November 27, 1986 |
I flew home from the Midwest not long ago, on a clear cold evening in November. We had a black velvet sky above, and a whole showcase of gemstones down below. The plane wasn't crowded. It was a quiet time for thinking. Winging home from a long trip, I seem always to think the same thing: How blessedly fortunate we Americans are. It is a part of our national character that we gripe a good deal, and some of us this autumn have a good deal to gripe about. My travels have taken me to Texas and Louisiana, where the drop in oil prices has affected almost everyone.
September 16, 1987 |
Unlike many scholars and jurists, I believe that the priority of the bicentennial celebration should not be to dwell exclusively or even primarily on the vision of the Founding Fathers or the world of 1787. Of course we should recognize their contribution as a momentous start to what America is and to what America someday must be. More important, however, is the fact that the Constitution has been an evolving document, continuously expanding the freedoms, rights and liberties of all our citizens.
September 22, 1987 |
Beware of intimate revues whose titles end in exclamation points! The exclamation point gives away the presumption that the audience isn't sophisticated enough to understand the satirical content of what is to follow, or smart enough to know the show is being done in a sense of fun. No such problems beggar "Let Freedom Sing!," the opening gun of the fourth American Music Theater Festival, devised expressly to dovetail with the We the People 200 celebration. It communicates a sense of fun quite without straining itself, and its satire - patently directed at the incumbent object of veneration (look, you idiots, the subtitle reads "A Constitutional revue" !
February 13, 1987 |
In the past year Attorney General Edwin Meese 3d and Assistant Attorney General William Bradford Reynolds gave speeches that tried to honor the Constitution by limiting the authority of Supreme Court decisions. Although their view is certainly uncontroversial on one level, it seems so deeply flawed on another that it suggests a desperate attempt to put the Constitution beyond our reach while planting law squarely on a bed of quicksand whenever that serves their ideological agenda to dissolve the laws they scorn.
December 10, 1987 |
The party's over for the 200th birthday of the U.S. Constitution, and the fireworks are long gone. But that historic document's arteries are far from hardening, say board members at The National Constitution Center. "After the fireworks and celebrations, we wanted something left over to perpetuate a continuing interest in the U.S. Constitution," said board member Hobart G. Cawood, superintendent of Independence National Historical Park. Something left over would be a national center on Independence Mall, where visitors can view the document, approved here in September 1787 by colonial delegates.
August 23, 1987 |
The fundamental issue in the debate over President Reagan's nomination of Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court is the nature of both the constitution and our constitutional democracy. On one side is the view, first articulated by Chief Justice John Marshall in 1803, that the Constitution is a species of positive law "unchangeable by ordinary means. " As supreme law, the Constitution can trump legislative law, but when the Constitution is silent, the people have the right to enact whatever laws they please.
March 17, 2013 |
Floyd Preito carried Constitution as far as he could, but a first-half deficit proved too much to overcome as the Generals lost to Holy Cross, 75-61, in a PIAA Class AA state boys' basketball quarterfinal Saturday at Parkland High School in Allentown. Preito scored 28 points and was the lone General in double digits. The junior guard took advantage of his foul shots, draining 9 of 11. Constitution (18-10) couldn't recover after a first half in which it trailed Holy Cross (26-5)
May 25, 1987 |
There was standing room only yesterday afternoon in the small theater at Philadelphia's Old City Hall. The attraction: a British document written on lambskin in 1297. "I'd rather be seeing the concert," said Sonal Patel, referring to Friday night's Chicago concert on the Parkway. As she stood in line, waiting 25 minutes to see the Magna Carta, the young woman added: "All I know is that it's a document. " By the end of her tour, Patel couldn't help but know more. A 10-minute preview film was part of the exhibit that drew groups of 70 people every half-hour to see an authentic version of the Magna Carta, the document known as the ancestor to the U.S. Constitution.
June 7, 1987 |
The bicentennial celebration of the U.S. Constitution is coming to Radnor Township this fall, but not with the flair of fireworks or parades. Instead of the patriotic outdoor activities, a reading and discussion series to help better understand constitutional amendments, issues and interpretations will be presented at the township library for six successive Monday evenings beginning Sept. 28. The program is co-sponsored by the library and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, which received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to help finance the series.
July 16, 1987 |
Universities all over the world now have departments of American studies, which all seem to be celebrating the Constitution's existence for the last two centuries. One such conference, held in Amsterdam, was fascinating and successful in everything but its title - "The Constitution: Still Life?" The Dutch language is misleadingly close to English, and the sponsors of the conference thought they were saying something like "Still Alive?" or "Still Living?" But a still life is, in art, what the Italians call natura morta - a picture of fruit no longer attached to its tree or vine.