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Saturday, January 19, 2008
posted by Kyle Hampton | 1:26 AM | permalink
Look, I don't want to make too big a deal about this, but I thought it should be addressed. Mike Huckabee, as many of you know, described the Constitution as a "living" Constitution.


The reason I don't want to make a big deal out of this is that technically, Huckabee is right; the Constitution "lives" in the sense that there is a process by which we can change it. It can be revised through the amendment process.

However, and this is important, Huckabee's careless choice of words should be sending red flags up everywhere. One of the central fights in Constitutional jurisprudence has been over the idea of a "living" Constitution - i.e. one that can be changed through judicial activism rather than the amendment process. The notion of a living Constitution has given birth to cases such as Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas. Conservatives have slowly turned the tide against the idea that the Constitution's meaning is generationally pliable through nominating "strict constructionist" or "originalist" judges. Of course all these words - "living Constitution", "strict constructionist", and "originalist" - are buzz words or code for a whole jurisprudential divide. Choosing to use one word or another generally signals one's stance on a whole host of issues including abortion, gay marriage, affirmative action, etc.

While Huckabee's intent was not to indicate approval of abortion, gay marriage, or affirmative action (quite the contrary - he was talking about amending the Constitution to ban abortion and gay marriage), his inartful choice of words signals something else: inexperience. Only someone inexperienced with the intellectual movements among the judiciary and the social issues that follow them (which hardly seems possible these days after the confirmations of Justices Roberts and Alito) would describe his ideas in that way. These are basic issues and ideas for social conservatives and Huckabee flunked in getting key terminology right. Indeed, this once again exposes an intellectual gap that has haunted Huckabee in his quest for the Republican nomination. Huckabee has shown a profound lack of understanding when dealing with foreign affairs, economics, and now, what is supposedly his strength, social issues. The once faint and now persistent feeling that Huckabee is in over his head just keeps getting stronger as the campaign continues.

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4 Comments:


Yeah. He probably migrated the phrase 'living bible' over to the constitution. Especially in the context where he said it. It makes sense to that one audience, and it reveals a shallow preparation on the part of Huckster.



Huck is such a joke it's beyond belief.It's a shame that there are so many identity politic voters choosing him on religion alone.A constitutional fight over abortion would energize the libs when they are now demoralized because the war is going better and thier candidates are dividing them over racial/sexist lines. I wish Mitt would start running ads quoting Rush that McCain and Huck would be the end of our party as we know it.There are a lot of smitten Mitten women around who love Mitt's family and his relationship with his wife.You don't have any better value system than that.Huck's history of cronyism and gift grubbing in Ark. should be enough on it's own to do him in.



Just want to quickly back up Kyle and comment to any readers unfamiliar with constitutional law that Kyle is absolutely right.

Every first year law student in this country learns the difference between originalist and "living, breathing" constitutional viewpoints as part of his/her basic legal education. We're talking Constitutional Law 101 here, folks.

Now, I suppose we can't expect Huckabee to possess the knowledge of an attorney, but for a Presidential candidate, one auditioning for the chief seat of one of the three branches of government set forth under our Constitution, he shows a tremendous lack of understanding of the principled positions underlying the fight to preserve the Constitution the founders gave us.

Makes you shudder to wonder just what kind of thought process Huckabee would employ when considering potential Supreme Court nominees . . .



As a Latter-day Saint, I wonder about the possible underlying meaning of his words in this video regarding scriptures: "The scriptures, however, were not written so that we would change them, to adapt them to ever changing cultural norms." Is he making a coded criticism of "Joseph Smith's 'New Translation' of the Bible"? Or is making an indirect criticism of all the differing translations of the Bible found in Christian bookstores? I wonder which of the many translations of the Bible he reads? Whatever the meaning of his words, this confusion of mine supports your point that Huckabee is careless in his choice of words.




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