As the wingnuts continue to rant and rave incoherently about Justice Ginsburg’s “treason” in daring to suggest — gasp! — that Egypt might look to the experience of many nations in forming their new constitution, you can watch the full interview in this video. You’ll see her praising the U.S. Constitution over and over again. Here’s the video:
Volokh explains why the wingnuts are utterly full of shit:
This criticism strikes me as quite misplaced. Justice Ginsburg swore an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and I suspect she thinks that the U.S. Constitution, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. political practice, works pretty well in the U.S. But why should she (or we) think that the 1787 constitutional text, coupled with the 27 amendments that have come in fits and spurts since then, would necessarily work well for a completely different country today?
To be sure, our Constitution has the merit of having endured with only one really huge constitutional crisis — the Civil War — for a long time, and of having produced a very rich and free country; that’s good. But much of that, I suspect, comes not from the constitutional text, but from the constitutional traditions that have emerged since then, both in the courts and elsewhere; adopting the U.S. Constitution would not adopt those traditions.
And it might well be that Egypt might be well-served by a very different approach than the U.S. Constitutions — for instance, with regard to relations between the federal government and more local governments, with regard to whether to have a Presidential system or a parliamentary system, with regard to how hard the constitution would be to amend, with regard to how judges are selected and how long they serve, with regard to how the President is selected, with regard to the relationship between the two chambers of the legislature, with regard to whether all executive officials work for the President or whether some are independently elected or selected, with regard to just how to craft the criminal justice system, and so on. (And here I just speak of the big picture questions, and not more specific details.) Remember that even our own states’ constitutions differ in many respects, especially with regard to separation of powers and the selection and tenure of judges, from the U.S. Constitution. Again, that the constitutional text, coupled with a wide range of extratextual political and legal practices, has worked well for us over 200+ years doesn’t tell us that it would work well for Egypt for the coming years.
Nor do I think that there’s something disloyal or bad for American policy for an American Justice to make such statements to a foreign country. Rather, I think it’s just sensible and sensibly (not excessively or falsely) modest.
You’d think those pearls would be ground to dust by now by the perpetual clutching.