Constitutional Lessons, Old and New, on Display
"The balance of power is not being maintained in America today," said Mr. Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania. "The Supreme Court is interpreting the Constitution in derogation of Congressional authority."
The clash between a headstrong chairman of the Judiciary Committee and an assertive bench is just the kind of moment the museum might explore. Outside its walls, constitutional fissures are deep, growing and bound for public view as the Senate convenes its first hearings in 11 years on a Supreme Court nominee. And standing among the exhibits on fissures past, Mr. Specter announced a plan to make the hearings "a forum to, in effect, take on the court."
Agreeing to a reporter's request for a tour, Mr. Specter, who helped get $65 million in federal financing for the museum and whose wife, Joan, now works as a fund-raiser there, rang various constitutional alarms, including the treatment of foreign prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and the jailing of Judith Miller, a New York Times reporter he recently visited in Virginia, where she is serving a sentence for refusing to reveal a confidential source to a grand jury.
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