Category Archives: The Constitution

Crucifying the Constitution

Crucifying the Constitution- “Do no give us any standard by which actions can be judged to be right or wrong.”

by Bill Lockwood

The Progressive Era, beginning at the turn of the last century, has brought us a constant assault upon the rule of law in America. Led by the Democratic Party, the Constitution of the United States has been ignored, trashed, vilified, tortured and shredded. Whether twisting the meaning of the Commerce Clause, or re-writing the Necessary and Proper Clause, to the re-molding of The First Amendment, our Constitution at this point is practically relegated to the dust-bin of historical oddities. Reading the Founding Fathers on their own Constitutional product is like reading opinions of foreigners unacquainted with modern methods of governing.

A case in point. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) plans to block an up-or-down vote on President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch is an “originalist” in his approach to the Constitution which means his interpretive principle in discerning the meaning of the Constitution is based upon the actual words of the document itself.

While there is some debate on the “originalist” principle—for instance, the modern meaning of words in the commerce clause can lead us astray from what the founders intended by that clause—Gorsuch basically allows the Constitution to speak for itself. * This will not do for Schumer and the Democratic Party which tells us that this approach to the Constitution is “out of the mainstream” of America.

What About Originalism?

First, the very reason for having a written document of settled law is to prevent what has been occurring in America under Schumer-style leadership. When the Constitution was drafted and ratified the Founders were exceedingly clear. They wanted to avoid the common pitfall of English history wherein there was no written law. England had been guided by the decisions of Parliament which, in absence of a written legal code, was a wide invitation to an open-ended metamorphosis of legal standards.

This, in turn, meant that the populace never enjoyed the obvious protections of their rights under law, but instead were at the mercy of Parliamentary changes or the powerful Crown that would ignore Parliament. In the end, it is the common people who suffer most.

One of the “chains of the Constitution” spoken of by Thomas Jefferson was that America would have a written code that would remain inflexible and never change, except by Amendment. It is this concept, a written document that encloses the actions of the leaders, that both Democrats and Republicans have disdained. Most of our departures from Constitutional Law, whether it be by means of the Federal Reserve System or the Environmental Protection Agency, or the liberal transmutation of the Second Amendment, can be explained on the basis of this sad truth. Many leaders do not wish to be contained.

Second, to say that America’s Constitution is a “living, breathing document” insinuates that one wishes to disregard the standard. When one conjures the notion of a “living, breathing” document, such as was recently done in a Cosmopolitan article (authored by Jill Filipovic), it involves an attack upon the standard itself. It is to say that the standard actually evolves over time. Democrat strategist Chris Hahn, a former campaign worker for Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), reflecting the same relativism in a 2011 comment, stated that our Constitution is “a living, breathing document that evolves over time.”

This same breed of hostility to any normative standard is seen in theological circles as well. Liberals are fond of citing a New Hermeneutic approach to the Bible which means that moderns wish to have a “relativistic” approach to God’s Word. This translates thusly: “Do no give us any standard by which actions can be judged to be right or wrong.” Mankind wishes to be free from the constraint of God’s Law.

Exactly so with Schumer and the Democrats in law-making. To interpret the Constitution according to its original intent is anathema to them because they hate the standard of Constitutional law to begin with. It is too restricting. Too restraining is the Constitutional standard against their impulses to dictate and control the lives of other Americans.

The Founders foresaw this lawless maneuver. James Madison, the father of the Constitution, pointed out that our Constitution is only “legitimate” if we “resort” to the “sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation.” James Wilson, Pennsylvania member of the Philadelphia Convention rightly insisted, “The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.”

Thomas Jefferson, who coined the phrase “Chains of the Constitution,” recognized that the guardian of our liberties was the Constitution itself—provided that we properly interpret it in its “originalist” intent. “On every question of construction let us 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 intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”

Chuck Schumer’s confrontational opposition to Neil Gorsuch has its roots in the lawlessness that has characterized many of our politicians for over a century. They brook no limit on their power over the citizen—least of all that old relic The Constitution of the United States. Gorsuch, by Schumer’s own admission, demonstrates no specific opinion of dangerous proportions. The New York Senator simply does not like what he calls his “ideology” of honoring the law of the land. That’s where we are.

*The Tenth Amendment Center’s recent article, “Nine Reasons the ‘Living, Breathing’ Constitution View is a Lie” discusses the difference between being an “originalist”—seeking the original intent of the Founders’ words—from a “textualist”—where it is claimed Neil Gorsuch actually is.

Bill Lockwood: What’s Missing from the Debates?

What’s Missing from the Debates?—The Civil Bible of America –“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves…”

by Bill Lockwood

One of the most discouraging features of American politics is the almost complete lack of recognition that we are a nation designed to be guided by our Founding Charter, the Constitution. A perfect illustration of this emptiness is the recent Trump-Clinton debate earlier this week. Plenty of fireworks, but absolutely not a single reference to the guidepost of our liberty—The Constitution. This absence should be alarming to freedom-minded citizens.

The Civil Bible of America

Thomas J. Norton was a Constitutional scholar, having served as member of the bars of the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 7th, 8th, and 9th Circuits as well as the Supreme Courts of Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. In his classic text, The Constitution of the United States, Norton observes:

Our Constitution—Civil Bible of America.” “Menaced by collectivist trends, we must seek revival of our strength in the spiritual foundations which are the bedrock of our republic.  Democracy is the outgrowth of the religious conviction of the sacredness of every human life. On the religious side, its highest embodiment is the Bible; on the political, the Constitution.”

The Constitution is the Civil Bible of Americans. But as the great Thomas Jefferson warned, The People are the only safe depository of power—but only if we educate. “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

Again, President Jefferson advised, “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree.” By improving our minds, Jefferson meant educating in principles of freedom.

Investment?

Instead of invoking Constitutional principles—or better yet, Principles of Natural Law—for these were the concepts upon which our Republic was constructed—what we heard in the debate from both sides was the supposed beneficial results of proposed government action.

One particularly disturbing trend over the past forty years is for Democratic power-mongers to cover their lawless and unconstitutional designs by the cover-word: “Investment.” Hillary Clinton invoked this upon a number of occasions during the debate. “We need to ‘invest’ …”

With this one word the socialists of the nation continue to cover their flagrant plundering of tax-paying citizens to spend it upon their politically-correct projects, be they green energy, or “improving” nationalized education, or socialized government-sponsored health-care, new HUD rules, or whatever.

What IS “Investment?” The Business Dictionary defines it as “money committed or property acquired for future income.” That is, individuals make expenditures upon capital or goods that this outlay might generate income for themselves in the future. The essential ingredient here, however, is freedom. I may simply place my earnings in a piggy bank under the floor for future use, or I may make outlays in some form of stock, bond, land, etc. I am free to invest or not.

What investment does not include is the strong arm of government forcibly removing profits from my labor to dole out to another. That is not my “investment”—that is THEFT, pure and simple. It only an “investment” for the political leaders who use it to “buy” votes from the under-privileged who can be counted on to support every welfare scheme of which they are beneficiaries.

Such craft as is foisted upon us by both parties is absolutely, without question, unconstitutional. Perhaps this is why we never hear that Charter introduced into debate formats. Let’s get back to the Civil Bible of America.

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Scalia, God and the Constitution

Scalia, God and the Constitution

by Bill Lockwood

Visiting a suburb of New Orleans this month Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told an audience that though it was that the United States was founded without an official “established church,” it was never intended to be “neutral” toward religion itself. It is “absurd,” said Scalia, to think the Constitution bans the government from supporting religion.

More than that. There is “no place” for radical secularism in our constitutional tradition, he said. “To be sure, you can’t favor one denomination over another but can’t favor religion over non-religion?” [emp. added]
Scalia noted that favoring religion was common practice in the United States until the 1960’s when “activist judges” began imposing their own ideas. Atheists should not try, per the judge, to “cram” secularism “down the throats of an American people that has always honored God on the pretext that the Constitution requires it.”

Justice Scalia is exactly right in this interpretation of the Constitution and the place of religion. I would, however, add that it is not merely “religion” which has a place in our society, but Christianity itself. Benjamin Morris, in his magnum opus work, Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the Unites States, summarizes the Founders’ intention: Christianity is the principle and all-pervading element, the deepest and most solid foundation, of all our civil institutions. It is the religion of the people—the national religion; but we have neither an established church nor an established religion.

John Jay, one of the authors of the Federalist Papers referred to this as a “Christian Nation” and Roger Sherman wrote to one of his acquaintances in 1790 pointing out that “his faith in the new republic was largely because he felt it was founded upon Christianity as he understood it.” Similar sentiments from the Founding generation could be added almost endlessly.

Justice Joseph Story, who spent 34 years on the Supreme Court and founded Harvard Law School even went so far as to remark that concept of “neutrality” in religious matters, to which modern society goosesteps and Scalia criticizes, “would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation” had it been suggested in early America.

First Amendment
What then is the meaning of the First Amendment that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”? “Establishment of religion” simply refers to “National denomination” in the sense of an official State Church supported by taxes. “Congress” singles out the “federal government.” The Federal Government was to establish no National Denomination. Remembering that both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison encouraged future generations to interpret the Constitution according to its original intent, and that that ALONE is the “legitimate Constitution,” how do we know that the forbidding of a National Denomination by the Federal Government is the meaning of the First Amendment?

George Mason, the father of the Bill of Rights, commented that “no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.” Madison himself commented upon the First Amendment: “…nor shall any national religion be established.” In the Annals of Congress (June 8, 1789 to September 25, 1789) is noted this: “August 15, 1789: Mr. Peter Sylvester of New York had some doubts … He feared it [First Amendment] might be thought to have a tendency to abolish religion altogether.” Well might he fear, knowing the onslaught of atheists and secularists throughout history to deny simple truths!

In response to Sylvester, Elbridge Gerry suggested in Congress that the First Amendment would better read, “[N]o religious doctrine shall be established by law.” But that was not quite broad enough to meet the Founders’ intention. Fisher Aimes, who authored the final version of the Amendment, offered this: “Congress will not make any law establishing any religious denomination.” One version even added the words “in preference to others” to the clause “religious denomination.” The final draft simply reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion …” It is crystal clear what these great minds desired.

Capitalizing on ignorance of the people plus animus to Christianity, modernists which fill the press as well as Congress wish us to be satisfied that our Constitution demands the government to be “neutral” between atheism and theism, between Christianity and Islam. Nonsense. Justice Scalia is correct. Legally speaking, in the context of the Constitution, there is no place for “secularism.”

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