HELENA, MT – The HuffPost exposed the twisted and warped annotated version of the pocket Constitution Utah Senator Mike Lee held up in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing during the first day of Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court hearing yesterday. Astoundingly, it’s not America’s Constitution, it is an annotated version used by anti-American domestic terrorist militia groups known as the Skousen Constitution. More troubling may be the fact that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett didn’t bat an eye in the hearing, and she had referenced this extremist version of the Constitution in a previous speech.
The Skousen Constitution is a right-wing extremist version used by many anti-government zealots across the country. The document is also glorified by right-wing domestic terrorist militia radicals like the Bundy’s. It is filled with religious undertones to make it seem like the founders envisioned a solely Christian nation, opposing the separation of church and state.
“If it wasn’t already dangerous enough to have a COVID positive and maskless Senator Lee spouting his warped legal views in this kangaroo hearing for one of the most critical seats on the highest court in generations, the Utah Senator also decided to give a clear signal to all the domestic terrorist militia members across the country when he brandished their twisted version of our Constitution,” said Western Values Project Director Jayson O’Neill. “More concerning is that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett alluded tothis bastardized pocket version of our Constitution in a recent speaking engagement.”
Senator Mike Lee, who used the majority of his time on Monday to lecture the Committee on the Constitution, previously made headlines by claiming that America wasn’t a democracy. In response to the HuffPost, the Senator’s spokesperson claimed that he ‘carries many versions of the Constitution and “was not aware” that he’d brought’ the radicalized version to the hearing.
The HuffPost also point out that, in a 2019 lecture, Amy Coney Barrett noted that an annotated pocket version of the U.S. Constitution was the number two bestseller on Amazon during the summer of 2016 – it was the Skousen Constitution.
VIDEO: Amy Coney Barrett Was Impressed With The Pocket Constitution That Was On The Amazon Best Seller List. Amy Coney Barrett, while giving a lecture about the Constitution, said, “It is succinct enough that you can carry it around in your pocket. And, in fact, many people do. For a brief period during the summer of 2016, the pocket constitution was the number 2 seller on Amazon. The brevity of our Constitution and the service of Amazon has made it accessible to millions.” [Princeton, 10/17/19] (00:08:28)
The Version Of The Constitution Barrett Referenced Is Annotated By Conspiracy Theorist W. Cleon Skousen And Published By A Fringe, Fundamentalist Group Called The National Center For Constitutional Studies. “Following Gold Star father Khizr Khan’s powerful speech at the Democratic convention last week, sales of pocket Constitutions have skyrocketed. But the edition topping Amazon’s charts – right up there with the new Harry Potter book — comes with annotations and right-wing commentary from Glenn Beck’s favorite conspiracy theorist. […] But the version that Amazon is touting as a best-seller is not the one Khan held up. And readers looking for those words in the edition there will be misled. It’s published by the National Center for Constitutional Studies, a fringe Mormon group focused on teaching a fundamentalist interpretation of the founding documents.” [The Intercept, 08/01/16]
The Skousen Constitution Is A Favorite Of Militia Groups And The Bundy Family, Who Have Led Armed Revolts Against The Government. “It’s a message that rings clear to Cliven Bundy, who had a copy of the booklet during his 2014 standoff with federal agents on his Nevada ranch over unpaid grazing fees. His sons Ammon and Ryan brought it to the Oregon wildlife refuge. […] Bundy gets his pocket Constitutions from a friend in Utah named Bert Smith, who buys 1 million at a time, storing them in a warehouse between distributions to Mormon groups, schools and soldiers overseas. Smith said that he was a longtime friend of Skousen, a Canadian-born onetime FBI agent who died in 2006, and that the booklet was Skousen’s life work. Skousen founded the organization that prints and distributes the pocket Constitution, the Idaho-based National Center for Constitutional Studies.” [The Los Angeles Times, 01/21/16]
But Mainstream Constitutional Scholars Say Skousen’s Theories Are For “Paranoid Theocrats.” Skousen has posthumously found a big audience, thanks to radio host and conservative ideologue Glenn Beck. Attracted by Skousen’s conspiratorial view of secular government, Beck began promoting the author to his listeners five years ago. He wrote the foreword to a recent edition of The 5,000 Year Leap, a central text in the Skousen oeuvre. Mainstream scholars have been less kind. […] ‘There’s conservative, there’s right-wing and there’s off the charts,’ said Sean Wilentz, a Princeton University history professor. ‘Cleon Skousen was off the charts.’ Wilentz described Skousen and his allies as ‘paranoid theocrats.’” [Tampa Bay Times, 12/09/13]