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Is the U.S. Constitution Too Old for its Own Good?

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​Question: What do the following provisions have in common? Women's rights; Right to work; Right to education; Presumption of innocence; Right to unionize or strike.

Answer: None of them is mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

Could it be the case that the original legal document of our country is getting a little ... stale?

It's a fair question, if based on a comprehensive new study conducted by David Stephen Law, professor of law and political science at Washington University, along with a colleague at the University of Virginia.

The professors' bottom-line finding: although there once was a time when foreign countries sought to emulate the U.S. Constitution as a model for their own constitutions, that is no longer the case. Now, more than ever, foreign countries are ignoring America's Founding Fathers as they look toward other sources when constructing their bylaws.

The authors analyzed 729 constitutions adopted by 188 countries from 1946 to 2006, considering 237 variables regarding various rights and ways to enforce them. The study will be published in June in the New York University Law Review.

"It has been suggested, with growing frequency, that the United States may be losing its influence over constitutionalism in other countries because it is increasingly out of sync with an evolving global consensus on issues of human rights," write the authors in the paper's abstract. "...In this Article, we show empirically that other countries have, in recent decades, become increasingly unlikely to model either the rights-related provisions or the basic structural provisions of their own constitutions upon those found in the U.S. Constitution."

In other words, the democracies of other nations are now less similar to America's than they were during World War II.

Compare that with 1987, when -- according to Adam Liptak's recent New York Times column that featured the Wash U study -- Time magazine reported that more that 160 of the 170 countries in existence "have written charters modeled directly or indirectly on the U.S. version."

Writes Liptak: "The United States Constitution is terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights."

In contrast, other nations rewrite their entire constitutions every nineteen years, on average, according to Liptak -- and, coincidentally, Thomas Jefferson once expressed in a letter to James Madison that every constitution "naturally expires at the end of 19 years."

Liptak also reports that the Supreme Court no longer has the worldwide influence it once did, and that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg once said: "I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012." Instead, she suggested looking at the South African Constitution, the Canadian Charter or Rights and Freedoms or the European Convention on Human Rights as models.

One last fun trivia question in today's category of World Constitutions. How many countries protect the right to bear arms?

Answer: Three. (The United States, Guatemala and Mexico).


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14 comments
Kittys_Conscience
Kittys_Conscience

So, you’re looking around and noticing that things don’t seem to be going very well out there. The economy sucks. Jobs have been off-shored. Major metro areas are being “Detroited” one after another. You owe a ton on your credit cards and the payments are killing you. And you’ve got questions….

Why is the Federal Reserve a privately owned Bank Run by Jews?

Why is the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Run by Jews?

Why is the Bank of England Run by Jews?

Why were Jewish Owned and Controlled Financial firms bailed out and Americans stuck with the bill?

Why are there so many Jews in the government in key positions?

Why have the Jews in government passed so many anti-white laws?

Why Are The Banks Run by Jews?

Why is the Media Run by Jews?

Why is Hollywood Run by Jews?

Why are Educational Institutions Run by Jews?

Why are the Courts Run by Jews?

Why are the majority of the Trade Unions Run by Jews?

Why are the largest Corporations all Run by Jews?

Why did 80% of ALL Stimulus dollars go to Jewish Controlled Corporations?

Why is America's Foreign Policy Run by Jews?

Why is AIPAC the most powerful lobbyist group in Washington?

Why when so many Americans are jobless, homeless and in poverty is aid to Israel being increased?

Why do the Jews Hate Islam so much?

Why do the Jews Hate Christians so much?

Why do the Jews Hate Whites so much?

Why do the Jews Hate Blacks so much?

Why do the Jews Hate everyone but their own tribe so much?

Why does Israel have over 200 nuclear weapons but won't sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement, allowed to have nuclear weapons but they force our leaders to have our soldiers fight and die in wars they start, to kill their enemies, sovereign nations that are of zero threat to the United States?

What are the Jews doing — and how does it affect me?

But what’s causing it all? Why is this happening?

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

Well so much for being the "leader of the free world".  And now with the rise of people who want to take everything back to at least the 18th century, if not the Dark Ages, with their desire to do away with womens rights, to keep their noses in everyones bedrooms, and the general anti science..this country is going backwards far too fast for my taste.  These are things that are supposed to be done and over with, yet it keeps coming back.  Religion is corrupting the political process and I am sorry, but a book written in the Middle Ages is not something to base a modern society on.  It does not take into account all that we have learned in the past bunch of centuries.  We need to go forward, not back.  It is time to start clean and free of the past which is littered with the broken bodies of those who were unlucky enough to fall under the steamroller of time.  Yes, the Constitution is a great document, but in the end it is just a piece of paper that is over 200 years old.  Perhaps it is time to reboot it to take into account everything that we have learned in that time.  To ensure we do not slide back into a new Dark Age.  Progress is not a bad thing, it is an honorable thing that the founding fathers understood but apparently we have forgotten.  Yes, they are rolling over in their graves for they did not build this nation upon the nonsense that currently occupies the public discourse.   

Jewbag
Jewbag

I JUST ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT FUCKING STAND IT WHEN SOME FUCKING DOUCHEBAG PARROTS THAT FOX SHIT ABOUT SHARIA LAW. The GD jews got their hand up the back of your shirt moving your mouth!

KITTY
KITTY

The Constitution is akin to The Ten Commandments and anyone who tries to change or weaken it should be hanged for treason.  All of the liberals who have served on the Supreme Court have done all they can to interpret it in ways that weaken our bedrock principles of laws by leglislating from the bench. Our anti-Christ president would destroy the Constitution if he had a chance and would surely replace it with Sharia law, the most evil and barbaric set of laws ever written by mankind . Our Founding Fathers are surely spinning in their graves knowing their priceless document is being threatened by the ultra-liberals it was designed to serve and protect. God have mercy on us all.

Intelmakesadifference
Intelmakesadifference

I just saw a similar analysis by an author on the Daily Show recently.  I completely agree with SOME of the suppositions these professors make - the founders could not have foreseen how successful the Constitution would be at making itself antiquated.  However, I’m not certain that ALL of the provisions in the constitution people think are outdated actually are. Both current professorial review, Supreme Court decisions, and case law have consistently backed the understanding that the controversial 2nd Amendment was not placed behind the 1st by accident.  The State by its nature is entitled to a superiority of violence, but not necessarily a monopoly.  The people’s (individual's) ability to guarantee their own rights and freedoms, by force if necessary, is secondary only to their first authoritative power to use their voice and vote.  It is critical to maintain that distinction and provide a default mechanism by which the people may assert the final authority. At the end of the day some freedoms are inalienable but not all are enforceable.  The people must retain the final authority, down to the individual level, to assert their rights and freedoms if necessary.  Ask those currently in Syria or recently in the Iranian revolution whether or not they agree.  Ask the Libyans who obtained weapons only to topple Qaddafi what they think about the ability to reassert their rights. We must be very cautious that in our desire to be “modern” we don’t throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.  The constitution needs reform to provide real protections for lifestyle choice and individual human rights, but at the end of the day we still live on planet Earth.  We live with other humans, who are flawed, and can and do misuse their authority…sometimes with violence.

Oy_Iz_Me
Oy_Iz_Me

My parents and their parents and all my brothers and sisters and their parents were killed in the holocaust. Every one of my relatives and their relatives was killed. Every one in Europe was killed. I was 6 months old at the time and remember it like it was yesterday. I was gassed six times and then thrown in the ovens seven times. I survived by eating paint chips and burnt coal.

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

 Okay why is there all this ranting and raving about the jews?  This isnt 1930s Germany.  Oh and for the record, most jews would be really upset about being lumping in with the Israelis, they view them as nuts.The conspiracy of the jews running the world in some secret cabal is just more lunacy from the tin foil hat brigade.  It was not true through out history and shockingly still is not true now.You crazy kids need to find some new subject to be bigoted against.

FrankWeltner
FrankWeltner

I CANT STAND IT WHEN THOSE JEWBAGS MAKE FUN OF MY MICROSCOPICALLY SMALL PENIS

KrazyKitty
KrazyKitty

Your points are utterly contradictory.  For starters the first ten amendments of the constitution, aka "the bill of rights" is just 10 of 27 amendments, and 4 of those outside the bill of rights involve the instatement of the rights of former slaves and 2 involve prohibition and the subsequent repeal of it.  The US consitution is still revolutionary despite it being one of the least changing, most flawed, and most corrected documents in world history!!!  Before you parrot the same tired talking points try reading the thing you cherish first. Then you criticize "liberal" justices "legislating from the bench".  The same justices that in 20 years have handed down 2 to 1 in favor of more strict interpretations of the Constitution.  Not to mention recent decisions reinforcing the individual mandate of the 2nd Amendment (D.C. vs. Heller) as well as favoring strict interpretation of corporate personhood (Citizens United vs. FEC) in contradiction to the current administration you claim to hate and allowing Republicans to raise millions of dollars to defeat the supposed anit-christ.  You're a classic example of someone who demonizes anything you disagree with instead of attempting to find the reasoning behind it.  You know the who, the what, and the where, but you will never know why.

And to top it all off you bring in the founding fathers, 4 of whom are directly quotable in their belief that the consitution is a "living" document subject to change and not etched in stone, unlike your sacred 10 commandments.  Thomas Jefferson and George Washington would roll in their graves if they realized how people like yourself have perverted it through the warped combination of religious zealotry with consitutional demagoguery.  People like you stand out like a sore thumb.  You hate (and are terrified of) change and your response is to worship everything old through your distorted view of history.  YOU are the sharia law you claim to hate.  YOU are the Ayatollah you can't stand.  YOU are the tyrant that WOULD HANG EVERYONE YOU DISAGREE WITH because YOU are incapable of forming a valid argument.

How does it feel Kitty to be a dying breed?  The world is moving on without you and those like you are stuck in the 19th century trying to figure out why the 21st doesn't make sense.  Everyday young people across the globe are realizing the solution is to give people more choice, more freedom, more leeway in how they live their lives while you would love to give them less.  Enjoy drinking your krazy koolaid with your every increasing isolation on planet earth.

Jewbag
Jewbag

Sharia Law? WTF kind of fucking jewish Talmudic feces is that shit? Fucking Sharia Law? Get your head out of your pussy. We're under Talmudic Law ever since the fucking jewbags usurped our government. Sharia Law, fucking piss off and fucking die you fucking loser!

Your Momma
Your Momma

"The Constitution is akin to The Ten Commandments and anyone who tries to change or weaken it should be hanged for treason."

Like those who executed the Bill of Rights? Those are an amendment of themselves. Not to mention there is a provision for amendments, so changes are PART of the constitution. 

"All of the liberals who have served on the Supreme Court have done all they can to interpret it in ways that weaken our bedrock principles of laws by leglislating from the bench. "

Which is an example of something that may be remedied through amendments. 

2nd amendment is something that is constantly attacked with ridiculous claims that it doesn't mean what it plainly says. The risk is, an attempt to solidify the right through an amendment also opens up changes that you may not desire as well  so it's a huge risk. 

Pepper_Peter
Pepper_Peter

Being kicked out of 79 nations is just a conspiracy too.

Jew_Boy
Jew_Boy

Hey jewboy, didn't you mean to make a reference to some body fluid like urine or feces like what all jews do best?

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