Constitutional allies

It’s Constitution Day!

Earlier in the year, I was inclined to agree with Jon Stewart of The Daily Show that most of the Constitution seems to be under attack, except that the Second Amendment right to bear arms seemed to be sacrosanct. For instance, the Supreme Court has chipped away at the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

Worse, it felt that only a relative handful of people were concerned. That has visibly changed, and the opposition to governmental overreach is bipartisan.

Item from Newsmax:

“The American Civil Liberties Union is joining tea party activists in opposing the use of armed drones and other counterterrorism operations to kill suspected terrorists, even American citizens.

“A recently surfaced Justice Department memo revealed that drones can strike against a wider range of threats, with less evidence, than previously believed.

“Both the ACLU and tea party groups cite the Fifth Amendment, which says that Americans are guaranteed due process of law under the Constitution, and that the classified program circumvents that right.

Item from Newsmax:

“Stopwatching.us has gathered more than a quarter of a million signatures, including the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute and the conservative FreedomWorks and Restore America’s Voice.
Most of the selected signatories on the page are from more liberal groups, such as the Daily Kos, MoveOn.org, Green Peace, and Occupy Wall Street NYC.”

Now President Obama has decided to get Congress’s input in our Syria policy, consistent with the legislative body’s Constitutional war making authority. The Tonight Show’s Jay Leno recently quipped: “And if that works there’s talk of bringing back the REST of the Constitution!”

The Constitution is not “left” or “right”, people have started to have figured out.
***
In a book review, Jaquandor pondered: “Do I believe in the Constitution? I suppose so, in that I believe that we have a government that is structured according to the provisions contained within the Constitution’s pages. And that’s about all that I believe about it. I don’t believe that there is anything especially sacred about the Constitution, and I don’t believe that the Constitution represents some kind of moment when we rose to greatness. In truth, the Constitution is a muddled mess of a document, and the government it creates isn’t so much a brilliantly constructed Machine of Democracy as a hodge-podge, ramshackle mess of compromises with difficulties exacerbated by some really poor writing.”
***
2013 marks the 100th anniversaries of 16th and 17th Amendments. The 16th, which allowed for a federal income tax, is almost universally despised, not just because it levies taxes, but because the tax code has become so cumbersome that one needs accountants and lawyers to fully exploit the loopholes that other accountants and lawyers have inserted into it.

The 17th Amendment calls for the direct election of US Senators, which previously had been selected by state legislatures. Seems like a no-brainer, but there is a cadre that continues to call for its repeal. Here’s why.

5 thoughts on “Constitutional allies

  1. Gun Radicals are fond of saying, “The 2nd Amendment protects and preserves all the rest of our freedoms.”

    Nonsense. They’ve got it backwards.

    It’s the rest of the Bill of Rights that protects your right to bear arms. When your rights to free expression or a fair trial or right to citizenship are gone and repealed then there will be nothing to prevent the authorities from confiscating your guns. Get it straight.

  2. Interesting commentary on the potential consequences of repealing the 17th Amendment.

    I think I feel differently than Jaquandor. I personally think the Constitution represents the rule of law, which is vastly preferable to the whim of leaders or the public.

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