With just a month to go until Constitution Day, a UCLA psychologist has discovered a privilege buried in the Ninth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution that the framers probably never envisioned—the right of professors to date students. “In the first eight amendments, you have explicit rights that are enumerated or described,” Paul R. Abramson explained in an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education. “To preclude the government from saying: ‘Anything that’s not on this list we control,’ Madison created the Ninth Amendment.”
“It says despite all those rights enumerated above, you cannot deny or disparage rights that are still retained by the people.” So far, so good.
Dr. Abramson is the author of the forthcoming Romance in the Ivory Tower: The Rights and Liberty of Conscience (MIT Press). “Madison is saying, despite all the things we’ve described, the people still retain their fundamental rights,” Dr. Abramson told the Chronicle’s Robin Wilson. “The right to reproduce is one of these.”
“So one of the inherent rights of humanity is the right to reproduce, and you have to choose who you are going to reproduce with, who you are going to romance and love.”
“Some people might wonder whether they should be paying 40-grand a year to provide professors with a well-stocked pool of potential dating partners,” Wilson noted.
“We allow any male or female to join the Army and Marines and fight in Iraq at 18,” Dr. Abramson argued. “If that 18-year-old can make that decision about giving life for their country, that 18-year-old can make a decision about who they are going to have romance with.”
Truly, another take on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Incidentally, what President Madison said about the Bill of Rights is:
“My own opinion has always been in favor of a bill of rights; provided it be so framed as not to imply powers not meant to be included in the enumeration. . . . I have not viewed it in an important light—
“1. Because I conceive that in a certain degree . . . the rights in question are reserved by the manner in which the federal powers are granted.
“2. Because there is great reason to fear that a positive declaration of some of the most essential rights could not be obtained in the requisite latitude. I am sure that the rights of conscience in particular, if submitted to public definition would be narrowed much more than they are likely ever to be by an assumed power.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.