Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the Constitution
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Thread: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the Constitution

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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Default Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the Constitution

    Should a justice that does not believe in the Constitution be sitting on the bench? Do you think she can judge based on what the constitution is and not what she wants it to be?

    Following are excerpts from an interview with US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which aired on Al-Hayat TV on January 30, 2012.

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg: It is a very inspiring time - that you have overthrown a dictator, and that you are striving to achieve a genuine democracy. So I think people in the United States are hoping that this transition will work, and that there will genuinely be a government of, by, and for the people.
    [...]
    I met with the head of the elections commission. I think that the first step has gone well, and that elections have been held for the lower house that everyone has considered to be free and fair. So that's one milestone, and the next will be the drafting of a constitution.

    I can't speak about what the Egyptian experience should be, because I'm operating under a rather old constitution. The United States, in comparison to Egypt, is a very new nation, and yet we have the oldest written constitution still in force in the world.
    [...]
    Let me say first that a constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom. If the people don't care, then the best constitution in the world won't make any difference. So the spirit of liberty has to be in the population, and then the constitution - first, it should safeguard basic fundamental human rights, like our First Amendment, the right to speak freely, and to publish freely, without the government as a censor.
    [...]
    You should certainly be aided by all the constitution-writing that has gone one since the end of World War II. I would not look to the US constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary... It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done. Much more recent than the US constitution - Canada has a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It dates from 1982. You would almost certainly look at the European Convention on Human Rights. Yes, why not take advantage of what there is elsewhere in the world?
    http://www.memri.org/clip_transcript/en/3295.htm

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...ef=mostpopular
    Last edited by GloriaInTX; 02-09-2012 at 07:09 PM.
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    Posting Addict culturedmom's Avatar
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    I actually watched the entire interview and the fact that people are taking out one sentence and decided as you have said in the op that she "does not believe in the Constitution" is pathetic and sad. I think she was brilliant, eloquent, and gave some great advice on how a country could draft their own constitution in modern times. She specifically stated that the reason she wouldn't look to the US Constitution today was because there are so many newer drafts that would better serve the issues that Eygpt is dealing with. That isn;t a put down to our Constitution. The issues that our founding fathers dealt with and the environment they wrote under was very different. It was written in 1700's so why on Earth would a country now, with different issues in a modern day base their constitution on one created centuries ago? even though she did talk about all the wonderful aspects of our Constitution as well.

    I am so tired of people picking and choosing things to base their opinion on. I think the people who have spoken out against what she has said are just xenophobes and hypocrits.

    Everything she said about our Constitution is dead on and I am proud to have her on our Supreme Court and I am glad they choose her to interview on this subject.

    BTW, this is an opinion piece closer to what I think about this issue.
    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201202090010
    Last edited by culturedmom; 02-09-2012 at 03:31 PM.

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    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    Maybe I missed it, but I did not read anywhere in there that she didn't believe in the constitution. She is simply saying that there are better examples of how to 'write' a constitution. It seemed to me that she was speaking more about the language and clarity than the spirit of the document.
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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    ITA with the above posters. Nowhere does Justice Ginsberg say that she "does not believe in" the U.S. Constitution. Where did you even get that from? It's not in either of the links you posted.
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    Brilliant post, Lana. Agreed.

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    Posting Addict Starryblue702's Avatar
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    I think what shocked most people was the fact that, as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, she would even stipulate that there was a better Constitution than ours (I'm not really taking either side for this debate, as I haven't read enough about it). I think that's why people are up in arms about the whole thing.
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    Posting Addict culturedmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starryblue702 View Post
    I think what shocked most people was the fact that, as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, she would even stipulate that there was a better Constitution than ours (I'm not really taking either side for this debate, as I haven't read enough about it). I think that's why people are up in arms about the whole thing.
    She didn't say there was a better Constitution then ours (nor did she even really give her opinion on the greatness or lack there of of our Constitution). What she said was there were better Constitutions for Egypt to model theirs after that were more fitting to their needs, the needs of a country in todays climate, and issues and that were more current and thus dealt with current issues that the Eygptians were facing. Our Constitution was drafted during a time when rules and laws did not apply to Blacks, women, children, Natives, etc. and when civil rights and international relations was not the focus. So why on Earth would a country now whose main focus for a Constitution is to deal with the civil rights, international reltaions, and policies specifically for issues dealing with women and minorities look to ours as a guideline? The history of our country and our COnstitution is very different from that of Eygpt which is why she offered the Constitutions of other countries dealt with issues closer to those that Eygpt is facing, like South Africa and Canada.

    Again, why if one was drafting a Constitution in 2012 would they base it on a Constitution from the 1700's? That to me is just common sense.

    BTw, if that is what shocked most people (even though I don;t believe MOST is even accurate sicne I think it is a small minority who are that ignorant) then they are morons.

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    Posting Addict Starryblue702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by culturedmom View Post
    She didn't say there was a better Constitution then ours (nor did she even really give her opinion on the greatness or lack there of of our Constitution). What she said was there were better Constitutions for Egypt to model theirs after that were more fitting to their needs, the needs of a country in todays climate, and issues and that were more current and thus dealt with current issues that the Eygptians were facing. Our Constitution was drafted during a time when rules and laws did not apply to Blacks, women, children, Natives, etc. and when civil rights and international relations was not the focus. So why on Earth would a country now whose main focus for a Constitution is to deal with the civil rights, international reltaions, and policies specifically for issues dealing with women and minorities look to ours as a guideline? The history of our country and our COnstitution is very different from that of Eygpt which is why she offered the Constitutions of other countries dealt with issues closer to those that Eygpt is facing, like South Africa and Canada.

    Again, why if one was drafting a Constitution in 2012 would they base it on a Constitution from the 1700's? That to me is just common sense.

    BTw, if that is what shocked most people (even though I don;t believe MOST is even accurate sicne I think it is a small minority who are that ignorant) then they are morons.
    I know she didn't say that there were better ones than ours, she stipulated that, though, by suggesting that Egypt consider another country to base theirs on. You would think that she would choose ours over anyone elses... but I see your point and everyone elses. I couldn't care less about what she did or didn't say, as I can see both points of view on the matter.
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    Posting Addict culturedmom's Avatar
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    She didn't stipulat that at all.

    I love my DD more then anything in the world. If someone asked me to recommend someone to babysit for them I probably wouldn't choose her because she can be easily distracted and is not the best choice to take care of someone elses kids. By your logic then that means I don't love my DD as much as someone else because I don't choose her for EVERYTHING?!?

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    Posting Addict ClairesMommy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starryblue702 View Post
    I think what shocked most people was the fact that, as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, she would even stipulate that there was a better Constitution than ours (I'm not really taking either side for this debate, as I haven't read enough about it). I think that's why people are up in arms about the whole thing.
    You're using the word stipulate out of context. That aside, what's wrong with saying that maybe the US doesn't have the best constitution in the world? No country's charter of rights or constitution is perfect. If anything, I admire her for saying or suggesting that there's constitutional work to be done.

    As far as Egypt goes, they've undergone a revolution, changed the electoral process and basically denounced their constitution. If anything Egypt should look at other countries that have done the same in recent years and look for a successful model for constitutional change. The US does not fit that model, IMO.

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