Total Posts:33|Showing Posts:1-30|Last Page
Jump to topic:

Legally binding or just guidelines?

InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 4:01:32 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I somehow got in a conversation on facebook about birthers which quickly morphed into stuff about the US constitution. However, it got me thinking. Are constitutions really legally binding or just guidelines on the best way to govern? Here were my thoughts on the subject:

I'm totally going to get sh*t for this, but constitutions are just a piece of paper. They're just guidelines, nothing more. There's absolutely nothing that can make a constitution legally binding, but most people follow them as the best guidelines on how to govern. For example, our constitution in Canada is updated all the time.

Being guidelines only, people could choose not to follow them, but that would be political suicide, but certainly not subject for impeachment, arrest, etc.
CosmicAlfonzo
Posts: 5,955
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 4:03:51 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
If you are able to do it at all, I wouldn't call it binding.

Try breaking the law of gravity, I'll give you a cookie.

No, flying isn't breaking the law of gravity =p
Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
jmar8542
Posts: 380
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 4:04:21 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
It would be political suicide...but you are right about it only being guidelines. That's what a lot of right-wingers don't seem to understand about the second amendment.
"Science is interesting, and if you don't agree, you can fvck off." - Richard Dawkins
mongeese
Posts: 5,387
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 4:07:17 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The Constitution is legally binding because it is the source of the federal government's legal power. It is as binding as any law passed or contract signed, if not more so. However, it is the people's responsibility to ensure that the government does not overstep the bounds outlined in the Constitution.
CosmicAlfonzo
Posts: 5,955
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 4:08:54 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The constitution is like a contract between the government and the people.

Unfortunately, the government is very persuasive and powerful.
Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
Anarcho
Posts: 887
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 4:26:56 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 4:01:32 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
I somehow got in a conversation on facebook about birthers which quickly morphed into stuff about the US constitution. However, it got me thinking. Are constitutions really legally binding or just guidelines on the best way to govern? Here were my thoughts on the subject:

I'm totally going to get sh*t for this, but constitutions are just a piece of paper. They're just guidelines, nothing more. There's absolutely nothing that can make a constitution legally binding, but most people follow them as the best guidelines on how to govern. For example, our constitution in Canada is updated all the time.

They are just Republicans just quoting George W. Bush.
InsertNameHere wrote: "If we evolved from apes then why are apes still around?

This is semi-serious btw. It's something that seems strange to me. You'd think that entire species would cease to exist if other ones evolved from them."

Anarcho wrote: *facepalm*
InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 4:33:26 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 4:04:21 PM, jmar8542 wrote:
It would be political suicide...but you are right about it only being guidelines. That's what a lot of right-wingers don't seem to understand about the second amendment.

Exactly. Just because it says something in a constitution it doesn't mean it's a must.
InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 4:34:31 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 4:07:17 PM, mongeese wrote:
The Constitution is legally binding because it is the source of the federal government's legal power. It is as binding as any law passed or contract signed, if not more so. However, it is the people's responsibility to ensure that the government does not overstep the bounds outlined in the Constitution.

If there was a constitution that said the proper way to govern would be by killing blacks would you still consider that to be legally binding? Might as well be consistent.
jmar8542
Posts: 380
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 4:35:17 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 4:33:26 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/1/2011 4:04:21 PM, jmar8542 wrote:
It would be political suicide...but you are right about it only being guidelines. That's what a lot of right-wingers don't seem to understand about the second amendment.

Exactly. Just because it says something in a constitution it doesn't mean it's a must.

Say one thing against it, though, and they get up on your a$$ for being "unpatriotic" or "hating this country". :P
"Science is interesting, and if you don't agree, you can fvck off." - Richard Dawkins
PARADIGM_L0ST
Posts: 6,958
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 4:35:54 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Are constitutions really legally binding or just guidelines on the best way to govern?:

I can only comment on the US Constitution, which is legally biding. It trumps everything else.
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 4:37:19 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 4:35:17 PM, jmar8542 wrote:
At 3/1/2011 4:33:26 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/1/2011 4:04:21 PM, jmar8542 wrote:
It would be political suicide...but you are right about it only being guidelines. That's what a lot of right-wingers don't seem to understand about the second amendment.

Exactly. Just because it says something in a constitution it doesn't mean it's a must.

Say one thing against it, though, and they get up on your a$$ for being "unpatriotic" or "hating this country". :P

They can't pull that on me though, considering I'm Canadian. I do feel the same way about the Canadian constitution too btw.
jmar8542
Posts: 380
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 4:44:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 4:37:19 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/1/2011 4:35:17 PM, jmar8542 wrote:
At 3/1/2011 4:33:26 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/1/2011 4:04:21 PM, jmar8542 wrote:
It would be political suicide...but you are right about it only being guidelines. That's what a lot of right-wingers don't seem to understand about the second amendment.

Exactly. Just because it says something in a constitution it doesn't mean it's a must.

Say one thing against it, though, and they get up on your a$$ for being "unpatriotic" or "hating this country". :P

They can't pull that on me though, considering I'm Canadian. I do feel the same way about the Canadian constitution too btw.

You mean they don't get like that in Canada?

...I think I'm going to be moving soon.
"Science is interesting, and if you don't agree, you can fvck off." - Richard Dawkins
InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 4:46:08 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 4:44:37 PM, jmar8542 wrote:

You mean they don't get like that in Canada?

...I think I'm going to be moving soon.

Nope. Most people in Canada are not like that at all. It's a relief.
LaissezFaire
Posts: 2,050
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 4:48:48 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
It is technically legally binding, but that doesn't mean the government has to follow it. People do things that are against the law all the time--government is no exception. And since there's no real check against the government, no one really pays attention to what's legal or illegal (see: pretty much everything the federal government does).
Should we subsidize education?
http://www.debate.org...

http://mises.org...

http://lewrockwell.com...

http://antiwar.com...

: At 6/22/2011 6:57:23 PM, el-badgero wrote:
: i didn't like [Obama]. he was the only black dude in moneygall yet he claimed to be home. obvious liar is obvious liar. i bet him and bin laden are bumfvcking right now.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 6:23:22 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
To say that the constitution isn't legally binding is to say that law doesn't exist, in other words, to answer no the question is to declare the question stupid, which, considering how the OP answered no, ought to lead to some careful reconsideration. That doesn't mean it's factually binding, but when a government steps outside the Constitution, they are stepping outside what they themselves have acknowledged is the law. If, of course, that government says "We don't follow that after all," and in so doing keep their power, the law naturally changes, but law consists of what the people with the power say has to be done, not of whether they are telling the truth about what they seek.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
TheAtheistAllegiance
Posts: 1,251
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 8:42:10 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I don't know how things are run in Canada, but I take the Loose Constructionist view of the US constitution, which is that the document legally prohibits the federal government from performing certain actions, such as suppressing free speech. In fact, the constitution is one tool used to control and civilize the mob-rule aspect of democracy. Though through amendments, it can be modified to serve modern times, such as the abolishment of slavery and whatnot.
darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 8:46:38 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
How is the Constitution binding? The only way that the constitution can be regulated is if the government chooses to follow it. And how do we know the government is going to follow it? We don't.
Open borders debate:
http://www.debate.org...
mongeese
Posts: 5,387
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 9:10:15 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 8:42:10 PM, TheAtheistAllegiance wrote:
I don't know how things are run in Canada, but I take the Loose Constructionist view of the US constitution, which is that the document legally prohibits the federal government from performing certain actions, such as suppressing free speech. In fact, the constitution is one tool used to control and civilize the mob-rule aspect of democracy. Though through amendments, it can be modified to serve modern times, such as the abolishment of slavery and whatnot.

And the 10th amendment means what to you, exactly?
mongeese
Posts: 5,387
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 9:10:50 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 8:46:38 PM, darkkermit wrote:
How is the Constitution binding? The only way that the constitution can be regulated is if the government chooses to follow it. And how do we know the government is going to follow it? We don't.

See Ragnar's explanation on the difference between legally and factually binding.
InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 9:12:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I posted this on the first page, but it seems everybody ignored it. To those who believe constitutions are legally binding what if there was a constitution that said you must kill black people or some other minority group in order to govern?
mongeese
Posts: 5,387
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 9:12:10 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 4:34:31 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/1/2011 4:07:17 PM, mongeese wrote:
The Constitution is legally binding because it is the source of the federal government's legal power. It is as binding as any law passed or contract signed, if not more so. However, it is the people's responsibility to ensure that the government does not overstep the bounds outlined in the Constitution.

If there was a constitution that said the proper way to govern would be by killing blacks would you still consider that to be legally binding? Might as well be consistent.

It would be legally binding if it were ratified. In that case, it probably wouldn't be. I wouldn't ratify such a constitution, anyway. As long as a constitution isn't ratified, it has no legal power.
InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 9:21:08 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 9:12:10 PM, mongeese wrote:
At 3/1/2011 4:34:31 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/1/2011 4:07:17 PM, mongeese wrote:
The Constitution is legally binding because it is the source of the federal government's legal power. It is as binding as any law passed or contract signed, if not more so. However, it is the people's responsibility to ensure that the government does not overstep the bounds outlined in the Constitution.

If there was a constitution that said the proper way to govern would be by killing blacks would you still consider that to be legally binding? Might as well be consistent.

It would be legally binding if it were ratified. In that case, it probably wouldn't be. I wouldn't ratify such a constitution, anyway. As long as a constitution isn't ratified, it has no legal power.

If such a constitution came into existence before you were alive you wouldn't be able to ratify it anyway. Say the generations previous found it acceptable to have such a thing in their constitution and ratified it. Using your logic, it would be legally binding.
mongeese
Posts: 5,387
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 9:28:45 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 9:21:08 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/1/2011 9:12:10 PM, mongeese wrote:
At 3/1/2011 4:34:31 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/1/2011 4:07:17 PM, mongeese wrote:
The Constitution is legally binding because it is the source of the federal government's legal power. It is as binding as any law passed or contract signed, if not more so. However, it is the people's responsibility to ensure that the government does not overstep the bounds outlined in the Constitution.

If there was a constitution that said the proper way to govern would be by killing blacks would you still consider that to be legally binding? Might as well be consistent.

It would be legally binding if it were ratified. In that case, it probably wouldn't be. I wouldn't ratify such a constitution, anyway. As long as a constitution isn't ratified, it has no legal power.

If such a constitution came into existence before you were alive you wouldn't be able to ratify it anyway. Say the generations previous found it acceptable to have such a thing in their constitution and ratified it. Using your logic, it would be legally binding.

Well, yes, just as any law passed before I was born would be legally binding. I would then protest the law and try to get the constitution amended (see the 13th amendment), or perhaps just revolt against the government as the Declaration of Independence suggests.
InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 9:35:35 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 9:28:45 PM, mongeese wrote:

Well, yes, just as any law passed before I was born would be legally binding. I would then protest the law and try to get the constitution amended (see the 13th amendment), or perhaps just revolt against the government as the Declaration of Independence suggests.

btw, I'm not talking about the US specifically. This could be anywhere such as somewhere something such as The Declaration of Independence is non-existent.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,250
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 9:40:34 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 9:35:35 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/1/2011 9:28:45 PM, mongeese wrote:

Well, yes, just as any law passed before I was born would be legally binding. I would then protest the law and try to get the constitution amended (see the 13th amendment), or perhaps just revolt against the government as the Declaration of Independence suggests.

btw, I'm not talking about the US specifically. This could be anywhere such as somewhere something such as The Declaration of Independence is non-existent.

I would say the declaration of independence is a guideline and the constitution is legally binding. That said, technically, any government can basically be lawless if it chooses not to enforce the laws, making anything legally binding irrelevant. See immigration laws.
darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 9:49:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 9:40:34 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 3/1/2011 9:35:35 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/1/2011 9:28:45 PM, mongeese wrote:

Well, yes, just as any law passed before I was born would be legally binding. I would then protest the law and try to get the constitution amended (see the 13th amendment), or perhaps just revolt against the government as the Declaration of Independence suggests.

btw, I'm not talking about the US specifically. This could be anywhere such as somewhere something such as The Declaration of Independence is non-existent.

I would say the declaration of independence is a guideline and the constitution is legally binding. That said, technically, any government can basically be lawless if it chooses not to enforce the laws, making anything legally binding irrelevant. See immigration laws.

There the government, the only thing to stop them is the people. And if the people agree with unconstitutional laws pass, then essentially nothing can stop them from passing unconstitutional laws. Even the supreme court and court of appeals are filled with people who were appointed with a political agenda, have human and social bias, and can be corrupted.

So essential the constitutional only has value, if others see it as valuable. If the people are manipulated, or elections are corrupted, it means nothing.
Open borders debate:
http://www.debate.org...
LaissezFaire
Posts: 2,050
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 9:58:15 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 9:12:04 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
I posted this on the first page, but it seems everybody ignored it. To those who believe constitutions are legally binding what if there was a constitution that said you must kill black people or some other minority group in order to govern?

Sure, that would be legally binding. Doesn't mean it's morally binding--there are plenty of immoral laws.
Should we subsidize education?
http://www.debate.org...

http://mises.org...

http://lewrockwell.com...

http://antiwar.com...

: At 6/22/2011 6:57:23 PM, el-badgero wrote:
: i didn't like [Obama]. he was the only black dude in moneygall yet he claimed to be home. obvious liar is obvious liar. i bet him and bin laden are bumfvcking right now.
mongeese
Posts: 5,387
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 10:26:50 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 9:35:35 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
At 3/1/2011 9:28:45 PM, mongeese wrote:

Well, yes, just as any law passed before I was born would be legally binding. I would then protest the law and try to get the constitution amended (see the 13th amendment), or perhaps just revolt against the government as the Declaration of Independence suggests.

btw, I'm not talking about the US specifically. This could be anywhere such as somewhere something such as The Declaration of Independence is non-existent.

Well, the Declaration isn't a legal document constrained in any geographic bounds. Anyone around the world can follow the ideas of the Declaration.
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 10:32:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 4:01:32 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
I somehow got in a conversation on facebook about birthers which quickly morphed into stuff about the US constitution. However, it got me thinking. Are constitutions really legally binding or just guidelines on the best way to govern? Here were my thoughts on the subject:

The US constitution is the Supreme Law of The Land..

it is the Basis for all Federal law... and is Binding (in it's content) for the states!
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/1/2011 10:35:58 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/1/2011 9:12:04 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
I posted this on the first page, but it seems everybody ignored it. To those who believe constitutions are legally binding what if there was a constitution that said you must kill black people or some other minority group in order to govern?

then I would declare war on that country!

if I had a country of my own :/

and enough resources... and such.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."