|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
New Hampshire Republicans are taking textual originalism to a whole new level: three lawmakers have proposed a bill that requires that all legislation find its origin not in the U.S. constitution, but an English document crafted in 1215.
When the legislature reconvenes this month, Republicans want their colleagues to justify many new bills with a direct quote from the 800-year-old Magna Carta:
House Bill 1580 is the product of such a brainstorming session this summer between three freshman House Republicans: Bob Kingsbury of Laconia, Tim Twombly of Nashua and Lucien Vita of Middleton. The eyebrow-raiser, set to be introduced when the Legislature reconvenes next month, requires legislation to find its origin in an English document crafted in 1215.
“All members of the general court proposing bills and resolutions addressing individual rights or liberties shall include a direct quote from the Magna Carta which sets forth the article from which the individual right or liberty is derived,” is the bill’s one sentence.
The Magna Carta, while famed as the first major declaration of rights under English monarchy, is a bit outdated in its actual prose.
The Magna Carta is indisputably an important historical document, with ideas about liberty that inspired America’s founders. But as the Concord Monitor points out, the substance of the document is fixated on the tedium of feudal times, and has little if any relevance to modern American life.