Yesterday the U.S. House did something that it has never done in all of its years of existence. For an hour and a half, Representatives read the entire U.S. Constitution.
One would think it would have been uneventful—but that’s hoping for too much.
People Were Too Busy
Many Democrats and even a few Republicans had other pressing engagements than to be there for the entire reading.
The recital began with new Speaker John Boehner, reading the “We the People” preamble. Then Boehner’s predecessor Nancy Pelosi recited the first paragraph of Article I that describes the powers of the legislative branch.
They were followed, more or less alternating between parties, with lawmakers repeating momentous clauses on the rights and responsibilities of the three branches of governments and more prosaic sections regarding the oversight of forts and dockyard and the ban on office holders receiving gifts from foreign princes.
The entire reading of the seven articles and 27 amendments of the Constitution took about an hour and a half. Members volunteered on a first-come-first-serve with the reading of the Second Amendment clause on the right to bear arms going to freshman Republican Frank Guinta of New Hampshire.
For the first hour of the recital the Republican side of the chamber was full, while far fewer Democrats occupied the other side. After an hour, the number of Republican listeners also declined. [Shouts about Obama interrupt Constitution Reading]
Revenge of the Birthers
A woman in the gallery, when they got to the part about the President being a natural born citizen shouted out “except Obama, except Obama” drawing attention to the continued questions over the President’s credentials.
The governor of Hawaii announced that he’d get to the bottom of this, so what’s the deal?
I understand that there could be other problems with the birth certificate—like perhaps it identifies someone other than who he claims his parents are as his parents—but it would seem that too many public people have wondered aloud about this on both sides of the aisle to make this a great little inside joke.