The View From 1776

Is The Constitution No More Than Whatever Public Opinion Will Tolerate?

Liberal-progressive legal theorists have in recent decades touted the conception that the delegates who wrote the Constitution in 1787 didn’t really mean to make amending the Constitution so difficult.  Evolving public opinion does the job without formal amendments.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/17 at 11:37 PM
  1. The communists liked to speak of the Constitution as "our" Constitution, meaning that "we" could do what "we" want with "our" Constitution. The Constitution of 1789 was, of course, the Constitution of the Founders, or "them."

    This moronic argument was made to my face by a lawyer who had twice sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, which I thought was curious. He was somewhat drunk at the time time but I have no doubt that it represented his sober view as well.

    The universal franchise is a huge mistake but handing arbitrary power to five justices on the Supreme Court is far more dangerous. But the left's worship of arbitrary power wielded by the "right" kind of people blinds it to the danger of abandonment of the rule of law.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/18  at  04:28 PM
  2. The rule of law, including contract or business law, the laws that protect private property, and the constitution that governs the form of government and limits it's power, are all essential to an ordered society of free people. Anyone with common sense can understand that. Only abstract thinkers can twist such concepts to their own purposes for they abandon simple reason and seek only to appropriate power over others.
    Posted by Bill greene  on  02/18  at  08:21 PM
  3. Thomas,

    Your allegation that Obama is ruling by fiat is just plain wrong. Obama has issued fewer Executive Orders than most of his predecessors. George Bush issued 291, Obama has issued 168. Ronald Reagan issued 381 executive orders. Does that mean the Ronald Reagan had a "Public be damned" attitude?
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/19  at  10:23 AM
  4. J. Jay,

    Once again you parade ignorance as though a virtue. As Pollack points out (see http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/02/04/Ruth-Marcus-Obama-Executive-Order ), it is not the quantity of executive orders that make for usurpation but their substance. Obama has used executive orders in ways for which they were never intended, are unprecedented in the annals of our Presidency, and are clearly un-Constitutional. Obama, unlike other Presidents, has abused E.O.s to alter the substance of existing laws (sometimes his own laws) and to create new law out of whole cloth. In so doing, Obama encroaches on the legislative branch as the only legitimate lawmaking body of government we recognize. It, and it alone, is granted power to legislate; and has no legitimate means to delegate such power to others or to divest itself of such power. Only the people may do that through the amendment process, which thus far (thankfully) has not happened. No other branch of government has such a power to legislate, and other branches or persons who do, do so illegally. The only area in which the President has any role in legislating is in making treaties; and only to the extent his branch frames them for Congressional approval. The reason treaty-making is a ‘shared legislative’ power is that Congress cannot alter treaties presented to it; and, so, the ‘framing’ part of this lawmaking function belongs to the executive. Otherwise, the President is free to recommend changes to Congress (same as you or I). But he cannot force changes on Congress; and cannot frame laws or make such changes on his own.

    If you will bother reading even a fraction of the Bush and Reagan E.O.s (see http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/orders/ ), you will quickly realize few of theirs are extra-Constitutional. There is little attempt in them to usurp or circumvent powers belonging to the other branches, or to the states. Mostly they are administrative orders dealing with the mundane operations of their own branch of government, execution of duties as provided by law (i.e., by Congress), re-authorize E.O.s of past presidents, or matters legislated to Presidents to work out the details. Most of these were minor matters of little consequence outside the executive branch (other than they may impact the cost of government). Throughout, the Reagan and Bush E.O.s generally recognized and respected the Constitutionally mandated divisions of power, as well as the co-equal branches they were sworn to protect. The same cannot be said of the many Obama E.O.s, which greatly exceed executive power to direct or redirect, repeatedly trample limits set on the executive, and hazard the entire federal structure. There are, of course, exceptions to the Reagan-Bush E.O.s, but theirs are few whereas Obama’s usurpations are legion and establish a pattern and attitude that is little short of ‘breathtaking’. If we pare the Bush and Reagan E.O. lists down to just those which were controversial, and compare only those to Obama’s controversial subset, it quickly becomes obvious Obama is the greater threat.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/21  at  10:28 PM
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