The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Breaking News

September 27, 2010

Law professor: Constitution should not be idolized

AU grad warns of dangers in revering founding document

ANDERSON, Ind. — The U.S. Constitution turned 223 on Friday in a time in history when the words drafted by our founding fathers are more popular than ever.

Spearheaded by members of the tea party, the original document that established the U.S. government has once again entered the national conversation as citizens react to current events.

On Monday, Anderson University alumnus and University of Cincinnati law professor Darrell Miller warned of two dangers in idolizing the Constitution.

In a speech before a small crowd at Reardon Auditorium, Miller said the first danger is observed in Americans who revere the document as the answer to the American democracy.

Miller said many who believe strongly in the Constitution have a tendency to hold it up as if it were written by the Holy Spirit.

It is not perfect, or infallible, he explained.

“It is an instrument devised by men for the benefit of men,” he said.

In fact, Miller called the document “defective” because it failed to address key issues — including slavery.

The guidelines set by the Constitution are important and warrant a healthy respect, he said. “To call them divine, perhaps, is too much.”

The second danger comes in a completely different package, he said.

Rather than revere the Constitution as a holy document inappropriately, some are using it in a trivial, unnecessary way, especially at the state level, he said.

In the case of state constitutions, Miller said, states have looked to the constitution as the answer to all legal matters, and in doing so, have added laws to the documents that have no business being added.

In Ohio, he said, state lawmakers added an amendment to the state constitution establishing a casino, and then added a second amendment determining the address of the casino.

The constitution also features an amendment regarding the proper housing of chickens, he said.

There are a few misconceptions about the Constitution’s power, he explained.

In the case of freedom of religion, he explained, the Constitution does not protect Americans completely.

The Constitution states that no Congress shall impose religion, he explained, but it does not say that the state of Utah can’t force its residents to attend church.

It is the role of judges to determine these modern-day questions, resulting in the rights and laws that protect Americans, he explained.

Erin Billstrom said she was guilty of believing things that weren’t true about the Constitution, including the belief that it gives her certain rights that it doesn’t actually contain. “I honestly interpreted it the way he said it shouldn’t be interpreted.”

Kevin Radaker said the country sometimes falls into a pattern of using the Constitution to address modern issues. “In times of high stress, we often refer to the Constitution. We want the Constitution to solve our problems rather than debating them.”

Spencer Spaulding said he’s witnessed instances where people use the Constitution to back up their arguments, but the strength of the argument suffers. “A lot of what I hear now seems to be yelling rather than thinking.”

Contact Brandi Watters, 640-4847, brandi.watters@heraldbulletin.com       

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • Very bad week: Airline disasters come in a cluster

    Nearly 300 passengers perish when their plane is shot out of the sky. Airlines suspend flights to Israel's largest airport after rocket attacks. An airliner crashes during a storm, and yet another disappears. Aviation has suffered one of its worst weeks in memory, a cluster of disasters spanning three continents.

    July 24, 2014

  • Indiana receives 245 children caught at US border

    New federal data show more than 200 unaccompanied children caught at the U.S. border have been placed with sponsors in Indiana.

    July 24, 2014

  • Alaska vintage tourist train derails, injuring 23

    A vintage rail company that transports hundreds of thousands of tourists a year along the route of the historic Klondike Gold Rush suspended operations while it investigates a derailment that left 23 people with minor injuries, officials said.

    July 24, 2014

  • Witness: Teen's plane didn't show obvious distress

    A man who saw a plane flown by an Indiana teen who was killed during an around-the-world flight attempt says the aircraft was flying low but didn't show any obvious signs of distress before diving into the ocean off American Samoa.

    July 24, 2014

  • Ryan Dalziel takes Brickyard Grand Prix pole

    Defending race winner Ryan Dalziel earned his first IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship pole position of the season Thursday in qualifying for Friday's Brickyard Grand Prix.

    July 24, 2014

  • Ohio State marching band chief fired after probe

    Ohio State University fired the director of its celebrated marching band on Thursday after determining he ignored a "sexualized" culture of rituals including students being pressured to march in their underwear and participate in sexually themed stunts.

    July 24, 2014

  • Gary man charged with murder in officer's death

    Prosecutors charged a 24-year-old man Thursday in the shooting death of a Gary police officer.

    July 24, 2014

  • MDU1.jpg Colts Camp Update: Pagano praises city, AU

    Blue skies and comfortable temperatures greeted the Indianapolis Colts on the first practice day of training camp Thursday at Anderson University.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Indiana homeowners face $1.5M dam repairs bill

    A state agency says six dams on small lakes in a northern Indiana subdivision need about $1.5 million in repairs that the homeowners should pay to have completed.

    July 24, 2014

  • Judge rules against residents suit over hog smell

    A judge has ruled state law protects four large hog farms from lawsuits filed by residents of an eastern Indiana county who complained about waste and foul smells from their operations.

    July 24, 2014

Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

How important do you consider preschool for children?

Vital
Important but not critical
Not necessary
     View Results