Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Constitution is not a "Living" Document

The Constitution is not a "Living" document as the term is generally understood when uttered by someone who doesn't like what it says. It is an intentionally constructed document that takes as its specific intent:

"... to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, ..."

The Constitution is, fortunately, a document that means exactly what it says about what is permitted and what is not permitted in our form of government. By doing so it succeeds in protecting individual liberty at the cost of some State power. This drives the Left crazy and has for 200 years.

This is why Clarence Thomas draws so much fire, he is an originalist who believes that the Founders got it right and said it clearly. You might find this article about Clarence Thomas interesting in this regard:

The idea of a "Living" Constitution is an attempt by the Left (the historical Left over a long period) to either make it say what they want it to say or change it beyond recognition.

President Obama echoed this theme when he said the following in a 2001 interview:

"But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it's been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf."

Read more: Obama rips U.S. Constitution

The Left normally claims either that the Constitution and its Amendments, as written by the Founders, while adequate to the late 18th and early 19th century is inadequate and irrelevant to later historical periods, such as today and should be either more easily amended or open to radical reinterpretation as the times demand. Woodrow Wilson actually lamented that the US even had a written Constitution.

I have a friend who expressed the opinion that the Constitution is inadequate, our government is in trouble and it should be changed. In his view the electoral process is broken as is the legislative process. This has been a popular theme among leftist politicians lately.  He also suggested that it might be a good idea to suspend elections for awhile and fix things.  Who is going to fix it?  A Congress with a 14% approval rating?  A President with a 41% approval rating who wants to add "redistributive" requirements? 

As recently suggested by Peter Orszag, perhaps more decision making power should be shifted to appointed regulatory boards (away from elected officials). This by the way was one of Woodrow Wilson's desires as well. Let the bureaucracy run the country and the elected officials do.. oh.. something else. He also picked up on the comment by Dem. Gov Bev Perdue of North Carolina that we should suspend elections for awhile to solve our problems. You know, remove the pressure from constituents.

I beg to differ.  Believe in the process, hew to the basics.  Vote out those who continue to enable policies that are destructive, vote for those who support policies that you, as voter, believe will be most beneficial for the country.  It is slow, it is messy, but it has worked for 200 years.

Remember, they do that kind of thing in the Middle East and Africa all the time.. one election.. suspend the next one.. no more elections.
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