Will President McCain Enforce the Thirteenth Amendment?

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There are a lot of reasons to worry about the sort of Supreme Court justices that John McCain will nominate if he's elected president. But slavery isn't one of them, no matter what Whoopi Goldberg has to say about it. On The View this morning, after listening to McCain make an unusually comatose case for judges "who strictly interpret the Constitution," Goldberg asked, "Should I be worried about being a slave? … Because certain things happened in the Constitution that you had to change."

McCain's response? "That's an excellent point." I don't know if excellent is the word I'd use. When conservatives complain about judges "legislating from the bench," they mean protecting rights that aren't explicitly listed in the Constitution, such as privacy (or liberty of contract or the right to educate your child in a private school). Unless McCain starts campaigning to pass a new amendment reinstating slavery, I think Whoopi can rest easy. Besides, if she had read Lysander Spooner or Frederick Douglass, she'd know that slavery was already illegal before the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Watch the whole sorry thing here.

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  1. Who fucking wastes time watching the View or cares what Whoopie goldfuck says? Don’t you have any standards here?

  2. “Who fucking wastes time watching the View . . . ”

    Apparently millions.

  3. I think Barbara deliberately surrounds herself with co-hosts who will make her look smart by comparison.

    I understand there’s a new one who isn’t quite up to Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s intellectual level. Just Wow.

  4. Wait, you mean a Presidential candidate didn’t know enough about the constitution to simply say, “When I say strict constitutionalists I mean the ENTIRE constitution, amendments included.” Shocked I say, Shocked.

  5. Mistake #1: responding to something called “Whoopie.”

  6. Point the first:

    Whoopi Goldberg is a comedian.

    A comedian’s primary job is to entertain and induce laughter by pointing our absurdities or exaggerations that are not readily apparent without there being a joke to point them out.

    Non-reflective Constitution worship is absurd because the document enshrined the ability to enslave persons. The joke points that out, whether intentionally or not.

    Point the Second:

    When we have to wait for the hosts at The View or The Daily Show to rough up a pol or two, because the MSM can’t be bothered, more important shit is wrong than whether Whoopi fucking Goldberg’s jokes betray an erudite constitutional analysis.

  7. By Whoopi’s logic, we should also worry about strict constitutionalists banning alcohol. Upholding the constitution means upholding it with the ammendments, like #13 and #21. A living constitution means banning marijuana with a tax. Slavery won’t reapear under strict constitutionalist judges unless the entire country gets messed up enough to repeal the 13th ammendment. When judges believe in a living constitution, it could return if just 5 supreme court judges think it should.

  8. Even if slavery came back tomorrow, Whoopi is so damn ugly and old no one would buy her anyway.

  9. If you read Alan Keyes, you’d “know” abortion is already illegal.

    Of course, the SCOTUS disagreeing, as they disagreed with Douglass and Spooner back in the day, is a pretty big practical consideration you don’t seem to be considerating.

  10. Terry, I’d hit it.

  11. I’m with Elemenope, it’s a sad state of affairs when the “real journalists” are so asleep at the wheel that we have to rely on daytime talk shows to throw some hardballs. As flat as Whoopi’s quip might have been, I have to give them credit.

  12. I don’t really care to grapple with the ideas set forth by Whoopi Goldberg, but I will take exception to the statement: “Besides, if she had read Lysander Spooner or Frederick Douglass, she’d know that slavery was already illegal before the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.”

    Slavery was certainly allowed by the framers when the Constitution was written and ratified. I don’t understand how it’s not plain when the Constitution states:

    “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person”

    I can’t just write it off as a coincidence that many states were in the business of importing people(i.e. putting Africans into bondage and forcing them to cultivate tobacco w/ out pay) and that, coupled with this fact, the above passage can only seem to indicate that the Constitution was, at best, neutral about slavery as a national issue.
    Douglas and Spooner could argue all day about whether or not slavery SHOULD be allowed, but to argue that it expressly COULD not be allowed doesn’t pass a common sense reading of the Constitution as it was originally written.

  13. Regarding “legislating from the bench”, Whoopi asked, “Did you say that you wanted strict Constitutionalists?”

    McCain answered, “No, I want people who interpret the Constitution the way our Founding Fathers envisioned.”

    To me, that sounds like he was excluding the amendments … otherwise, the answer to that question would be, “Yes”.

    Or maybe he just doesn’t listen to black people very well.

  14. Her question shows how ridiculous and desperate the media has become in this election.

    Slavery, for god’s sake.

  15. I’d like to see her interviewed on a Jaywalking segment.

  16. When conservatives complain about judges “legislating from the bench,” they mean protecting rights that aren’t explicitly listed in the Constitution, such as privacy (or liberty of contract or the right to educate your child in a private school).

    When conservatives complain about judges “legislating from the bench,” they simply mean interpreting law in ways they don’t like – particularly if it looks liberal.

    Case in point, how many conservatives concerned about “activist judges” got wound up about Clarence Thomas in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld? Eight of the nine justices of the Court agreed that the Executive Branch does not have the power to hold indefinitely a U.S. citizen without basic due process protections enforceable through judicial review. Who was that ninth judge, and why did they chose judicial activism in such a clear violation of Fifth Amendment? And why did he get a free pass from conservatives concerned about “judicial activism”?

  17. ELemenope-

    Point the second: Point entirely well taken.

    Point the First: Point not entirely well taken. Why not?

    1. Whoopi Goldberg is not a comedian. She does not entertain and she does not produce laughter.

    2. She is entriely bereft of the nuance of which you write, “inducing laughter by pointing [out] our absurdities or exaggerations that are not readily apparent without there being a joke to point them out.” You hint at this yourself, “whether intentional or not.”

    3. Oh, yeah, “Non reflective Constituion worship is absurd,”-them’s is fighting words. Don’t worry though because I am beholden to the non-aggression principle.

    How about reflective constitution worship?

    It is my understanding that Douglas argued that the constitution does not endorse slavery. He argued that a purely literal, textual reading of the constitution, without regard to the intent of the framers or how the issue had been commonly understood, warranted the conclusion that slavery was constitutionally protected. He acknowledged that this intrepretation was not the only one.

    Funny thing, every time I read the thing, I can’t find the word slavery.

  18. SrJenkins-

    You would be speaking of the great Clarence THomas.

  19. Gmatts-

    I beg to differ. First, have you thoroughly read the writings of Douglas? How about his great July 4, 1852 address to the Rochester, NY anti-slavery coalition? How about Spooner?

    The reality is that the word slavery is not in the constitution. There is no plain language stating that the ownership of Africans shall be a protected right. Looking to the plain meaning of the words contained in the document in question is constitutional and statutory construction 101. Courts look to the plain meaning of the words, usually first, in undertaking their interpretive task. Of course it is not the only measuring stick for coming up with the final interpretation, but it is basic, elementary and fundamental. Justice Breyer is actually pretty good at explaining the types of measuring sticks or interpretive questions that courts do and should employ in interpreting a particular statutory or constitutional text.

    Sure, the views of Douglas and Spooner were not the norm by any means. But there have been cases where courts have decided statutory and constitutional interpretive questions solely upon the basis of the plain, literal meaning of the words without resort to the consideration of other questions such as the intent of the framers or the testimony at a congressional hearing, etc.. In those case, the courts will declare words to the effect that, “had the legislature [or the framers] intended to say so and so, they would have so provided.”

    My point is that Douglas and Spooner were not fools or idiots.

  20. “Goldberg asked, “Should I be worried about being a slave?”

    Ain’t you now bitch?

  21. According to the plain and literal meaning of the words in the constitution, I see no reason why the government can’t tap your phone lines whenever they damn well please.

    In point of fact, that was Taft’s reasoning in Olmstead.

    Which is why Constitutional literalism is dumb.

  22. “Which is why Constitutional literalism is dumb.”

    Mapp V. Ohio wasn’t the progeny of literalism?

  23. Elemenope-

    But that reasoning is upside down-given that the powers granted to the gov are enumerated and defined there being no general power to just legislate as they see fit and tapping my phone ain’t one of the enumerated powers.

    Sure, my position is unless the power is spefically granted to the gov, then too bad for the “there oughta be a law crowd” which, I am sure you would agree, can often annoy you-maybe not quite as much as me, though.

    Yeah, we all “know” what they meant with Article IV, Section 2s, “no person held for service or labor”. I am not saying that I agree with Douglas and Spooner, but I certainly do not consider them to be intellectual lightweights, I trust that you do not either.

    Moreover, if you were a judge in the 1850s presiding over a case to determine a claim by the representatives of a Georgian slaveowner under the Fugitive Slave act, and the lawyer for the runaway slave made the textual argument that the constitution does not protect slavery, please don’t tell me that you would call his argument absurd and return the runaway to bondage instead of liberating him.

  24. “Will McCain enforce the 13th amendment?”
    Well, given that Wilson, FDR, Truman, and Lyndon Johnson didn’t enforce it, then I think it’s a valid question. Of course, this stems from my view that the draft is a form of state slavery,a view which is controversial, to say the least.

  25. I agree with you economist. We can quibble about slavery (slaves don’t get paid), but it’s certainly involuntary servitude.

    But here’s the thing: mandatory military service most certainly was not considered slavery under the original understanding that existed when the Constitution, and later the 13th Amendment, were drafted.

    Good think the Constitution is a living document.

  26. Mandatory military service is still not considered slavery today. No court ruled that the draft was unconstitutional, the government just decided to do away with it anyway.

  27. joe,

    I’m curious what you mean by living document. Does that give legislators/litigators carte blanche for any policy they can give even the most absurd justification for? I’m thinking here of the abuses done in the name of the interstate commerce clause and the unenumerated right to privacy. How does a living document advocate draw the line to what is and is not constitutional?

  28. I agree whole heartedly, I mean leftist and liberals believe themselves to be the “intellectual”, well read crowd. But more than once I have been stunned with the utter ignorance in the so called “Educated”, do gooders. I just plead that these very intelligent victimized academics inform themselves, just a bit…Pretty please.
    And, by the way, I am by no means a McCain supporter.

  29. Bramblyspam’s post sums it up nicely. The Thirteenth Amendment prohibits involuntary servitude, of which conscription is a pretty clear example. I feel that any judge who allows the draft is failing to enforce the Thirteenth Amendment. Is there any cogent response to that besides “it’s a living document”?

  30. “Is there any cogent response to that besides “it’s a living document”?”

    You won’t hear one from me.

  31. “Good think (sic) the Constitution is a living document.”

    EOP

  32. “Does that give legislators/litigators carte blanche for any policy they can give even the most absurd justification for?”

    Bussing anyone? I live in a city where 87% of the public school attendees are kids of color, yet the government still imposes bussing. How fucked up is that?

  33. The actual words were “slave again?”

    The proper response was:

    “When were you a slave?”

    Whatever his experiences in Vietnam, I doubt McCain has the balls to nominate and support someone who believes in enforcing the Constitution as written. He cares too much about what people such as Goldberg think of him.

  34. “The reality is that the word slavery is not in the constitution. There is no plain language stating that the ownership of Africans shall be a protected right.”

    I agree that the word “slavery” is not in the Constitution. However, when you look at the passage I quoted is it not plain to you who the “persons” mentioned are and what exactly the “Importation” is in reference to? If you don’t think it’s slavery, then what is being stated?

    “My point is that Douglas and Spooner were not fools or idiots.”

    I don’t recall stating that I thought they were, nor did I mean to imply that. Therefore I’m not sure exactly what it is that you “beg to differ” with me on. All that I meant was that they were arguing from a rather weak foundation. Smart people can, and do, do just that all the time, especially when arguing law. Sometimes you draw the short straw in an argument.
    They were arguing for a position in the Constitution that, however noble, simply did not exist. They were arguing for a Constitution as they would have written it, but unfortunately they did not. And those that did write and ratify it sadly allowed for certain people to buy and own other human beings.
    So that’s why I took issue with Root’s assertion that if I, or Whoopi, just read Douglas and Spooner that I’d realize that slavery was illegal before the 13th Ammendment was ratified.

  35. I tend to think that in some cases the constitution should be interpreted in terms of modern norms. The conclusion I have come to is that the Negro is not only fully human, but that he should be allowed to own property and initiate legal action.

    I admit that I came to this conclusion only after a great deal of soul searching. It is possible that a Negro might one day run for the Presidency of the United States. I cannot find anything in the law which would prohibit him from doing so.

  36. It is perfectly true that Repugnican leaders claim to be against judicial activism, when in fact they only oppose it when the other side does it. Does that mean that judicial activism is a meaningless concept, and we shouldn’t worry about it?

    The Dumbocrat leaders claim to be agaisnt the culture of corruption in Washintgon, but the fact is that they only object to corruption when the other guys do it. Does this mean that corruption is a meaningless concept, and we shouldn’t worry about it?

  37. I absolutely agree with joe that the Constitution is a document that needs to be adapted to changing conditions from time to time…through the amendment process, requiring 2/3 of Congress and 3/4 of the states to agree, rather than just a black-robed meddler who gets the itch to “do the right thing”.

  38. cunnivore —

    So, then, you think it is necessary to pass a Constitutional amendment *every time* a new piece of technology or new social development alters the status quo in an unexpected way or exposes latent ambiguities in constitutional principles?

    Me, I like my constitution to stay a readable length.

  39. ELemenope-

    I’m curious. Please tell mne what you would have done if you were a judge in the 1850s presented with the case I outlined in my 9:15 pm post. I don’t have to tell you that I would free the runaway citing the douglas/spooner argument and also relying upon the proposition that, even if one credits the argument that the constitution protects slavery, that position is at odds with the fouding principles, the Declaration of independence and the philosophical underpinnings of the revolution. So, yes, I would base my ruling not just on the plain, literal words in the constitution, but I would also turn to the founding era, as a whole, and conclude that the preservatrion of slavery was not an animating force driving the rebellion/secession/founding.

  40. ELemenope-

    I take it you agree with me on Whoopi’s talent?

  41. What Mad Max and others on Obama’s internet reaction staff fail to mention that McCain isn’t the one to worry about. Obama’s “national service” system is a clever euphemism for serfdom. And then there is Obama already proving he won’t worry about the First or Second Amendment, so yeah McCain isn’t the one to worry about here.

  42. Whoopi is a slave to liberalism and left wing thinking. And she doesn’t even know it…

  43. I take it you agree with me on Whoopi’s talent?

    Oh come on, she was *great* as Guinan on ST:TNG.

    I’m curious. Please tell mne what you would have done if you were a judge in the 1850s presented with the case I outlined in my 9:15 pm post. I don’t have to tell you that I would free the runaway citing the douglas/spooner argument and also relying upon the proposition that, even if one credits the argument that the constitution protects slavery, that position is at odds with the fouding principles, the Declaration of independence and the philosophical underpinnings of the revolution.

    I don’t believe I could have been a judge enforcing *that* constitution. I’m sorry but the text leads one easily to believe that:

    1. They meant slavery when they were using all those cute euphemisms about importation and “other persons” and odd fractions.
    2. The Fugitive Slave Law, such as it was, was constitutional under the Commerce Clause

    If I were on the bench, I’d have to rule as such. But I wouldn’t be on the bench. I’d be working the underground railroad.

    It reminds me of a thought experiment i had in Corruption & Public Policy class, where the professor asked me what I would do if I were a border agent. I responded, in all honesty, I can’t answer the question because I could never be a border agent, and so the subjunctive set of possible acts that me-as-border-agent-would-do is empty.

  44. Um…isn’t this the same Whoopi who was reduced to starring in “The New Hollywood Squares” or some other such tripe?

    For my money, I’ll still take Paul Lynde.

  45. “Thats an excellent point” is management speak for ‘you are am idiot’. Its used by management when a subordinate makes a stupid statement or asks a stupid question in a public setting and the manager does not want to embarrass the individual by bringing attention to their mistake.

    After the remark, Woopie is beaming. I started laughing at how clueless she is.

  46. Chad,

    “Mad Max and others on Obama’s internet reaction staff”

    If I’m on Obama’s staff, where’s my money? Did it get lost in the mail? Please look into this for me. I’ll make it worth your while – I’ll even have you removed from the Secret Democratic List of Republicans to send to Guantanamo.

  47. Typical Demopublican stupidity – anyone who says anything mean about a Republican is obviously a Democratic plant, and vice-versa.

  48. Isn’t Obama the one proposing involuntary servitude with his mandatory service requirement for young adults?

  49. So is the presidential oath of office (promising to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution) optional? I can’t think of a more egregious example of blind Constitution worship.

  50. Let us not forget that in the format of five “host(esse)s” and one guest, and only one of the former being friendly to the latter, the suspect tends to feel as if he’s being grilled by the rapid-fire questions. Several times, McCain had to beg to be allowed to finish answering a question.

    Given a more relaxed interview, I’d have hoped that I’d be able to have worded things a bit differently. Rather than talking about the founding fathers per se, use this sort of wording:

    I want judges who will examine the Constitution and laws with the mindset that the words in those documents mean what they meant when they were written. Obviously, there is some room for interpretation when technological advances come along, such as when the Army Air Corps was converted into a separate Air Force, despite language in the constitution authorizing Congress to create armies and a navy, but no explicit wording about an air force, as airplanes did not yet exist.

    Then if Whoopie asked about “being a slave again”, I’d tell her that the Thirteenth Amendment makes slavery unconstitutional, so she need not fear the judges I’ll appoint. Only judges that think it’s a living document could somehow find a way to reinterpret the plain language to put her “back” in chains, (as inner city radio DJs exhort their listners will be the result of electing Republicans, despite the fact that even when the GOP held the White House and both houses of Congress, no law to enslave blacks was introduced, much less passed or signed).

  51. “‘Thats an excellent point’ is management speak for ‘you are am idiot’.”

    No I think that you are thinking of “That’s an excellent question”.

    I think McCain was sincere. He said, “I understand your point” first which is human-speak for “You didn’t communicate very well but I know what you are getting at”. What he was doing was taking a charitable interpretation of her miscommunication to mean something valid. He then said it was an excellent point, referring to the charitable interpretation.

    Her exact quote was.
    “Should I be worried about being a slave. Would we return to slavery. Because certain things in the Constitution happened that had to change.”

    Which McCain charitably interpreted to be a complaint about the constitution as originally written and signe by the framers.

    It’s clear that Whoopi isn’t too bright and doesn’t understand what strict constitutionalist believe. However McCains statement about interpreting the constitution as the framers envisioned can certainly be uncharitably interpreted as Whoopi did.

    Goldberg was using an intellectually dishonest tool of argumentation, uncharitable interpretaion of your opponent, to put McCain on the spot. McCain parried her with a charitable interpretation of her position.

  52. Blacks were not the only people to be slaves.
    They were the last be freed

  53. LOL, McSame is a complete idiot! Lie after lie, Lies on top of lies yet sheeple still lap it up right from his hand. I just dont see how anyone could be so ignorant.

    Jiff
    http://www.anonymize.us.tc

  54. Muslims are enslaving blacks right now, today.

    I suppose it’s better than killing all the black men and raping the black woman, but it’s still sad.

    But talking about that isn’t PC.

  55. “”Thats an excellent point” is management speak for ‘you are an idiot’.”

    Yes, the same as when a southern woman says of another, “Well, bless her heart.”

    Translation: “Screw that g.d. f bitch.”

  56. Does anyone really care about Karen Johnson’s inanities?

    Send in the clowns, Whoopi…

  57. It’s a shame that the 13th amendment is all that’s keeping Whoppi Goldberg out of a cotton field.

    Asses that dumb usually make great fieldhands.

  58. Wittingly or not, I think Whoopie was making fun of a bit of carelessness on McCain’s part. He said he wanted judges to interpret the constitution as our founders intended. Whoopie gave him an opportunity to correct himself and say it should be interpreted as the framers intended. Instead he let the moment get away from him.

  59. Actually, both candidates plan to implement some kind of involuntary servitude national service program.

  60. Who names their kid “Whoopi”?

    Hello, Whoopi? Most Americans today didn’t even have ancestors here in the US when slavery was happening.

    Give that tired subject a BIG REST and move on.
    It has ZERO relevance to ME….

    Goldberg’s comments, viewpoints, and race baiting are huge setbaacks to a quaint notion as “progress”…

    Methinks she is a self serving blowhard, along the lines of the good Reverend Al… The simple reason is that if there was racial harmony,as most Americans would prefer, rather than racial division and strife, the good Reverend and the likes of Whoopi would be out of jobs, and out of money…

    Will we never be able to live without reference to slavery?

    Why not try a real job where blacks and whites work together side by side actually doing great things for America, and the world, like being a cop, fireman, soldier, sailor, IBM, or Cisco worker.

  61. Just thought I’d weigh in. “A living Constitution” was first promoted in the Oval Office by Woodrow Wilson. He used it to get the country into war, create goon squads, trample on the civil liberties of American citizens, and create both a socialist planned economy and the world’s first propaganda ministry.

    “Strict constructionist” does not mean “textual literalist”. Burning down straw men is fun, but

  62. “Who names their kid “Whoopi”?”
    No one. “Whoopi” changed her name to “Whoopi”.
    She also had four abortions or more.
    She is not worth listening to except if your a nuts and sluts* student.

    “Nuts and sluts” a term used for pschy 101.

  63. Sadly, McCain couldn’t say, “are you serious you dumb fucking dunce.” Hence the dumb as shit response.

  64. “Should I be worried about being a slave?”

    Proper response:

    “Only to your own ignorance of what is in the Constitution and you own predjudice against Republicans”

  65. Me, I like my constitution to stay a readable length.

    There’s no point in having it a readable length if its application is totally dependent on the whim of a federal judge. I’m not talking about changes in technology (ie, the 2nd amendment applying to revolvers, the 1st applying to radio and TV, etc). The Ninth amendment is nice and terse, I agree. To understand why it protects a right to abortion, but does not protect the right to advertise your (legal) products, well that requires several years of constitutional law study, a limber mind to handle the necessary mental gymnastics, and the knowledge of whether it’s being interpreted by a Bush apointee or a Clinton apointee. That’s the epitaph of your living constitution.

    If a change is really that necessary, there should be no problem getting the 2/3 in Congress and 3/4 of the states to agree lickety split, especially considering modern communication technology. The problem is, a lot of the innovations by the living constitution proponents have been the sort that would have no chance of passing as constitutional amendments.

  66. “Only judges that think it’s a living document could somehow find a way to reinterpret the plain language to put her ‘back’ in chains . . .”

    You see, when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified in 1865, there was a lot of emotionalism in the country about so-called “slavery” and the associated Civil War. So they had a whole lot of hangups, and the 13th Amendment reflects this.

    But we have a *living* constitution, so we shouldn’t be bound by a literalistic interpretation of the 13th Amendment, reflecting as it does the presuppositions of a specific period in history.

    The Amendment was written in the light of nineteenth-century individualism, with its obsession with so-called “freedom” and its rejection of basic social concerns which we know today need to be dealt with by the government.

    With our up-to-date, modern, sociological understanding of the world, we can see that slavery can be a good thing. It gets people working in the outdoors, contributing to the economy instead of sitting inside playing video games and becoming obese.

    So I would suggest a “collective” interpretation of the Thirteenth Amendment. Under this interpretation, the right to be free from slavery is not an *individual* right. Instead, the government (state or federal, but preferably federal) can impose reeducation-through labor on socially undesirable elements such as the bourgeoisie, the kulaks, racial and religious minorities, etc.

  67. The funnier comment was Barbara saying “us white folk will take care of you.”

  68. There may be no mention of slavery in the Constitution, but there was explicit inequality — the infamous “three-fifths” clause in Article I, Section 2:

    “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

    This is not news.

    Whoopi may have been wrong about “slavery” but she was right that racist inequality was a part of our vaunted document from the beginning.

  69. Whoopi was saying the same thing about Bush both times he was elected. In fact, wasn’t Whoopi planning to move out of the US if Bush was elected? Twice!!!????

  70. How many Representatives,of slave-holding states would there be,if slaves were counted as equal citizens?

  71. Cunnivore-

    I agree but the plain meaning of the ninth amendment and the intent of its architect, Madison, along with the experiences of the framers and the philosophical underpinnings of the revolution/secession/founding all militate in favor of the conclusion that the advertisement of one’s goods or services merits the same constitutional protection as aborting a fetus. Namely, neither the mob, nor its democratically elected representatives have any interest in such matters.

  72. libertymike —

    But the Ninth gives by itself no indication of what matters *are* to be beyond the mob’s reach, or the state’s (if we are to be so crass as to take them as synonymous), for that matter.

    This is my problem with the Ninth; it identifies an end, and yet there is no means in sight. At least, no means by which the electorate (even in substantial part) may be satisfied.

  73. Tony,

    That’s exactly right. Not to mention the advantage it would have given the slave states in the Electoral College.

    I’m no fan of Abe Lincoln in general, but if the South had enough votes in the EC to keep him from getting elected in 1860, slavery would’ve lasted a lot longer.

  74. I agree but the plain meaning of the ninth amendment and the intent of its architect, Madison, along with the experiences of the framers and the philosophical underpinnings of the revolution/secession/founding all militate in favor of the conclusion that the advertisement of one’s goods or services merits the same constitutional protection as aborting a fetus. Namely, neither the mob, nor its democratically elected representatives have any interest in such matters.

    Why doesn’t it mean that the federally elected representatives have no interest in such matters, while state mobs and legislatures may interest themselves as much or as little as they would like?

  75. Thomas Jefferson | September 12, 2008, 6:29pm | #

    Terry, I’d hit it.

    Thomas, I did. Don’t bother.

  76. Here is the 13th amendment:

    1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    Now, as you can clearly see, slavery is available to the feds under the condition that the slave has been “duly convicted” of a “crime.”

    Before you even think about responding, think about who makes most license plates, and under what conditions, and for what recompense.

    Now consider that the feds have, in fact, shown no reluctance to interpret the constitution any way they want (witness the inversion of the commerce clause, the blatant ignoring of the prohibition against ex post facto laws, the various travesties enacted in direct opposition to 80% of the bill of rights.)

    Do you really think that slavery is “off the table”, or that Lysander Spooner, insightful as he was, held an opinion that would affect such a determination by those wielding absolute power in this country?

  77. Who’s Whoopi Goldberg, and what’s The View?

  78. Who could afford to buy Whoopi Goldberg?

  79. Who would want Whoopie as a slave? I mean shit you would have to pay me serious money to have her anywhere near my property.

  80. Ben, your | September 13, 2008, 10:40pm | point was good. Without freedom in general, law makers can circumvent any given constitutional protection. Theorectically, a new law could force someone to work without pay in a factory if he is convicted of eating transfats. More realistically, we have manditory volunteering in several high schools.

  81. “Do you really think that slavery is “off the table”…”

    Yes, if we make the judges interpreting it are strict constituionalists and not hacks who think it is a “living” document.

    The Founder’s deliberately chose to kick the can down the road on slavery because they knew they could not come to an agreement on a constitution and resolve the issue at the same time. For better or worse, their priority was writing a document all the states could live with at the time. That’s why slavery is only mentioned euphemistically and no direct endorsemnt or condemnation is given to the practice. Compromise is necessary in politics but it is not a pretty thing, and can get very ugly at times.

  82. The whole point of Whoopi’s comment was that if we’re interpreting the Constititution “as the founding father’s intended” — we’d have any number of messed up things to worry about. Like slavery and no right to vote for women. Which, if you’re asking me, seems like what a lot of these right wing nuts actually want. Whoopi gets to the beating heart of what “AmeriKKKa” is all about here. The Constitution is a living document and the nutjobs interpretation of it is just as much an interpretation as that of the judges who interpreted it in Roe v. Wade. Seems spot on.

  83. In a previous job I administered a feedback tool for management. From time to time employees would ask some horrifically stupid questions, you know, like, “I work in manufacturing. How come I’m not allowed to telecommute?” Whenever management tackled questions like this they’d start with, “That’s an excellent question.”

  84. The whole point of Whoopi’s comment was that if we’re interpreting the Constititution “as the founding father’s intended” — we’d have any number of messed up things to worry about. Like slavery and no right to vote for women.

    The 13th and 19th amendments — added according to the process the Founding Fathers wrote into Article V — address those issues. So interpreting the Constitution the way they intended means we also follow the amendments.

  85. “The whole point of Whoopi’s comment was that if we’re interpreting the Constititution “as the founding father’s intended”

    When somebody talks about what the “Founder’s intended” they mean to interpret the Constsitution by things that are actually written in the Constitution and that includes the duly ratified amendments. The notion that means excising the amendments is sand-poundingly ignorant, or disingenuous sophistry.

  86. American Government 101

    After watching the entire episode I was struck that McCain was completely mistaken on the basics of our system and how it operates.

    McCain: “My interpretation of the Constitution of the United States is that the United States Supreme Court enforces the Constitution of the United States and does not legislate nor invent areas that are responsibilities, according to the Constitution, of the legislative branch.”

    Well that’s just wrong! And I’m shocked that nobody is talking about it. Maybe its because most Americans have a very slim notion themselves about how our system works.

    He’s partly right, that the Supreme Court is not empowered to legislate. But any reasonable person would assume that after over 20 years in the Senate he would understand perfectly that the SC *interprets* the constitution, not “enforces”. The enforcement duty is on the Executive branch of government, which is of course headed by President, who swears to uphold the decisions of the Court.

    Either he’s really dumb or the stress of the campaign is starting to get to him. I guess it’s the latter and that he was merely confused and fumbling. Which worries me even more seeing how POTUS has to be about the most stressful and demanding job on Earth.

  87. Whoopi Goldberg was remarking on a comment John McCain made about wanting judges to interpret the constitution as our Founding Fathers meant it to be. When they wrote and enacted it it totally excluded blacks because they were slaves at the time. She actually had a point.

  88. I had to see for myself that yes there are sheep watching the View.

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