On his Fox News program, Glenn Beck again falsely claimed that Franklin Roosevelt, in support of a “Second Bill of Rights,” “was pushing for a change to the Constitution.” Beck added that “progressives” like Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Director Cass Sunstein have “been pushing for the Second Bill of Rights since FDR,” and cited this as evidence that such progressives “know” that health care reform is “unconstitutional.”
From the January 11 broadcast of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: [Franklin D. Roosevelt] was pushing for a change to the Constitution that included those things. Regulatory czar Cass Sunstein tried to resurrect that failed attempt at creating the ultimate government control in his book, The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It. Again, the progressives know this is unconstitutional. That's why they've been pushing for the Second Bill of Rights since FDR.
Fact: Sunstein said he (and FDR) “didn't want to change the text of the Constitution”
Sunstein: “Roosevelt didn't want to change the text of the Constitution,” but to create “a declaration which isn't part of our legally binding text.” As Media Matters for America previously documented, during an interview on the public television program The Open Mind, Cass Sunstein commented: “Roosevelt didn't want to change the text of the Constitution. So he didn't want to add the right to a good education or the right to a home or the right to Social Security in the text of the Constitution.” Sunstein added: “What Roosevelt wanted to do was not to put the Second Bill in the Constitution, but to follow the model of his hero Thomas Jefferson, who was responsible for the Declaration of Independence, a declaration which isn't part of our legally binding text, but which helps animate our self understanding of the Declaration of Independence.” [The Open Mind, 9/8/04]
Sunstein said he shared Roosevelt's view and was “nervous” about altering the Constitution. Sunstein also stated that Roosevelt's “view of the Second Bill of Rights, which I share, is that what we should think of this as, is very much like Jefferson's Declaration. Part of what we're committed to, part of what defines our self-understandings, but we're going to keep the judges out of it.” Further, Sunstein commented that "[i]f, if we are excited about judicial protection of individual rights, then we might want the Second Bill of Rights in our Constitution. I, myself, am nervous about that, because I'm nervous about the judges" and that “I'd much prefer that we recover this aspect of our history.”