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Constitutional Law Not One of Sen. Hatch’s Better Subjects

The Utah senator gets an "F" for standing the Constitution on its head. A PJM "exclusive."

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April 23, 2009 - 12:00 am

PJ Media has exclusively obtained a startling memo to a U.S. senator. We have reason to believe other similar missives directed at other lawmakers may be coming in the weeks and months ahead. We reprint this one for our readers. UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH FROM: Professor Learned Finger, Untouchable Chair in Constitutional Law TO: Senator Orrin Hatch, Class of 1962 SUBJECT: Revised Grade in “Constitutional Law I” To my former student: It has come to my attention that not only are you the chief sponsor of S. 160, a bill that would provide the District of Columbia with a voting member of the House of Representatives, but that you have published a scholarly essay in the Harvard Journal on Legislation explaining why this legislative obscenity is supposedly constitutional. (See 45 Harv. J. on Legis. 287.) In your essay, you make claims that in court would subject you to sanctions under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for making a plainly frivolous argument — namely that Congress can ignore the requirement of Art. I, Sec. 2 of the Constitution, which plainly states the composition of the House of Representative shall be “Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States” (emphasis added).  In fine lawyerly fashion, you conclude that the word “state” does not mean a state and, therefore, that a constitutional amendment is not needed. Congress has the power legislatively to provide the District of Columbia with a vote in the House. But you “come to a different conclusion, however, with regard to granting the District representation in the Senate.” The fact that the Constitution also provides in Art. I, Sec. 3 that the Senate will be composed of “two Senators from each State” must be interpreted differently, according to your legal (?) reasoning.  So far as I can tell, the only difference between the two is that the addition of two D.C. senators would tilt the Senate’s balance of power decidedly toward your Democratic opponents. As you are aware, I originally gave you a B+ in my class on basic constitutional law when you first took it in 1961, despite your constant habit of singing to yourself in class, disturbing your fellow classmates.  However, if you had submitted this essay that was published at that little red school house in Cambridge in my class, I would have given you an “F” for “failed legal reasoning.”  It is clear from this article and your sponsorship of S. 160 that you don’t have the foggiest notion of constitutional law and probably wouldn’t be able to recognize a copy of the Federalist Papers if it was put in front of you as a menu at the Capital Grille, that mega-expensive congressional watering hole on Pennsylvania Avenue.  Your arguments are so ridiculous even a 1L could poke holes in them. Indeed, several did in class just the other day. I have been forced, therefore, under the academic policy of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law to revise your grade.  I am notifying the dean of academic affairs that your grade should be changed from a B+ to an F (short for Norton “F”lunkie).  That should not be a major setback for you in your present career given the fact that you are apparently surrounded by other senators/lawyers who have the same clouded view of the Constitution. May James Madison climb out of his grave and haunt you in your senate office in the Russell Senate Office Building.

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