Constitutional Law, Politics, Rank Stupidity, Religion

Christine O’Donnell Asks: ‘Where in the Constitution Is Separation of Church and State’?

West Wing fans will get a kick out of this. Liberals will get a huge kick out of this. Republican leaders who hope to take back the Senate will cry softly to themselves.

The Tea Party darling and Republican nominee for Senator from Delaware, Christine O’Donnell, has struck again.

Last week, we learned that Christine O’Donnell couldn’t name a recent Supreme Court decision she disagreed with. That was funny and embarrassing, but Lat did a good job defending O’Donnell and pointing out her recovery from the flub.

She’ll get no such quarter from me.

During a debate at Widener Law School, O’Donnell and Democratic Senatorial nominee Chris Coons mixed it up over teaching creationism in schools. Coons, on the defensive because Dems can’t just say “creationism is not science” and move on, said that a fundamental principle of this country is the separation of church and state. O’Donnell, after a pause, asked: “Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?” The crowd laughed, O’Donnell started grinning like an idiot, and, well — watch the clip for yourself, in which O’Donnell shares her thoughts on some other Constitutional amendments…

To be clear, it’s not just that O’Donnell asked “where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state.” It’s that when Coons tells her where it is, she keeps spouting nonsense. Coons says it’s in the First Amendment, and O’Donnell responds with snark. Or with utter lunacy. Or something.

Watch the clip (starting at around 2:30). Watch it and despair! You’re telling me that we can’t find 100 people in the country who are more qualified to write our laws than Christine O’Donnell?

Now, here’s what’s going to happen next. O’Donnell defenders with run three types of defenses:

1. The First Amendment doesn’t textually use the words “separation of church and state.” Therefore, O’Donnell was right to question that principle’s inclusion in the Constitution.

2. Separation of church and state is “judge-made law,” in which “activist judges” have interpreted the Constitution against the “clear meaning” of the founders.

3. Guys in my high school used to fail to grasp basic constitutional principles all the time, it was no big deal.

All these defenses are stupid, but for reasons passing understanding, some people will be reluctant to just call her unqualified to be a U.S. Senator. I mean, I’m willing to set the “qualification” bar really low. You (unfortunately) don’t have to be a great mind or a successful person or even pay your taxes all the time to be a U.S. Senator. But come on, people.

Later in the clip, O’Donnell is asked for her thoughts on some other Constitutional amendments, and she (I guess you’d call it demurely) says she didn’t bring her Constitution with her. Is it really too much to ask that we find 100 people who are familiar with the Constitution and its key amendments? I’m not asking for legal scholars; I’m asking for some basic awareness.

We’re talking about minimal standards here, people — minimal standards to be one of 100 people with the awesome responsibility of serving in the United States Senate. This Christine O’Donnell woman doesn’t have it; why is that so hard for some people to admit?

O’Donnell questions separation of church, state [Talking Points Memo]
Watch: In Debate, Christine O’Donnell Asks, ‘Where in the Constitution is the Separation of Church and State?’ [Towleroad]
O’Donnell questions separation of church, state [Associated Press]

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