By David Cole
Thursday, January 6, 2011; 11:00 AM
House members opened the 112th Congress on Thursday by reading aloud the Constitution, presumably as a first step toward fulfilling the tea party’s goal of “restoring” our nation’s founding document. However, an alternative constitutional text, obtained by this author via WikiLeaks, has reportedly begun circulating in secret among incoming GOP lawmakers, representing the Constitution they hope to read aloud when the 113th Congress begins. Here, revealed in public for the first time, is the Conservative Constitution of the United States of Real America:
We, the Real Americans, in order to form a more God-Fearing Union, establish Justice as we see it, Defeat Health-Care Reform, and Preserve and Protect our Property, our Guns and our Right Not to Pay Taxes, do ordain and establish this Conservative Constitution for the United States of Real America.
Article I. Congress shall have only the powers literally, specifically and expressly granted herein, and no others. That means definitely, without question, absolutely, no regulation of the Health Insurance or Financial Services industries.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected not directly by the People, but by other people whom the People have elected to better represent the People.
Any law enacted by Congress and signed by the President may be overturned by the vote of three or more States if they find it burdensome, offensive, annoying or in any way touching on Health Insurance, Property Rights or Guns.
Congress shall have no power to raise Taxes except on February 29, and then only if all the People of the United States approve such a measure unanimously, in writing and in English.
Congress shall balance the Federal Budget, preferably by eliminating the Departments of Labor, Energy, Education and State.
The preceding provision shall not apply to spending for the Department of Defense, appropriations for which shall increase three times as quickly as the growth in gross domestic product and upon the approval of House leadership in conference with Boeing, Halliburton, the Ashcroft Group and Kissinger Associates.
Arizona shall have the power to regulate Immigration.
Article II. No person except a natural born Citizen who can produce video, photographic or eyewitness evidence of birth in a non-island American State shall be eligible to the Office of President.
The President shall faithfully execute the laws, except when, as Commander in Chief, he decides he’d really rather not.
The President shall not negotiate any Treaty without first receiving a signed and notarized note granting him permission, personally executed by every member of the Senate, the House, all 50 Governors and the editorial board of the Weekly Standard.
Article III. Judges shall strictly construe this Constitution, and we mean strictly, and shall under no circumstances cite, refer to, read or mention at cocktail parties or cookouts any principle or provision of International Law.
Suspected Terrorists shall be taken to Guantanamo and drawn and quartered in a public ceremony. Trials are optional, but if they occur, must be conducted in a Military Tribunal in which coerced statements are admissible so long as they support a Guilty verdict.
1. Congress shall make no law abridging the Freedom of Speech, except where citizens desecrate the Flag of the United States; respecting an establishment of Religion, except to support Christian schools, religious apparitions in food products and the display of crosses and creches in public places; or abridging the free exercise of Religion, except to block the construction of mosques in sensitive areas as determined by Florida Pastors or the Fox News Channel.
2. The right to bear Semi-Automatic Weapons, AK-47s or Bazookas shall not be infringed by background checks, safety locks, age limits or common sense.
3. The right of Corporations, Hedge Funds, Business Leaders and Lobbyists to spend endless cash on campaigns and influence-purchasing shall not be infringed. The so-called right of Unions to associate shall be denied as fundamentally un-American and contrary to the agenda of the Chamber of Commerce.
4. Marriage and the benefits thereof shall be restricted to the Union of a Man and a Woman, consecrated in a Christian house of worship, with vows to expose any and all progeny to daily viewings of Bill O’Reilly.
5. All persons born or naturalized in the United States are Citizens of the United States of Real America only if their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were Citizens, and if they promise never to support Health Insurance Reform or New Taxation. Any Citizen convicted of providing material support to Terrorist organizations, wearing clothing bearing images created by Shepard Fairey, or displaying Nancy Pelosi bumper stickers shall be stripped of Citizenship.
6. Aliens, of this world or another, shall have none of the rights guaranteed herein to Citizens.
7. Corporations shall have all of the rights guaranteed herein to Citizens, and then some.
8. No White Male shall be denied equal protection of the law through Affirmative Action or otherwise. In keeping with the intent of the Framers, as discerned by the Honorable Justice Antonin Scalia, distinctions on the basis of sex shall not be deemed to deny equal protection.
9. The right to be uninsured and make other people pay the costs of one’s Health Care shall not be infringed under any circumstances.
10. Congress shall make no law limiting Americans’ right to warm the Planet by using all the energy they darn well please.
11. The Unborn shall have the rights to life, to vote, to bear arms, to practice Religion except in a mosque in Lower Manhattan (see First Amendment) and to make campaign contributions, but once the child is born, it shall have no rights if it is an Alien (see Sixth Amendment).
12. No one may be required to do anything He or She does not want to do. Ever.
Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the Members present the Sixth Day of January in the Year of our Lord Two Thousand and Eleven. In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our names, [REDACTED]
David Cole teaches constitutional law at Georgetown University and is the legal affairs correspondent for the Nation. He is the author of “The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable.”
Though I attempt to play fair I do have to admit this is a tremendously thoughtful, and significantly accurate, portrayal of the inherent hypocrisy behind the Conservative constitutional campaign. Again, both right and left, people interpret the Constitution in a manner that fits their needs. The problem with such a document, particularly of a historic nature, is arguing the interpretation based on mere semantics and also the mere practicality of using the document in the modern day.