Friday, September 04, 2009

September 17 Is Constitution Day

This Constitution Day 2009 marks the 222nd anniversary of the United States Constitution.

Mark Alexander of the Patriot Post is writing two essays about our heritage of freedom through the Constitution.

Here are the final three paragraphs from the first essay:
The Rule of Law (Part 1)

More recently, Justice Antonin Scalia said of the "living constitution": "[There's] the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break. But you would have to be an idiot to believe that; the Constitution is not a living organism; it is a legal document. It says something and doesn't say other things."

Justice Clarence Thomas follows, "[T]here are really only two ways to interpret the Constitution -- try to discern as best we can what the framers intended or make it up. No matter how ingenious, imaginative or artfully put, unless interpretive methodologies are tied to the original intent of the framers, they have no basis in the Constitution. ... To be sure, even the most conscientious effort to adhere to the original intent of the framers of our Constitution is flawed, as all methodologies and human institutions are; but at least originalism has the advantage of being legitimate and, I might add, impartial."

On the political consequences of a "living constitution," Justice Scalia concludes plainly, "If you think aficionados of a living Constitution want to bring you flexibility, think again. ... As long as judges tinker with the Constitution to 'do what the people want,' instead of what the document actually commands, politicians who pick and confirm new federal judges will naturally want only those who agree with them politically."
Read the whole thing.

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