Monday, January 19, 2009

Is it Constitutional?

Long ago, in a land not so far away, there once was a Supreme Court Judge named Marshall. Now Marshall was a crafty sort of fellow. He was also one of the most knowledgeable people when it came to the Constitution of the United States (keep in mind that this was a mere 25 years after the Constitution was created).

Judge Marshall was on the bench when the infamous case of Marbury v. Madison came to a head. Some history on the case:

Marbury was given a commission to become a Justice of the Peace in Washington D.C. by John Adams. In his haste to confirm about 50 or so such commissions, some were accidentally not stamped with the US Seal. Marbury went to the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to ask for a Writ of Mandamus against James Madison (Secretary of State)to produce the commission owed to him.

The Court, seeing a catch twenty-two, looked to the intent of the Constitution.

"Marshall found an escape from his dilemma. He announced the decision on February 24, and proclaimed the most distinctive power of the Supreme Court, the power to declare an Act of Congress unconstitutional. Point by point he analyzed the case. Did Marbury have a legal right to his commission? Yes. Would a writ of mandamus enforce his right? Yes. Could the Court issue the writ? No."

"Congress had said it could, in the Judiciary Act of 1789. It had given the Court an original jurisdiction in such cases - power to try them for the first time. But, said Marshall triumphantly, the Constitution defined the Court’s original jurisdiction and Congress could not change it by law. Therefore that section of the law was void. Marshall declared for all time the supremacy of the Constitution over any conflicting law. Other judges had said as much, but Marshall added: 'It is, emphatically, the province and duty of the judicial department, to say what the law is.'"

Marshall gave us an interesting point to remember. The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land. And no Act of Congress shall change that.

So, that brings us to the current state of affairs in our beloved country. Is Congress trying to change the Constitution?

Think on it this way.

Congress creates more than 100 new laws per year (some reports say more than 1000). In doing so, they far surpass the number of court cases that SCOTUS can hear each year. So, many laws go unchallenged. Thus changing the face of our Constitution by the very nature that these laws are created under.

Liberty is what is lost by the American people who are affected by these laws. Liberty is a tricky word, but one that means more than life to any American who loses it.

Patrick Henry gave us a glimpse of it when he said:

"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

And to what extent do most American's hold onto their Liberty? Patrick Henry again paints us a picture:

"Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it."

Liberty is an essential and integral part of our daily lives. Without it, we cease to be the "..Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave!"

I ask that you pay attention to the meaning behind the laws that are passed these days. Look to the ramifications that come from the passage of these laws. Look to the way they are passed. Evaluate for yourself.

Are these laws Constitutional? Is Congress acting in accordance with their charter as laid out by the very Constitution that they are sworn to protect? Do they pass laws in a fashion that can stand up to Constitutional muster?

Do they sacrifice our Liberties in doing so?

1 comment:

  1. form of illegitimate government quoted by George Washington and those words are never more so clear then in today's society and corruption of the American government.

    We speak of buildings and how they need walls to protect them, but from the lessons of 911, even buildings quoted to be indestructible can come tumbling down with the right motions set forth.

    We, the people are having our federal and state constitutional rights violated everyday, as politicians create more laws (iron bars) and hold us hostage in our country of liberties.

    How long before there is civil unrest? How long before all Americans find themselves chained down, unable to practice any rights set forth in our bill of Rights?

    John Stossel, during a lecture in September in Tulsa was quoted as saying, "for every new law, we must repeal two laws."
    Does society have enough courage to fight for a country that is rightfully ours? Only time will tell....