Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase meaning "something for something." It indicates a more-or-less equal exchange or substitution of goods or services. It comes to my attention that some people think people different from them should sometimes have to negotiate for their rights in the court of public opinion. Consider the situation where a group wants to build a mosque at a location that's offensive to some. With quid quo pro constitutionality, the offended person could invoke the "public opinion clause" through blogs and news outlets. The talking heads would apply the rule of rigid associations in their analysis and associate Islam with oppressive non-democracies in the middle east. Then, they would ask, "If we wanted to build a church near a holy shrine in their country, would they let us?" If the answer is no, they would conclude, "Then, why should we let them build something near ground zero? Your request for constitutional protections is denied." What they're saying is, "Constitution or no constitution, if you don't scratch my back, I won't scratch yours.
I know building a mosque or a Muslim community center near ground zero is offensive to some. But, the constitution does not protect us from being offended. Some people are accusing the group building Cordoba House of aggressive and insincere motives. I don't know about their motives, but I do know motives are not part of real constitutional analysis. So, bickering about motives does not enter into the discussion of someone's constitutional rights. John Adams said, "We are a nation of laws, not of men." If we are permitted to negotiate away the constitutional protections for others in the court of public opinion, we erode constitutional protections for everyone. Is America AMERICA without the constitution? One WWII American Veteran I know answered, "America is the constitution." America is all of us.