Abusing the Constitution
In his Sunday column, scholar David Lay Williams says that checks and balances “no longer hold.” He appears to attribute this phenomenon to the Trump administration. Astounding it is that none of these issues arose in the two centuries-plus prior to Trump’s election. Surely no president or member of Congress has ever been involved in corruption.
Students object to the “undemocratic nature” of the Senate, you say? It is “undemocratic” because it was crafted, in the Constitution, to represent the states rather than the people! Are these students aware that the Senate was originally elected by state legislatures? Was the move toward popular election under the 17th Amendment a move toward or away from a more “democratic nature”?
Are these same students moved to protest against the arrogation by the Supreme Court of more power to itself than is specified in Article III of the Constitution? Left-leaning voters seem to have no problem with the court legislating from the bench as it did with Roe v. Wade in 1973. (Nor do they grouse about the fact that this branch of government, entirely outside the purview of the citizenry, is the least democratic of all.) For that matter, there is no constitutional mention, nor hint, of “judicial review,” the practice which the high court assumed in Marbury vs. Madison in 1801, yet liberals seem to assume that that’s why the court was instituted in the first place.
Doesn’t the gradual accumulation of power in the executive branch bother these people? How about a recent example, when the Senate, under impetus from Chuck Schumer, ceded power to the Obama administration (in the “Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011”) to make political appointments without Senate approval? What about Schumer arguing, three years later, that the IRS should “redouble its efforts” to target political groups against which the Senate could “not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Republicans is in Republican control”?
The Constitution and its intent have been abused from the very start, but since most of this abuse has inclined in the direction leftists favor, there has been no complaint from them thus far. The document was written with one primary goal in mind: promoting efficient governance while limiting the power and scope of government. The modern ballooning of government can be dated back to 1913 when the 16th Amendment (permanent income tax) and the aforementioned 17th were ratified. These two amendments promoted the rise of progressivism and provided a blank check for federal government growth...and are both entirely opposed to the intent of the Constitution.
But hey, since they both also oppose everything that conservatism stands for, there’s nothing to complain about, right? At least not till Trump took power.
As Thomas Sowell has said, the Constitution cannot protect us unless we protect the Constitution. The failure is ours, not the document’s. The notion that we should be out to “get ours” from government, and that any means are justified in the pursuit of that end, has gotten us to where we are now. Wasn’t it a prominent Democrat who once pointed out we should be asking what to do for our country, and not the other way around?
Berry Muhl, Prairie Hill