Civil and Human Rights

RELEASE: Message From CAC President Elizabeth Wydra On Constitution Day

On Constitution and Citizenship Day, and throughout Constitution Week, it is important to recognize that we are not just celebrating the seven original Articles signed in 1787. Our nation’s Constitution includes critical amendments added over two centuries, making the document profoundly relevant to us today as a guarantor of our rights and a durable charter of government.

Washington, DC – As the nation observes the 229th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, Constitutional Accountability Center President Elizabeth Wydra issued the following statement:

“On Constitution and Citizenship Day, and throughout Constitution Week, it is important to recognize that we are not just celebrating the seven original Articles signed in 1787. Our nation’s Constitution includes critical amendments added over two centuries, making the document profoundly relevant to us today as a guarantor of our rights and a durable charter of government. Building on the achievements of the Founding generation, successive generations of Americans have created a ‘more perfect union’ through constitutional Amendments. These Amendments have improved our Constitution by ending slavery, enshrining guarantees of equality and citizenship, expanding the right to vote, and ensuring that the national government has the power and resources necessary to protect the nation, address national challenges and secure civil rights.

“Many challenges now confronting the country – from the assault on voting rights, to battles over citizenship and immigration, entrenched racial discrimination, and the raft of vacancies on our federal courts that undermines people’s ability to vindicate their rights – call upon the wisdom of those who first drafted our Founding charter and those who helped make our union even more perfect by amending our Constitution since then. The carnage of the Civil War was redeemed by abolishing slavery, declaring equal citizenship as a birthright, and guaranteeing that the right to vote could not be denied or abridged on the basis of race. Over these past two centuries, We the People have worked to make our constitutional democracy even more inclusive, ensuring that men and women, rich and poor, of any race or creed, have a voice and a vote.

“More than just blessing us with ideals of equality and liberty, the authors of our Constitution created for the United States a system of government that – while dividing power among three separate branches and balancing them against each other – was designed to function. However, Senate Republican leaders today, who have confirmed the fewest judicial nominees in the last two years of any president’s term since the Eisenhower Administration, dishonor that founding design. Refusing even to hold a hearing for a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court – leaving the Court understaffed and unable to perform its basic function in critical cases for more than six months and counting – is repugnant to the Constitution that Madison, Washington, Hamilton and so many others built.

“The arc of our Constitution’s progress stands as one of America’s greatest achievements, from the founding generation through generations that saw the Civil War, the women’s suffrage movement and the civil rights movement. Constitution Week reminds us that, for all our progress, we must rededicate ourselves today to the work of making America more perfect.”

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Constitutional Accountability Center (www.theusconstitution.org) is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Follow CAC on Twitter @MyConstitution.

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