Today's reading of the Constitution on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives is historic and, surprisingly, a first.
Expected to begin shortly after 10:30 a.m., the 112th Congress planned to begin with Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) reading the Preamble followed by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and all other members of Congress interested in reading the remaining text. Expected to take up to two hours, both Republicans and Democrats planned to participate in the event that was broadcast live by CSPAN.
The House rules were amended on Wednesday, making the reading of the Constitution part of the opening of this and future Congresses. Today's action was further confirmation after John Boehner's declaration during remarks on Wednesday that it's time to give the government back to the American people.
Rep. Goodlatte, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee who spearheaded the reading of the Constitution, was pleased with that his recommendation was accepted, commenting:
"One of the resounding themes I have heard from my constituents is that Congress should adhere to the Constitution and the finite list of powers it granted to the federal government. The Constitution has never been read aloud on the floor of the House of Representatives. This historic and symbolic reading is long overdue and shows that the new majority in the House truly is dedicated to our Constitution and the principles for which it stands. As the written expression of the consent the American people gave to their government – a consent with restrictions and boundaries – the public reading of the Constitution will set the tone for the 112th Congress.”
Amazingly, there are those who disagreed with this action, most notably comedian and "The View" co-host Joy Behar. Her comment raised eyebrows throughout the country when she asked, "Do you think this Constitution-loving is getting out of hand?"
The New York Times, ever that liberal bastion, declared that it was "pomp and little circumstance" and opined, "A theatrical production of unusual pomposity will open on Wednesday when Republicans assume control of the House for the 112th Congress"
One has to wonder what the Founding Fathers would think if they heard the reading of the U.S. Constitution compared to a theatrical production.