"Give Up on the Constitution," Urges Constitutional Law Professorby Will Grigg
Jan. 04, 2013
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It costs about $60,000 a year to attend Georgetown University. Students who have enrolled in Professor Louis Michael Seidman’s class on constitutional law should demand a full rebate.
In a recent New York Times op-ed column, Professor Seidman urges Americans to “give up on the Constitution.” This isn’t because he believes that the more decentralized system under the Articles of Confederation was superior, or because the document has been effectively destroyed through decades of determined, contemptuous disregard by the federal government. His complaint is that the Constitution still presents impediments – however modest – to government action.
Siedman claims that what he calls “constitutional disobedience” by presidents, judges, and legislators has helped our country to “grow and prosper.” He contends that emancipating them from what he refers to as “constitutional bondage” would “give real freedom a chance.”
From this perspective, freedom is a product of government power, rather than a result of restraining what government can do. Seidman’s expansive confidence in that formula appears to be entirely uninformed by the experiences of the previous century, in which hundreds of millions of people were slaughtered by governments that exercised unlimited power. But why should we expect a Georgetown professor to be familiar with basic history?