Pete Buttigieg brilliantly explains the problems with Constitutional 'originalism'

Pete Buttigieg is having a moment. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana keeps trending on social media for his incredibly eloquent explanations of issues—so much so that L.A. Times columnist Mary McNamara has dubbed him "Slayer Pete," who excels in "the five-minute, remote-feed evisceration." From his old-but-newly-viral explanation of late-term abortion to his calm calling out of Mike Pence's hypocrisy, Buttigieg is making a name for himself as Biden's "secret weapon" and "rhetorical assassin."

And now he's done it again, this time taking on the 'originalist' view of the Constitution.

Constitutional originalists contend that the original meaning of the words the drafters of the Constitution used and their intention at the time they wrote it are what should guide interpretation of the law. On the flip side are people who see the Constitution as a living document, meant to adapt to the times. These are certainly not the only two interpretive options and there is much debate to be had as to the merits of various approaches, but since SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett is an originalist, that view is currently part of the public discourse.

Buttigieg explained the problem with originalism in a segment on MSNBC, speaking from what McNamara jokingly called his "irritatingly immaculate kitchen." And in his usual fashion, he totally nails it. After explaining that he sees "a pathway to judicial activism cloaked in judicial humility" in Coney Barrett's descriptions of herself, he followed up with:


"At the end of the day, rights in this country have been expanded because courts have understood what the true meaning of the letter of the law and the spirit of the Constitution is. And that is not about time traveling yourself back to the 18th century and subjecting yourself to the same prejudices and limitations as the people who write these words.

The Constitution is a living document because the English language is a living language, and you need to have some readiness to understand that in order to serve on the court in a way that's going to make life better. It was actually Thomas Jefferson himself who said 'we might as well ask a man to wear the coat that fitted him when he was a boy' as expect future generations to live under what he called 'the regime of their barbarous ancestors.'

So even the founders that these kind of dead-hand originalists claim fidelity to understood better than their ideological descendants—today's judicial so-called conservatives—the importance of keeping with the times. And we deserve judges and justices who understand that."

It's not just what Mayor Pete says, but the way he says it. While we have plenty of politicians who rant and rave, sometimes totally incoherently, Buttigieg calmly and coherently destroys arguments with intelligence, eloquence, and compassion. He almost sounds as if he's telling a bedtime story while he blowtorches political talking points into oblivion. It's really something to witness.

It's also apparently something many people totally missed during the primaries. Multiple social media posts asking, "Where was this Mayor Pete on the campaign trail?" have been met with Buttiegieg fans saying, "Umm, this is who he always was. You just missed it." In our ugly political landscape, the guy who doesn't yell or say outrageous things, who methodically lays out arguments, and who forces people to think critically doesn't stand out in a crowded field as much as he probably should.

But the 39-year-old veteran still has many years ahead of him in politics, and there is little doubt that Buttigieg will find a place in a Biden administration. Please just keep on talking, Pete. After nearly four years of word salad coming from the White House, intelligent thoughts expressed in full sentences is a welcome change.

And yeah. Love that kitchen.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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Anderson Cooper has interviewed hundreds of people, from top celebrities to heads of state to people on the street. He is fairly unflappable when it comes to chatting with a guest, which is what makes his reaction while interviewing inaugural poet Amanda Gorman all the more delightful.

Gorman stole the show at President Biden's Inauguration with a powerful performance of her original poem, "The Hill We Climb." People were blown away by both her words and her poise in delivering them, especially considering the fact that she's only 22 years old. But it's one thing to be able to write and recite well, and another to be able to impress in an off-the-cuff conversation—and Gorman proved in her interview on Anderson Cooper 360 that she can do both at a level most of us can only dream of.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

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