Feb. 6, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Small Size, Enormous Importance

Douglas Graham/Roll Call

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has carried a pocket Constitution with him since he first became a Member of Congress. He explained that he is constantly referring to the copy he carries with him. 

“I do it all the time,” he said. “I do it on the floor of the House. I’ll pull it out of my pocket in interviews. ... I consider it a sacred document. If I find an opportunity to bring it up, I do.”

Although Kucinich does own a copy signed by the late Sen. Robert Byrd
(D-W.Va.), something he referred to as “a treasure of mine,” he typically carries around an edition printed by Cato and regularly hands out an edition published  by the Joint Committee on Printing, which oversees the Government Printing Office.

“In 2008, I passed out 25,000 copies of the Constitution,” he said. 

In addition to the copies of the Constitution that he keeps in his offices for constituents, he has been known to give away his personal copy.

“I give away the copy I’m carrying at least once every couple of weeks,” he said.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) carries a pocket Constitution with him almost all of the time. “I have a copy in every one of my jackets, my briefcase, in multiple rooms in my house,” he said, explaining that he refers to it “frequently, usually many times a day.”

Although he typically carries a copy printed by the Joint Committee on Printing, he remembers the first copy he received years ago from Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). 

Broun also provides copies of the Constitution to his constituents in the hopes of informing and motivating them. “I encourage people to read the Constitution and understand how far away we’ve gotten from it as a nation,” he said. “We’ve got to get back to those principles.”

Lee said he views current issues such as the debt debate and health care through the lens of the Constitution and that carrying a copy with him is “a helpful reminder.” 

“The text of the Constitution has to be the governing standard,” the Senator said. “It really ought to be the beginning and the end of the analysis.”

Unlike Kucinich and Broun, Lee does not maintain brand loyalty when it comes to printed copies of the Constitution. Instead, he rotates between copies printed by the Joint Committee on Printing, the Bicentennial Commission on the Constitution and Cato. “There’s not a whole lot of rhyme or reason as to which one I carry at any given time,” he said.

In addition to carrying a printed copy of the Constitution with him, he also always carries a digital copy in the form of an iPhone app. Between the multiple printed copies and the iPhone version, Lee is never without access to the founding document. 

“I find myself taking it out and looking at it every day,” he said.

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