Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Some Things NOT In The Constitution

Astute observers of the passing political parade will have noted that critics of extending social benefits to citizens such as health insurance, social security, and other safety-net provisions often object on the grounds that whatsoever permutations are proposed, they are "not in the Constitution." Of course, having been written and ratified in 1787--more than 220 years ago, there are a LOT of things which are not "in" the Constitution, many of which are listed (and linked, though not by me) in the story reproduced here.
Things That Are Not In the U.S. Constitution

Have you ever heard someone say, "That's unconstitutional!" or "That's my constitutional right!" and wondered if they were right? You might be surprised how often people get it wrong. You might also be surprised how often people get it right. Your best defense against misconception is reading and knowing your Constitution.

A lot of people presume a lot of things about the Constitution. Some are true, some are not. This page will detail some of the things that people think are in the Constitution, but are not.

One critique of this page is that it is full of nit-picks. Slavery, for example, may not be "in" the original Constitution, but it is in the original Constitution — the word may not have been there, but the concept was. This is absolutely true. But by studying the words and coming to know them intimately, we gain a better understanding of our history and how some arguments about the Constitution endure.

The Air Force
Congressional Districts
The Electoral College
Executive Order
Executive Privilege
Freedom of Expression
(Absolute) Freedom of Speech and Press
"From each according to his ability..."
Impeachment means removal from office
Innocent until proven guilty
It's a free country
Judicial Review
Jury of Peers
"Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness"
Martial Law
No taxation without representation
Number of Justices in the Supreme Court
"Of the people, by the people, for the people"
Paper Money
Political Parties
Primary Elections
Qualifications for Judges
The right to privacy
The right to travel
The right to vote
The separation of church and state
The Separation of Powers Clause
"We hold these truths to be self-evident"
Other topics

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