Back to basics of the Constitution

The Right stuff

Posted

 When I look at what has transpired in the election of 2020 and the subsequent presidency of Joe Biden, I think we, as Americans, are right back to where we were in 1789 when James Madison, then a congressman from Virginia, took it upon himself to write the first 10 amendments to the Constitution to get the Constitution ratified. It is important to remember that the Constitution had been printed and disseminated across the colonies. The people rose up in protest over a governance that included no guarantees of individual liberties.

It is important now, to remember, that these liberties were considered so obviously enshrined in the government of a free people that spelling them out was thought not even necessary. But the peoples of the 13 colonies had no such overwhelming trust in government and its powers. They demanded these rights be written out and codified as the Bill of Rights. These amendments constrained the federal government from assuming the exact position it enjoys now!

If you think about these rights, many laws have been struck down, and we the people have been saved from their curbs on our freedoms. Unfortunately, many rights have also been “discovered” since the amendments were adopted. And this brings up an obvious bone of contention. Originalists believe the Constitution means exactly what it says. Any variance from the prescribed doctrines contained therein require a constitutional amendment. But constitutional amendments are hard to get passed and take years. Our modern politicians have embraced a different way of looking at the Constitution. They believe the Constitution is a living document, and from it one can ascertain the “intent” of the founders. This view of the Constitution makes it pliable to those Supreme Court jurists that claim they can “discover” the intent of the framers and rule things unconstitutional or not, based on their personal interpretation of what the Constitution means now. This allows modern Supreme Court justices to decide laws may be Constitutional based on their mind reading of the founders. For example, modern Supreme Court justices discovered that the “right” to an abortion was contained in the Bill of Rights under the “pursuit of happiness” clause. This mindreading allows modern Supreme Court justices to change the meaning of the Constitution without all the work of needing those pesky “unwoke voters” to weigh in. Can we clearly see how this viewpoint makes governing a modern country so much easier? Additionally, the Supremes can also simply refuse to hear a case and thereby let a law stand that might be unconstitutional.

Think of the lawsuits brought to the Supremes over appointed officials changing rules concerning voting and voter qualifications. The Constitution clearly states that “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing(sp) Senators”. The Constitution, Article 1 Section four. The purpose of insuring elected officials make election law does two things. In the first place, the people making the voting laws must live by them so are surely interested in passing just rules of the road. Appointed officials need not concern themselves with that. Secondly, elected officials are accountable to the voters so that voters can throw them out of office if they do not perform well. Appointed officials are out of the reach of voters.

So when the Supreme Court refused to invalidate changes made by appointed officials, what does that mean? Such changes are clearly unconstitutional. The Constitution does not have a COVID exception nor does the Bill of Rights. Our rights as free citizens are even more in danger in times of national stress. As we have seen over the course of history, when a country becomes stressed and out of control they are much more likely to insist they need a strong government to take control and restore order. This point was hardly lost on the presidency of Joe Biden.

As a free people (who consented only to a government based on the rules laid out by the Constitution), what are we to do when elected federal officials go beyond the bounds of the Constitution? We are soon going to find that out!

Let’s look at just the first two amendments and see how we are doing.

The first two amendments are as follows:

Amendment I - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II - A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Take the first freedom stated there:

 “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Time and again, some of our 50 states, during the COVID outbreak, subjected religious institutions to far greater government control than abortion clinics and liquor stores. Those that could afford it appealed these laws and many were overturned. But why were they ever thought constitutional to begin with?

Do we remember the hue and cry over citizens assembling to protest these unconstitutional over-reaches in the states? Yet many times peaceful protests were suppressed as COVID-spreading events, while other protests, equally at risk for spread of COVID, were allowed and even encouraged. A riot with millions in property damage and violence was called perfectly fine. Martin Luther King Jr. was quoted as saying “a riot is the voice of the unheard” when riots occurred over black citizens’ rights being infringed. But that same “voice” was called violent and oppressive when ordinary people took to the streets to protest overly- strict COVID laws.

I will close with this thought. This country was founded on the principle that the only just government is one that governs with the consent of the people. When polls show, over and over again, large majorities of Republicans believe significant laws were broken, and votes unfairly counted, and sizeable minorities even within the party in power believe the same, the whole foundation of the government should be shaken! This ain’t no small thing we describe! And now, major corporations in this country want to come out in protest against just laws, lawfully passed as required by elected legislatures in state bodies? What has happened to the rule of law? Where do these companies think their power comes from? Who are their customers? Subjects or citizens? Think about that until next week, won’t you?        

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment