Thursday, March 3, 2016

Gavel to Gavel: Passionate Independence

In a book whose title I have long since forgotten, professor Sanford Levinson compared the U.S. Constitution to Ulysses’ pact with the crew of his ship, to bind him to the ship’s mast as it transported him past the Sirens. My quick research shows that many other constitutional scholars have written about the allegory, including Stephen Holmes and Jon Elster, who wrote from the perspectives of philosophy and social sciences.

But the allegory helps understand why we, as a nation and as the state of Oklahoma, would impose limitations on the current majority’s ability to fundamentally change our government. Founders (state or federal) hold a responsibility to protect us from future majorities – regardless of political affiliation. Our federal constitution is designed to protect the country from expansive new legislation that might be enacted by an administration seeking fundamental change. Likewise, our state constitution and legal system is designed to help us avoid governmental change.

Read more: