News Center

Elsewhere Online twitter Facebook SLS Blogs YouTube SLS Channel Linked In SLSNavigator SLS on Flickr

The House Reads The Constitution For You

Publication Date: 
January 05, 2011
The Washington Post
Al Kamen

Professors Pamela S. Karlan and Michael W. McConnell are both quoted by the Washington Post for their choice of which clause of the Constitution they would read if they were attending the reading of the Constitution in the House of Representatives. Al Kamen filed the following story:

The new House Republican leadership is getting ready for its much-anticipated reading of the Constitution as the House begins its workday Thursday.

The basic document, 4,500 or so words, which lays out the three-branch structure and the roles of each branch, would take about 30 minutes to read aloud. The amendments, about 3,300 words, would take an additional 20 to 25 minutes. If most all members take part, that would be about 18 words each. That's maybe 10 to 15 seconds per member live on C-SPAN.


Stanford law professor Pam Karlan, who clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun, opted for the third clause of Article VI, which says "no religious test shall ever be required" for people who want to hold public office.

Former federal appellate judge Michael McConnell, a conservative counterpart on the Stanford faculty to Karlan - and they don't seem to agree on much - also picked that clause. When told it was taken, McConnell graciously opted, tongue firmly in cheek, for the well-known "magazine clause" in Article I, Section 8. (No, not about Time and Newsweek - it's about exclusive federal authority over "Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.")