hold us back.
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    Re: Are the U.S. constitution and its amendments sacrosanct? Yes or No?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    The Founders feared a tyranny of the majority as much as they feared a tyranny of a King.
    Of course they did, they were all rich and most owned slaves (not that they didn't have the countries overall interest in mind to some degree). Not to imply that democracy does not have its downsides of course.
    Last edited by MusicAdventurer; 08-20-11 at 12:20 PM.

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    Re: Are the U.S. constitution and its amendments sacrosanct? Yes or No?

    Quote Originally Posted by deltabtry View Post
    I voted No, now even the founder fathers didn't think so and therefor put a process in place to make changes, the problem we have today is that our governing officials wish to subvert the process.
    Definition of SACROSANCT

    1: most sacred or holy : inviolable
    2: treated as if holy : immune from criticism or violation <politically sacrosanct programs>

    I don't believe that the Constitution was meant to be above criticism, but I do believe it was meant to be above violation. Perhaps, that is what the Authors meant when they made the Constitution the supreme law of the land. As far as changes go, yes, they provided for a method to amend the Constitution. They planned for an orderly change to the Constitution.

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    Re: Are the U.S. constitution and its amendments sacrosanct? Yes or No?

    I see no reason why any and all parts of the constitution cannot be rewritten, removed, or added to. It's just a piece of paper. The ideas in it are not magically better because they appear in the constitution. And not every idea in it is good. As always, we should distill the bad ideas out, and try new ideas, and keep the ones that are good.

    I mean, can we really say that a bicameral legislature is morally superior to a unicameral one? Is a supreme court with lifetime appointments intrinsically better than elected judges? Or perhaps we should choose them by lottery. Who knows. Is is better to have a qualified right to Habeas Corpus, as opposed to one that cannot ever be abridged? Are we better off without an amendment guaranteeing the right of privacy, or without the Equal Rights Amendment? How about the balanced budget amendment? How about codification of statutes so that a person can know for sure what laws affect them on a day to day basis?

    A good idea is good of its own merit, not because it was good yesterday. We should always be trying to come up with better ideas.
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