The Tea Party- Illustrating Levinson’s Masterpiece

The Tea Party has always been a group of individuals that keeps America shaking their heads in both agreement and disagreement. Their radical approach to politics and the United States Constitution is nothing short of amazing, and at times, incredibly frustrating that people can even fathom such ideas. However, according to, “Utah’s Republican U.S. Senate candidate, Mike Lee, is a vocal defender of what’s become the bible of the Tea Party revolution: the U.S. Constitution. ‘I hereby pledge to you that I will not vote for a single bill that I can’t justify by the text and original understanding of the Constitution,’ he promised voters at a Tea Party rally this year” (

This shows us the aspect of textualism- the practice of interpretation that looks at the text of the statute for the primary basis of meaning, regarding the constitution. Antonin Scalia, an advocate of textualism would agree in principle with the method Lee chooses to interpret the constitution.  Sanford Levinson’s idea of “Protestant” and “Catholic” strains in constitutional interpretation is a beautiful illustration of how ideologies shape the interpretation of one of the United States of America’s most important documents to society, and the country’s well-being in general, the United States Constitution. Levinson would say this is a perfect Protestantism view. Protestants, like the tea party and the constitution, look to the text of the bible for interpretation and validation of opinion. The Constitution, can be held as an equally sacred document to the Tea Party, validating and interpreting their viewpoints, or at least as they see them. Both look to the text- not outside opinion and certainly not an unwritten explanation as to why their opinions and viewpoints are validated. On the other hand, “during his Tea Party-backed Senate campaign, Lee said he would support legislation aimed at altering the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of automatic citizenship for people born in the United States. Advocates for tougher measures against illegal immigration say such a change would discourage undocumented workers from having children in the United States” ( Such a statement that is conscious with the ever-so-popular immigration issue of today, making this nothing short of how the constitution could be used to interpret today’s issues in society. For example, Lee states: “The Constitution was made to be amended from time to time. Sometimes we have to change it to make it more true to the American dream” ( Brennan would say that such a community-conscious mind could be parallel to contemporary ratification- using the constitution as a living based document to interpret today’s issues in society. Contemporary ratification, according to the work of Levinson, would fall in line with a catholic way of thinking, which evolves with societal ideology, particularly the way of thinking regarding society as a whole, with respect to tradition.

Both Catholic and Protestant views, like contemporary ratification and textualism,  respectively, surrender the final interpretation of the law to the Supreme Court. 

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5 Responses to The Tea Party- Illustrating Levinson’s Masterpiece

  1. anapuri11 says:

    The hypocrisy of this candidate is just awe striking. It is my personal favorite when the politicians use the policy’s they don’t agree with to get their own agendas pushed forward. Denying citizenship to citizens born in the US just out of fear distracts from the real problem which this man has no solution to. It’s a pointing fingers game, and I’m very excited for America to get completely fed up with it.

    • yesdelrinc says:

      Yes, I agree with you. I think it is ridiculous that a candidate, or anyone by that matter, would try to reinterpret the 14th amendment in this manner. Its is an interpretation that is capricious and has no logical grounding.

  2. bewalke3 says:

    I completely agree. With the recent shutdown caused by the tea party it’s amazing that there hasn’t been any outrage against them yet. If this candidate has an idea what he’s doing, it certainly isn’t a good one.

  3. mfmyers says:

    Saw a related article featuring Sen. Murray’s thoughts on Lee’s tactics:

  4. bewalke3 says:

    When looking at a political party I always make sure to judge based on their ability to move the United States forward. The tea party moves it backwards with every breath they take. It’s simply shameful that these people managed to hold the government hostage with the government shutdown for a number of days.

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