Louis Seildman Georgetown Professor of Constitutional Law finally came out today in his New York Times article and said what is the core belief of the legal left today: “But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.”
The constitution alone is the solemn pledge that every government official takes an oath to not to abuse the powers that We the People have given to them. Without our constitution nothing would bind our government, and its officials could abuse their power to take anything they wanted from anyone, and throw anyone that disagrees in jail. Not even he professes to want that Louis says he wants “Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.” So if a few people have to be killed or thrown in jail because the government official wants that, that’s ok for Louis as the government shouldn’t be required to obey the individual’s rights only a general sense of respect is needed most of the time.
And so what of the Supreme Court look like without a constitution to look to? Well Louis has an answer to that! “There is even something to be said for an elite body like the Supreme Court with the power to impose its views of political morality on the country.” Yes that’s right, we will now be living in an oligarchy of the nine, in which nine people chosen by political elites will have life time positions in which they tell us what to do and how to live. What is and what is not “moral” will be decided by these 9 individuals and imposed on the rest of us.
And if he can’t convince the American people to just throw out the constitution, well then as many people as he can convince should just ignore it after all “If we acknowledged what should be obvious — that much constitutional language is broad enough to encompass an almost infinitely wide range of positions — we might have a very different attitude about the obligation to obey.” Oh wait, too late, that’s already the position of the “Living Constitution” movement in which we don’t need to care what the American people cared about when they founded this country, no we just need to consider what we today believe is important and ignore anything in the constitution that gets in our way.
I do want to say a quick word about slavery which is the “downright evil provisions” that he is talking about. First of all, there is nothing in the constitution which requires slavery at all. There are only three sections that even talk about slavery, and refuse to even use that term as the founding fathers hated it so much. Those three sections
1) “Representatives… shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons…three fifths of all other Persons.” This provision was added at the request of the non-slave states, to diminish the power of the slave states. This provision was added AGAINST slavery to limit the power of the slave states in the House of Representatives.
2) “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight.” This provision was set to expire 19 years after our government started. On March 2nd 1807, Thomas Jefferson himself signed a bill to abolish the slave trade on January 1st 1808, the first possible day under our constitution.
3) “No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.” This is the only provision which really applied in favor of slavery, and it does not apply only to slavery. This also applies to people that escape jail and flee to another state.
And many of the founding fathers HATED slavery, to accuse these men of supporting slavery is wrong and goes against those that did everything they could to eliminate it. For instance Benjamin Franklin was president of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society (and one of the loudest voices against slavery in the entire country). “I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil [of Slavery].” –Patrick Henry “[The Convention] thought it wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men.” –James Madison official Records of the Constitutional Convention “There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of [slavery].” –George Washington “We have seen the mere distinction of color made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man.” –James Madison in speech before the Constitutional Convention “Every measure of prudence, therefore, ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States … I have, throughout my whole life, held the practice of slavery in … abhorrence.” –John Adams “It is much to be wished that slavery may be abolished. The honour of the States, as well as justice and humanity, in my opinion, loudly call upon them to emancipate these unhappy people. To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused.” –John Jay first Supreme Court Chief Justice.
What Louis fails to understand is the constitution was entered into by the American people in each and every state. The constitution is changed by the American people when and how they want. The American people are the true source of the constitutions power and those that disrespect that, like Louis, disrespect the American people. He isn’t proposing any changes to the constitution to make it better, but to eliminate it entirely. This is because he knows that the American people would never go along for what he wants. Instead what he proposes like so many before him is a totalitarian government that can do whatever it wants imposed on us by the government without our consent.
Some people think this is just a crazy idea that would never happen. But I ask everyone to remember in March 1933 Hitler was elected before he did what Louis is asking us to do and dissolved the German Weimar Constitution and appointed himself Fuhrer or “supreme ruler”. What happened once can happen again.