39 Hastings Const. L.Q. 193 (2011-2012)
The Tea Party and the Constitution

handle is hein.journals/hascq39 and id is 199 raw text is: The Tea Party and the Constitution

by CHRISTOPHER W. SCHMIDT*
We are dedicated to educating, motivating, and activating our
fellow citizens, using the power of the values, ideals, and tenets
of our Founding Fathers.
-Hartford Tea Party Patriots, Mission Statement'
Introduction
Just about everyone in the United States professes to love the
Constitution. But the Tea Party really loves the Constitution. To an
extent that sets it apart from any major social movement of recent
memory, the Tea Party has turned to the nation's founding document
as the foundation stone of a campaign designed to right the direction
of a country believed to have gone astray. Whereas the usual pattern
in modern American history has been for the Constitution only to
intrude upon the popular consciousness in response to some clearly
constitutional event-most typically a controversial Supreme Court
opinion,   occasionally   something     rarer   like  a   presidential
impeachment-today we are in the midst of a national debate over
the meaning of the Constitution instigated by a grassroots social
movement. Regardless of what one thinks of the Tea Party's politics
or its claims about the Constitution, the movement's success in
changing the role the Constitution plays in American political
discourse should be recognized as one of its most significant
achievements.     In  this Article I dissect the Tea Party as a
* Assistant Professor, Chicago-Kent College of Law; Faculty Fellow, American Bar
Foundation. B.A. 1996, Dartmouth College; M.A. 2000, Ph.D. 2004, Harvard University;
J.D. 2007, Harvard Law School. For helpful comments, criticisms, and discussions, I thank
Kathy Baker, Chris Buccafusco, Sarah Harding, Steve Heyman, Cesar Rosado, Mark
Rosen, Carolyn Shapiro, Brad Snyder, Jill Weinberg, as well as participants in the
Midwest Law & Society Retreat, the University of Colorado Law School's Rothgerber
Conference, and the Chicago-Kent Faculty Workshop.
1. Our Mission, HARTFORD TEA PARTY PATRIOTS, http://www.thehartfordtea
partypatriots.com/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE-userop=view-page&P
AGEid=5&MMN=position=7:7 (last updated Jan. 28,2010).

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