Sign up FAST! Login

The Weirdest Sentence in the U.S. Constitution : The New Yorker

Stashed in: Words!, New Yorker, politics, America!

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

And what, you may ask, are the first and fourth clauses in the Article I, Section 9?

The first clause, limiting Congress’s power to lay direct taxes, was superseded in 1913 by the Sixteenth Amendment, which legalized the federal income tax. No big problem there, unless you’re a Tea Partier. But the fourth clause is a doozy:

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

This may look at first glance like the powdered-wig version of immigration reform, but of course it’s something rather more sinister. The Framers preferred to avoid using impolite terms like “the slave trade.” But that’s what they decreed must not be messed with before 1808.

so what is the conclusion we should infer... that the Constitution is evil?

Okay, reading the article... i have a problem with a writer for the New Yorker.... the New Yorker... believing there is any ambiguity in the 18th century use of the semicolon.  It's like he's never seen a codicil before......... at the New Yorker!

The conclusion is that nothing that is written should stand for all time.

Times change, cultures change, values change, morays change.

A document of policy should be living and evolving to suit its times.

Its writers were not free of political agenda.

Well, there's that too. Is any writer truly free of political agenda?

Philosoraptor Constitution Ed Snowden American public meme

Hero treated like a villain - Imgur

You May Also Like: