Just before the election an Obama Radio interview surfaced. In that interview he argues that the constitution was getting in the way of the supreme court redistributing wealth (creating economic change). He also talked about the fact that the constitution lists what the government cannot do to you, but it does not list what they should do for you. I know I did not go to Harvard and maybe my knowledge of Constitutional Reinterpretation is just not at his level, but I see it very differently.
The constitution is not getting in the way. The anti-federalists where very clear that the constitution was written to protect the people. To protect them from a over zealous and over reaching government. They argued for the Bill of Rights. Some against it, stating that the constitution itself was clear enough on the limitations of a federal government. That these rights were so well understood and so basic that they need not be documented. But sufficient fear of a giant federal government existed in those founders that they approved the Bill of Rights. Most of those first ten amendments do guarantee our rights and protections from the government. But two very important rights (ones that Obama seems willing to gloss over) need to be remembered.
Amendment 9 – The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment 10 – Powers of the States and People.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
It would seem clear to me that the 9th is to make sure that the federal government does not try to limit our rights to only those allowed or stated by the constitution. And its counterpart is the 10th and the one that protects us most of all. If the constitution does not specifically allow the federal government to act, then they cannot act. They do not get to redistribute wealth outside of the additon of the 16th amendment’s ability to allow for taxation on income. But it is important to note that it was deemed necessary to have the 16th amendment in the first place.
So I would respectfully disagree that the constitution does not say what the government must do on our behalf. It does so in such simple terms that most Americans simply no longer understand it. It should do NOTHING but and NOTHING other than what is written in that document itself. It should organize a military, negotiate treaties and a few other items and fund those items through taxation. But without the additonal the 16th amendment that taxation could not be on income.
We have all lived our lives with a federal government with too much power and too much control over our lives. We find it an odd concept to read the Constitution as it was meant to be interpreted. I do not believe that we have yet reached the point in our history that this document is no longer valid. I do not believe that the founding fathers were so dumb as to not think of these issues. Instead, I would agrue that speciallically wanted to avoid these issues and keep the federal government from gaining this much control in the first place.
One thought on “The Constitution (a few simple thoughts)”
My thoughts exactly.