November 28, 2004

The Silliest Damn Thing I've Seen...

Okay, so I couldn't sleep. I spent some time hitting the online editions of Sunday newspapers. My favorite story is this one, from the Washington Post. It's about the Alabama state constitution, a (ahem) rather robust document that measures in at 40 times the length of the federal version. This past election, there were four amendments up for approval on the ballot. Three of them passed, but the fourth, a seemingly unobjectionable request to remove state-mandated school segregation, Jim Crow-style Poll Taxes and numerous references to "white and colored children”, failed by about 1800 votes. There are three schools of thought about why this is. The first two are easy: racism, and a natural mistrust of mucking around with a Constitution. That last idea doesn’t seem to wash, in light of amendments 743, 744 and 745 passing.

The real culprit, it seems is the Alabama Christian Coalition. They, along with local folk hero Roy Moore, and Alabama Supreme Court Justice Elect Tom Parker, who was nice enough to hand out Confederate flags at his campaign rallies, convinced a slight majority of state voters that the portion of the proposed amendment that "guarantees public education" would give cause to "rogue federal judges" ordering the state to raise taxes in order to pay for education improvements. Now, nobody who wasn't already involved with the Anti-Amendment Two group gave any credence to this, but it worked anyway.

Totally beside the point is that Alabama's public schools are pitiful, and Republican Governor Bob Riley supports a tax increase to improve the state's school system.

Just sad in several directions.

Posted by Frinklin at November 28, 2004 01:48 AM

As if Roy Moore needed to prove, YET AGAIN, that, in the immortal words of A Few Good Men, he was out the day they taught law in law school. Uh, Roy, who exactly are these federal judges who are going to be interpreting provisions of the STATE constitution? Fucking idiot, and an asshole too.

As for state constitutions generally, my understanding is that the Alabama Constitution reserved all powers to the state, thus requiring a specific amendment any time a local government is going to be created or empowered to do anything. Or maybe that was the Mississippi Constitution? Anyway, it was one of many redundant provisions designed to prevent blacks from getting control of any kind of political authority.

Alabama is LONG overdue for a cinstitutional convention. That said, having spent the last three years working with the much more recently adopted Florida Constitution (of 1968), newer doesn't necessarily imply "good." Most state constitutions are a convoluted mess. Florida's is an embarassment for different reasons than Alabama's.

Posted by: Dave J at December 7, 2004 05:15 PM
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