Remember back in January when the House of Representatives read the Constitution? That was weird. Before it happened, Al Kamen of the Washington Post, who writes the column “In the Loop,” asked a number of constitutional experts what clause they would want to read. Both Pam Karlan and Michael McConnell, leading constitutional scholars who teach at Stanford, said they would want to read the Religious Test Clause of Article VI, which says: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
When told that his favored clause had already been taken, McConnell, who is perhaps the nation’s preeminent expert on the First Amendment’s religion clauses, said that he would read the Magazine Clause instead. That clause, from Article I, section 8, gives Congress authority over “the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.” Apparently, according to the Post’s article, McConnell was joking about the Magazine Clause. I actually think that would be a pretty fun one to read, especially the great phrase “other needful Buildings.” I have no idea what that clause is really about, but I plan to look into it as soon as I can.