What do you know of/about the US Constitution?

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
3,533
Caribbean
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.
That's not my experience.

I agree there is some familiarity with PARTS of the Bill of Rights, but the TV show Law and Order has done more than the schools to promulgate that knowledge. I remember a survey of Harvard Seniors in which most of them identified "from each according to his abilities" as the US Constitution.

Several years back, I was doing several moths of insurance estimates for a law firm and worked directly with a rookie lawyer, and we chatted in the mornings. After the third time I showed him a file in my computers from Federalists and so forth on those points, he asked, 'how do you know the Constitution so much better than I do, and I just got an A in Con Law 18 months ago?' I told that's because you studied what judges SAID about the Constitution, like "substantive due process," which isn't in the Constitution.

And may I suggest that the Third Amendment appears unnecessary now, because the federal government is adhering to it, let's say, perfectly and no one is trying to change that.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
3,533
Caribbean
[QUOTE1Flunking Civics: Why America's Kids Know So Little[/QUOTE]
"The study ranked history standards in 49 states and the District of Columbia (Rhode Island has no mandatory history standards, only suggested guidelines) for “content and rigor” and “clarity and specificity” on a scale of A to F. Only South Carolina got straight A’s."

South Carolina, leading the States in Constitutional scholarship since December 20, 1860. :p

IMO, a good Constitutional quiz ought to ask - what is "Corruption of Blood." :)
 
Jun 2017
2,300
Connecticut
From my experience, having children who are in school, and who have recently graduated, I don' recall them learning a great deal about the U.S. Constitution. I am speaking of more than a cursory lesson every 4 or so years.
Flunking Civics: Why America's Kids Know So Little
Well education in the US is very different state by state. That being said I am surprised this is one of those differences. The constitution and even individual parts were greatly emphasized in my education(way too much tbh).
 
Jul 2013
9,383
San Antonio, Tx
Improving the US Constitution?


- get rid of the electoral college
- redistrict the House of Representatives some other way than via the state legislatures
- give Congress 60 days to deny a presidential appointment. If they don't vote in 60 days, the appointment is confirmed automatically
- in these days of gridlock I'd give serious consideration to abolishing the Senate and just have a unicameral Congress
- maybe a Westministerial government thereby ensuring the chief executive and the Congress were always of the same party
Mandating that the congress and president must be members of the same party sounds like an invitation to chaos, which, up until the recent election, was pretty much the way the country was going. Thesis, anti-thesis - the competition of ideas may be inefficient but results in better law-making in the long run.
 
Aug 2016
2,998
Dispargum
Mandating that the congress and president must be members of the same party sounds like an invitation to chaos, which, up until the recent election, was pretty much the way the country was going. Thesis, anti-thesis - the competition of ideas may be inefficient but results in better law-making in the long run.
Really? After reading the last 30 or 40 posts, you want to bring that up again? I've already made my case. I'll take comfort that most readers agree with four out of five of my ideas.
 
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Feb 2015
3,533
Caribbean
Mandating that the congress and president must be members of the same party sounds like an invitation to chaos, which, up until the recent election, was pretty much the way the country was going.
Chaos? Or are you projecting your own political bias? Wasit chaos in 2009 when a short-lived filibuster-proof majority passed an "unpopular" 2,000-page law?

You have a point, in theory, that in the Parliamentary approach, the voters can make things change more quickly, In the US, normally it takes more than one election to create extraordinary majorities.

However, in the US nearly 70% (rouinded) of the US federal budget is on autopilot, what the Congress calls "non discretionary" and that largest slice of the pie has been gradually growing for decades. As I have pointed out to you before - Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid gobble up over half the budget. This is was enacted by dead men who can no longer be voted out of office, and they are responsible for much more government action than anyone in office now can affect, or anyone is going to run will be able to affect.

The smaller 30% chunk that remains, the spending that can be re-allocated by the people serving now or who will run in the next election, called "discretionary," can change, but doesn't. If you look at a pie chart, year over year, the allocation changes in the most categories by fractions of one percent of the total. Sure, there is some finagling at the margins which is hyped to absurdity by the politicians and media and the creation or enhancement of a new idealism or the loss or diminution of an old idealism. In these reactions, I can see chaos - but not in governance.

It looks to me like a train without brakes racing down the tracks, dragging along a Congress and a President with no "discretion" over the course of the train,, hanging on to their seat (or at least a place in the baggage car) for deal life, because it is better to be on the train than run over by it.
 
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