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Constitution (As Edited) Read on House Floor


Updated: 1:35PM ET

House Representatives participated this morning in a full reading of the Constitution of the United States, marking the first such occasion in American history -- though the version of the Constitution that was read varied from the original document. 

(Watch video of the proceedings at left.)

Following initial questions regarding which Constitutional document was being read - the amended or original Constitution - Rep. Bob Goodlatte, of Virginia, who is leading the proceedings, made some clarifications.

"The text we are reading today reflects the changes to the document made by the 27 amendments to it. Those portions superseded by amendment will not be read," said Goodlatte.

But as the readings proceeded, it became clear that Republicans had left out some, but not all, portions of the Constitution that were later changed, notes CBS News Capitol Hill Correspondent Bob Fuss.

Among those areas omitted from the congressional reading was the section of Article I covering the "three fifths compromise," which quantified slaves as three-fifths of a person for taxation and apportionment purposes. Congress also skipped over the 18th amendment, which imposed Prohibition -- but did read the amendment repealing it.

House members also read a portion of a Constitutional clause referring to the preservation of voting rights for "males" "over the age of 21" -- which was later changed.

In remarks preceding the reading, Illinois Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. noted though he was "not trying to take a shot at the process," he objected to leaving out some such portions, because doing so eliminated evidence of the changes to the Constitution for which African Americans and women had long fought.

"Many of us don't want that to be lost upon the reading of our sacred document," Jackson said.

Later this afternoon, Jackson released a statement condemning what he described as the GOP's "redacted Constitutional reading."

"The new Republican majority and their redacted Constitutional reading gives little deference to the long history of improving the Constitution and only seeks an interpretation of our Constitution based on the now, not the historic, broad body of law and struggle that it has taken to get there," Jackson said. "It leaves out the need to continue to refine the Constitution so that we have a more perfect union."

Speaker of the House John Boehner kicked off the proceedings, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi followed him up with the reading of Article I.  Civil rights John Lewis leader read the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery.

The reading was briefly interrupted during the reading of Article II, Section 1, which requires the president to be a "natural-born citizen, when a woman, apparently a member of the "birther" movement who was seated in the front row of the public gallery, screamed out, "Except Obama, except Obama. Help us Jesus." The Sergeant at Arms was called in and the woman was arrested. (Watch it below)

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