Congress and Constitutional Arguments

The new House leadership reads the U.S. Constitution on the floor of Congress. We look at what’s going on with the founding document.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnnell and Incoming House Speaker John Boehner (AP); scene at the signing of the U. S. Constitution in 1787.

It’s mass swearing-in time today on Capitol Hill. New Congress. New members. New Republican majority in the House. And the first order of business tomorrow in the 112th Congress is an unprecedented reading aloud of the full text of the United States Constitution.

That’s never been done on the floor of the House. GOP Tea Party activists say it’s needed now because the nation has strayed. It needs a stern touch of the relic and a reminder of the founding charter.

Skeptics say the Tea Party only wants to hear the Constitution its way.

We look at the Constitution, back in the fray.

-Tom Ashbrook


Randy Barnett, professor of law at Georgetown, author of Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty.

Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate, where she writes “Supreme Court Dispatches” and “Jurisprudence.” Read her new column, “Read It and Weep: How the Tea Party’s Fetish for the Constitution as Written May Get it in Trouble.”

Akhil Reed Amar, professor of law and political science at Yale University, author of America’s Constitution: A Biography and co-author of the casebook Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking.

Charles Fried, professor of law at Harvard and Solicitor General of the United States in the Reagan administration.

**In case you have not perused the founding document in a while, link to the Constitution here!

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