References to the Constitution are becoming more frequent in the campaign rhetoric of both parties as the presidential race heats up after the primaries. Most of the time they would be better served if they did not bring it up. Invariably the candidates or their surrogates, in talking about “restoring the Constitution,” proceeds to list a litany of complaints about the current administration and promises to make changes that causes anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of the Constitution to wonder it they have ever bothered to read it.
Back in February, in a speech responding to Senator Chris Dodd’s withdrawing from the Presidential race and endorsing him, Obama said,
“….let me be perfectly clear: I have taught the Constitution, I understand the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution when I am President of the United States.”
In opposing the nomination of Justice Roberts in February of ‘07 Obama gave us a glimpse of just how much he really understands the Constitution and to what extent we can expect him to obey it if he becomes President.
“In those circumstances,” he theorized, “your [Roberts‘] decisions about whether affirmative action is an appropriate response to the history of discrimination in this country, or whether a general right of privacy encompasses a more specific right of women to control their reproductive decisions, or whether the commerce clause empowers Congress to speak on those issues of broad national concern that may be only tangentially related to what is easily defined as interstate commerce … in those difficult cases, the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge’s heart.”
Obama served over ten years on the faculty of the University of Chicago as a lecturer on constitutional law. In considering his views on the Constitution one cannot help but shudder at the thought of how many young lawyers he has infected with his unorthodox understanding of the Constitution. It’s even scarier to consider that a number of these lawyers will no doubt end up in politics.
Like most liberals, socialists, and others who are unhappy with America as it is and want to change it from a constitutional republic into a democratic socialist government patterned after their model governments in Western Europe, Obama believes the Constitution is a “living document.”
The theory of a living constitution is taught throughout our education system, particularly at the college and university level, often by otherwise intelligent teachers. The term “living constitution” is the perfect example of the word “oxymoron.” The purpose of a constitution is to “set in stone” the enduring principles and lasting rules by which a people are to be governed. One that can be changed based on the popular political notions at the time, or at the whim of a president, legislature or court is useless as a constitution.
The founding fathers realized the Constitution they established would not be adequate for some future circumstances that were at the time unforeseeable. To prepare for this eventuality they included Article V, which stipulates the procedures and requirements for amending it to meet the needs of future generations. Obviously, if the Constitution could be changed at will to meet the perceived political or social needs of future generations there would be no need for an Article V.
The three issues mentioned by Obama in the above quote, affirmative action, abortion and government regulation of intrastate commerce as well as interstate commerce are all extra-constitutional or anti-constitutional. Affirmative action is anti-constitutional because it violates the Fourteenth Amendment by favoring one group of citizens over another. It really does not matter whether the outcome is desirable or not.
The “privacy right” discovered by the Supreme Court to legalize abortion is an extension of the Fourth Amendment which provides for the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures…” and the Fifth Amendment protecting persons from being forced to reveal personal information about themselves and their actions in criminal cases.
Extending the “interstate commerce” clause in Section Eight of Article One to “intrastate commerce” allows Congress to impose its will into every nook and cranny of even the most remote segments of our economy. This bastardization of our Constitution, combined with punitive taxation such as that proposed by Obama and others on the oil companies and the enticement of “tax breaks” and subsidies in other instances places our economy under the control of government to a degree that is only slightly short of complete nationalization.
All three of these examples are the result of the Supreme Court exceeding the powers given to it by the Constitution and usurping those granted to the Congress. When Congress uses these illegitimate decisions by the courts as a cover for their own unconstitutional quest for power over the lives of citizens we have a double threat to our liberties. The greatest fear of the liberal/socialist/democrats in America is that a congress or president will be elected who will demand that both Congress and the courts adhere to the original intent and purpose of the Constitution.
Neither Obama nor McCain meets that standard.