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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 116 of Georgetown University Law Professor Randy Barnett’s rigorously reasoned and deeply informed 2004 volume, Restoring the Lost Constitution:

[T]he paramount issue of constitutional legitimacy is whether the commands, not of the Constitution itself, but of government officials rendered pursuant to constitutional authority, are binding in conscience on us.  The answer to this question will depend on the quality of the lawmaking and enforcement process that the Constitution establishes.  One of these qualities is adherence to a written constitution by those who speak and act in its name, a commitment belied by unwritten changes to the meaning of the Constitution.

Just because some group of people win majority votes in popular elections, agree by majority vote amongst themselves to do X, assert verbally or in writing that X is ‘constitutional,’ and have a group of other, robe-wearing people use legerdemain to devise clever explanations for X‘s constitutionality does not necessarily mean that X is constitutional or that the rest of us are bound in conscience to obey the command to follow X.