Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mourning the Bill of Rights

Great post up over at the Classic Liberal

Today is Bill of Rights Day. Should we celebrate? Or should we mourn the Bill of Rights?
The Bill of Rights should be mourned, not celebrated. It is defunct. Intended as the bulwark of the right of decentralized self-government, it now serves mainly as an excuse for the opposite: a roving judicial veto of state policies that federal judges dislike.

So, if the people of virtually every state ban flag burning or regulate abortion, provide capital punishment or support prayer in school, that does not settle the matter. Unlike 200 or 100 years ago, today the federal judiciary is apt to step in to stop state legislatures from adopting policies like this.

The people never consented to have the federal judges behave this way.

The purpose of the first ten amendments was laid out clearly by their Preamble. “Preamble?” You might ask. “What preamble?” Although the main body of the Constitution is never published without its Preamble, one could study American history for a lifetime without ever encountering the Preamble to the Bill of Rights.

That Preamble says that Congress is recommending amendments to the states because a number of states in ratifying the Constitution “expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added.” Since the people were afraid of the new Federal Government, that is, the Bill of Rights was being added to hedge in the powers of the Federal Government more carefully.

So, for example, the Tenth Amendment stated what Thomas Jefferson called the underlying principle of the entire Constitution: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” In other words, the Constitution gave the Federal Government a few enumerated powers, and those were all.

That is why the First Amendment begins by saying that, “Congress shall make no law.” Congress, not government generally. The point was to leave such questions in the hands of elected state legislators.

America’s Revolution was fought and won in the name of self-government via elections to state legislatures. King George III and Parliament insisted that those legislatures could legislate only when and as far-off officials essentially unaccountable to American colonists said they could. The Americans rejected that idea. In fact, rejecting that idea was what made Britain’s North American colonists into Americans.
Be sure to read it all, our nation is dying right before our eyes. It is dying because of many things, but the most telling blow comes from abandoning our founding documents My friends, pray for this nation.

God blessed us with those men who had the wisdom to found this nation, and only He can now bless us with the leaders to return us to our roots.

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