Blogs > Cliopatria > Howard Meyer: Edwin Meese's Influence

Aug 20, 2005 3:00 pm

Howard Meyer: Edwin Meese's Influence

The disclosure of the influence of Edwin Meese III on the life and thinking of Judge Roberts is a valued contribution to the current debate about the fitness of Judge Roberts to be confirmed as a justice.

It throws light on an extremely important issue that the participants -- including leading senators --have failed thus far adequately to explain or emphasize.

The Meese movement's use of the word "originalism" arose from its dissatisfaction with the judges who had brought about the revival and return to the original intent of the Fourteenth Amendment's promises of Equal Protection, and Due Process of Law and its safeguard (textually provided for) against denial by the states of the Privileges and Immunities of Citizens of the United States.

Forgotten illustrations of the drift of the Meese movment were President Reagan's speech declaring the unamended Constitution of 1787 itself to be a "Bill of Rights." In accord with that, the 1987 centennial celebrations omitted to teach about the contribution of the first ten and the Civil War Amendments (13, 14, 15) to the transformation if the 1787 Constitution to a "Peoples' Constitution", once the twentieth amendment was added.

Howard N Meyer

The writer is author of The Amendment that Refused to Die, a history of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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