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Re: [POLITICS] 1 Question to Dr. Froomkin...

At 12:45 PM 1/13/98 -0600, Jim Choate wrote:
>Do you accept that the Constitution of the United States of America is the
>supreme law of the land and therefore the ultimate legal authority within
>its borders?

Jim -
you and I are political theorists, and you're asking a political question,
though I'm not sure what kind of question you mean.
Froomkin's a law professor, though he's also got political opinions.
To a lawyer, the answer is that the Constitution ultimately means
whatever you can talk the Supreme Court into saying it means,
or whatever you or your opponents can talk a lower court into saying 
if the court's opinion is strong enough that the loser decides
it's not worth spending the resources to appeal, and the Supreme Court
has decided all sorts of things over the years depending on
the political climate.   Many legal and political theorists have
opinions about Marbury vs. Madison and the other cases in which the
Supreme Court decided that the Constitution said they're the ones
who get to decide what the Constitution means; you may have opinions
about that, or you could be asking Froomkin what he thinks about it.

On the other hand, the Constitution is a political compromise
between a bunch of long-dead politicians, in which they offered the
public a deal that they'd mostly stick within its limits
if they agreed not to ignore or overthrow them.  So you could be asking
if he thinks it's a good compromise, or you could be asking if
he's a Loyal American who agrees not to overthrow or ignore the
Constitution (as opposed to one of them pinko Commies),
or you could be asking if he's a Loyal American who believes the
Government isn't sticking to their end of the bargain and
therefore deserves to be overthrown.  Or you could be asking a
Lysander Spooner question about whether he thinks a bunch of
promises made by a bunch of long-dead politicians have any
authority over either the politicians or the people today.

So which question are you asking, and why?

Bill Stewart, [email protected]
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