On Monday, The New York Times reported on a new study that reveals a sad fact: The United States Constitution is no longer cool.The headline reads, 'We the People' Loses Appeal With People Around the World. We disagree.
To be fair to David S. Law and Mila Versteeg, the professors behind the research, there is data that suggests they're onto something. "The study, to be published in June in The New York University Law Review, bristles with data," The Times' Adam Liptak writes. "Its authors coded and analyzed the provisions of 729 constitutions adopted by 188 countries from 1946 to 2006, and they considered 237 variables regarding various rights and ways to enforce them," with Professors Law and Versteeg concluding,"Among the world’s democracies... constitutional similarity to the United States has clearly gone into free fall".
The paper of record even pulled a quote from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012," Ginsberg said on TV in Egypt last week. Liptak added, "She recommended, instead, the South African Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the European Convention on Human Rights."
Come on, New York Times, where's your patriotic spirit? Sure, the Constitution is a very old, compact document that's becoming yellower with age every year, but that's not the point. As Ginsberg suggested, it might not be the right model of government for every country on Earth. After all, it was written over 200 years ago by a bunch of rich, old white men. Nevertheless, its brevity is part of its appeal. In addition to the United States Constitution, we have fifty states with their own models for self-governing. We're not perfect, but we're doing something right.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.