Rule of Law

‘Constitutional progressives’ unveil new pledge


The National Law Journal
‘Constitutional progressives’ unveil new pledge
By David Ingram
September 14, 2011


Doug Kendall of the Constitutional Accountability Center 
Image: Diego M. Radzinschi / Legal Times

Politicians get asked all the time to sign pledges — about abortion, taxes and countless other issues. Now, a coalition of liberal legal groups is asking people to sign a new pledge “to support the whole Constitution.” 

The effort is designed to counter depictions of the Constitution from Tea Party organizations and conservatives in Congress who argue that the federal government has exceeded the limited powers the Constitution gives it. 

Doug Kendall, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, told reporters on a conference call this morning that “self-professed constitutional conservatives” are trying to build “a bridge back to the colonial era and the Articles of Confederation,” which preceded the Constitution. 

Kendall said politicians should pledge to uphold the Constitution, including all its amendments, rather than taking a pledge to support certain parts of the document or to oppose something like tax increases. 

“The Constitution needs to be and should be a document that unites Americans instead of dividing us along ideological lines,” Kendall said. 

About 12,000 people have signed the pledge, according to the coalition’s website, The seven-sentence pledge emphasizes how the Constitution “has been improved” by changes such as the 14th, 16th and 17th amendments. 

Other groups involved in the effort include the Center for American Progress and the People For the American Way Foundation. 

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) wrote a letter this week to his colleagues endorsing the coalition’s ideas. The effort coincides with events centered around Constitution Day, which is Friday and marks the anniversary of the end of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.