Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | May 10, 2010

Is that the best they’ve got?

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The Hill reports that a GOP memo opposing President Barack Obama’s nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the United States Supreme Court highlights her ties to revered former Justice Thurgood Marshall. It highlights a tribute she wrote about Marshall after his death in 1993. In it, she quotes Marshall:

Kagan quoted from a speech Marshall gave in 1987 in which he said the Constitution as originally conceived and drafted was “defective.”

The Founding Fathers created a way for the Constitution to be amended, and it has been amended dozens of times since it was written, including ten times almost immediately in the amendments that are known collectively as the Bill of Rights. This means that the Founding Fathers knew that times change and that the Constitution would need to change with it. Conservatives who are deluded into thinking that America is a synonym for perfection might not like it, but Marshall was right.

Really, if this is the best that they’ve got, the Kagan confirmation should be a breeze.



  1. The phrase “a more perfect union” has always seemed to me to capture the constitution’s evolving.

    It points to the notion that we can never reach perfection of the union. so that what we strive for is not a final document. As you pointed out, the founding fathers recognized this and so created a bill of rights and a process for amendment.

    I don’t know the context of Justice Marshall’s statement but at first blush it appears right on.


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