The Constitution is now the elephant in the room that everyone pretends doesn’t exist. The judiciary, instead of guarding the Constitution, acts as if we’re in an ongoing constitutional convention, unilaterally amending it at will.
If the Constitution can be rewritten and the Founding Fathers’ laws ignored, it ceases to be a constitution. It’s then a concoction that serves the contemporary agendas of the few who are supposed preserve it via the public authority they were entrusted with.
As Thomas Paine said, “…in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king and there ought to be no other.” However, the law, as in the Constitution, isn’t king anymore. The king is now the law, where any president can change the law according to what they believe.
A “living” Constitution is exactly what any government and president want! However, this isn’t what the Constitution is supposed to be or what the Founders intended.
To say that the Constitution is a “living and breathing document” is to give license to arbitrary laws. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Our peculiar security is in possession of a written Constitution…Let us not make it a blank paper by construction. If it is, then we have no Constitution.” He continues:
Carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.
Jefferson was rightly afraid that future generations would allow our government to interpret the Constitution so broadly that we may as well be governed by a blank piece of paper. As Kevin Gutzman, a constitutional scholar at Western Connecticut State University said, “Those who would give us a “living” Constitution are actually giving us a dead Constitution since such a thing is completely unable to protect us against the encroachments of government power.” And as James Madison said:
If the meaning of the text be sought in the changeable meaning of the words composing it, it is evident that the shops and attributes of the government must partake of the changes to which the words and phrases of all living languages are constantly subject. What a metamorphosis would be produced in the code of law if all its ancient phraseology were to be taken in its modern sense. And that the language of our Constitution is already undergoing interpretations unknown to its founders.This is so true, “the language of our constitution” really is “already undergoing interpretations unknown to its founders”! The Federal government now no longer sees war as having boots on the ground in foreign countries. To them that’s just a special mission or a short-term intervention. However, to the founders, any U.S. soldier in a foreign country was war —which needed the approval of Congress.
Our Constitution is now slowly evolving with the times just as in George Orwell’s book Animal Farm where
- “No animal shall sleep in a bed” became “No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.”
- “No animal shall drink alcohol” became “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.”
- And, “No animal shall kill any other animal” became “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.”
Most laws inside the Constitution are being proved by science to be very legitimate. However, most people aren’t interested in what the framers said or intended. They believe that technological progress means that “old” laws should also change.
However, I hope we heed to Thomas Jefferson’s, James Madison’s and Thomas Paine’s warnings. For if we don’t, the great light of the enlightenment won’t just dim out, it will disappear.
To your success,