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Jamelle Bouie’s “Republicans Don’t Mind the Constitution.  It’s Democracy They Don’t Like” should win the New York Times’ op-ed columnist an “Excellence in Demagoguery through Equivocal Language” award.  How does he manage that?  Let me explain.

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Bouie distinguishes between the “Constitution” and “values.”  This dichotomy is sometimes cast as the difference between the “original Constitution” and the “living Constitution.”  The latter is understood as whatever liberals want at a given moment in time and decide to read into the Constitution.  That tactic, as Harvard professor Mary Ann Glendon pointed out, generated the bogus approach of “rights talk” (of which Roe v. Wade was the consummate example): the elimination of democratic debate because policy issues were constitutionalized, turned into ersatz “rights” that were removed from policy fora.

Dobbs began to roll back the excesses of “rights talk,” a trend this Supreme Court is likely to foster.  So resort to the “living Constitution” approach to ensconce liberal policy as constitutional obligation is rarer.

Our author doesn’t resort even to that tactic, because there’s something even more invidious going on here: the delegitimization of the Constitution itself.  Whereas, once upon a time, we could try to summon the hidden “living Constitution” from the dry parchment of the written document, the left’s latest tactic is to see the Constitution itself not so much part of the solution as the problem.  Opposition to the Electoral College has morphed into opposition to the Senate (how dare those 500,000 Wyoming deplorables outvote 40 million Californians?) and the “illegitimacy” of the Supreme Court (now that it can’t be counted on to impose the “living Constitution”).