Some reflections about The US Constitution
by Robert Randle
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The U.S. Constitution is a remarkable document and as the cornerstone of our grand experiment as a Democratic Republic, it has survived rather well for the past two-hundred and thirty-six years. It is unfortunate that the average citizen, and not some lawyer-turned-politician, does not take the time to become more familiar with its contents. There used to be a time when a Civics class was taught in school and students had to become quite familiar with The Declaration of Independence, The Preamble to the Constitution as well as The Amendments, and recite verbatim, President Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” Looking at the way things are happening in America, this seems to confirm the worries expressed by some of the Founding Fathers, namely, the growing power of the Executive Branch of Government. Adding to this problem is the fact that the supposedly neutral and impartial U.S. Supreme Court is very politically partisan because each Justice is appointed by the President, who belongs to a political party and is later confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee; which is politically partisan and dominated by whoever is in the majority. Also, the Supreme Court may be exceeding the powers for which it has been granted. Here are excerpts from the U.S. Constitution as cited below in the following:
Article IV Section 2. The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of citizens in the several states.
Amendment X. The powers [explicit or implicit] not delegated to the United States [Federal government] by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it [Federal government], are reserved to [for] the States respectively, or to the People.
Amendment XIV. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State where they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge [lessen or take away] the Privileges and Immunities of citizens of the United States [or the State where they reside]; nor shall any State deprive any person of Life, Liberty, or Property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction, the equal protection of the laws.
The Constitution guarantees the minimal protections and privileges to the people and “NO” state can legally deny its citizens anything less than these. It is interesting that in the most often quoted Fourteenth Amendment, there is no precise definition of what “due process of law” is or even a hint at its intended meaning. The only thing that has language comparable to this is found in The Sixth Amendment, which pertains to persons involved in a criminal prosecution, and what the Rights of the accused [Defendant] are. Be that as it may, the one thing that gets lost in all of the anger towards government at the Federal level and in each State Legislature is the power of “WE THE PEOPLE.” Yes, it is a scary thing to think that we are not slaves to the powers that be [“Brutus to Cassius”], and the Tea Party and Occupy WALL STREET are prime examples. The problem with the former was that is became a platform for Sarah Palin to use it as a CASH COW to become rich, and when she could no longer milk KA-CHING from those political teats, she said, “Adios;” You betcha! As for the latter, without any real leader or guidance, it morphed into separate entities in each state, a headless body that attracted the homeless, anarchists [Eco-Terrorists] or just plain criminals who assaulted and raped people. There was no real referendum or strategy but only criticizing the wealthy and it became nothing more than a one-sided shouting match, a US vs. THEM [The 99% vs. The 1%].
In addition to all of that, The U.S. Supreme Court gets involved in way too many legal issues that could be decided in The Federal Appellate Courts or The Supreme Court in each State capitol. Even among those judges, some of their cases could be arbitrated in the lower Superior courts under judicial review, and in some cases, decisions reversed if an error in the initial trial court ruling was proven to exist. Of course, as it is with any statute, it is not so much what it says but rather what it means, and how should it be applied to a particular situation; and not only that, but no two set of circumstances are exactly alike, and therefore the court is governed by ‘PRECEDENT’ (prior ruling) to guide it in the present. As a final thought, the field of Republican candidates for President have mentioned on more than one occasion about some issue that should be left up to each State, an no one is more vocal in this sentiment than Texas Congressman Ron Paul. It is time to seriously consider curbing the over-reaching power of the Federal Government into our private lives and mettling in the affairs of private corporations, as well as Judges who legislate from the bench; but it may already be too late.
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
January 18, 2012
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