Hot on the heals of the news that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested that new nations look elsewhere for their constitutional inspiration than to our own founding charter of 1787, there is this headline in the New York Times: “‘We the People’ Loses Appeal With People Around the World.”
The obvious thesis of this article is to demonstrate that our own Constitution is “terse and old” and “its influence is waning.”
Although I am certainly unworthy to be cast in the role of defender of the Constitution, as one who holds that document sacred, I feel compelled to offer what defense, however weak, I can compose. As Cicero once said, “To say that I was chosen in order to guarantee that [the Constitution] should have the best possible defense would not be the truth. I was chosen in order to ensure that it have any defense at all.”
With that frank peroration, I shall list the claims made by the author of the piece in the Times and then append my answers thereto.
First, the Constitution of the United States is “terse and old.”
Both adjectives are apt descriptions of our founding document. The Constitution drafted by the Philadelphia Convention in 1787 is remarkable for its economy of language. In seven brief — some may even say terse — articles, a central government was formed by 13 sovereign republics.
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