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Bachmann’s Absurd Understanding of the Constitution

If you’re trying to court the wingnut vote, as every Republican candidate must now do, you can’t go wrong by attacking the courts as tyrants in black robes. But there’s something particularly ridiculous about doing that while simultaneously waxing eloquent about the wisdom of the founding fathers — the ones who deliberately made the judiciary independent and unaccountable to the voting public. Bachmann manages to do both:

Bachmann: I hold a biblical view of law. If you look at the original constitution and the founding documents of our country, it was clear that the founders wanted to separate power, they wanted to separate the presidency from the Supreme Court and from the Congress, because they thought that the Congress should be the most powerful of all the people’s voices because the people would have the ability to change out the members of the House every two years, originally the state legislatures would chose the Senators and they would have the state’s interest in mind, and the President was meant to execute the laws that Congress would put into place. The courts had a relatively minor function, it was to take current facts and apply it to the law that Congress had passed. So it was really a beautiful system that set up but it’s been distorted since then, and that’s what we need to do, get back to the original view of the Founders because it worked beautifully.

And the original view of the role of the judiciary remains intact today; it is Bachmann who wants to tear it down. As Hamilton made clear in Federalist 78, not only was the complete independence of the judiciary intentional, it was viewed as the key to maintaining a system that respects individual rights.

The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution. By a limited Constitution, I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority; such, for instance, as that it shall pass no bills of attainder, no ex-post-facto laws, and the like. Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.

Like all wingnuts, Bachmann claims to venerate a document she doesn’t understand at all.

Comments

  1. D. C. Sessions says

    Speaking of Bachmann claims to venerate a document she doesn’t understand at all. — that also applies to

    I hold a biblical view of law.

    as well — the Biblical legal system is entirely under the authority of unelected judges — and they were not even appointed or confirmed, and they couldn’t be impeached.

  2. shouldbeworking says

    And the biblical judges rendered decisions from which there was no appeal (until it was too late).

  3. raven says

    I hold a biblical view of law.

    She has no idea what that is either.

    Biblical law has a few dozen death penalty offenses. Most of which are not crimes today.

    Stoning disobedient children to death, adultery, being a nonvirgin bride, breaking the sabbath, atheism, heresy, apostasy, false prophecy, being a witch, and so on.

    It’s estimated that under biblical law, 297 million US citizens would be killed in a record breaking mass slaughter.

  4. says

    “and the President was meant to execute the laws that Congress would put into place”

    No mention of veto power, I wonder if in the opposite situation GOP Prez/DEM Congress she’d say “the President was meant to stop the power of the Congress”

  5. otrame says

    She wants to go back to the original? Did any of her handlers mention to her that she wouldn’t be allowed to run for President if they did?

  6. chilidog99 says

    Hey Ed, other than the statement of her biblical view, you neglected to include where she wants to tear down the judiciary ala Newt and Perry.

    Not that she didn’t say that, its just that your argument seems a bit incomplete.

  7. Tualha says

    Would be pretty ironic if Bachmann ever did end up in the White House. Maybe Martin Sheen could come to visit and give her the classic diatribe about what the Bible says that “Jed Bartlet” gave to “Jenna Jacobs”.

  8. MyPetSlug says

    I’m afraid it is you that does not understand Bachmann. She said it the first sentence, she has a “Biblical view of law”. This of course means that the constitution is absolutely perfect and unchanging and of course should only be read literally, though we do need an amendment to ban gay marriage and flag burning and a balanced budget. Anyway, also like the Bible, you shouldn’t be bothered to read it or understand it in context or the people who wrote it. That’s not necessary. Because just like the Bible, someone will interpret it correctly for you. And if someone disagrees with that interpretation, even judges, they aren’t disagreeing with Bachmann, they’re disagreeing with the Founders themselves, who we all know, since they wrote the constitution, are perfect and holy and were probably evangelical Christians.

    Only liberals mention the slavery part, or you know, that women didn’t have a right to vote because they hate the constitution. And listen people, this cuts both ways for Bachmann too. She might like to cruelly punish gays in unusual ways, but the constitution says she can’t. So, there are sacrifices on both sides.

  9. lpetrich says

    There’s a provision in the original Constitution that nobody seems to notice. Originally, the Vice President was the second-biggest Presidential vote-getter, but that was changed to the present system in 1804, with the 12th Amendment.

    Where are all the wingnuts about that provision?

    I’m sure that they’d like to see Obama – McCain, Clinton – Bush I, Clinton – Dole, etc., but not Bush II – Gore, Bush II – Kerry, Bush I – Dukakis, Reagan – Carter, Reagan – Mondale, etc.

  10. keithb says

    Today I heard a clip where Newt was defending his judicial views by quoting the Federalist papers where it talks about the courts being the weakest branch. We should ask what the courts should do if Congress passes a bill of attainder.

  11. d cwilson says

    You have to realize that Bachmann is a graduate of the Oral Roberts Diploma Mill, where the answer to every test question is “Jesus”.

    MyPetSlug’s assessment of Bachmann’s constitutional understanding isn’t that far off, except he forgot about the part where Jesus rode his dinosaur into Philadelphia to deliver the Constitution to the Founding Fathers in person. Bachmann was probably taught that the Founding Fathers were the New Disciples of Jesus, chosen to spread the word and create his perfect society on Earth.

    This is just further confirmation of my theory that today’s wingnuts believe that the period between 1787 and 1850 was a free market/theocratic utopia and any changes to the laws or the Constitution since then have taken us away from that perfection. Hence why they’re fine with the 12th amendment, but not with any of the others that have come since.

  12. says

    Bachmann was probably taught that the Founding Fathers were the New Disciples of Jesus, chosen to spread the word and create his perfect society on Earth.

    Of course, if you asked the Founders themselves, they would freely admit that the Constitution was a flawed document that was put together by men from different states with different agendas who compromised to craft the best system that they could, with the hopes that those who came after them would work to improve it.

    At the Pennsylvania ratifying convention, Benjamin Rush declared that the Constitution came from the hand of God. In response, Robert Whitehill said that he “regretted that so imperfect a work should have been ascribed to God.”

  13. says

    This is just further confirmation of my theory that today’s wingnuts believe that the period between 1787 and 1850 was a free market/theocratic utopia and any changes to the laws or the Constitution since then have taken us away from that perfection.

    d cwilson, I saw that with some of Sarah Palin’s rhetoric, where she claimed that Barack Obama wants to transform America, whereas she and other conservatives want to restore it.

    The dates they pick tend to vary though. I remember watching some Tea Party person getting inverviewed on CNN a couple of years ago. He was asked what it was he and the movement wanted, and he answered “We want to take this country back to where it was about a hundred years ago.”

    These people not only seem to believe that some American utopia existed at some point in the past, but that if they could be magically transported back to that time, they would all be prosperous and happy to a degree they could never achieve today.

    I remember my dad used to say “The best time to live in this country was the 1840’s.” He could never explain why though, nor did he seem to consider that for some segments of the population, the 1840’s weren’t all that good a time to live.

  14. Akira MacKenzie says

    The dates they pick tend to vary though. I remember watching some Tea Party person getting inverviewed on CNN a couple of years ago. He was asked what it was he and the movement wanted, and he answered “We want to take this country back to where it was about a hundred years ago.”

    You mean back when being a white, male, heterosexual, Christian (Preferably a Protestant) gave you license to abuse anyone who wasn’t any of the above?

  15. bksea says

    “Bachmann: I hold a biblical view of law”

    You do not need to read any further. She is immediately disqualified from being president.

  16. says

    The Constitution: A perfect document constructed by god-like Founding Fathers that must be worshiped endlessly, and that also must be amended in about twenty different ways.

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