Monday, January 29, 2007

Deadly, Right-Wing, Living Constitution

The Rabbis asked why the Torah forbade adding to the Torah and taking away from it. It makes sense that it would have forbidden removing things, but what is so bad about adding? The answer is that once you have the power to add things there will be nothing stopping you from taking things away.
In tonight’s episode of 24, Thomas Lennox, President Wayne Palmer’s conservative advisor justifies the flagrant violation of the civil liberties of American citizens by arguing that the Constitution cannot be viewed as applicable in a situation in which Islamic terrorists have set off a nuclear bomb on American soil. As Lennox sees it, the Constitution is all well and good at a time when you needed thirty seconds to load a single shot musket in order to kill one person. Now terrorists have killed thousands of Americans by the push of a button in less time then what it used to take a man in order to load a gun. Clearly then you cannot assume that the rights given by the Constitution are still the same rights.
This is a wonderful example of why you cannot follow a “living” constitution and why you cannot have activist judges. Once you allow activist judges to start rewriting the Constitution they can go in any direction, left or right. If they can invent rights they can also start taking rights away.
Sure the founding fathers may have lacked our appreciation of the need to protect the rights of women and blacks. They might not have known that women needed to have a right to an abortion in order to take their rightful place in society. They also did not know about the internet and how easy it would make spreading “false” and “dangerous” information. So should we even recognize the existence of a right to free speech?
The choice is clear. We must hold that that the Constitution that we have is the same one made by the founding fathers, plus the added amendments created through the legal processes of that same Constitution and it means the same thing as it did when it was created. If we need to make some changes from time to time we can make the needed amendments. Our founding fathers did not claim to be God Almighty. The alternative is no Constitution and the rule of nine unelected judges or even a rogue advisor to the President.

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