chapter  14
20 Pages

It’s What Holds Us All Together

Scanning the most noticeable attributes of constitutionalism in contemporary America brings to mind the familiar French adage: the more things change, the more they remain the same. Indifference and ignorance persist; education continues to be problematic; and human interest stories are more likely to make news than serious but sinewy issues. The American Legion began to sponsor a national high school oratorical contest in 1938, “developed primarily to instill a keener knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States.” The persistence of ideological conflict has kept the Constitution politicized at two levels. One is essentially scholarly; and the populace at large is unaware of it even though they may be affected by it indirectly. The second level is the more visible, evokes intense partisanship, and has a spill-over effect: politicization of the Supreme Court as a governmental institution and of judicial review as a policy-making process.