Like so many Americans, I am tired of seeing our Constitution ignored in favor of misguided notions of “fairness” or “compassion” or “justice”, which only serves to decimate our country (which, of course, is the overall goal for many leftists). But this is what happens after decades upon decades of miseducation and indoctrination…and people choosing to get offended instead of thinking, and others too worried about being accused of being “offensive” or “insensitive” to stand up for the actual truth.
Hoping for a miracle, I submitted the following to the US Supreme Court via its website in April 2015, before their disastrous second ruling upholding Obamacare and their equally horrible ruling giving legal validation to “gay marriage”. This was my small – and ultimately unsuccessful – effort to remind the justices of their actual job: interpreting laws in accordance with the purpose of the Constitution (to limit government). How ironic then that Chief Justice Roberts stated in his ruling on Obamacare that the stated goal/purpose of the law overruled whatever the actual wording was…while completely ignoring the purpose of the Constitution (which is supposed to be THE legal precedent).
FOR THE COURT’S CONSIDERATION
When arguing in Federalist 84 AGAINST the inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution, Alexander Hamilton wrote the following:
“I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government.”
The above makes it quite clear that the only authorities the government has are those it is specifically granted/given in the Constitution, via the enumerated powers. “For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?” In other words, Hamilton was stressing the needlessness of enumerating specific individual rights that the government shall not infringe upon, when it was never granted a specific power to do so in the first place.
Of course the Bill of Rights ended up in the Constitution, and we are all very fortunate that the framers were appropriately pessimistic about the designs of those “disposed to usurp” to include them. Also, the framers made sure that a few of those original ten amendments addressed concerns such as Hamilton’s directly. The 9th Amendment explains with utter clarity that the purpose of the Constitution is to limit government, not the people. The 10th Amendment stipulates that the federal government is only allowed to do what it’s specifically required to do, with all the rest left to the states or the people. And, just in case the government should ever violate its strict constitutional limits, the framers also made sure to clarify via the 2nd Amendment that absolutely NO gun control laws are allowed at ANY level of government, so the people would never be deprived of the ability to defend themselves.
Now, let’s extend the above truths about the purposefully strict Constitutional limits placed on the federal government to a few specific cases either currently being, or soon to be, considered by the Supreme Court. The first is the latest case related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly referred to as “Obamacare”. This case challenges the legality of federal health insurance subsidies, according to the actual wording of the ACA, which limits that money to state exchanges.
But, in light of the above explanation about the purpose of the Constitution, I prefer to approach this from a different, more fundamental angle: which enumerated power requires the federal government to have anything at all to do with health insurance? Where in the Constitution is the government authorized to pay any subsidies, or to provide any benefits at all? Where in Article 1 is Congress empowered to force anyone to buy anything, for any reason?
Hamilton also clarified in Federalist 84 that the Constitution “is merely intended to regulate the general political interests of the nation”, and is not for “the regulation of every species of personal and private concerns.” And it is also clear from the other writings of the framers that, Constitutionally speaking, the use of the word “regulate” refers to government ensuring that people play by the rules – NOT writing those rules. We have legal recourse through the courts, in case of contract violations, but the government does not get to dictate the terms of the contract, especially in opposition to the wishes of either or both of the parties engaging in the contract.
The second case coming before the court deals with “gay marriage”; specifically, the constitutionality of the laws of various states which do not recognize them as legal. Aside from the simple questions of definitions (if we legally recognize a definitional impossibility such as “gay marriage”, what’s next – “pregnant men”?), we must focus on the more fundamental question about Constitutional limits on government.
Once again, it’s important to remember that the Constitution specifically limits the FEDERAL government – NOT the states. The 10th Amendment says that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This makes absolutely clear that the only things the states are NOT allowed to do are those things specifically prohibited to them by the Constitution, while the federal government is ONLY allowed to do those few things required of it by the enumerated powers.
So, to paraphrase my earlier question about Obamacare: which enumerated power requires the federal government to have anything at all to do with marriage? Where in the Constitution is the government authorized to provide any benefits or preferential tax treatment to any class/group of people, including married couples? Where in Article 1 is Congress empowered to change the definition of marriage?
By law, people are allowed to be gay. And gay people are legally allowed to marry. But why would they want to, since doing so means – by definition – entering into a union with someone of the opposite sex? Because that’s what marriage is, always has been, and always will be: the union of one man and one woman, which grew out of the natural fact that it takes one of each to produce children.
But none of this changes the fact that the federal government is limited to those few duties specifically required of it by the enumerated powers. And none of those enumerated powers require the federal government to change the definition of marriage, or to pay benefits to anyone for any reason, or to tax certain groups of people differently than any others.
Thus we find ourselves facing yet another instance of the federal government considering granting to itself more power for which it has no constitutional authority whatsoever. And here’s the kicker…whenever that happens, EVERY American citizen has legal standing to challenge it. Since the federal government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, it is every citizen’s right – no, duty – to ensure that every law passed or even considered comports fully with the Constitution, which is THE legal precedent that trumps all others.
I fully understand the ramifications of what I am saying in this letter, and how many more laws/programs/departments/agencies would be affected by properly implementing the constitution’s purposefully strict limits on the federal government. But the Constitution is clear in its purpose, and the Bill of Rights reinforces that clarity beyond a shadow of a doubt. To ignore that, for any reason – especially for political ones – is an abrogation of our responsibility as a free people to maintain the liberty with which we’ve been endowed.