Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Giving up on the Constitution

Back in December 30, 2012, Louis Michael Seidman wrote an editorial in the New York Times entitled Let's All Give Up on the Constitution. His thesis is that it is all too complicated, and with competing methods of interpreting it, originalist or living document, we will never agree on what it says, so let's give up the pretence:
Nor should we have a debate about, for instance, how long the president’s term should last or whether Congress should consist of two houses. Some matters are better left settled, even if not in exactly the way we favor. Nor, finally, should we have an all-powerful president free to do whatever he wants. Even without constitutional fealty, the president would still be checked by Congress and by the states. There is even something to be said for an elite body like the Supreme Court with the power to impose its views of political morality on the country.
snip...
If even this change is impossible, perhaps the dream of a country ruled by “We the people” is impossibly utopian. If so, we have to give up on the claim that we are a self-governing people who can settle our disagreements through mature and tolerant debate. But before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.
Mr. Seidman's assertions sound more like whistling past the grave yard, hoping nothing jumps out to get him. For what Mr. Seidman suggests is that we can get along just fine without a Constitution because, well, we have this long tradition.  I fear Mr. Seidman does not understand to what lengths some people will go to obtain absolute power, or what they would do with that power once obtained.  What Mr. Seidman has also failed to acknowledge is that a written Constitution, providing the framework for how we were to settle our differences, and ratified by a super majority of States, is the only way to ensure that a government is actually legitimate, that is, has the consent of the governed. It is only because of sworn fealty to the Constitution that successive governments have been able to claim to represent the consent of the governed. Were our President and Congress ever to openly say they were not coloring within the lines of the Constitution, and enough voters heard and understood that, there would be open civil war.

Interestingly, we already have numerous examples of Congressmen and women mocking the Constitution, or outright admitting that they do not follow it or pay attention to it. Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the House responded with this to a serious question about where in the Constitution Congress derived the power to order people to purchase a product they didn't necessarily want. Or here, a Congressman cites a non existent clause of the Constitution to defend his support for ObamaCare. There are others who have made remarks to the effect that much of what Congress does isn't in the Constitution. Which begs the question: Then why are they doing these things?  Congress has enumerated powers to act.  Everything else should be either left to the States, or to the People.  It also causes us to ask, in our hearts if not out loud, how many others feel the same way?

The President is supposed to be our Chief Executive and Commander in Chief of our armed forces.  A good chief executive has standard operating procedures in place that ensure that each action taken by the officials under him fully comply with the law and the Constitution.  President Truman's famous sign on his desk that the read "The Buck Stops Here" states a truth, that the President is responsible for each and every act taken under his watch.  While the President has not yet been personally charged for a number of illegal and unconstitutional acts by people working for him, his failure to find and root out such illegality becomes his responsibility.  In this light then, I cite the following:

Fast and Furious was a program in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) allowed straw purchasers to buy weapons from dealers in the United States and run these guns across the border into Mexico to drug cartels there.  They then waited for these guns to show up at a crime scenes.  The purpose seems to have been create statistics to show our gun laws are too lax, and to implicate law abiding gun owners and thereby to gain support for reinstituting the Assault Weapon Ban, and to get a national registry of guns and their owners.  In the process, the ATF, with the approval of high officials in the DOJ, broke U.S. and Mexican laws.  Mexico has estimated that 200 people were killed.  At least 2 agents of the Federal Government were killed.  When the Congress got too close to Eric Holder, the President asserted a non existent Executive Privilege over the whole affair. No one who was responsible for hatching these crimes will ever be held to account for them.  The President should have been impeached.

The ATF is moving in at least the Seattle office, to copy the form 4473s contained in each gun dealers' bound books, thus being able to put together a registry of guns and gun owners.  This is in clear contravention to existing law.  Nothing besides a letter of inquiry from a Senator was done about this.

The TSA performs its tasks every single day on the basis that every traveler that wants to fly is guilty until proven innocent by having an agent ravish their bodies, and ransack their luggage.  Have we abandoned the rule of law that says everyone is innocent until prove guilty in a court of law?

In the early days of his regime, Obama decided to abandon the laws on the books for bankruptcy and literally take ownership of General Motors, hand it to the United Auto Workers and the Government, stiff the rightful bond holders.  He even appointed a political operative, who knew nothing about manufacturing or marketing of automobiles to be CEO.  The only reason for doing so was to pay back the unions who had supported his election.  Government Motors, for that is what they are now, "got well" at the expense of the taxpayers.  For this illegal act, he should have been impeached, but was not.

Meanwhile, over at the Supreme Court, the idea of the "Living Constitution" seems to have taken hold.  The "Living Constitution" has been defended with all sorts of high sounding, fancy rhetoric, designed to cover up the fact that Leftists couldn't convince the People to amend the Constitution to their liking, so instead they got judges to interpret it to mean something it was never intended to mean by those who wrote it.  They have cited the evolving standards of the People, without taking a single poll of the People to find out.  They have cited foreign law, while ignoring contradictory foreign law elsewhere.  A gross example is the decision in Roe v. Wade in which emanations from penumbras not mentioned in the Constitution were cited as an excuse. The problem is that the court failed to notice that they were giving official sanction to women all over the country to kill their unborn chidren without due process of law. Perhaps that is where this President derives his right to kill Americans who have been born without due process of law?  And now the Supreme Court has shirked its duty by saying that it isn't up to them to protect us from ourselves.  Perhaps not, but a long standing tradition says they should be protecting us from government excess.

I do not mean to cite here every instance of illegality and unconstitutionality.  Such a list would be hundreds of pages, and stretch back at least to the Teddy Roosevelt administration.  Such a long list of horribles, committed by people from both parties, who seemed to love power and prestige more than they loved protecting and defending the People, could perhaps cause one to pen a piece like Seidman's.  Here's the thing:  when the Constitution no longer binds the government, it no longer binds the people either.  When the law can be twisted at the whim of a government official to achieve an unwritten, and unvoted upon agenda, the law also no longer binds the people to obey it.  It is not legitimate, and the only way you have then to govern is by fear.  Fear works...for a while.  It only works for a while.  How long it works is up to the people.

For another way in which the government is acting unconstitutionally against people who hold different political views see here. David Codrea has been following this, and you can read his various reports at the War on Guns site. This is not the first time prosecutors have done this. But the reason they keep doing it is because there are no real consequences for it, even if theyare caught. Put some of them in jail for 20 years, and you will see this sort of abuse come to a screeching halt.

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