Wednesday, July 21, 2010

File: under God

Robert George writes in the current issue of First Things on God and Gettysburg, noting that in a pocket edition of founding documents
The American Constitution Society had omitted Lincoln’s reference to the United States as a nation under God from the address he gave at the dedication of the burial ground at Gettysburg.
He goes on to note that three of the five known drafts of the speech and the contemporary accounts by three reporters present at the speech include those words.

Caroline Fredrickson, Executive Director of the ACS responds at its weblog in a post Debate or Distraction: Why Some Are Fretting Over the ACS Pocket Constitution, including,
At a time when many conservative pundits and policymakers can only try to distract from the administration's efforts to address real problems, it is perhaps not surprising that some would try to refocus attention on such peripheral issues.
The booklet is "offered free to attendees at most ACS events" so maybe I'll get one tonight at the local ACS chapter event featuring Mark Tushnet, Eve's father and one of my professors at UW Law.

Update: In the Q&A Professor Tushnet was asked about reference to foreign law in interpreting the U.S. Constitution. He noted this has happened mostly in cases on what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. As an aside, he said that similar use of foreign law would support conservative positions on the exclusionary rule and abortion, but the more conservative justices do not do so on principle.