Tag Archives: Constitution

Do We Still Have a Constitution? by Andrew P. Napolitano

In case you’re wondering—no coronavirus totalitarianism is not constitutional. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

I have been taking some heat from friends and colleagues for my steadfast defense of personal liberties and my arguments that the Constitution — when interpreted in accordance with the plain meaning of its words, and informed by history — does not permit the government to infringe upon personal freedoms, no matter the emergency or pandemic. For those who agree with me, worry not. We will persevere. For those who trust the government, worry a lot. You are not in good hands.

The purpose of the Constitution is to establish the government and to limit it. Some of the limitations are written in the Constitution itself. Most of the limitations that pertain to personal freedoms are found in the Bill of Rights — the first 10 amendments.

These amendments were ratified to restrain the federal government from infringing upon personal liberties. Since the enactment of the 14th Amendment in 1868, and subsequent litigation, these amendments, for the most part, restrain the states as well. The courts have characterized these protected liberties as fundamental.

So, the rights to thought, speech, press, assembly, worship, self-defense, privacy, travel, property ownership, interstate commercial activities and fair treatment from government are plainly articulated or rationally inferred in the first eight amendments. The Ninth is a catchall, which declares that the enumeration of rights in the first eight shall not mean that there are no other rights that are fundamental, and the government shall not disparage those other rights. The Tenth reflects that the states have reserved powers to themselves.

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The Constitution Failed, by Ryan McMaken

The main function of the Constitution was to limit the power of the federal government, and in that it has failed. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

Contrary to a certain nostalgic nationalist myth that still endures, the US Constitution as first conceived was never intended to limit government power. The primary purpose of the Convention of 1787 was to increase federal power, as the older constitution of 1776 (i.e., the Articles of Confederation) was regarded by centralizers as being too “weak.” The older constitution was built on a consensus model, and required acquiescence from a supermajority of member states to do much. The overwhelming preponderance of government power lay with the states themselves, which were in their own right too weak to demand much from their citizens.

Nonetheless, this loose union of states had functioned well enough. The states, working in voluntary union, had fought off the most powerful empire of the eighteenth century during the Revolution. The Massachusetts state militia had put down Shay’s Rebellion without any federal help. Americans, for the most part, were more free and better fed than the populations of Europe, the wealthiest region of the world. Thanks to the liberal ideology spread by the Revolution, slavery was in decline nationwide. Indentured servitude was on the way out. The restrictive feudalism of old was disappearing.

Yet, the wealthy elite, like Hamilton, Washington, and Madison (in his counterrevolutionary phase), wanted something else. They wanted a federal system that could force payment of federal taxes. They wanted a bigger navy. They wanted a federal army that could march into the interior and threaten farmers with destruction, as Washington did during the Whiskey Rebellion. In short, they wanted a Constitution that would centralize power, and grow it.

It was the opponents of these “Federalists” who demanded the only part of the constitution that ever actually limited power. The Anti-Federalists demanded amendments that would protect local communities from federal power. They eventually got their bill of rights, but of course the federal government has always sought to interpret the bill’s amendments in a way that expands federal power. Or, the federal government just ignores it altogether.

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How The Federal Reserve Unilaterally, De-Facto Amended the US Constitution, by Chris Hamilton

Wisely, the framers of the constitution did not provide the government with the power to establish a central bank. From Chris Hamilton at economica.blogspot.com:

The US Constitution is the spectacular framework upon which our nation is built. The framers even built in a means to right the terrible wrongs that were beyond their capabilities at the time…the amendment has been utilized 27 times in all (most recently in 1992), righting freedoms of religion, equality of all races and sex, among others. But not included anywhere in the Constitution was the Federal Reserve, allowing it the power to guide interest rates ever lower or infinitely purchase assets. The implications of the Federal Reserve policies have been to undermine the Congress’ primary function, that of compromise in an attempt to balance spending versus taxation. The Federal Reserve policies have removed market based discipline, (market based interest payments), encouraging Congress to raise seemingly infinite federal debt. Thus Congress’ role as an institution for compromise is broken. This de-facto Constitutional amendment has spurred ideas of infinite spending like MMT. Flawed as the framers were, this insertion of a de facto, unelected, quasi private/federal branch of government was explicitly never intended because of the cancer it represented.

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Three Reminders from The Bill of Rights, by Jacob G. Hornberger

Politicians ought to try reading the Constitution once in awhile. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

As a condition for accepting the Constitution, the American people demanded the enactment of the Bill of Rights immediately after ratification of the Constitution. They had been assured that the Constitution was calling into existence a national government whose powers were limited to those enumerated in the Constitution. But that did not satisfy them. They wanted a Bill of Rights to make it clear that the federal government was prohibited from doing the things that are listed in the Bill of Rights. There are several important things to notice about the Bill of Rights:

First, the Bill of Rights, does not give people rights. Our ancestors understood that rights come from nature and God, not from government. People’s rights preexist government.

Second, the Bill of Rights consists of prohibitions and restrictions on the federal government. Why is that important? Because our ancestors knew that the federal power would inevitably attract people to public office who would do the types of things that were being restricted. They would criminalize speech, especially speech that was critical of federal officials. They would ban protests against government. They would force people to subscribe to a certain religion. They would seize people’s guns. They would punish any malefactor by simply having civil or military agents take people into custody, incarcerate them, torture them, or execute them, all without trial by jury and due process of law. The Bill of Rights was to serve as a reminder that federal officials had no legitimate power to do any of these things.

Third, the Bill of Rights contains no emergency or crisis exception. That’s because our ancestors knew that historically crises and emergencies were the time-honored way by which people lost their liberties at the hands of their own government. During such times, people become afraid and their natural tendency is to look to the government to keep them safe and secure. They forget that the biggest threat to their liberty is their very own government, as reflected in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Thus, they eagerly trade away their liberty for “security.” Later, when the crisis or emergency has passed, they discover that the government is unwilling to give up the power it has acquired over them.

Do We Still Have a Constitution? by Andrew Napolitano

Virtually nothing the federal, state, and local governments have done to respond to the coronavirus outbreak is constitutional, which illustrates what a dead letter that document has become. From Andrew Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

I have been taking some heat from friends and colleagues for my steadfast defense of personal liberties and my arguments that the Constitution — when interpreted in accordance with the plain meaning of its words, and informed by history — does not permit the government to infringe upon personal freedoms, no matter the emergency or pandemic. For those who agree with me, worry not. We will persevere. For those who trust the government, worry a lot. You are not in good hands.

The purpose of the Constitution is to establish the government and to limit it. Some of the limitations are written in the Constitution itself. Most of the limitations that pertain to personal freedoms are found in the Bill of Rights — the first 10 amendments.

These amendments were ratified to restrain the federal government from infringing upon personal liberties. Since the enactment of the 14th Amendment in 1868, and subsequent litigation, these amendments, for the most part, restrain the states as well. The courts have characterized these protected liberties as fundamental.

So, the rights to thought, speech, press, assembly, worship, self-defense, privacy, travel, property ownership, interstate commercial activities and fair treatment from government are plainly articulated or rationally inferred in the first eight amendments. The Ninth is a catchall, which declares that the enumeration of rights in the first eight shall not mean that there are no other rights that are fundamental, and the government shall not disparage those other rights. The Tenth reflects that the states have reserved powers to themselves.

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Considering Coronagate: Looking to the Constitution Will Only Guarantee More Tyranny, by Gary D. Barnett

The Constitution has been a dead letter for a long time, and it certainly won’t be an impediment to anything done in the name of fighting the coronavirus. From Gary Bennett at lewrockwell.com:

“And yet we have what purports, or professes, or is claimed, to be a contract—the Constitution—made eighty years ago, by men who are now all dead, and who never had any power to bind us, but which (it is claimed) has nevertheless bound three generations of men, consisting of many millions, and which (it is claimed) will be binding upon all the millions that are to come; but which nobody ever signed, sealed, delivered, witnessed, or acknowledged; and which few persons, compared with the whole number that are claimed to be bound by it, have ever read, or even seen, or ever will read or see.”

 ~ Lysander Spooner (1971). “The collected works of Lysander Spooner”

Spooner wrote this quote in the 19th century, and since then, six more generations have been bound by this bogus document, all without any consent. It is not possible for men to consent without contract, and even so, as Spooner pointed out, it is also impossible for any to make a binding contract that allows any surrender to any other, whether individual or government, of his natural rights. Horrendous things due to government dictatorial coercion are going on today, and this is of vital importance, but I feel it necessary to once again remind people that they are individuals with inherent rights, and looking to government to understand or validate your rights guarantees that you will have none.

Some things irritate me more than others, but the screaming out that something the government does is unconstitutional is at the top of the list. This is not only an empty statement, but is one that expresses a lack of intellect, and that exposes someone with little or no understanding of what rights entail. The Constitution is simply a government document drafted by politicians that were bent on creating a massively powerful central government with little restriction. It has accomplished that mission many times over, and given the totalitarian nature of this government during this flu season, any that cling to such nonsense today deserve no sympathy for they have built their own prisons.

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Death in Slow Motion, by Andrew P. Napolitano

Coronavirus measures coming from many local and state officials, including governors, are blatant violations of state and the federal constitutions. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

During the past month, as Americans have been terrified of the coronavirus, another demon has been lurking ready to pounce. It is a demon of our own creation. It is the now amply manifested inability of elected officials to resist the temptation of totalitarianism. And it is slowly bringing about the death of personal liberty in our once free society.

It is one thing for public officials to use a bully pulpit to educate and even intimidate the populace into a prudent awareness of basic sanitary behaviors — even those which go against our nature — to impede the spread of the virus. It is quite another to contend that their suggestions and intimidations and guidelines somehow have the force of the law behind them.

They don’t.

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Constitution Dies Of Coronavirus, from The Babylon Bee

WASHINGTON, D.C.—According to sources at the National Archives, doctors rushed the United States Constitution to the hospital and were forced to hook the document up to a ventilator after it began having trouble breathing Sunday afternoon.

The document reportedly slipped into a coma en route to the emergency room and was in critical condition for many hours. Doctors confirmed the worst: the founding document of our nation was infected with the novel coronavirus. Finally, surrounded by one or two mourners, as most people in Washington abandoned it a long time ago, it slipped away Sunday night.

“Between both political parties constantly trampling all over the Bill of Rights and stretching and distorting the Constitution for political gain whenever it’s convenient, I just don’t know how much more abuse it could have taken,” said one doctor as he pronounced the Constitution’s time of death: 20:20, ironically.

The 232-year-old Constitution has had its share of health scares, nearly being killed in the 1860s, the 1930s and 40s, and the early 2000s, but medical experts say this last crisis was just more than it could take.

“It had many underlying conditions, of course, already being incredibly sick with Obamacare, Obergefell, Roe v Wade, the Patriot Act, and many more diseases,” said the doctor. “But it’s still sad to see this old boy pass on.”

The Constitution’s close relatives, including the Declaration of Independence, simply asked for Americans to send “thoughts and prayers” during this time of mourning.

https://babylonbee.com/news/constitution-dies-of-coronavirus

Taking Rights Seriously, by Andrew P. Napolitano

There is nothing constitutional about throwing out the Constitution, whether or not there’s an emergency. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

If the provisions of the Constitution be not upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort, they may as well be abandoned.” — Justice George Sutherland (1862-1942)

In his 2008 book “Taking Rights Seriously,” the late professor Ronald Dworkin explored the origins and governmental treatment of human liberty. He argued that Thomas Jefferson — who wrote the Declaration of Independence — and James Madison — the scrivener at the Constitutional Convention and the author of the Bill of Rights — were clear in their articulations that the premise of America at its birth is that our rights are personal and natural because they come from our humanity, not from the government.

Dworkin also recognized that government, which is essentially the negation of liberty, is only moral and valid when it enjoys the consent of the governed, respects individual rights as inalienable and interferes with them only after it proves fault to a jury at a fair trial.

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Freedom in a Time of Madness, by Andrew P. Napolitano

If the totalitarian measures being enacted at the local, state, and federal level are allowed to stand, the Constitution and the concept of freedom itself should be cremated and given a mournful burial. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

“The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times and under all circumstances.” — Ex parte Milligan, U.S. Supreme Court (1866)

During the Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln thought it expedient to silence those in the northern states who challenged his wartime decisions by incarcerating them in military prisons in the name of public safety, he was rebuked by a unanimous Supreme Court. The essence of the rebuke is that no matter the state of difficulties — whether war or pestilence — the Constitution protects our natural rights, and its provisions are to be upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort.

This basic principle of American law — our rights can only be interfered with by means of due process — is being put to a severe test today in most American states.

Here is the backstory.

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