Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Constitutional law professor quips on the difference between the Bible and the Constitution.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]
Part of that debate featured some give-and-take between Nancy Jacobs, a Republican state senator, and Jamin Raskin, a professor of constitutional law from Washington's American University over the influence of the Bible on modern law. The Sun reported the following exchange taking place between the two:
"As I read Biblical principles, marriage was intended, ordained and started byAssuming the Sun's account is accurate, we note that the version of events quoted at the head of this page has been somewhat altered and compressed to make the exchange more direct and personal (i.e., Senator Jacobs' statement about marriage and the Bible has been simplified, and she did not issue a "What do you have to say about that?" challenge; Professor Raskin's response referred to people in general, not to Senator Jacobs specifically; and although some spectators applauded, the room did not "erupt into applause"), but the setting and gist of Professor Raskin's statement are correctly reported.
Raskin shot back that the Bible was also used to uphold now-outlawed statutes banning interracial marriage, and that the constitution should instead be lawmakers' guiding principle.
"People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution; they don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible," he said.
Some in the room applauded, which led committee chairman
Who should get credit for originating this quip is unclear, however, because the concept has been used before. For example, comedian Bill Maher said the following (in reference to the Terry Schiavo case) during the
The Federal Appeals Court in Atlanta scolded [Congress and the President] the other day for acting in a manner they said, "demonstrably at odds with our founding fathers' blueprint." There are laws named after one person, like the Miranda laws, but they don't just apply toAnd a 1997 article about Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois reports him as offering a similar sentiment:
Jackson voted against a House resolution supporting a judge who displayed the Ten Commandments in court. He was dismayed that it passed. "When I came here, I put my hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. I didn't put my hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."Last updated: 28 March 2006
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