The Arizona Origins to the Top 10 Constitutional Myth List

By Garrett Epps

It all began with a speech to the state's House Democratic Caucus

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My proposal for a list of America's Biggest Constitutional Myths has drawn some interest so far. I will be posting a detailed discussion of Myth One ("The Right Believes in a 'Written Constitution,' All Others Believe in a 'Living Constitution'") later this week, with essays on each of the 10 to follow more or less weekly. In the interim, I am sifting through your nominations to see whether any of them merit a longer treatment. (The numerous comments suggesting "Myth One: Epps is Not an Idiot" are being filed in the "spoiled ballots" box.)

In the interim, though, readers may be interested in the origin of the Myth List, which I drew up when I was invited to address the House Democratic Caucus of the Arizona House of Representatives. Arizona is currently the New Orleans of constitutional-nonsense flooding, awash in gibberish propounded by State Sen. Russell Pearce and his far-right mentors at the National Center for Constitutional Studies. I didn't know what to expect when I went to Phoenix, but at my address, at any rate, I found a group of people eager to talk about questions of constitutional interpretation at a fairly high level. I want to thank the Caucus for its invitation, and particular Rep. Steve Farley (D-Tucson) and Rep. Debbie McCune Davis (D-Phoenix), my hosts on a tour that gave me a very sobering sense of what constitutional crisis looks like at ground zero.

You can watch the talk here:

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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/05/the-arizona-origins-to-the-top-10-constitutional-myth-list/239377/