Beware of those who claim that the Constitution is a living instrument because they are seeking justification for its violation. They claim that it evolves or changes as the peoples' wants or needs change. They will call it outmoded, old-fashioned, antiquated, archaic, etc., trying to convince you that the Founders could not have foreseen the peoples' needs so long ago. These people will support Constitutional changes resulting from Amendments, Supreme Court decisions, Presidential Proclamations or Voter Referendums.
Amendments: While I admit that minor changes can lawfully be made to the Constitution by Amendment, I will not accept major changes that are in direct conflict with the Founders intent, e.g. the 16th and 17th Amendments. The 16th Amendment changed the method of taxation from indirect to direct. The 17th Amendment removed an important check against federal government growth. The Constitution is a written contract between We The People and government. To remain lawful a contract must maintain its original intent."The Constitution is a written instrument. As such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now." South Carolina v. United States, 199 U.S. 437, 448 (1905).
"The primary principle; underlying an interpretation of constitutions is that the intent is the vital part and the essence of the law." Rasmussen v. Barker, 7 Wyo. 117; 50 p 819.
Supreme Court Decisions: "In all the other cases before mentioned, the supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make." Article III, Section 2, US Constitution. These words grant Congress some authority over the US Supreme Court that should be exercised. The Congress also has the power to create as many inferior courts to the supreme court as it deems necessary (see Art. III, Sec. 1). Restricting the kinds of cases heard by the Supreme Court and creating more inferior courts would reduce the power of the US Supreme Court and get cases settled much sooner.
I would also introduce legislation requiring the Supreme Court to justify their decisions by citing case law, the Federalist Papers, The Constitution, etc., to prevent them from making new law as was done with Roe v. Wade. Justice Blackmun who wrote that decision for the Court has recently left this earth to face his own Judgment for his role in the extermination of over 35 million unborn babies. The Congress should have prevented the Court from hearing this case allowing the individual states to settle the issue.
Presidential Proclamations: The President has the authority to issue all the "Executive Orders" he see fit to the Executive Branch of government. However, he does not have the authority to issue orders or proclamations to the people because that changes our form of government from a Republic to a Dictatorship.
"All legislative Powers, herein granted shall be vested in a Congress..." Art. I, Sec. 1, US Constitution.
"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." James Madison, Federalist essay #47.
Voter Referendums are not provided for in our Constitution because governments ruled by voter referendums (majority rule) are democracies not republics (rule by law). Click here for an explanation of the differences between republics and democracies.
"This constitution, shall be the Supreme Law of the Land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding." U.S. Constitution, Article VI, paragraph 2.
"The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and any statue, to be valid, must be in agreement. It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail. This is succinctly stated as follows: The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted." "Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principals follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it.... A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one. An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law. Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the land, it superseded thereby. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it." Sixteenth American Jurisprudence, Second Edition, Section 177.
Are We Required To Accept Changes To Our Constitution?
"All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution, are null and void." Chief Justice Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, 5, U.S. (Cranch) 137, 174,176
"Where the meaning of the constitution is clear and unambiguous, there can be no resort to construction to attribute to the founders a purpose of intent not manifest in its letter." Norris v. Baltimore, 172, Md. 667; 192 A 531.0.
"Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them." Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 491.
"If the legislature clearly misinterprets a constitutional provision, the frequent repetition of the wrong will not create a right." Amos v. Mosley, 74 Fla. 555; 77 So. 619.
"It is the peculiar value of a written constitution that it places in unchanging form limitations upon the legislation and thus gives a permanence and stability to popular government which otherwise would be lacking." Muller v. Oregon, 208 U.S. 412.
"The courts cannot rightly prefer, of the possible meanings of the words of the constitution, that which will defeat rather than effectuate the constitutional purpose." United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299.
"The constitution is an instrument from the people and a construction thereof should effectuate their purpose from the words employed in the document; and the courts may not color it by the addition of words or the ingrafting of their views as to how it should be written." Ervin v. Collins, Fla. 85 S. 852; 59 ALR 706.
"The basic purpose of a written constitution has a twofold aspect, first the securing to the people of certain unchangeable rights and remedies, and second, the curtailment of unrestricted governmental activity within certain defined fields." DuPont v. DuPont, Sup. 32 Ded. Ch. 413; 85 A 2d 724.
"The State cannot diminish rights of the people." Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516
"Constitutions are not primarily designed to protect majorities, who are usually able to protect themselves, but rather to preserve and protect the rights of individuals and minorities against arbitrary action of those in authority." Houston County v. Martin, 232 A 1 511; 169 So. 13.
"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution." Thomas Jefferson.
"Thus it is easy to understand how law, instead of checking injustice, becomes the invincible weapon of injustice. It is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people, their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by plunder. This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds." Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850).
"Our Bill of Rights curbs all three branches of government. It subjects all departments of government to a rule of law and sets boundaries beyond which no official may go. It emphasizes that in this country man walks with dignity and without fear, that he need not grovel before an all powerful government." Justice William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court.
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Gary McLeod for US Congress
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