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Ramsey Says The Constitution is Organic Not Dead

Over at MSNBC, legal genius Nick Ramsey reports that the U.S. Constitution is our nation’s “organic” law. Abraham Lincoln said so. Ramsey concludes that it is a living document, contra Scalia.

So now we know. The Constitution is organic. Here is how Dictionary.com defines the word:

1. noting or pertaining to a class of chemical compounds that formerly comprised only those existing in or derived from plants or animals, but that now includes all other compounds of carbon.
2. characteristic of, pertaining to, or derived from living organisms organic remains found in rocks.
3. of or pertaining to an organ or the organs of an animal, plant, or fungus.
4. of, pertaining to, or affecting living tissue: organic pathology.
5. caused by neurochemical, neuroendocrinologic, structural, or other physical impairment or change: organic disorder.
6. having an organization similar in its complexity to that of living things.
7. characterized by the systematic arrangement of parts; organized systematic: elements fitting together into a unified, organic whole.
8. of or pertaining to the basic constitution or structure of a thing; constitutional; structural: The flaws in your writing are too organic to be easily remedied.
9. developing in a manner analogous to the natural growth and evolution characteristic of living organisms arising as a natural outgrowth.
10. viewing or explaining something as having a growth and development analogous to that of living organisms an organic theory of history.
11. pertaining to, involving, or grown with fertilizers or pesticides of animal or vegetable origin, as distinguished from manufactured chemicals: organic farming; organic fruits.
12. of or pertaining to the constitutional or essential law or laws of organizing the government of a state.
13. noting or pertaining to any work of architecture regarded as analogous to plant or animal forms in having a structure and a plan that fulfill perfectly the functional requirements for the building and that form in themselves an intellectually lucid, integrated whole.
14. of or pertaining to the shapes or forms in a work of art that are of irregular contour and seem to resemble or suggest forms found in nature.

I don’t suppose that Lincoln could have been using definition #12. Nah. That’s impossible. Lincoln didn’t have Dictionary.com back then!

UPDATE (February 1): As discussed above, Ramsey warped Lincoln’s words. Turns out he warped Scalia’s words too. Ed Whelan quotes Scalia as follows:

I used to say that the Constitution is not a living document. It’s dead, dead, dead. But I’ve gotten better. I no longer say that. The truth is that the Constitution is not one that morphs. It’s an enduring Constitution, not a changing Constitution. That is what I’ve meant when I’ve said that the Constitution is dead.

I like the way Scalia’s phrasing has morphed here.

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