Congress to be schooled
December 15th, 2010
11:24 AM ET
9 years ago

Congress to be schooled

(CNN) - Constitutional 101 is coming to Congress by way of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia when he leads the first constitutional conservative seminar for members of Congress in late January.

Justice Scalia will lead the first session of the series created by Republican Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, according to Bachmann spokesman Doug Sachtleben.

He said the series is a response to conservative messages delivered during the midterm elections that called for the return to constitutional principles.

The bi-monthly seminars are part of the Tea Party caucus - a group Bachmann helped launch - and will "bring up principles that are already familiar to the members," including the bill of rights and role of government, Sachtleben said.

Bachmann was an avid campaigner during the 2010 elections, enjoying the support of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and raising her national profile.

In an interview on Lou Dobbs' radio show, Bachmann compared the classes to sports practices.

"We're going to practice every week, if you will, our craft, which is studying and learning the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights," Bachmann said. "We'll have a speaker, we'll have questions and answers, we'll wrap our minds around this magnificent document."

Kathy Arberg, the Supreme Court's public information officer confirmed Scalia accepted the invitation and said he will speak about "Separation of Powers."

Filed under: Antonin Scalia • Congress • Michele Bachmann
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. LovesIrony

    May I suggest you clowns study the 14th amendment?

    December 15, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Marcus

    OK, when asked to say what he thought about the denial of rights to 'enemy combatants', Scalia used a SCOTUS ruling as the base of his judging. The problem was that he used a ruling that said that enemies of the USA had rights (not many, but the basics of the basics in order to establish a basic difference between the USA and its enemies) as the excuse to NOT give them any rights at all. That is one of the reasons as to why I call him 'the spin-master'.
    And who Michelle Bachmann is going to call to open her (good until now) idea of a constitutional conservative seminar for members of Congress?
    As Sting said in that 'the Police' song:
    'I should have known from the start...'

    December 15, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. 71556

    That he has any truck with the likes of Bachmann destroys my relatively high opinion of Scalia's intellectual capacities.

    December 15, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. John 1776

    Finally something Positive!

    December 15, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Expect a "Right" wing translation for our Constitution... I'm sure it will be helpful to provide talking points to tRepublicans when dealing with unruly Democrats and a wink and a nod as to how far these new law writers can go to the "Right" and expect support from a majority of the Supremes.

    December 15, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. Jc Ohio

    So in other words ... you don't really know anything about the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution or the Bill of Rights!
    When she/they were campaigning they acted as if they knew those documents by heart and exactly the intent of every single word & phrase contained in them.
    Hmmmmmm ... interesting huh?

    December 15, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  7. Carl

    Prospective candidates for public office should be compelled to score 90% or higher on an examination on the Constitution to even be eligible to have their names on the ballot. This should be followed closely with deliberate actions to prosecute them when they ignore their oaths of office.

    December 15, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. Rickster

    Michele Bachmann just keeps getting better and better. She understands the constitution and the limited role that the federal government is supposed to have as opposed to Obama and the democrats who are not only miserable, socialist failures but are completely unraveling right before our very eyes. The damage that Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi have done to the democrat party is what's historic about this administration. Democrats have become something between pathetic and hilarious.

    December 15, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    You have to re-train all those lawyers, to actually try to pass laws that are constitutional, instead of looking for every way possible to circumvent the law, which is what they learn in law school.

    Then you might actually get a Congress that does serve the people.......or not.

    December 15, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Firedog51

    It's nice to remove the masks about the Supreme Courts non political place in our world. I suspect the founding fathers would have had a great deal of heartburn over Mr. Scalia's presence. I say give them 12 year terms on presidential election years they need to run for reelection. They have stripped away all semblance of impartiality.

    December 15, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. Video Guy

    As Americans we should have a right to life without Republican Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.

    December 15, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  12. joe in VA

    Judging from the current state of our nation i'd say that every elected official could use some of that training...

    December 15, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  13. TonyH

    It's a good thing Bachmann is going to study the Constitution – she certainly has not demonstrated any knowledge of it so far in her career...

    On the other hand, Scalia may not be the best source; he shares none of the characteristics of Jefferson or the others who crafted the document!

    December 15, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. Clevelandben

    I hope Congress is taught how to LISTEN to their constituency! After all, WE gave them their jobs; secure with full-healthcare!

    December 15, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Anonymous

    I hope these session show that what conservatives call "following the constitution" means that judges DO inturperate laws and therefore decide laws form the bench!

    December 15, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. Howard

    The very idea of ANY Supreme Court justice meeting with members of Congress for any purpose is a flagrant violation of the separation of powers. And no member of the Court has done more to politicize it than Antonin Scalia. If a liberal justice were to have done this with liberal members of Congress, I have no doubt the conservatives would be calling for his impeachment.

    December 15, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. John

    Why is this only for conservatives? So much for bi-partisanship.

    December 15, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Dave

    They need a course on it for sure. But I doubt they listen too intently. These people have been trampling the Constitution for years.

    December 15, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. Mike

    Should be a real eye-opener when they discover that the separation of church & state really is in there.

    December 15, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. TimC

    What!?! Our Representatives are actually going to LEARN the document they've sworn to uphold and defend!?! What will they do next – actually READ the bills they're voting on??

    December 15, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. NC

    So the tea party did not learn what most of us learned in grade school.

    December 15, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. car1944

    Someone above ask the right right question. These people have to have classes on the U.S. Constitution? The Bill of Rights? I'm no law scholar but isn't the Supreme Court a branch of government that is suppose to interpret the law, not teach it in their eyes of a right wing conservative judge such as Roberts?
    This country is falling further and further into a hole of @hit everyday by the people YOU, America elected. When the @hit hits the fan, don't look around asking what the hell happened, just look in the mirror.

    December 15, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. Allison

    So now they can waste our time and money learning what they should already know?!?!?!?!? When is the general population going to get the clue and vote out all of these opportunisitic roman style Patricians and get real people in office that want to solve problems and do it right instead of take advantage of every one and live the political "celebrity life."

    I am disgusted with our culture- I am so glad they got rid of the "recognition time" that those sentors wasted our time with by congratulating themselves and creating national freedom fries. So stupid!

    December 15, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. Dave

    Sounds good! Maybe Scalia will tell the teatard idiots that the Constitution applies in all cases, not just those that they agree with. Unfortunately, I highly doubt these morons will be able to comprehend that point.

    December 15, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  25. PaDoc

    What happened to America? Lemme see? Geeze, it was around here somewhere? Last I checked, there were three seperate branches of government.

    December 15, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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