Michele Bachmann (R-MN) wants her fellow representatives to brush up on their constitutional smarts — and she's enlisted one of the highest authorities in the land to help them do it. The Minnesota Republican has convinced Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to lead the first seminar in a weekly congressional class on the Constitution. The event is officially for members of Bachmann's Constitutional Conservative Caucus, but the Tea Party favorite hopes "all the members of Congress" will attend. She also wants to line up Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts for future sessions. Is it really appropriate for a Supreme Court justice to teach this kind of class? (Watch Bachmann discuss the course)
Whatever happened to impartial justice? Bachmann compares this to weekly NFL practice, says Kyle at Right Wing Watch. "Doesn't that pretty much make Scalia the coach?" If so, I can foresee a "possible problem" with letting a "sitting Supreme Court Justice" essentially teach Congress "how to vote in accordance with the Constitution." Doesn't that document include a section about the separation of powers?
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Justices and congressmen are able to meet: A Supreme Court justice meeting with lawmakers may be "unusual," says Jennifer Epstein at Politico, but it's not "unprecedented." The Congressional Caucus on the Judicial, for example, "meets occasionally with Supreme Court justices," and recently heard from Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Scalia will actually address the separation of powers in his one-off talk.
Lawmakers have more important things to do: Does Bachmann think football players "spend practice memorizing the rule book?" asks Alex Pareene at Salon. What Congress ought to be doing is "drafting bills" and rounding up votes. Perhaps Bachmann, who recently turned down a place on the appropriations committee, has forgotten she too has to "actually participate in the legislative process."
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