The Tea Party's rising influence in Congress was on display Jan. 6 as the GOP-led House of Representatives staged a complete reading of the United States Constitution.
Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) led the reading of the historic document, which was adopted by the nation's Founding Fathers in 1787. Goodlatte expected the address to take about 90 minutes to complete. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) was slated to deliver the Constitution's preamble, followed by readings by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
In a written statement released on Jan. 4, Goodlatte said that the Constitution has never been read aloud on the House floor. He added that the reading is "long overdue," and it will "set the tone for the 112th Congress."
Some Democrats were not quite as enthusiastic about the process. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who claims he has studied and memorized the Constitution, told The Washington Post that the "ritualistic reading" is "total nonsense."
However, experts said that constitutional allegiance is nothing new. Noah Feldman, a constitutional scholar at Harvard University, told the news provider that exalting the nation's laws is similar to how some individuals interpret the Bible. John Green, a political scientist at the University of Akron likened it to "civil religion."
"The Constitution is seen as both the source and the product of God's blessing on the United States," Green told the media outlet.