July 7, 2003
Revenge of the ConstitutionNever has a case of hostility of inanimate objects towards human beings been more emphatic than at the opening of Philadelphia's new Constitution Center, where a 650-pound frame of a tableau depicting the signing of the Constitution came crashing down and narrowly missed Supreme Court "Justice" Sandra Day O'Connor. (See CNN.)
According to The Intelligencer, "The ceremony was to have climaxed when people on stage pulled on ribbons attached to the frame, at the same time a screen was to have dropped, revealing a piece of artwork and officially opening the museum. Instead, the frame came crashing down."
The Constitutional frame was merciful and no one was badly hurt, but the point was made. The presence of O'Connor (and Scalia too) at the dedication of the National Constitution Center is bitterly ironic. O'Connor is the Reagan-appointed justice who reportedly was very upset on election night 2000 when she learned that projections showed Al Gore having won the election. She was planning to retire and was horrified to think Al Gore might appoint her successor.
But a few Bush machine shenanigans in Florida held up the process and Sandra and four other Republican-appointed justices suspended the election and gave the presidency to their preferred candidate in a decision that scorned the Constitution and the essential principle of democracy -- that the president is chosen by winning an election.
In Philadelphia the other night, it appeared as if the Constitution struck back. (See The Philadelphia Daily News or NBC.)