Ordinarily I might have just passed on to the next headline, shaking my head in amazement at today’s edition of elitist patronization from this NYT drivel, but I was frozen in place when I got to the part about originalists being racists and bible-toting torture-loving Confederacy-worshipping rubes. Once the author bridged this description of “Originalism” to the “Tea Party” movement, the conclusion was easily enough reached. But, we’re told, don’t hold it against them; they’re young still, and haven’t gotten the memo yet about Originalism being for small minded racists:
It is, of course, hard to say anything definitive about the Tea Party movement, a loose confederation of groups with no central leadership. But if there is a central theme to its understanding of the Constitution, it is that the nation’s founders knew what they were doing and that their work must be protected. “I think it’s some loose, ill-informed version of originalism, but it’s plausible,” said Professor Kramer, the author of “The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review.”
“Originalism” has many flavors and levels of specificity, but in essence it says the constitutional text should be applied as it was understood at the time it was adopted.
A new study from Professor Persily and two colleagues, Jamal Greene and Stephen Ansolabehere, explored the political and cultural values of those who identified themselves as originalists. Such people “appear more likely than non-originalists to be white, male, older, less educated, Southern and religious,” the study found. “They are less likely to favor abortion rights, affirmative action and marriage rights for same-sex couples, and more likely to favor torture and military detention of terrorism suspects and the death penalty. They are more likely to express morally traditionalist, hierarchical and libertarian cultural values.”
What impresses me here is how well the NYT has taken the movement AND the Constitution down a notch of relevance in one fell swoop. The more people appear ready to stand up for our founding Fathers and the words they crafted that have held this country together for over 200 years, the more our dear misguided progessive and elitist friends must diminish the meaning and value of both…especially if they get in the way of an agenda that runs counter to either.