At the opening ceremony of the Constitution Center in Philadelphia in 2003, just as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor had concluded her Liberty Medal speech, the elaborate stage set began to collapse, threatening not only Justice O’Connor but also Senator Arlen Specter, Governor Ed Rendell, and Mayor John Street—a rogue’s gallery of judicial, legislative, and executive awfulness at the federal, state, and local levels. The rain falls upon the just and unjust alike, and, in this case, so did the Constitution Center. Nobody was injured, but the symbolism was impossible to miss, as though the Constitution itself were fighting back against those who had done it so much violence. It was like one of those medieval French church collapses thought to portend a plague or...


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