Interview: Should the U.S. Constitution Take a Cue From the States?

By Emily DonahueNovember 12, 2013 5:53 pm

What’s so great about the U.S. Constitution anyway? Could Washington govern better if it weren’t slavishly devoted to a deeply flawed document over 200-years-old?

These are some of the questions that Sanford Levinson asks in “Framed: America’s 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Government.” The book comes out this month in paperback.

Levinson, a distinguished member of the UT Law faculty, spoke with KUT’s David Brown about what can be done to better governing.

“The kind of disfunctionality that has led to the shutdown of the federal government, a near-default on our debt, and the fact that Congress right now is approved of by roughly eight percent of the public does illustrate that there is something fundamentally wrong with our political system,” Levinson says.

Levinson notes “The debate is how much of what is wrong can be traced to the Constitution, and how much can be traced to other factors – whether it’s American culture, the role of money in politics, cable news, talk radio or simply that we’re so much larger – both in population and territory – than anyone in 1787 would have imagined.”

If those sound like insurmountable problems, listen to the interview: you may be surprised by Levinson’s conclusions.