Friday, July 20, 2007

Political Pedantry

I've been seeing stuff like this a lot:

Bush Abolishes Fifth Amendment

That's actually inaccurate. An accurate version would be "Bush Violates Fifth Amendment." The distinction is very important. The Constitution is the first law of the land. Any law which contradicts it is invalid. Any action which violates it is illegal. Bush can violate the Fifth Amendment, but he cannot actually abolish it.

Total semantic distinction, but one worth remembering.


  1. Well, it is important to know the difference, but I think the author uses this title precisely *because* most people know the difference and its inaccuracy that you mentioned. This site is obviously anti-Bush with a purpose to spur the readers' resentment against a leader who has violated the supreme law of the land. It's common to see anyone using this kind of rhetorical device. Well, if it's CNN...

  2. Amazingly, the establishment press has spun the coverage of this Bush order as a way to strengthen the government’s ability to fight terrorism when the real story is that this order violates the Fifth Amendment and is entirely unconstitutional.

    It's just an exaggerated, attention-grabbing headline.

  3. Both you guys are saying something true, but I've seen it so much recently. There's even a Congressional effort to "restore" habeas corpus. Habeas corpus never went away - the government just started breaking the law. I think it's actually very, very important to avoid legitimizing criminal activity by pretending it's anything other than it is, especially when it's governmental criminal activity.


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