- Congolese youth murder: Sushma steps in, says govt committed to safety of African nationals
- Bihar: Five arrested in murder case of journalist Rajdeo Ranjan
- LIVE: Pinarayi Vijayan all set to be sworn-in as Kerala chief minister
- Govt clearances faster but lack of promoter interest stalls projects
- Demand-driven boost to economy rides on rains, rural income, pay panel award
As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.
Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.
As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official reaches a considered judgement that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves, might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?
Constitutional disobedience may seem radical, but it is as old as the republic. In fact, the Constitution itself was born of constitutional disobedience. When George Washington and the other framers went to Philadelphia in 1787, they were instructed to suggest amendments to the Articles of Confederation, which would have had to be ratified by the legislatures of all 13 states. Instead, in violation of their mandate, they abandoned the Articles, wrote a new Constitution and provided that it would take effect after ratification by only nine states, and by conventions in those states rather than the state legislatures.
- Modi govt’s backward-looking instincts pulls down its forward-looking mission
- Judge-population ratio is not the apt parameter to determine judiciary’s strength
- Quick decision-making and out-of-the-box thinking have defined the Modi govt
- NDA government’s plans for agriculture are still to bear fruit
- TV would be better off travelling to Marathwada, reporting the drought
- Increasing attacks on freedoms in between polls must worry us all