What do you know of/about the US Constitution?

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
4,865
US
What is it about America that discourages the emergence of large, permanent third party movements? I know that third parties have usually been eventually absorbed into one of the two main parties. My question is why?
In the past a 3rd party candidate had little to no chance to win. Who wants to waste their vote? Actually, my dear dad did that in 1992. Not one to vote, I believe this was his only time ever, he voted for Ross Perot, for whatever reason. The winner of the presidential election had only 43% of the vote. Without Perot in the mix - who garnered a healthy 19%, the results would have likely been different. I do sense among many people today, especially young adults, that they are more willing to support a party other than D or R.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
2,996
Dispargum
And 9 Justices, and 40 state legislatures?
I don't understand. Super-majority IS possible. And I don't know what you mean by "OK."
Are you OK with it?
OK with Lincoln locking people up for disagreeing with him, and the Radical Republicans certifying and decertifying states and Senators depending how they were expecting these Democrats to vote?
OK with the Nazi's, the Fascisti, Ceausescu?
I am wondering how my earlier claim that we would all be OK with a good king and hate the idea of a bad king does not answer the question for both us?
If you could have one or the other but not both, which would you choose? Single party rule with a super majority in both houses or multi-party grid lock? Based on your previous comments, I can see why you might choose the super majority because they could pass laws that enjoy the support of a large majority of voters. On the other hand, that super majority might use their power to pass bad laws so you might prefer gridlock.

The good king/bad king answer is to me too theoretical and abstract. It doesn't translate well into the practical aspect of making public policy. I agree there never will be a good king, but denying power to all of the bad kings doesn't work either. At some point, we have to let the government do something. I see no difference in having no government at all and a government that can do nothing. Both are a form of anarchy.

I've been looking at election results in post Civil War America, looking for times when super majorities and single party rule existed. I thought I would find a lot in the late 19th century, but actually not so much. While the Republicans dominated the White House in those decades, the Democrats were usually pretty competitive in Congress. Super majorities were rare. During the Depression, of course, the Democrats controlled the White House and had large majorities in both houses of Congress, but now you bring up the Supreme Court which early on struck down major portions of New Deal legislation. Democrats continued to dominate national politics right on through to the 1960s with only a few exceptions. Even Eisenhower was accused of being a closet Democrat.

The level of consensus you seem to prefer where the president, both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court, the states, and the people all agree on any one public policy happens so infrequently, perhaps never. So is the Constitution an abstract and theoretic document, or is it intended to create a practical, working government? I think the founders were very practical men.

Interesting that you bring up Lincoln. I'm OK with him suspending Habeas Corpus. It was the lesser of two evils and therefore the right thing to do. What he did was 99% constitutional. The Constitution provides for the suspension of HC. The only argument against Lincoln is that the Constitution might suggest, but does not overtly state, that only Congress can suspend HC. The president is allowed to do things in the name of Congress when Congress is not in session, for instance make recess appointments. I'm pretty sure that if Congress had been in session at the time, they would have suspended HC. But it's interesting that you bring it up because it points out your preference for the theoretical while I prefer the practical aspects of governing. That's not an accusation or right or wrong, just an explanation of why we don't agree. As for Radical Republicans, Nazis, etc no I'm not OK with them.
 
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Oct 2018
164
Adelaide south Australia
You are getting dangerously close to having a mod shut this down as an discussion of “current politics.” It is only by certain graces that conversation is allowed to drift north of AD 1991. This is why I keep telling Chlodio I feel obligated to tie my responses to the opening post, the US Constitution – and even vis-a-vis other Constitutions. And I have read bits of the Aussie Constitution. So, I am going to respond to you by adhering to the OP, and other “principles.”

First, I'd like to put together my point that the "Parliamentary" ("Westminster" according to Chlodio) approaches leading to chief executives steeped in corruption and your Fish-n-Chips lady. My dislike of these Parliamentary methods is that they maintain a class system of elites and lowly citizens. In Britain, there is a House of “Lords” and Commoners. I would prefer a Fish-and-Chips shop owner to a career politician. IMO, most of the most-loathesome of the US politicians are the ones who graduated (usually from law school), went straight into politics, where they have spent life engaging in a form of “insider trading” for their own advantage, and never had a REAL JOB in their entire lives.

One of the “failures” of the Framers in the US – a theme I referred to earlier - is that they did not Constitutionalize their consensus for what we call today, “term limits,” what some of them called “rotation.” They “self-governed” and term-limited themselves. The original Supreme Court members did not sit for life, and no President ran for a third term until 1940. They did not “believe in” what we call today “a permanent ruling class,” something which I perceive as the hallmark of British and Commonwealth systems, and the earmarks of which are too prominent in the US. The Dingell family has controlled a seat in Congress for what must be 80 years, and the Murkowski family has controlled one what must be 50 years.

You are correct to refer to the US current occupant as a “politician,” but he wasn't when he first declared and ran. And most of our Founders and Framers were people who had real jobs, and went back them after a foray into founding and framing. I don't know that I would call Abe Lincoln "Honest Abe," but he did know what it was to do an HONEST day's work.

It is that symbolism of not being one of “them” that is part of the voter-appeal of the current occupant. IMO, in 2016, there was no one in the US House of Bush that was going to defeat the House of Clinton. There is a movie called Mr Smith Goes to Washington. A regular guy is appointed to fill a Senatorial vacancy, Mr. Smith isn't one of “them/” When he asks the media why they lied about him, they told him plain out they were offended by the audacity of someone who wasn't one of “them” (like a Fish-and-Chips entrepreneur) coming to DC telling people how things out to be done. A sequel to that movie was run live yesterday at a press conference.

I listened to the Fish lady speech and heard nothing “rabid.” As to it being “racist,” it is nothing different than political debate that has occurred as far back as the Old Testament. That is, there has always been argument that the “redistribution” of part of the government's booty is “disproportional” with respect to group identities. What I sense here is the omnipresent hypocrisy of partisanship that insists some such arguments about disproportion are “civil rights advocacy” and other such arguments are “racism.” Maybe Aussie English doesn't translate to American English – but just seconds in, I heard - “in response to my call for equality for all Australians."

Like I said, I like to watch the Chase-Australia reruns. I always think how much I like the Aussie Chasers (as Schultz is as good at quizzing as Laver was at tennis, and Schultz has a far better sense of humor) and how the producers should just sent the British Chasers back to the Chase UK (which I also enjoy). Though, I wonder if having admitted to that if you will accuse me of rabid racism.

Sorry about the time drift.I think it's fair to say our perceptions are quite different. I don't fully accept your Marxist analysis, but I think you're probably right in principle. Can't see the system changing any time soon, and I have no interest in baying at the moon. At a personal level, I really don't care. Victim of the system? As an ex civil servant, probably. However, I'm quite happy with how things are. I'm Living a comfortable retirement under our system .

You don't see the claim of "being swamped with Asians" as racist? If so, I think our world views are very different.

I really can't comment any further about Pauline Hanson, as her party was formed 19997, which makes it current politics. I simply don't have the interest in a long discussion about our differing views.

I'm leaving this thread now agreeing to differ
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
3,529
Caribbean
I am not sure what it is in my posts that you find so compelling.:)

The good king/bad king answer is to me too theoretical and abstract. It doesn't translate well into the practical aspect of making public policy.
That is the nature of these conversations. They are both theoretical and practical. This is why I mentioned "context" before.
I agree there never will be a good king, but denying power to all of the bad kings doesn't work either.
It doesn't "work" they you mean, because they don't take no for an answer. A republic, if you can keep it. IMO, he knew they couldn't keep it.

At some point, we have to let the government do something. I see no difference in having no government at all and a government that can do nothing. Both are a form of anarchy.
Let them do something? Try stopping them.

There is no such thing as a government that cannot do anything. There are countries in the Americas and cities in the first world with "no-go zones." Are they without government? Of course, not. What is the difference if a gang or war lord carves out territory instead of a king? And charges fees for access to transportation, "protection," and "taxes" wrongdoers who violate territorial lines?

Interesting that you bring up Lincoln. I'm OK with him suspending Habeas Corpus.
And how did I know to pick exactly the right example? Doesn't it sound better the way you say it, than saying he locked up dozens or hundreds of journalists who wrote that secession was legal or that he was operating wholly outside the Constitution - and put them into an American Bastille in Brooklyn. Sounds more like a good king your way, and not so good the other way. I wonder if Jim Acosta knows about that history.
It was the lesser of two evils and therefore the right thing to do. What he did was 99% constitutional.
It was zero percent constitutional and I have a feeling you not feel the same way if it happened tomorrow.
The president is allowed to do things in the name of Congress when Congress is not in session, for instance make recess appointments.
These were no recess appointments. If you want to justify the unchecked doctrine of necessity as the substitute for the Constitution, you should come through the front door. You really didn't think I wasn't going to notice you bootstrapping? And big time bootstrapping. :)

To some degree, you demonstrated my core point that the nature of people overrides (almost said trumps) any system. Most are willing to advocate at least a little ends justify the means, if they like the ends - and that is a choice politicians make with ease. You say you were not OK with the Radical Republicans, but that doesn't mean Lincoln wasn't the lesser to two radicals? :)
 
Jun 2017
2,299
Connecticut
American students are taught more about the Constitution than almost any other topic. Given the relative brevity of the document and this extreme emphasis(the Constitution is treated like the Bible/Torah/Koran in much of the country and the relative knowledge on that topic is a byproduct of this ), it's pretty easy to find people who know a lot about it and as a law student most everyone knows what most of the amendments, articles and important clauses cover by heart.

The Third Amendment also might as well not exist.
 
Oct 2018
164
Adelaide south Australia
American students are taught more about the Constitution than almost any other topic. Given the relative brevity of the document and this extreme emphasis(the Constitution is treated like the Bible/Torah/Koran in much of the country and the relative knowledge on that topic is a byproduct of this ), it's pretty easy to find people who know a lot about it and as a law student most everyone knows what most of the amendments, articles and important clauses cover by heart.

The Third Amendment also might as well not exist.
Fascinating. At high school we were taught some ancient history; the fertile crescent, plus some Roman and Greek. For modern history it was mainly English history ,and a rather small book about Australian history , about which everyone seemed a bit embarrassed. At that time, a great many Aussies of British descent considered themselves British.---not MY family; we're Australian by birth, Celt by ethnicity, 100% on both sides.

I had read the US constitution, at the Back of James Michener's 'Centennial' a good decade before I read ours. To get a copy I had to go into the Government printer's and buy one. It was cheap ,and pretty thin. We have a lot of the same freedoms as the US. Eg; freedom of speech and of association, freedom of religion separation of powers. There is no right of privacy, truth is not a defence in defamation cases.(we have no separate law of libel) We have no Bill Of Rights. Our Prime Minister is not our commander in chief (that person is our Governor General )and does not have the unilateral power of the US president.

I'm not sure if one system is better than the other, as I've never lived in the US, although I've visited a few times, and loved it. Still have a few US relatives, most are dead now.. Did not get a balanced view of US politics as most relatives were registered Democrats and very opinionated. One was a registered Republican and very wealthy; he had been a professional hockey player and coach, for the New York Rangers.. A gentle giant of a man, his name was Murray 'Muzz' Patrick. I still have a ranger's hockey puck he gave me. The view I get now of US politics is only what I see on Tv and read in The Huff Post US. --I know bits and pieces ,going back to the first settlers, but my knowledge is patchy, not scholarly..

Could someone explain the meaning of the Third Amendment, without commenting on current politics?

I looked it up.It's very short, and seems to be about not having soldiers quartered in civilian homes during peacetime, or in wartime, except as allowed by law. Like a lot of the US constitution, (such as the Second Amendment) it looks clear and unambiguous to an outsider. But then, not withstanding The First Amendment and article 11 of The Treaty of Tripoli, ,it seems a great many Americans believe the country was founded as a Christian nation. See what I mean? Be very interested in learning the views of some informed citizens.
 
Jun 2017
2,299
Connecticut
Fascinating. At high school we were taught some ancient history; the fertile crescent, plus some Roman and Greek. For modern history it was mainly English history ,and a rather small book about Australian history , about which everyone seemed a bit embarrassed. At that time, a great many Aussies of British descent considered themselves British.---not MY family; we're Australian by birth, Celt by ethnicity, 100% on both sides.

I had read the US constitution, at the Back of James Michener's 'Centennial' a good decade before I read ours. To get a copy I had to go into the Government printer's and buy one. It was cheap ,and pretty thin. We have a lot of the same freedoms as the US. Eg; freedom of speech and of association, freedom of religion separation of powers. There is no right of privacy, truth is not a defence in defamation cases.(we have no separate law of libel) We have no Bill Of Rights. Our Prime Minister is not our commander in chief (that person is our Governor General )and does not have the unilateral power of the US president.

I'm not sure if one system is better than the other, as I've never lived in the US, although I've visited a few times, and loved it. Still have a few US relatives, most are dead now.. Did not get a balanced view of US politics as most relatives were registered Democrats and very opinionated. One was a registered Republican and very wealthy; he had been a professional hockey player and coach, for the New York Rangers.. A gentle giant of a man, his name was Murray 'Muzz' Patrick. I still have a ranger's hockey puck he gave me. The view I get now of US politics is only what I see on Tv and read in The Huff Post US. --I know bits and pieces ,going back to the first settlers, but my knowledge is patchy, not scholarly..

Could someone explain the meaning of the Third Amendment, without commenting on current politics?

I looked it up.It's very short, and seems to be about not having soldiers quartered in civilian homes during peacetime, or in wartime, except as allowed by law. Like a lot of the US constitution, (such as the Second Amendment) it looks clear and unambiguous to an outsider. But then, not withstanding The First Amendment and article 11 of The Treaty of Tripoli, ,it seems a great many Americans believe the country was founded as a Christian nation. See what I mean? Be very interested in learning the views of some informed citizens.
The Third Amendment might as well not exist because there has almost been no litigation maybe even no litigation ever related to it, as it is not relevant in a post revolutionary context. Thus it might as well not exist.

I do argue looking at the third amendment and the amendments as whole makes it clear the Bill of Rights were structured to prevent perceived injustices of the British government from ever happening again. The thing that started the revolutionary war in Lexington and Concord were the British attempts to disarm the militia so the second amendment's purpose seems clear to prevent that scenario from happening even though it has been twisted for political reasons.

The country was not founded as a Christian nation, some of the states were founded as Christian states of various denominations but the country was founded to be secular under the first amendment and some of the founders including Jefferson were deists. While most Americans were Christians of various faiths, at the time the differences between these various faiths were quite profound whereas today they mean considerably less. For example years ago there would be prejudice against Catholics and Mormons who are now widely considered Christians.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
2,996
Dispargum
The Third Amendment made a lot more sense to that generation that had lived through the American Revolution than it does today. Quartering troops in private homes was never something that the US government tried to do. During the build up to the Revolution, as Americans became increasingly unruly, the British moved frontier garrisons into the coastal cities to police the restless population. There was no place to house the soldiers so the British army forced citizens to let the soldiers live in their private homes. This had the added advantage for the British of putting a spy into every home. So as soon as the British were gone and we Americans set up our own government we decided pretty quickly that was never going to happen again.

I had a political science professor tell me once that the 2nd and 3rd Amendments taken together imply that the founders wanted national defense to be by militia rather than by a standing army. The 2nd Amendment specifically mentions a militia and the 3rd implies that if there was a standing army the government would have to pay for a barracks, chow hall, and all of the other supporting infrastructure that goes with a standing army. The founders were trying to make a standing army so expensive that the country would not want one.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2018
164
Adelaide south Australia
The Third Amendment might as well not exist because there has almost been no litigation maybe even no litigation ever related to it, as it is not relevant in a post revolutionary context. Thus it might as well not exist.

I do argue looking at the third amendment and the amendments as whole makes it clear the Bill of Rights were structured to prevent perceived injustices of the British government from ever happening again. The thing that started the revolutionary war in Lexington and Concord were the British attempts to disarm the militia so the second amendment's purpose seems clear to prevent that scenario from happening even though it has been twisted for political reasons.

The country was not founded as a Christian nation, some of the states were founded as Christian states of various denominations but the country was founded to be secular under the first amendment and some of the founders including Jefferson were deists. While most Americans were Christians of various faiths, at the time the differences between these various faiths were quite profound whereas today they mean considerably less. For example years ago there would be prejudice against Catholics and Mormons who are now widely considered Christians.
ah, thanks for the explanation, seems I understood the third amendment after all..

I don't agree that the Mormons are "widely accepted as Christian." I point this out as yet another example of what is to me the stunning arrogance of these exclusive and dogmatic sects, and their claims of absolute truth.That anyone who disagrees with their particular set of superstitions is simply wrong
.
The quote below puts it in a nutshell for me. However, there are some very different ideas around. A quick Google search might be worth your while.

"Is Mormonism Christian?" Are Mormons Christian? The answer is simple. No. Mormonism is not Christian because it denies the basic and essential doctrines of the Christian faith such as the teaching that there is only one God, that God has always been God, and that forgiveness of sins is by faith alone. Instead, Mormonism teaches that god is an exalted man from another world who has a goddess wife and that people have the potential of becoming gods. That is most assuredly not Christian according to the Bible."

Is Mormonism Christian? Are Mormons Christian? | CARM.org
 
Jun 2017
2,299
Connecticut
ah, thanks for the explanation, seems I understood the third amendment after all..

I don't agree that the Mormons are "widely accepted as Christian." I point this out as yet another example of what is to me the stunning arrogance of these exclusive and dogmatic sects, and their claims of absolute truth.That anyone who disagrees with their particular set of superstitions is simply wrong
.
The quote below puts it in a nutshell for me. However, there are some very different ideas around. A quick Google search might be worth your while.

"Is Mormonism Christian?" Are Mormons Christian? The answer is simple. No. Mormonism is not Christian because it denies the basic and essential doctrines of the Christian faith such as the teaching that there is only one God, that God has always been God, and that forgiveness of sins is by faith alone. Instead, Mormonism teaches that god is an exalted man from another world who has a goddess wife and that people have the potential of becoming gods. That is most assuredly not Christian according to the Bible."

Is Mormonism Christian? Are Mormons Christian? | CARM.org
I mean they believe in the same deity with a different mythology. While Mormonism is certainly unique in the way they worship the Christian god, it is still a Christian faith in the loosest sense as it promotes the worship of the same deity. However I'm referring to how Americans tend to view these things. In the US, Catholics, Mormons and even Jews to an extent(the term "Judeo-Christian" is extremely popular in the American religious community) are widely seen as part of the same sect. It's even possible Islam would be somewhat part of this group(or more likely just ignored) if not for obvious post 1991 events. Muslims along with atheist people(who historically are more discriminated against electorally than any other religious or racial identity) and to an extent people who softly identify with a religion in the US seem to be seen as the other side religiously. The Mormon thing might be different elsewhere and there are some polygamy stereotypes but like with Catholicism, I think this is a relic of days gone by and is closer to being seen as an embarrassing historical story similar to the Anglician church's origins(you know Henry VIII) than as a reason people discriminate against Mormons. I don't think religious people really care anymore, or at least don't see it as substantial a difference as it was in the past. A lot of the evidence I could use to suggest this is against the 1991 rule.
 
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