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Our Living, Breathing Constitution

Posted on 03/24/2005 2:57:34 PM PST by CHARLITE

Many judges these days like to refer to the Constitution of the United States as a "living, breathing document", implying that its text is designed to be flexible. It is not. The Constitution is a set of rules, and like any other set of rules, it is meant to be strict and uncompromising. Of course, the Constitution can be modified through the amendment process, but once ratified, any amendment becomes like the rest of the Constitution; rigid.

And while any amendment may be repealed, as was the case with the 18th Amendment (The Prohibition Act), until that happens, it is just as concrete as any other part of the Constitution, and not subject to interpretation beyond the literal meaning of its text. The Constitution does not live, breath, or do the cha-cha, for that matter. It is in many ways an instructional manual for the way our country was designed to run, and amending it is very serious business.

When a judge refers to it as "living and breathing", what he or she means is that the words within it can be taken in different ways, depending upon who is looking at it at any given time. They also apply words like "evolving" to it, as if it is some sort of life form that routinely adapts to its environment. That, of course, is ridiculous. Our Constitution only "evolves" when an overwhelming majority of the American citizenry determines that a change is necessary, not because of some judge's personal belief in how that document should read.

Words mean what they mean, not what we wish they would mean, whenever we become uncomfortable reading them. One cannot rightfully look at the Constitution and determine that its text means something other than what it has always meant, and was intended to mean upon its ratification. One may only disagree with the principles underlying those words, and seek to further amend the document, thereby introducing new words and rationales into it.

When a judge, at any level of jurisprudence, seeks to RE-interpret the Constitution, tincturing that interpretation with their own personal moral predilections, or their supposed understanding of "society's evolving standards", what they are doing is something which is prohibited by the very Constitution they are regarding.

They are, in effect, amending it themselves, without deference to the one branch of government that is solely charged with that right and responsibility; Congress. They are disregarding the most fundamental aspect of what we refer to as our country's "separation of powers", and are disrespecting the will of the people to whom Congress is accountable... and to whom the judiciary is not.

Once accountability has been sidestepped at any level or within any branch of government, the result is, by the very definition of the word, tyranny. Regardless of one's political persuasion, one must always bear in mind that a judge should never exhibit his/her own bias, either to the left or the right, in open court. A judge's job is to be non-partisan, unbiased, and indifferent to outcome.

Judges are supposed to be blind to ideology, and considerate only of the hard and fast principles of the written law. If you are willing to tolerate a judge's unconstitutional actions, merely because you happen to agree with the outcome of his/her opinion at any given time, then you may want to familiarize yourself with the term "all hail the emperor", because you'll be using it sooner than you think.

Edward L. Daley is the owner of the Daley Times-Post


KEYWORDS: activism; billofrights; constitution; document; executive; founders; intent; judicial; judicialactivism; laws; legislature; meaning; principles; unitedstates

1 posted on 03/24/2005 2:57:41 PM PST by CHARLITE
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I'd be very interested in hearing from someone who would actually take issue with what was stated here.
2 posted on 03/24/2005 3:08:36 PM PST by inquest (FTAA delenda est)
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Funny how the Constitution always seems to evolve right in line with the political ideology of the majority of the court. At this time, no branch is more political, or powerful, than the judicial branch.

3 posted on 03/24/2005 3:10:10 PM PST by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Legislatures are so outdated. If you want real political victory, take your issue to court.)
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"Many judges these days like to refer to the Constitution of the United States as a "living, breathing document", implying that its text is designed to be flexible."

I would say the problem is more "many citizens"who also believe this.

Take for example seat belt laws and anti-smoking laws.

If the U.S. Constitution has jurisdiction within your state, such as Missouri's Constitution allows, then any such laws easily violate Amendment IX, but the citizenry supports such laws because the founding fathers could not anticipate automobiles or cancer and amending the Constitution takes too long to accomplish.

4 posted on 03/24/2005 3:17:14 PM PST by tahiti
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The primary reason that the Constitution isn't a "living" or "evolving" document is that most of the articles apply to human nature, not political convention.

It is in the nature of humans to attempt to establish dictatorships; we've seen it countless times since humans first appeared. The language in the Constitution is an attempt to control that dark ambition.

But for all the tireless work and effort set forth in the development of this great document, the Founding Fathers had no idea that the population of this country would squander the gift they left for us. I would wager that the idea of a people that failed to cast an informed vote in each and every election was a concept so alien to them that they wouldn't have accepted the possibility even if it had occurred to any of them.

Our failure to get out and vote intelligently is what led to the appointments of these power-mad justices and judges. We get the government we deserve, because when we regular citizens let someone else get out and vote, it allows liberal socialists to - little by little - take over. And it ain't gonna change until we learn our lesson and get off our duffs. And even then if it isn't too late.

5 posted on 03/24/2005 3:26:19 PM PST by Marauder (Matthew 6:18)
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To: The Ghost of FReepers Past
It's not just the ideology of the majority of the court, the Constitution seems to change in line with the political left. Their ideology and their morality. Neither the Constitution nor morality is supposed to change.

"There are those who believe that a new modernity demands a new morality. What they fail to consider is the harsh reality that there is no such thing as a new morality. There is only one morality. All else is immorality." --Theodore Roosevelt

6 posted on 03/24/2005 4:03:21 PM PST by infidel29 ("It is only the warlike power of a civilized people that can give peace to the world."- T. Roosevelt)
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