This post is not about Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, rather I want to quickly point out how the media – even a journalist who almost exclusively writes about legal issues – can push their own version of the Constitution, rolling their eyes as they talk down to the misguided conservative minions out there. You’re all weird.
I guess I’m one of the misguided minions, but I’m comfortable with the constitutional law experts I stand with. As an editor for Newsweek and Slate, Dahlia Lithwick covers mostly legal issues for the publications, has a law degree from Stanford University, and is a Canadian citizen. I will certainly not hold that last part against her.
In a different type of post at Slate, Lithwick publishes a note written to Emily Bazelon and Hanna Rosin. Don’t worry about the full context of the letter, I don’t want the conversation to drift. Let’s specifically look at the first paragraph, with my emphasis in bold.
Emily, I have been fascinated by Christine O’Donnell’s constitutional worldview since her debate with her opponent Chris Coons last week. O’Donnell explained that “when I go to Washington, D.C., the litmus test by which I cast my vote for every piece of legislation that comes across my desk will be whether or not it is constitutional.” How weird is that, I thought. Isn’t it a court’s job to determine whether or not something is, in fact, constitutional? And isn’t that sort of provided for in, well, the Constitution? In 2003, O’Donnell said of the Supreme Court that “it’s kind of like we have the nine people sitting there in Washington who have a constitutional monarchy and that is an abuse of the system.” So I do wonder a little whether she’s claiming that her view of what’s constitutional trumps theirs. Not a lot of space for checks and balances in that reading.
First off, as I mentioned in a post yesterday, the congress-critters all swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Lithwick directly implies constitutional interpretation is the exclusive domain of the Supreme Court. Although SCOTUS clearly interprets the Constitution as it pertains to cases brought before them, the responsibility of interpreting this founding document belongs to all of us … including legislative leaders sent by states and districts to represent us in Washington D.C.
My point. The media is part of the national problem developed during the past 80 years – the incremental shift of power from the states and people to the federal government. The nine in robes are in no way better than us or more wise. To suggest their view of what’s constitutional trumps O’Donnell’s view – or our own view – is quite arrogant. Their job is to interpret the Constitution as it pertains to specific cases brought before them. That’s it.
What Lithwick misses – as do most liberal politicians and followers – is that McDonnell, conservatives, TEA Party members, and libertarians all have the same solid Constitutional foundation even if they stumble when presenting their case. The federal government has grown too large, become too intrusive and funds federal projects, programs and initiatives that are unconstitutional at their core.
This statement of fact, sends liberals into a lunatic frenzy on a regular basis. You’ve seen elected representatives – both Democrats and Republican – on video specifically reminding voters there are a lot of things the federal government does that is not listed in the Constitution. That’s the problem … the disease of which all symptoms derive. Many are not all that concerned with the founding document.
Your answer – and the Constitution’s answer – is to allow the individual states and the people to determine if funding those projects, programs and initiatives are worthwhile. I bet every entitlement program at the federal level is already duplicated at the state level. I’m serious! (Think health care…)
Why not just grow the state-based programs – if the state and the people really want it – and eliminate the federal departments all together? Of course, tax revenue at the state level would necessarily increase if the people want the programs … and I can tell you honestly I think most conservatives and quite a few libertarians would be OK with that. They may well move to another state, but at least they have the option.
Can you imagine the competition between the 50 states to come up with the most effective social program or initiative? It would be totally awesome. Some may elect a more socialist approach with the state legislature acting as the central planning committee. Some may choose a more capitalist/strong libertarian approach, leaving most decisions to business and individuals while providing reasonable regulatory rules.
Let’s give it a try shall we? November is the time to start the process and I’m not saying “change” will happen over night, or even within the next decade. It will be a incremental change that may take decades … it’s not easy to “change” a countries ingrained culture of dependency on the federal government.
For those of you who read most of my stuff, you may find my posts becoming a bit repetitive. Sorry, but I strongly believe the disease must be cured. I’m going to keep pounding and writing posts like this in the hope you forward each one of them to your friends, families and co-workers (if you wish). I’m using current events, news articles and other blog posts as analogies to bring up the topic on a regular basis … and I will continue to do so.