This Week’s Report: Re-examining the Constitution

As Americans prepare to mark the U.S. Constitution’s 225th anniversary on Sept. 17, many are questioning whether the nation’s founding document remains right for the times. Some wonder whether the Constitution, with its intricate system of checks and balances and separation of powers, is an adequate guide for dealing with contemporary issues such as gun control, abortion and political gridlock. Others argue that the document’s structural features, such as the Electoral College, are outmoded.

Associate Editor Kenneth Jost provides a compelling and thorough examination of the issues and controversies surrounding the Constitution and offers a layman’s guide to the document’s most important parts. A separate pro/con debate in Jost’s report deals with the question of whether a constitutional convention should be called to amend the document.

“Americans appear more ambivalent or divided about the Constitution than they were 25 years ago,” Jost writes.  As David Bodenhamer, a history professor at Indiana University, told Jost, “We’re very much divided as a nation about what we see as the appropriate role of the government. We’re forced to think once again about what those fundamental assumptions of the relationship of the government to the individual are.”

--Thomas J. Billitteri, Managing Editor