I worked for arguably the most iconic Republican president of my generation (yes, I worked as an official photographer for Reagan) and for arguably the most iconic Democratic president of my generation. So I feel I have a unique vantage point, having observed two presidents from two different political parties as an insider. The presidency deserves someone who is competent and honest. Someone who has empathy and compassion. Someone who upholds the dignity, and shows respect to, the office. Someone who has character and knows ultimately the presidency isn’t about him (or someday her), but about us. Read more

Related: How to watch documentary on White House photographer Pete Souza, ‘The Way I See It.’ By Katey Clifford / Mass Live

Which Constitution Is Amy Coney Barrett Talking About? By Jamelle Bouie / NYT

On Tuesday, Judge Amy Coney Barrett took a few minutes during her confirmation hearing to discuss her judicial philosophy, best known as originalism. It means, she explained, “that I interpret the Constitution as a law, I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it. That meaning doesn’t change over time and it is not up to me to update it or infuse my policy views into it.” Whereas the Constitution of 1787 established a white republic in which the right to property meant the right to total domination of other human beings, the Reconstruction Constitution established a biracial democracy that made the federal government what Charles Sumner called the “custodian of freedom” and a caretaker of equal rights. The Reconstruction Constitution is a fundamentally different document than the Constitution of 1787. Read more 

The bogus U.S. census numbers showing slavery’s ‘wonderful influence’ on the enslaved. By Peter Whoriskey / Wash Post

Americans have long looked to the decennial census for truths about themselves, and the 1840 version presented them with an improbable and incendiary notion. Slavery was good for Black people, the figures indicated, and freedom led to insanity. Specifically, free Black people were far more likely than the enslaved to succumb to insanity. “Insanity and idiocy” was ten times more common among free Black people than among those who were slaves. What else could this mean, advocates of slavery asked, but that Black people were mentally unsuited for freedom? The idea quickly spread to newspapers across the United States, the reports of elite European scientists and the halls of Congress. Read more