Reading of the Constitutionby Representative Steve Cohen
Posted on 2013-01-15
COHEN asked and was given permission to address the House for 1
Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, the House just finished the reading of the
Constitution. And that's fine. It's a majestic document, greatest of
its kind, and it's never bad to read it.
It's one thing to read it and it's another thing to really understand it. And to understand it you've got to understand the court decisions and how the courts have interpreted the Constitution.
The courts have recognized the Constitution as a living evolving document and that it's not perfect. Congress had to pass an amendment to formally abolish slavery. It took the Supreme Court in the Topeka Board of Education v. Brown case to abolish Jim Crow, the stepchild of slavery and a great stain on this country's history.
Thanks to Roe v. Wade women have a fundamental right to make medical decisions about their own bodies, a right that continues to be threatened by this Congress. And while the Constitution grants great freedoms, the courts recognize that they come with reasonable limitations.
The First Amendment gives us freedom of speech but doesn't allow us to yell fire in a theater or to libel somebody.
And the Second Amendment, while it gives you the right to bear arms, has limitations as well. You can't carry a gun on an airplane or in a courtroom, and we need to remember that.
So just reading the Constitution is one thing, but understanding is another. I hope we will understand it and live it and see that we have a more perfect union.