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by Michael Froomkin
Laurie Silvers & Mitchell Rubenstein Distinguished Professor of Law
University of Miami School of Law
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Lets give her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps we’re witnessing the birth of a revolutionary school of constitutional interpretation.
Most federal court’s have pretty simple admissions requirements once you are a lawyer admitted in the state. Most require, among other things, that you certify that you have read and familiarized yourself with their local rules.
I wonder whether something similar should not be put in place for voting and/or running for office. You should be required to certify that you have read and familiarized yourself with the constitution within the previous year before you are allowed to run for office. That debate was an embarrassment.
In one of my bar review classes years ago (I’m licensed in three states), in the civil procedure review, a student from another law school asked whether there are major jurisdictional issues after personal service of a lawsuit that met all of the jurisdictional requirements for the state district court in that state. (The lecturer was discussing the jurisdictional problems relating to service at the last known address when the process server could not locate the defendant). The lecturer looked at the questioner, and answered “No.” My classmates looked at each other and one of them said, whispering loudly, “We pass!”
Lame. Actually, she asked where in it that phrase was to be found. There’s a point to be had there, concerning the difference between court rulings and the actual language of the Constitution. Probably too subtle a point to get across in a political debate, most assuredly too subtle to get across when the coverage of that debate will be by people hostile to the person making it.
On the whole, neither of them particularly impressed me. O’Donnell is not nearly so familiar with the Constitution as I might have hoped. Coons, on the other hand, seems to not grasp the fact that the Constitution, a written document, exists apart from court rulings.