Far-right Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado was the owner of Shooter's restaurant, which encourages its servers to open carry firearms while on the clock, before she ascended to Congress in 2020. Almost every day since then, she's made it clear she's no constitutional scholar, but more recent comments indicate she doesn't even have a basic understanding of how the Constitution works.
Last week, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement, thrusting the public into speculation about who President Joe Biden's nominee to replace him would be. Beyond Biden's pledge that his choice would be the first Black woman ever nominated to the Supreme Court, there are few concrete details signaling who the final pick will be.
In recent comments in an appearance with leading members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden said of the vacancy:
"You know, there’s always a renewed national debate, every time we nominate, any president, nominates a justice, because the Constitution is always evolving slightly in terms of additional rights, or curtailing rights, and it’s always an issue."
Conservatives immediately clutched their pearls at Biden's acknowledgement that the Constitution is "always evolving slightly." The Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post's editorial board published an op-ed claiming Biden's comment "exposes the truth about progressives and the Constitution." It went on to claim Progressives as far back as Woodrow Wilson "have always hated the actual Constitution[.]"
And, of course, Boebert soon joined that chorus, insisting that the Constitution is "not evolving" and that to say as much "spits in the face of every single one of our founders."
There's just one problem: the Constitution is evolving, and has specific statutes ensuring its ability to do so. The document has been amended more than two dozen times.
Article V of the Constitution lays out the processes for amending the Constitution:
"The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress[.]"
But even beyond constitutional amendments, the founders deliberately included broad phrasing like "cruel and unusual punishment," "excessive fines," etc.—the definitions of which they knew would evolve with society's changing attitudes in the centuries following. This is why the final word on the Constitution's interpretation is up to the Supreme Court.
Speaking of the Supreme Court, Justice Thurgood Marshall gave his thoughts on the "evolving nature of the Constitution" for its bicentennial back in 1987.
“I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever 'fixed' at the Philadelphia Convention . . . Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. Indeed, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and major social transformations to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the freedom and individuals we hold as fundamental today. When contemporary Americans cite 'The Constitution,' they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct 200 years ago.”
Boebert's two cents didn't make much sense at all.
Some pointed out that, had the Constitution not "evolved" to include the 19th Amendment, Boebert's and other women's rights to vote would've gone unacknowledged.
Boebert's misinformed tweet comes less than a year after she received similar backlash for claiming that defending the Constitution "doesn’t mean trying to rewrite the parts you don’t like."
The definition of the word "amendment" is available here.