Goodlatte’s Reading Of The Constitution

Brent Finnegan -- January 5th, 2011

As control of the U.S. House of Representatives shifts from the Democratic to the Republican Party this week, Rep. Bob Goodlatte has received a splash of national media attention for his group recital of the U.S. Constitution scheduled for Thursday morning. The Shenandoah Valley representative will lead a reading of the founding document on the House floor at 10:30 a.m.

Other members of Congress will be invited to read amendments, omitting some of the more embarrassing ones, such as the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the consumption of alcohol.

Goodlatte appeared on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on Tuesday to speak about the reading.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

O’Donnell confronted Goodlatte for supporting a requirement that all bills introduced in Congress include the constitutional basis or principle behind the proposed law, even though one of the acts Goodlatte supported was later determined to be unconstitutional.

As best I can figure, O’Donnell was referring to the Communications Decency Act (CDA).

From The Washington Post’s Who Runs Gov profile:

The Virginia Republican was also a key sponsor of the Communications Decency Act, which was the first federal attempt to curb obscene and pornographic content on the web and was included in the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996. The provisions were thrown out by the Supreme Court the following year.

Goodlatte will begin reading the Constitution at 10:30 Thursday morning. C-SPAN will stream it live.

Tags: , , ,

23 Responses to “Goodlatte’s Reading Of The Constitution”

  1. Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

    Cheap stunt Mr. Goodlatte. Since you oppose health care reform you should give up your generous taxpayer-paid Congressional health care coverage. That would be impressive.

    • Joe says:

      Um…you mean his employee based healthcare plan? Which is paid for by taxpayers but purchased from a private healthcare provider?

      assume you work, are you going to give up your employer-provided healthcare?

      • Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

        No, I mean universal, 100% eligible, no exclusion for pre-existing conditions, flat 20% co-pay, employer-sponsored health care insurance like 45 million uninsured, and 90 million under-insured Americans would love to have, that Mr. Goodlatte has.

        I support universal, mandatory health care coverage unlike Mr. Goodlatte.

        • Joe says:

          tell them to find an employer that offers that.

          i’m not sure what you mean by universal though…
          he doesn’t have universal healthcare….it’s employer based like the majority of America.

          However…he, like some unions have the benefit of being able to shop for healthcare on a national level. Most of us are governed by laws that won’t allow insurance companies to compete across statelines.

          • Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

            Many Americans do not want to “work for the man”. Self-employed, sole proprietors, and unemployed individuals face an insurance market where the insurer gets to pick the insured. The sick, the injured, the unprofitable are rejected.

            Goodlatte gets great health care, with many options precisely because the principles of Obamacare work – you bring millions of insurance buyers to the market as a group. If he doesn’t recognize his great good fortune, and would seek to deny others his privilege, then Goodlatte should clear off his government health care insurance and compete for coverage like too many Americans. At least he will have $175,000/yr to shop with.

          • Lowell Fulk says:

            As a cost cutting measure to benefit the American Taxpayer, ALL members of Congress should give up their health insurance, which is entirely paid by tax dollars, and purchase their own health insurance.
            Members of Congress should have some skin in this game just like the people paying the taxes…

    • Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

      No, it wasn’t a cheap stunt…it was a $1,071,872.87 stunt.

  2. Jeremy Aldrich says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with Goodlatte’s proposal, or the Constitution reading. One good outcome is that it encourages Congress members and the public to grapple with the kinds of questions O’Donnell asks in the segment. Hey, even if all we get out of it is seeing our Congressman taking part in real interviews, it’s a win for the 6th district.

    • Lowell Fulk says:

      What this amounts to is the bullet proof filibuster. Who could possibly question the reading of America’s most holy of traditional texts? How Un-American could someone posing such questions be?

      Why stop with the Constitution? I think that Congress should immediately set in its rules that after the reading on the floor of the House of Representatives, the Constitution of the United States, that we should then require the full reading of the Declaration of Independence, and the Boy Scout Law. Then, we should mandate the full reading of the Magna Carta.

      In fact, we should not even begin to speak to the issue of alternative energy development until we have read, word for word and aloud, the entire script for “It’s a Wonderful Life”. For you see, we must show Americans that our Leaders are a Patriotic lot which has not forgotten that, from whence America came.

      In fact… I think all such readings should be required to be accompanied by background music which includes the Battle Hymn of the Republic and the Star Spangled Banner, with an occasional inclusion of “Courtesy of the Red White and Blue” by Toby Keith.

      Then and only then, should the Congress of the United States of America, begin debate regarding the future of our Democratic Republic…

      But hey, by then it will be 2012, and time for the next election. Mission Accomplished…

  3. Joe says:

    what a dumb interview from O’Donnell….do you agree with everything the founders wrote? Well…um….no there have been some amendments. You can’t read what’s not yeah…obviously.

    It sounds like he is just bashing the Founders….what a joke.

    Good job by Goodlatte on the interview. You have to wonder why O’Donnell has such a problem with reading the Constitution and having our Govt base itself on the rules……

    • Gene Hart says:

      I expect few have any “problem” with having our government base itself on the “rules” in the Constitution. The problem comes in the “reading.” For example, when the Constitution sets out: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”, I read that to clearly state and intend that women are constitutionally entitled to equal protection and non-discrimination. Justice Scalia and others disagree.

      Similarly, why should seek to go back to the “Founders”‘ static intent? Seems to me that (at least) ignores the import and profound changes to constitutional interpretation and meaning brought about by the events from 1861-65. Or, those of 1955-65 for that matter.

  4. I’m watching parts of this live on C-SPAN. So far, it appears that Democrats and Republicans are alternating, reading every other article. Kucinich just read from Article II, Section 3.

    As I listen to these, the more I agree with Jefferson’s view that the Constitution should be re-written every generation.

    • Joe says:

      you want a Constitutional Convention every generation?

      the Constitution, as Justice Scalia pointed out recently, provides for it to be changed…has it has a number of times.

      • Yes. We have a census every 10 years. Why can’t we have a Constitutional Convention every 20?

        Goodlatte (supposedly) recently claimed that the tax code should be completely re-written. Why can’t the Constitution?

        If Scalia is correct in his interpretation that the Constitution doesn’t protect the rights of women or gays, it should be re-written to include those rights. Article II, Section 1 reads, “Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation.” What if a woman is elected president? “He” is not “she.”

        Have you ever read the whole thing? I have, and there’s a lot of outdated provisions in it.

  5. kuato says:

    Cracked me up that Goodlatte pushed for a reading of a modified Constitution – one that does not include elements that have been altered by amendment. Democrats argued that the Constitution should be read in its entirety in order to demonstrate the changing nature of that historic document, but somehow Goodlatte thought that the intentions of the Founding Fathers would be best represented with an abridged reading.

    Guess Goodlatte believes that the Constitution is a flexible and dynamic blueprint subject to continued and constant interpretation after all.

  6. cook says:

    Maybe it’s because I see very little cable “news” shows these days, but this O’Donnell guy is an idiot. I don’t vote for Goodlatte, but I though Bob handled O’Donnell very well, much better than the guy deserved.

    That being said, while I appreciate Goodlatte wanting to address very important fundamental issues, it’s soon going to be time (9 terms in) for Bob and his colleagues to also start thinking about some ***solutions*** to the many problems confronting the federal government.

  7. JGFitzgerald says:

    Huck Finn and the Constitution both cleaned up in one week. Next up: Song of Solomon.

  8. tomr says:

    Had Pelosi or Obama suggested this, there would be few negative comments on here and there certainly would have been few press outlets second guessing. Seems as though both parties are doing a good job at slowly restricting our freedoms.

Reader Tweets

Latest Flickr photos in the hburgnews Flickr pool
Announcements & Press Releases
  • Friendly City Grand Opening Set for July 9

    Friendly City Food Co-Op, Harrisonburg’s consumer-owned grocery, invites the community to come see its new destination for natural, organic and locally-produced products at the store’s grand opening 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 9 at 150 East Wolfe Street.

  • Friendly City Becomes Member of National Cooperative Grocers Association

    HARRISONBURG, VA — Friendly City Food Co-op, slated to open this month in Harrisonburg, Va., has become the newest member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative serving 120 consumer-owned food co-ops nationwide.

  • Harrisonburg Recognized as a Bike Friendly Community

    May 2: Harrisonburg was honored when the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designations over the weekend to kick off May as National Bike Month.