Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Iraq Constitution Details
When Bush uses its adoption as proof of victory for democracy and human rights, don't believe the hype. Fred Kaplan at Slate investigates what it actually says:
Article 2 reads:

"Islam is the official religion of state and a fundamental source for legislation.
(a) No law may contravene the essential verities of Islamic law.
(b) No law may contravene the principles of democracy.
(c) No law may contravene the rights and basic liberties enumerated in this constitution."

Already, we have a contradiction that would befuddle the most probing judicial review (assuming the constitution provided such a thing, which it doesn't). For women especially, Islamic law itself contravenes the principles of democracy and basic liberties. So, which clause takes precedence?
What's more:
the constitution (or at least the part that has been released) says nothing about how the country is to be governed. . . .Nor does the document lay out the powers of parliament, the precise division of powers between the central and regional governments, or the existence of a branch that interprets the law.
Kaplan concludes:
As one indication of the situation's bleakness, it's a toss-up which course would be worse—that the constitution be turned down or that it be rammed through. Either way, it is not at all clear—with or without this constitution—what kind of government, what kind of nation, this war and this process have wrought.
I wonder how Scalia would resolve these inconsistencies from an "originalist" point of view. After all, the authors of the text are right there, for the asking. That should settle it, right?

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