Republicans - Read the Constitution!

Republican Congressman from Ohio Steve Chabot doesn’t know jack about the Constitution. Last week – the Congressman – fearing that tough questions asked of him may end up on YouTube – banned constituents from having cameras at his town hall meeting – even employing the police to confiscate recording devices from attendees. Now – the first circuit U.S Court of Appeals has ruled that citizens have a right to film government officials conducting official business.

The court’s opinion reads, “Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting “the free discussion of governmental affairs…Freedom of expression has particular significance with respect to government.”

Yet another case of Republicans having no understanding whatsoever of the United States constitution.


leighmf's picture
leighmf 12 years 42 weeks ago

This also applies to slander and libel when it comes to public officials. We are allowed to voice our opinions and question the actions of public officials in print. Naturally this should only be done where huge heaps of evidence are stacked on the side of the citizen. Today's journalists are big scaredy cats, not like Drew Pearson, who researched every politician and told it like it is or was.

For example, my favorite Thom Hartmann phrase is "Bush Crime Family." How does one get away with calling two ex-Presidents members of a Crime Family? Because the Bushes know, when push comes to shove, the evidence is heaped up on the side of the citizen.The last thing they want is for others to come out and prove it in a case of libel.


mwalkerco's picture
mwalkerco 12 years 42 weeks ago

Live by the constitution, die by the constitution...

historywriter's picture
historywriter 12 years 42 weeks ago

I do not think they read it, although at least one (is it Boehner?) carries a pocket copy with him. Many of them have not read it, but perhaps more importantly, they do not understand it. (Nor do some of our supreme court and lower court justices.) It is hard to apply a 200-year old document to the complexities of this world. Some of them seemed to anticipate some of our issues, warning about corporations wielding undue influence, for example.

None of the 5 who voted on Citizens United could have read it, or the various decisions made up until Citizens United; 100 years of opposite decisions, which they overturned. None of those who voted to stop counting ballots in Florida, thus putting Bush in office, could have read it. It was a bad decision, Sandra Day O'Connor who voted for it was ashamed of doing so later, and in the decision itself the court wrote that it was not to be used for any other issue that came before the court.

Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 12 years 42 weeks ago

This Ohioan watches these Ohio Assembly Republican arrogant jokers on the Ohio Channel all the time--this is their main stage before making it to the big time in Washington. All they are about is grandstanding for their agenda and kissing up to their corporate handlers. I can guess how each will vote on any given issue--I find I'm rarely wrong. I suppose, unfortunately, they learned it at home first.

madbeats's picture
madbeats 12 years 42 weeks ago

As if that matters much to you Thom. Cute question though I suppose, funny how it only matters whether one reads the constitution or not and how that is or is not relevant depending on wether it's your guy not abiding by it or the other guy not abiding by it. In other other words, when Obama takes us to war in Libya without congressional consent it's okay, cuz he's a dem and so are you. But when Ron Paul starts quoting the constitution and talking about whether this or that is constitutional or not, then he's a nut job for following the constitution. Got it.

BTW, if "Now – the first circuit U.S Court of Appeals has ruled that citizens have a right to film government officials conducting official business." this is true (I have no reason to believe it is not) then that's good news, especially for the guy in Illinoise that is facing 75 years in prison for filming and recording the police.

Janette B's picture
Janette B 12 years 42 weeks ago

The U.S.Constitution? No, as if there were any question. Even conscientious Republicans don't recognize 'their own' party. 'Just a bunch of corporatists, really. PS Bill Press is just g r e a t , Thom! Thanks for having him pitch-hit for you.

addcoachglen's picture
addcoachglen 12 years 42 weeks ago

The anti-intellectual, nativist genome of the Republicrats is frightening. They always were an authoritarion bunch (Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience") but like all bullys, when they won a majority they've escalated their jack-boot thuggish tactics.

They are in for a big surprise in 2012. Can anyone spell backlash?

They read/interpret the constitution the same way they read the Bible. Proof-texting their way to whatever they want it to mean. Every time they express an opinion about it illustrates their ignorance of it's true meaning.

acarstensen's picture
acarstensen 12 years 42 weeks ago

Mr. Madbeats

I don't recall Thom ever saying that it was OK for President Hope to bomb Libya without congressional approval. Also, when did he say that Ron Paul was nuts? But I agree that he should spend more time criticizing corporate Democrats that bow down to the military industrial congressional complex.

Gator Girl 12 years 42 weeks ago

Why read a document which they want to demolish because it gets in the way of the type of government they would like to see put into place. Especially Rick Perry with reference to his religious views. We have both Democrats and Republicans who do not read and do not like the current Constitution which has served us well for so long. If it is so bad why do so many people want to come live here? Personally I would love to see Rick Perry and his state secede and form their own country and we could send all of his friends down to serve in his government. The list would include Cantor, Boehner and - well, too many to name.

rocklinjohn's picture
rocklinjohn 12 years 42 weeks ago

I wonder if this Court finding supporting access to officials doing official business will apply to union officials in closed door meetings with elected officials such as , say, Obama and his #1 vistitor to the Oval Office? Or city council members, state legislators and federal level representatives as well, in their own closed door meetings? Or are they somehow immune? Am I misreading this finding?

Lindawyeth 12 years 42 weeks ago

Read? They can read? How do they do on comprehension? Can they spell comprehension? As a small-town journalist, I have had to fight for my right to tape government meetings, believe it or not. And I find it very important to do so, because otherwise government officials complain about being misquoted or quoted out of context. By the way, I, too, carry a copy of the Constitution with me in my pocketbook -- courtesy of the ACLU.

1961arnie's picture
1961arnie 12 years 42 weeks ago

The president under the war powers act can declare war for 90 days with out congress the same was true with bush. he is comander and cheif

dianhow 12 years 42 weeks ago

Its a Travesty that our con judges say 'Money is speech " and Corps are persons' I am ready to give up hope for politics to become less crooked / less corrupt. Lobbyists aka crooks, Goldmans Wall ST- Big oil, GOP Tea Baggers run our gov't / our economy / our courts. / our wars . Generals are wrong just as in Nam . They make a career of making war . War profiters will do anything to keep gravy train coming in. Each day brings more depressing news of how GOP plans to break Obama while taking US economy. with him. Voter supression, lies, nothing shames them. Rush had Cheney on. Rush was fawning over him & told Cheney what a 'Great man he is' I wanted to gag. Cheenys book is # 1 .All the GOP right wingers-Baggers rushed out to buy his work of fiction. Thom Is it to late to reclaim our power ? Has it went on way too long ? 1980 Reaganomics deregulation,amnesty , debt- Bush wars, lies, corp cuts, global crash Paulson 700 billion TARP joke on taxpayers. We paid 100 cents on dollar for their ' JUNK Mortgages' WE were scammed screwed, duped, sold down the river ..Yet no one takes any responsibility and corp news media does not press them to do so. Are they all in cahoots ? I think so

rocklinjohn's picture
rocklinjohn 12 years 42 weeks ago

You might find it equally as frustrating the California Assembly Democrats and Sacramento City Council and Sac County officials (Democrats all) who have been fighting to NOT make public their spending records, union agreements, pension payouts and have had to be forced by (chuckling) left-leaning reporters at the Sacramento Bee to aire these records. This is not a us/them thing. We have a bi-partisan problem of overstepping legal and Constitutional bounds.

acarstensen's picture
acarstensen 12 years 42 weeks ago

dear 1961 arnie,

I think you're misinterpreting the war powers act. read the wiki on it.

PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 12 years 42 weeks ago

Republicans refuse to study the Constitution of the United States. They say they love the founding fathers and the Constitution. Yet they want to change the Constitution to permit torture. If they liked the founding fathers so much does that me they are in favor of slavery too . . . many of them owned slaves. Does that mean they are against suffrage for women . . . our founding fathers did not give women the vote. It took eighty years longer to give women the right to vote than it took to eliminate slavery. Republicans do not read the Constitution . . . they only understand the second amendment and the tenth amendment. They are hypocrites.

Philip Henderson

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 12 years 42 weeks ago

I would have to go along with what LindaWyeth said: What? Republicans read? They know how to do that?

But no, I don't think that republicans should read the constitution. I just don't see what good it would do. I mean, they read the Bible, but the only parts they remember are the parts where God and/or the Israelites smite, smote, and smat people here, there, and everywhere, and of course they remember every word of the eye-for-an-eye stuff where if someone puts out one of your eyes, you put out at least one if not two of theirs. And their absolute favorite parts of the Bible are the ones where God says that He hates these people, those people, and the other people, and wants good Christians to kill all of them. As for the parts of the bible that talk about compassion, loving your neighbor, helping those who are less fortunate, and so on, well, republicans don't remember any of that. They like the hard-core part of the Bible that talks about how God hates abortion and wants abortion doctors murdered, even though there is not one word in the Bible about abortion or abortion doctors. And republicans like the part of the Bible that talks about how God delights in war- the bloodier the better, even though there isn't anything in the Bible about God loving war. But republicans don't so much like the part of the Bible where Jesus says, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Now that I think about it, looking at how republicans talk and behave, I would have to say they don't talk or act like Christians at all. They talk and behave exactly like radical, jihadist fundamentalist Muslim terrorists.

Say, do you think it's possible that the republicans are not Americans at all, but rather are Muslim spies, sent to corrupt America and turn us into a Muslim terrorist state? I wonder if John Boehner was actually born in Iraq. I mean, it kind of makes sense, because you know Boehner always has that orange color to his skin and it's well-known that when Muslims want to hide the dark color of their skin, they spray this orange paint on themselves. And I don't like to say this, but I also have my suspicions about Mitch McConnel, because I mean, where does he disappear to four times a day, every day? Some people think he goes to the men's room to smoke dope, but now I'm wondering whether what everyone says about him is true- whether he has a Muslim prayer rug in his office and those four times a day when he disappears, he's getting down on his knees facing Mecca and praying to Allah to destroy America. I don't like saying these things, because I like Mitch McConnel, but he really does look like a Muslim, and everyone knows he was always hanging out with Muslim terrorists when he was in college. It just makes you wonder...

leighmf's picture
leighmf 12 years 42 weeks ago

What a sneaky trick gfyht- do you use this globally? I'd like to promote my merchandise too since I'm lliving on tea and hard boiled eggs and Linclonapin.

Let's see- Oh Thom, I love your (garden urns) and (architectural siteware) which really keep me informed about (mangroves for sale).

Please send all checks from Nigeria drawn on the Bank of Frankewing, TN to me directly. Minimum purchase, $18,000.00 USD.

duma18 12 years 42 weeks ago

David Abbot, you are correct sir! They are NOT good Christians just as the Muslim extremist who attacked us are NOT good Muslims. Funny how a few bad apples ruin the whole batch leaving a bad mark on all the good ones. PhilipHenderson, thank you for your reflection on slavery and equal rights. (love your photo too) Neither fight was done by those affected alone and yet we forget that every day. Unfortunately, the oppressed simply cannot fight for themselves alone and it was through compassion of both black and white, women and men, that changes were made and we (color and gender aside) should never have to fight alone. Again, the rotted fruit try to spoil the good and still leave a mark to this day. Divided we fail.

SueN's picture
SueN 12 years 42 weeks ago

lol leighmf, there are a great many people doing that sort of thing on the net. Their posts do not last long here.

davidkernabraham's picture
davidkernabraham 12 years 42 weeks ago

Have Republican office holders read the U S Constitution? Maybe, maybe not. But an awful lot of the folks who vote for them can't and don't read.

griff50's picture
griff50 12 years 41 weeks ago


Good post. The bottom line is people are not motivated by ideology. These beliefs are the justification for doing what they want to do anyway. We humans gravitate to belief systems that support our pesonal agendas. If we watch what someone does, we'll know who they are. Do they really believe in free markets, religion, etc? If it gets them power and money, it must be true. We cling to beliefs that seem to work for us. I'm sure Bachman really believes god wants her to be pres., but that is because she wants that, and so she simply maps her god belief on to her own wishes.

Finally, I've noticed that people who do what is obviously good for others don't need to justify it with ideology. People who are cynical and self-serving always have an ideology to defend what they do when they hurt others. Think about fascism, communism, libertarianism. All of these "philopsophies" are justifications for human greed, fear and ego. I'm sure Mitch McConnel would make a great Mullah, (he probably agrees with 'em on most issues) but that's not where the money is in the USA.


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