Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Constitution is "confusing"

So says Ezra Klein at the Washington Post in an MS-NBC interview with Norah O'Donnell, as reported by NewsBusters.

The liberal establishment just can't understand this obsession with the Constitution. After all, according to Mr. Klein:

The issue of the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than 100 years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done.
This statement was to support Ms. O'Donnell's assertion that the emphasis on the Constitution is nothing more than a political gimmick. "I wouldn't make too much of this," Mr. Klein replied.

Now, the Constitution is really a simple document, only 7,000 words long. A high school graduate should not have any problem with understanding it. It specifically lists the powers granted to the federal government, the powers prohibited to it, and the powers prohibited to the states (Article I, Sections 8-10). And to make it crystal clear, the Bill of Rights added the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.*

Still, I can understand why liberals find it confusing. They have bought into their own rhetoric about a "living Constitution,"  which means whatever the Supreme Court wants it to mean at the time. Understanding what the Constitution means isn't that difficult. If the literal meaning is unclear, check the record of the debates at the Constitutional Convention. If that isn't clear, check the Federalist Papers. If that isn't clear, clean your glasses.

The liberals want us to be impressed with their learning. But learning is useless without common sense, something these two commentators clearly lack.

One more thing. If the Republicans don't "make too much of this," they will join the Democrats  behind the woodshed in 2012, as the frustrated American voters administer to both parties a whipping they will never forget.

* Ninth: "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed [by the courts] to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Tenth: "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.


Norwegian Shooter said...

Well, I have to say you're quite serious.

If not the Supreme Court, who decides what the Constitution means?

Harold Thomas said...

The Supreme Court will decide the constitutionality most issues as a matter of law; but in some instances they will do so at the expense of the rights of the states, which the Constitution was intended to protect.

In those instances, the states have the right to nullify unconstitutional federal actions within their state borders (for example, by exempting their citizens from forced health care); and if enough states are of one accord on the same issue, they can initiate an amendment to the Constitution.

For more on the idea of nullification, click on the Kentucky Resolution (by Thomas Jefferson) on my Links page.

Norwegian Shooter said...

Where in the Constitution does it say states have the right to challenge decisions by the Supreme Court?

How would the states determine what federal actions are unconstitutional?

I totally agree on amendments. I think this the only way to give the states the power you proclaim they have.

I've know about the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. In addition to S.C.'s attempt at nullification of federal law in 1830's *, they were all unsuccessful attempts. They did even receive anywhere near majority support from the people. Why to do continue to cite a failure?

For an example of states resisting federal law, use REAL ID. Many states effectively lobbied the federal government to extend and in some cases remove compliance provisions. That can and has worked. Go for it with Obamacare.

* Why do freedom and liberty people such as yourself never say a bad word about Andrew Jackson's rejection of nullification?