Georgetown Law professor says Washington should stop deferring to 'ancient' U.S. Constitution

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By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

A Georgetown University law professor is arguing the federal government should no longer be bound by the 'ancient' U.S. Constitution. Louis Michael Seidman argues that the document that created by the nation's Founding Fathers is outdated and forces lawmakers to focus on interpreting the will of a 200-year-old document, rather than creating public policy. Professor Seidman's argument runs in the opposite direction of most conservatives in Washington - especially Tea Party politicians who have made 'returning to the constitution' a rallying cry.

The respected constitutional scholar lays out his case that the American people are hamstrung by the document in his book 'On Constitutional Obedience.' He has also penned numerous news columns arguing the point. 'Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse,' he wrote in the New York Times last month.

'Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.' His column in the Times argues that the fiscal cliff crisis and political paralysis are a result of the deeply flawed government established by the constitution, which has less and less relevance on the complex problems of modern America. In a video essay broadcast by CBS News on Sunday, Professor Seidman justified his position this way:

'Most of our greatest Presidents -- Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, and both Roosevelts -- had doubts about the Constitution, and many of them disobeyed it when it got in their way,' he said. President Thomas Jefferson, for instance, exceeded his presidential powers when he made the Louisiana Purchase. And Abraham Lincoln had no authority to abolish slavery, but he did anyway, Seidman argues.

'If we are to take back our own country, we have to start making decisions for ourselves, and stop deferring to an ancient and outdated document,' he writes. Not surprisingly, this opinion has received large amounts of criticism. The National Review's Matthew Franck writes that Siedman 'would be extremely alarmed if any part of it that he likes, or any interpretation of it that he approves of, were to be disregarded.

'How about prior-restraint censorship of all his writings? How about if the local authorities where he lives banned contraception? How about if the president of the United States shipped him to Gitmo and he were denied habeas corpus?' The conservative blog Red State called the arguments 'bogus' and said that the constitution has always worked in the way it was intended to solve the nation's problems - albeit not always immediately.
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