The PJ Tatler

House to Read Constitution Aloud Again

House Republicans will continue a tradition started after the midterm Tea Party rout when members participate in reading the Constitution on the floor of the lower chamber next week.


The reading is sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who took over the reins of the Judiciary Committee this Congress from Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

It should begin Tuesday. In 2011, both Republicans and Democrats participated.

That reading was memorable for various reasons. First, Goodlatte was criticized for using the version of the Constitution that removes passages that were at some point stripped by constitutional amendments. Back then, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) objected that the “three-fifths compromise” — counting slaves as three-fifths of a person — was ommitted from the reading. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) also objected, saying that while some parts of the Constitution have been amended they have not been deleted.

Other passages were accidentally skipped when reading duty passed from one lawmaker to another.

And when the passage about the qualifications to be president was read — namely, “natural-born citizen,” someone in the gallery shouted President Obama’s name.

The First Amendment was read in 2011 by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot in the head at a constituent meet-and-greet just two days later.

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