Charles Fried, Harvard Law School’s Beneficial Professor of Law, joined NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook on Jan. 5 to discuss the unprecedented decision, favored by Tea Party activists, to read aloud the full text of the U.S. Constitution as the 112th Congress’s first order of business.
“I think it is a combination of mistake, ignorance and pure politics,” Fried said.
He later added: “People are entirely justified in saying that government has too much power, and that individuals should have more discretion about their lives, but that is a philosophical and political claim — and a perfectly sound, understandably one — but it’s not constitutional, and reading the Constitution does not either support it or deny it.”
NPR’s introduction to the interview:
Congress and Constitutional Limits
The new House leadership reads the U.S. Constitution on the floor of Congress. We look at what’s going on with the founding document.
It’s mass swearing-in time today on Capitol Hill. New Congress. New members. New Republican majority in the House. And the first order of business tomorrow in the 112th Congress is an unprecedented reading aloud of the full text of the United States Constitution.
That’s never been done on the floor of the House. GOP Tea Party activists say it’s needed now because the nation has strayed. It needs a stern touch of the relic and a reminder of the founding charter.
Skeptics say the Tea Party only wants to hear the Constitution its way.
We look at the Constitution, back in the fray.
Listen to the full interview here.