Dear Republicans:

To the RNC in particular, which is acting pretty stupidly right now, I have some words. I understand that, for any political party, the nomination of someone to the Supreme Court is an opportunity for fundraising, and that the party is going to go to some pretty outlandish lengths to raise outrage, even when there's nothing to get outraged about. But this is pretty freaking stupid, even by that measure.

In its first memo to reporters since Kagan’s nomination to the high court became public, the Republican National Committee highlighted Kagan’s tribute to Marshall in a 1993 law review article published shortly after his death.

Kagan quoted from a speech Marshall gave in 1987 in which he said the Constitution as originally conceived and drafted was “defective.”...

“Does Kagan Still View Constitution ‘As Originally Drafted And Conceived’ As ‘Defective’?” the RNC asked in its research document.
You know who else felt the Constitution, as originally drafted and conceived, was defective? The people who wrote the damn thing. That's why there's a method for amending it written into it. That's why they added ten amendments to the damn thing almost immediately upon ratification--because it was defective. It lacked some things they felt were necessary. And it's been amended an awful lot since then, in order to meet the needs of a changing society.

Marshall was talking about the 3/5ths compromise as a defective part of the Constitution, but let's go with something nearer and dearer to Republican hearts--the right to bear arms. Not in the Constitution as it was "originally drafted and conceived." It came later, in the form of an Amendment. Given that, conservatives should be first in line to acknowledge that the original Constitution was defective.

This is one of the main reasons I'm tired of people who deny that the Constitution is a living document, and who argue that the original intent of the Framers should be the end of the discussion. The Framers obviously knew that they were putting together an imperfect document, and that the needs of the country would change over time. That's why they made it possible to amend the thing. To deify the Framers is to do them a disservice. We do ourselves a disservice as well, because we assume that a group of men who lived over two hundred years ago have a better grasp on our world than we do today. How does that make sense?

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