What's so great about the U.S. constitution?
December 4, 2004 12:29 PM   Subscribe

What's so great about the U.S. constitution? From a political science perspective, a legal perspective, a historical perspective? Non-USians without a written constitution especially invited to reply.
posted by insideout to Law & Government (32 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Protection of minority rights. Congress and the executive branch are dedicated to legislating and enforcing the "will of the majority," and the Constitution puts brakes on pure democracy. If you are a criminal defendant, a racial minority, been denied the right to vote, or have been unfairly roughed up by the government in some way, you're nobody's constituency except the Constitution's.

And despite what Bush and DeLay have tried to do during the past four years, it continues to work really well.
posted by PrinceValium at 1:08 PM on December 4, 2004

Checks and Balances.

The Bill of Rights.

The framers when to great lengths to prevent the type of tyranny they fought so hard against. The idea that political rule should be according to a document, not the will of kings is the essence of the republicanism (small r) that has made the US government great. That it has lasted this long more or less intact is amazing. Even now as the US government is infected with imperialism and militarism, The Constitution still remains to put the brakes on. Hopefully it can hold.
posted by clubfoote at 1:36 PM on December 4, 2004

Non-USians without a written constitution especially invited to reply.

I'm afraid I don't think non-USians will be able to fully understand what makes it so powerful (unless they have a good understanding of pre-Revolutionary history) -- that is to say, one of the most incredible things about the Constitution is how well it scales, and how it preserved the individual state's soverignty in a time when each acted almost as its own country. It worked well as a transitional document, and just kept working.

The real power of the constitution, however, is the underlying acceptance that it could be wrong. If you don't like the laws, it's OK to rewrite them, provided you have enough support. I can't think of any other political documents that have this built-in failsafe. Indeed, most political documents are very absolute, usually a reaction to whatever came before. They read more like, "No, no, that was all wrong... this is how you do it."

The balance of power between the Judicial/Legislative/Executive brances was another brilliant safety measure.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:56 PM on December 4, 2004

The First Amendment.
posted by Vidiot at 3:07 PM on December 4, 2004

Response by poster: I'm afraid I don't think non-USians will be able to fully understand what makes it so powerful

Right, from a historical perspective (assuming that USians know US history better than non-USians, not a sure thing!) -- but I also want to know about its current function. Does the US work better as a democracy than, say, the UK which doesn't have a written constitution?
posted by insideout at 4:05 PM on December 4, 2004

It's an extensible conceptual framework. This sounds like so much mumbo-jumbo, but what it provides is powerful: as the root document of an entire system of law, it describes in mechanical detail the basis for that system and how to extend both the framework of the law system and the laws themselves. This makes the US governmental system "hackable" -- not in the sense of revealing vulnerability, but in the sense of being easy to assemble, disassemble, and modify -- in a way that was, at the time it was written, incredibly rare.
posted by majick at 4:08 PM on December 4, 2004 [1 favorite]

assuming that USians know US history better than non-USians, not a sure thing

Just to clarify, I didn't mean to presume that everyone around the world is ignorant of our laws and history. As you point out, a good portion of our own citizenry can't locate the US on a world map. I'd be interested in hearing the different merits of parliamentary systems as well. The representation of smaller parties would be a big advantage.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:11 PM on December 4, 2004

it describes in mechanical detail the basis for that system and how to extend both the framework of the law system and the laws themselves.

Really cool point, but is that not how other countries' constitutions work?
posted by yerfatma at 4:24 PM on December 4, 2004

Indirectly answering here. There are a number of good points on this page of debate notes. It seems that an unwritten Constitution becomes much worse to the degree to which the population is apathetic about who it elects. The scariest bits of having an unwritten constitution, as in the UK, seem to be here:
Safeguards. At present, if a party has a majority in the House of Commons they can change our constitution. An example of this is Blair’s reform of the House of the Lords. He was able to completely change half of our legislature without a referendum or other means of checking consensus. A written constitution would act as a safeguard as it would make it difficult to change. For example you would have to have a 2/3 majority in both houses or a it would have to be passed by referendum.
Protection from extremists. A written constitution would offer protection if an extremist came to power and wanted to disregard democratic procedures.
What I guess I don't really understand is what state the British Constitution occupies if it's not written down. Parliament is subject to it, so what is it? Oral? Understood? Is "unwritten" simply shorthand for "not the final word" (assuming that Parliament is)?
posted by ontic at 4:34 PM on December 4, 2004

I don't know whether 'great' is the word so much as 'innovative' and/or 'significant'.

So: separation of powers. Federalism. But the most significant, from my perspective, is the concept of 'negative freedoms' (or 'negative rights'). That's to say, if you look at the constitution of most countries, it sets out just what the state is and does. The US Constitution sets out what the state is and does, and the first ten amendments say just what the state is not, and what it cannot do. It also includes the presumption of unenumerated rights. That's innovation at work.

(There's a good recent piece on why this difference matters today:

The European mainstream tradition respects negative freedom, which is why it rejects central state socialism. But it also prizes positive freedom, which is why it favours the welfare state, regulation, free universal health care, and so on. America, in contrast, is deeply suspicious of positive freedom, seeing it as an excuse for overbearing government. For many in the US, freedom just is negative freedom.)

The precedent for the American 'Bill of Rights' is the 1689 Bill of Rights (there are a lot of outright copy-and-pastes), and from a British perspective, you can argue that the creators of the American political system wanted to renew that social contract, with a few key differences based upon the political thought of the 1700s.

Does the US work better as a democracy than, say, the UK which doesn't have a written constitution?

Again, I don't know whether 'better' is a good word. Different, yes. One advantage of the British system is that it's not going to be hung up on things like obsolescent syntax, or 'original intent'. When you're dealing with centuries of common law, there's an acceptance that an unwritten constitution is like a living language. One big disadvantage is the power of royal prerogative, which gives the PM more de facto powers than a US president. That's why Charter 88 exists.

In both cases, tradition stands in the way of reform: in one, a fundamentalism towards an old text; in the other, a reluctance to challenge old practices that have stayed in place largely through being tolerated/ignored. Though Tony Blair is trying to 'Americanise' muddier aspects of the British system, so that you don't have, for instance, a Lord Chancellor who heads the judiciary while being an (unelected) member of the legislature and an appointee of the executive.

Wasn't it Jefferson who had the thought that the constitution ought to be rewritten from scratch on a generational basis?

[on preview]

What I guess I don't really understand is what state the British Constitution occupies if it's not written down. Parliament is subject to it, so what is it? Oral? Understood? Is "unwritten" simply shorthand for "not the final word" (assuming that Parliament is)?

No: 'unwritten' means 'not written down comprehensively, and not written down in one place'. So it's 'constitution' with a small-c, derived from treaties (extending back to Magna Carta and even further), statutes (such as the 1911 Parliament Act, which establishes the primacy of the Commons) and common law. Bagehot is a good place to start.

posted by riviera at 4:53 PM on December 4, 2004

"Really cool point, but is that not how other countries' constitutions work?"

I'm going to quote myself, since it's the only useful response I have:

"This makes the US governmental system 'hackable'... in a way that was, at the time it was written, incredibly rare."
posted by majick at 5:01 PM on December 4, 2004

and the first ten amendments say just what the state is not

Wow, I don't think I've ever thought of it like that before. Thanks!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:11 PM on December 4, 2004

Does the US work better as a democracy than, say, the UK which doesn't have a written constitution?

No. The US is not obviously and clearly better-governed than the UK or Canada or Germany or Belgium. Just like the UK is not obviously and clearly better-governed than the US or Canada or Germany or Belgium, etc etc. Just about any OECD country will be governed well-enough, with different problems and excellences, but all on the same planet of good and all on the same planet of democratic.

When people talk about the US Constitution being the BEST! ONE! EVARRRR!, they mean one of two things.

First, they might mean "I am an American," or "I am an ameriphile." That is, simple patriotism or other chauvinism.

Second, they might be referring to its rather remarkable longevity, or to the elements of the Constitution that were unusual / radical in 1787 that are common sense now.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:36 PM on December 4, 2004

There are things in the U.S. constitution that a lot of Americans think were invented by the Founding Fathers, but weren't. One example: protection against "unreasonable search and seizure" was established by judicial precedent in Britain in the 1760s; the "Founding Fathers" included it in the Bill of Rights because they thought it was a good idea, and didn't want a future court ruling to overturn it again. But they didn't invent it.

The U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and so forth all share in a common heritage of freedom, a heritage that goes back to King Alfred, the Magna Carta, and shelves of court decisions (by "activist judges"!!) long before some of those nations were even founded. The U.S. Constitution is a centerpiece of that grand tradition, but it's not the whole story by any means.
posted by gimonca at 8:26 PM on December 4, 2004

To my mind, the disadvantage of parliamentary systems is what ontic mentioned -- the party in control of the legislature automatically controls the executive. Anything the executive wants effectively is the law. (Yes, I know, there are exceptions to that.)

That, and in a parliamentary system, the prime minister is chosen because they head the party in power. This is usually decided at the party level -- for instance, very few UK subjects actually voted for Tony Blair...they voted for their local MP instead, and taken as a whole, more of those MPs were Labour rather than Conservative or Lib Dem.

This has the effect of concentrating power rather than spreading it around. I realize that it's a bit rich for a US citizen to be talking about that right now, but one advantage (I think) of the US constitution is that it includes this system of checks and balances -- each branch can act to block the other branches when it deems necessary. Minority views are perhaps more protected when we have things like the filibuster rule and blocks on nominees...but those are AFAIK chamber procedural rules and not written into the Constitution itself. And in the US, we elect the president indirectly through the Electoral College, but we essentially are casting votes for the president and vice president, and that election is not tied to whom we voted for in, say, the House of Representatives.

And another good thing about the US constitution is that it's all written down, so there's a clear road map, which (theoretically at least) makes "constitutional crises" rarer.
posted by Vidiot at 8:45 PM on December 4, 2004

Historically, the most significant aspect was that it was basically the first. It is most important document for the world's first stable democracy. It gave citizens the right be free from a sovereign telling them that reform (or, say Protestanism) was uncultured and ungodly. Other documents had done this, but their precedence didn't last for one reason or another. Ater that there's not much, and in fact, this Georgian era document with its compromises to political problems that simply do not exist anymore is very much showing its age.

As much as the founders were hopeful of self-government they were wary. They saw Oliver Cromwell as a cautionary tale on tyranny. The constitution was written in part to prevent an American Cromwell from rising among the unmonied, uncultured classes. (The irony is that it would be scarily easy to turn the US into a legalized dictatorship.)

While they let people choose their leaders, they also made it incredibly difficult to enact change. The very structure of the Congress and the fact that the judiciary filled that undemocratic vacuum is undemocratic or conservative by design. The founders knew that it was not a perfect document and basically asked people to endorse it because it was the best they could do under the circumstances. Which reminds me of that Canadian identity quote: The American Constitution: democratic as possible, under the circumstances.

That book I linked makes a pretty compelling point about American democracy as outlined in the Constitution. Dahl writes that, essentially, the US was the first democracy on the planet. Since its founding democracies have sprung up all over the world and countries that were trending democratic went even further. Now, if the US democracy is so great, how many have copied the US' way of doing things? And the answer to that is pretty simple: zero. Sure some have taken bits and pieces, but most bicameral systems neuter the upper house budgetarily and nobody runs an election like the Americans, with good reason.
posted by raaka at 8:46 PM on December 4, 2004

er damn, first modern stable... whatever
posted by raaka at 8:55 PM on December 4, 2004

But Vidiot, surely it's possible to have proportional representation without being strictly parliamentary? In the case of the U.S., I would think a proportional lower house, plus the Senate and presidency with IRV might be a good combination.

Anyway, am I on the only person who gets a little turned on by the word "bicameral"? And is that weird?
posted by dame at 9:43 PM on December 4, 2004

The US constitution has been amended a total of twenty seven times in a timeframe of 217 years. Once within my lifetime, and even the eldest of our citizens today has seen no more than a dozen.

The first ten amendments are very brief, yet powerful. Over time, only one amendment has been considered enough of a mistake to repeal it, and Prohibition lasted a total of fourteen years.

Even through continuous long-standing national divides, commonly over controversial issues of the day such as export tariffs, slavery, alcohol, marijuana, civil rights, war, and gay marriage, the United States has remained remarkably unified over the years. We have fifty separate states of various sizes and independent ways of government within itself, unified by a central government.

There are many flaws, but for a document of such brevity written so many generations ago, the foresight of the Founding Fathers into the most important aspects of government as well as our own politicians has been nothing short of remarkable.

I often disagree with the politicians in charge about what is being done, and quite often I find myself nothing short of disgusted with nearly any politician in office today. However, as a US citizen, I must say that the Constitution itself inspires awe within me. Even though changes are inevitable and most often for the better, the framework has proven extremely solid under times of great crisis that would shatter nearly any other governmental system.
posted by Saydur at 9:50 PM on December 4, 2004

It's hard to appreciate the US Constitution without appreciating how amazing the US: how such a large place can continually invite so many foreigners in to join it; how it has helped keep the government sufficiently under control so that the US and its citizens haven't become passive, cynical, European-like. But of course, one could argue that the US Constitution is an effect more than a cause....
posted by ParisParamus at 10:05 PM on December 4, 2004

Yadda yadda yadda . . . how about things wrong with the Constitution? Let me see how quickly I can start a fight.

The amendment process is substantially too hard. It makes the U.S. anomalous amoung countries that have written constitutions: most constitutions are far easier to amend than ours. Result: we need to rely on the judiciary to change its interpretation of the Constitution in order to get the kind of long-term flexibility we ned to keep the country going. There is, for example, a very good argument that most administrative agencies are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court, however, just rolled over during the New Deal (after some initial resistance) and let Congress delegate its power like crazy.

The Senate is profoundly anti-democratic because it's such a disproportionate system. Indeed, the Supreme Court has held that it's a violation of Equal Protection for a state to set up its state senate with the kind of population disparities that the U.S. Senate has in determining its representation. What's more, the Senate is never going away, even with a Constitutional amendment: it's the only thing in the Constitution to which the Article V amendment process doesn't apply.

The Eleventh Amendment (you can't sue a state in federal court) is just an embarassment. No one knows exactly what it means; and even on any coherent theory, it's incredibly poorly drafted.

Fortunately, the Thirteenth Amendment (end of slavery) turned the Three-Fifths Clause into a dead letter, but it's one of the most inhumane things ever written into a constitution. Under it, slaves count 3/5 of a person in determining representation -- but since, of course, slaves couldn't vote, this meant that whites in the South got extra representation because some of them owned slaves.

The Electoral College is a joke. It doesn't correspond to any theory of democracy and it's just a disaster waiting to happen. Had Bush won the popular vote this year but lost the electoral vote, we might at least have moved away from it to some more sensible system (e.g., direct popular vote, vote by Congressional districts, even vote purely by number of states -- any of these would make more sense). At the very least, eliminating the possibility of electors changing their minds after the election would have been a good idea.

The Seventh Amendment (right to a jury in civil cases) is an anachronism. England has eliminated them; most countries never had them. The requirement of being able to try to jury means we have an adversary civil justice system, which means that judges can't play an active role, which means we labor under incredibly cumbersome rules of evidence and discovery, making lawsuits into painful and horrendously costly affairs. [Also, writing a jurisdictional amount of $20 into the constitution was just a bad idea; the threshold is now far far lower than it was meant to be, back when $20 was serious walking-around money. And the split between "law" and "equity" on which the guarantee of a jury turns is, we now understand in hindsight, a historical accident with no intrinsic justification.]

If you know what the Ninth Amendment means, please speak up. A lot of lawyers, judges, and professors would like to know.

The Fourteenth Amendment is great, so far as it goes. But it woud have been helpful if its authors spelled out more what they meant by "due process" and "privileges and immunities," -- which would have kept courts until surprisingly recently from going nah nah, I can't hear you to all sorts of important civil rights claims.

Federalism was a necessary political compromise at the time. Today it's become barely coherent. Europe and many foreign nations are experimenting with more fruitful forms of federalism, ones in which the federal entity and the component states are not conceived of as rivials and competitors. The friction and confusion that comes from having two parallel court systems is not to be sneezed at, either.

No, I correct myself. The Three-Fifths Clause is not the most evil part of the constitution. The Fugitive Slave Clause is: that's the one that said that states had to return fugitive slaves from other states.

The Framers did many things right. But written constitutionalism has its problems, and our constitution, in particular, has an awful lot of warts. It's showing its age, and many constitutions that have come since ours have learned a great deal from our mistakes--as well as from our successes.
posted by grimmelm at 11:39 PM on December 4, 2004 [1 favorite]

What I guess I don't really understand is what state the British Constitution occupies if it's not written down. Parliament is subject to it, so what is it? Oral? Understood? Is "unwritten" simply shorthand for "not the final word" (assuming that Parliament is)?

Umm... *tries to dredge up British Politics classes from seven years ago*

First point - Britain is a constitutional monarchy. Parliament does not, technically, make the laws. The Queen does that. Parliament just suggests it very very strongly. This is, of course, is not the practical situation, and the monarch holds no actual power. But it does provide a theoretical hold over the governance of the country.

Second - we do now have a codified constitution of sorts, in that EU law (and certain international treaties) have precedence over British law. The government can't pass laws that conflict with EU law, such as Human Rights legislation. However, the fact that EU law supercedes British law is something that is only codified within British law. So it would only take an Act of Parliament, passed on a simple majority, to withdraw from the EU.

Third - likewise, there are a whole bunch of Acts of Parliament which make up the written elements of our constitution. The Bill of Rights (as already mentioned), the various Acts of Union, Habeas Corpus. None of these technically hold any greater status in law than any other, excepting through force of tradition.

As far as the actual business of governance goes, Parliamentary behaviour is partly regulated by law (for example, the Parliament Act which was recently used to force through the ban on fox hunting, despite repeated opposition from the House of Lords) and partly regulated by convention (for example, the convention that the unelected Lords shall not oppose any Bill which was contained within the elected government's manifesto... which they broke to oppose the fox hunting ban). And once again, the theoretical construct that it's actually the Queen running the whole shebang.

In general, when two Acts of Parliament come into conflict (if the government makes a new law without specifically repealing a separate, pre-existing, contradictory piece of legislation) and there is no recourse to the EU or international treaties, then the judges get involved. They will by convention rule in favour of the earliest piece of legislation, at which point the government must go back and do the job properly. This helps explain the effective preeminence of much ancient legislation. It's be a strange judge who ruled that the Licensing of Public Toilets Act 1998 over-ruled an Act of Union. Also, case law, in the form of common law, is sort of like convention with spikes on. In some cases, it can over-rule the monarch, except we're not entirely sure how we'd enforce that.

So, to recap - it's not entirely unwritten, but it isn't written down in one place. The places where it is written down hold no technical superiority to any other legislation, although they take a certain effective precedence, largely through convention. Convention has great weight, but there's a lot of old dusty laws hanging around that can be wheeled out if certain bits of convention get ignored. The EU actually beats British law, but if we don't want it to we can always run away. And in theory, the Queen could probably say no, but then us and the judges would just get all 1649 on her ass.

To recap the recap - god knows how, but we actually seem to muddle along pretty well.

Please note: some of the above may be accurate. Other bits, possibly a bit shaky.
posted by flashboy at 12:09 AM on December 5, 2004

But Vidiot, surely it's possible to have proportional representation without being strictly parliamentary?

Oh, indeed. I think the Electoral College as is currently constituted is a terrible idea, and IRV seems to be (from my admittedly limited study) a good way to go. But I was meaning to talk more about checks and balances and the separation of powers as an advantage over a parliamentary system.
posted by Vidiot at 12:22 AM on December 5, 2004

This is a fascinating discussion, thanks everyone.

All I'd like to add is this: I believe one of the greatest strengths of the US Constitution is simply its accessibility. Anyone can easily go and read it and in a short time learn a great deal about how and on what principles the US works, or, at least, it's supposed to work. As others have talked about in this thread, that doesn't necessarily make it any better than, say, the UK's paliamentary system in practice, nor is it perfect. But as a lay member of society, I don't need to spend time on a university law course to get a grip on it.
posted by normy at 7:49 AM on December 5, 2004

Something about the U.S. Constitution that works incredibly well (most of the time) but isn't "in" the Constitution per se is the U.S. tradition of constitutionalism. From very early on, we got in the habit of doing things right. In the first 20 years or so of the U.S.'s history as a nation, a lot of informal decisions got made to send things through the Constitution's channels.

Judicial review, acceptance of the results of national elections, separation of powers, using the Article V amendment process, a commitment to interpreting the Constitution's text and living by it . . . we established a political culture in which the Constitution is understood as authoritative and coherent. Lots of particulars in the Constitution could have been very different, but as long as the national commitment to what we understood as its values had taken root the way it did, things would still have turned out okay.
posted by grimmelm at 8:02 AM on December 5, 2004

The greatest thing about the US Constitution is the prose. Almost any anyone can read it in one sitting and understand the basic premises. Yet I re-read it regularly and learn something every time. The depth of deliberation and planning in the document is incredible.

Secondly is the separation of powers, which is fundamental to the fact that our Constitution remains viable. No person or branch of government has a monopoly on power, and thanks to judicial review nobody is entirely without power. (The current issue of judicial litmus tests and the dilution of the Senate's prerogative to "advise and consent" on Executive appointments is a troubling trend though. Likewise, the new Presidential power to declare "war" is very dangerous.)

As others have mentioned, the Constitution includes the means for amending the original, but makes it difficult enough to change that not every passing fad can be made a law that is beyond review by the judicial branch.

Also of great importance is Article I, Section 9, which is often titled "Limits on Congress", especially Clauses 7 and 8. I think the prohibition on titles of nobility proved especially important in the early stages of the nation.

Finally, having lived in a European democracy and worked and travelled in many others, I don't think the US is really special at this point. Our Founding Fathers were early adopters, but our current corporate sponsored overlords seem far more likely to move backwards with regard to liberty and freedom than most European governments. The International Bill of Human Rights is increasingly important, but it is missing the beauty of Madison's and Jefferson's prose entirely.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 8:17 AM on December 5, 2004

The fact that it is hard to change is protection against "the tyranny of the majority", say a wave of racism or such. However, I do wonder if a more modern constitution might not be an improvement, if nothing else, there would be less arguments about the writers intent. For instance, the term regulated is used with regards to antique british arms meaning "sighted in", so what did they want the 2nd amendment to mean? The Montana Constitution was totally rewritten in 1972 and contains some interesting rights, like the right to a healthful environment and the right to privacy.
posted by 445supermag at 8:40 AM on December 5, 2004

Response by poster: Yadda yadda yadda . . . how about things wrong with the Constitution?

Grimmelm, your list brings to mind this speech by Thurgood Marshall, who said he didn't "find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start."

Marshall refused an invitation to the 200th anniversary celebration of the constitution because he thought that "the true miracle was not the birth of the Constitution, but its life" as a changing document.
posted by insideout at 9:10 AM on December 5, 2004

Ah, the good old Three-Fifths Clause. If I recall my history correctly, the choice wasn't three-fifths or nothing, it was three-fifths or one. In that sense, the Three-Fifths Clause actually reduced the power of slave states. Further, at the founding, every state got credit for people who couldn't vote—women, unlanded men, etc. In fact, today towns with prisons get to count their prisoners as residents, with all the increased funding that implies, despite prisoners not being able to vote or being treated very much like people. In conclusion, though the Three-Fifths Clause is galling to us now, taking it out of context creates a very inaccurate interpretation.
posted by dame at 9:12 AM on December 5, 2004

If you know what the Ninth Amendment means, please speak up. A lot of lawyers, judges, and professors would like to know.

The Ninth: "You have other rights as well. Just because they're not explicitly listed here in the Constitution doesn't mean that you lose them."

Most famous invocation of the Ninth is, of course, Griswold v. Connecticut.

I like the Ninth. The Tenth is a bit more obscure to me.
posted by gimonca at 10:06 AM on December 5, 2004

While flashboy covers some of the ground, it is worth noting that the UK has a significant body of constitutional law which springs both from a panoply of historical documents, treaties and legal commitments, and legislation as well as precedent set by courts with regard to individual rights.
posted by biffa at 11:12 AM on December 5, 2004

Parliament does not, technically, make the laws. The Queen does that.

Nononononono. No. Civil War? Glorious Revolution? Hello?

Parliament makes law. The monarch assents to it. Big difference. 'La reine le veult' is the equivalent to the president's signature. And the monarch has no power to dispense the law. Supremacy of Parliament, yes?
posted by riviera at 12:37 PM on December 5, 2004

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