The GOP shows that for all their recent rhetoric about the sacredness of the Constitution, the document is really little more than a political prop.
Today, Democrats offered a motion to recommit on legislation to extend expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act to ensure that PATRIOT Act powers are not used to violate the Constitutional freedoms and protections guaranteed to all Americans. The motion included two parts:
No Constitutional shortcuts. When investigating American citizens, the government must comply with the Constitution, even in national security investigations
Challenging unconstitutional action. If a citizen challenges the government’s use of PATRIOT Act power in a court of law, the case must be expedited to ensure the individual’s rights are upheld.
Just two House Republicans voted for the measure. Sure, this was a stunt by the Democrats. Sort of like the “read the bills” proposals from Republicans are, also, stunts. But that’s sort of the problem. We’ve reached the point where merely asking the government to respect the constitutional rights of American citizens, or that members of Congress actually read bills before they vote on them, have become quaint notions; handy for political posturing, but they’re ideas that tend to elicit only scoffs from serious Washington people.