March 1, 2011
The Vanishing ConstitutionBy Bill Costello
The Obama administration plans to continue with implementation of ObamaCare despite recent rulings by two federal district judges that it is unconstitutional, despite lawsuits to block it by more than half of all states, and despite polls showing that 60 percent of Americans want it repealed.
This is the most recent example of the arrogant notion that elected representatives are not required to operate within the bounds established by the Constitution or act on behalf of the people who elected them.
The federal government has increasingly assumed unlimited powers and acted against the will of the people. When they can't legislate, they regulate.
The attitude is: We know you don't want it, but we are going to force it on you anyway. Who are you to know what is best for you? You are just a pesky voter. We are entitled to discount what you say because you cannot possibly grasp our progressive agenda.
Progressives began the gradual erosion of constitutional principles around the beginning of the 20th century. The goal? To impose their superior wisdom on the rest of us.
The way progressives measure progress is by moving up from the vision of the founding fathers. But the Constitution gets in the way with its restrictions on the arbitrary powers of government. So it must be bypassed.
We the People have been undermined by all three branches of government, despite the words and intentions of the founding fathers. The legislative branch has been passing laws before anyone could learn what was in them. The executive branch has been sidestepping the confirmation process prescribed for Cabinet members in the Constitution by appointing "czars" who hold even more power than Cabinet members. And the judicial branch has been manipulating the letter and spirit of the law through constitutional misinterpretation.
Among the three branches, the judiciary has been the worst offender. It has enabled progressives to amass authority sheltered from election cycles and changing public attitudes. Through the judiciary, progressives have been able to read their own meaning into the words of the Constitution and proclaim their own version of the law.
President Woodrow Wilson was an early progressive who actively rejected what the founding fathers said and intended. He argued that the meaning of the Constitution should be interpreted by judges, and not based on its words.
In his book, Constitutional Government in the United States, Wilson wrote: "We can say without the least disparagement or even criticism of the Supreme Court of the United States that at its hands the Constitution has received an adaptation and an elaboration which would fill its framers of the simple days of 1787 with nothing less than amazement. The explicitly granted powers of the Constitution are what they always were; but the powers drawn from it by implication have grown and multiplied beyond all expectation, and each generation of statesmen looks to the Supreme Court to supply the interpretation which will serve the needs of the day."
Wilson and other progressives have failed to understand the consequence of rewriting the Constitution's meaning and ignoring the intentions of the founding fathers. If this generation is not bound by yesterday's law, then future generations will not be bound by today's law.
If law is not a body of rules and can be arbitrarily manipulated, then the rule of man trumps the rule of law. And the founding principle that "all men are created equal" is replaced by "some men are more equal than others." When people are governed by self-anointed rulers instead of elected representatives, they cannot be free.
When the Constitution was written, it was a radical departure from the despotic governments of its time. While Europeans were being ruled by the arbitrary edicts of kings, Americans revolted so they could become a self-governing people.
Because the founding fathers understood human nature, they structured the Constitution to permanently protect the people from the human shortcomings of their leaders. Human nature has not changed since America's founding. So the need still exists for the protection provided by the Constitution.
When elected representatives take an oath, it is not to the country, Congress, or constituents; it is to uphold and defend the Constitution. The Constitution is the supreme law of America. It is the blueprint that made America the envy of the world.
It has become increasingly apparent that progressive judges, justices, and elected representatives do not represent the interests of most Americans. For too long, the will of the people has been ignored.
If we are to continue with the gloriously successful American experiment of self-governance, we must protect the letter and spirit of the Constitution. It cannot protect us unless we protect it. We can do that by voting out those who bypass or undermine the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
When asked where the Constitution authorizes Congress to order Americans to buy health insurance, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said: "Are you serious? Are you serious?"
Two federal district judges have since shown that they are serious. So have the majority of states and Americans.
It will be interesting to see if the Supreme Court is also serious.
Bill Costello, M.Ed., is the president of U.S.-based Making Minds Matter, LLC and the author of Awaken Your Birdbrain: Using Creativity to Get What You Want. He can be reached at www.makingmindsmatter.com.