There is an alternate universe where most of the Twentieth Century violates the Constitution—and a growing number of lawmakers live in it. Sen. Tom Coburn believes that Pell Grants, federal student loans and all other federal education programs violate the Constitution. Justice Clarence Thomas would strike down the national minimum wage and the ban on whites-only lunch counters. Senator Mike Lee believes that child labor laws, federal disaster relief, food stamps, the Food and Drug Administration, Social Security and Medicare are all forbidden.
Yet many of the same lawmakers who claim America is powerless to help students, workers, the jobless and the elderly imagine that the Constitution gives them sweeping power to trample on the rights of women and immigrants. In their vision, everything they oppose is forbidden, and much of what they support is mandatory.
Please join the Center for American Progress for a discussion of how America will change if the Tea Party succeeds in implementing its constitutional vision, and of why their imagined constitution cannot be squared with the document itself.
Lucas Guttentag, Robina Foundation Distinguished Senior Research Scholar in Law and Lecturer in Law. Yale Law School
Ian Millhiser, Policy Analyst, Center for American Progress; Editor of ThinkProgress Justice
Elizabeth B. Wydra, Chief Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center
Garrett Epps, Professor of Law, University of Baltimore School of Law