Happy Constitution Day!
The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.” - Thomas Jefferson
Today is Constitution Day, a day set aside by Congress, a body that largely ignores our nation’s founding document. What were once viewed to be basic natural rights, the concepts of life, liberty and property are subject to the will of the mob for the benefit of the “common good.”
This isn’t something that happened when Barack Obama or when Democrats took office, it has been going on for some time (more on that in a second). Not only are Democrats and Republicans to blame, but “We the People” also deserve a share of the blame,
While testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in 2008, Bob Barr warned, “Every administration that comes in takes the powers that it inherits from its predecessor as a floor, not a ceiling.” During his campaign for the presidency, Barack Obama promised to reign in the power of the executive, including some of the expansions claimed by his predecessor. However, we seen a further erosion of esstential liberties and limitations placed on our government by the Constitution.
We’ve also seen President Obama and the Democratic Congress pass a health care bill, using an expanded view of the Commerce Clause as justification, far outside of what the Founding Fathers intended.
In the United States, we have seen a constant assault on our liberties from both the right and the left. In the so-called “Progressive era,” the nation witnessed an assault on the spirit of Constitution by passing amendments to the Constitution allowing for a direct tax on income and the direct election of Senators, virtually eliminating representation of the States in Congress.
The Supreme Court has been complicit in this bastardization of our founding document, deciding that defering to Congress and the success of the presidency were more important that the Constitution, even going so far as to allow the imprisonment of over 100,000 Americans of German, Italian and Japanese decent during World War II.
The Court also has had a clever way of creating federal regulation of virtually everything under the commerce clause. Wickard v. Filburn is quite possibly the most ridiculous example of misuse of the Commerce Clause, at least until ObamaCare.
According to the Court, Roscoe Filburn was in violation of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, one of the New Deal travesties, because he grew more wheat than was allowed by law. Filburn told the court that the excess was for himself and his family and was not subject to federal quotas or the Commerce Clause, because was never intended to be placed on the market. The court unanimously ruled against him, leaving the Commerce Clause as the basis for government to do anything it wants, including forcing individuals to purchase a product, such as health care, that they may not want.
In 2005, the very foundation of the country was attacked in Kelo v. New London, when the Supreme Court ruled that the city of New London, Connecticut was acting in the public’s interested and was within the scope of the public purpose of the Fifth Amendment when it used eminent domain to take the land of several property owners and turned it over to a private entity to gain some sort of economic benefit by an increased tax base.
The Ninth and Tenth Amendments have been virtually ignored by the courts and politicians. The Founding Fathers were believers in the concept of Natural Rights and the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution and the intention behind it was to secure rights that may not have been specifically guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, such as the right to contract, privacy, travel or other rights to life, liberty and property.
The Tenth Amendment merely backs up the Ninth and is supposed to ensure the concept of federalism. Where the Constitution limits the federal government, states have the ability to step in and once again self-govern.
There have been a couple of bright spots this year. In June, the Supreme Court incorporated the Second Amendment to the states, finally affirming that the fundamental liberty to keep and bear arms applies to all Americans. And currently, two challenges to the constitutionality of ObamaCare are working through federal court. It’s too early to say what will happen, but early rulings have been encouraging.
Our Constitution is in trouble, and perhaps with the rise of the tea party movement and a recent resurgence in libertarianism, there is hope that we can change course and begin to reverse the damage that has been done, not just buy Barack Obama, but by his predecessors, including George W. Bush.
Grab a copy of the Constitution and read it. It’s short, much shorter than the legislation passed out of Congress these days. While you’re at it, pick up copies of The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom and The Federalist Papers.