Thursday, October 01, 2009

Poorly Drafted

Eric Johnson takes a look at one of the more sloppy documents in the American legal repertoire: the Constitution.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has noticed that the Second Amendment is, grammatically speaking, completely meaningless.

5 comments:

Tim Crimmins said...

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Yep, it's a dangling modifier, at least by modern standards.

Tim Crimmins said...

PS, I was just reading Lincoln's first inaugural address, and I came across this typically devious bit of prose, "Is it true, then, that any right plainly written in the Constitution has been denied? I think not.[...]Think, if you can, of a single instance in which a plainly written provision of the Constitution has ever been denied."

Plainly written is not plainly written. He can deny any particular counter-example that might be marshalled, because so much of the Constitution's meaning is not plain at all.

The Gaucho Politico said...

you know how hard it is to right a document that enumerates everything such that it doesnt have to be rewritten every year or so? The best way to make sure you only rarely have to change it is to make it vague. 2nd ammendment roughly translated means...some people should have guns some of the time and others can have them all the time while still others shouldnt have any ever. who fits in whategory? thats for later generations to figure out.

Tim Crimmins said...

"you know how hard it is to right a document that enumerates everything such that it doesnt have to be rewritten every year or so?"

Gaucho, I'm guessing that yew know exactly how hard that is.

Joe said...

My impression is that at the time of adoption they assumed the Constitution would actually be amended somewhat regularly. (If true, this means the real error is failing to anticipate gridlock in requiring supermajorities.)