The U.S. Supreme Court has but one job – to apply the Constitution of the United States to the cases before it. But many Justices arrogantly legislate from the bench – and even heap scorn upon this time-tested document.
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has had the bad habit of belittling the document she is sworn to protect and uphold.
In front of an Egyptian television audience, she said “I’m operating under a rather old constitution…” She didn’t mean this with respect, as in “its power to protect individual liberty has withstood the test of time.” Instead, she was implying the Constitution is old and worn out – out of date and not valid.
Sadly, we’ve gotten used to it when a congressman, senator, or even a president exposes their contempt for the U.S. Constitution. Fortunately, we can fire them from office at the next election. But a Supreme Court Justice is more dangerous, because he or she has lifetime tenure.
During the same interview given during her State Department-sponsored trip to Cairo, Justice Ginsburg advised: “I would not look to the U.S. Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012.“
If not the U.S. Constitution, what did Justice Ginsburg recommend?
Justice Ginsburg said on-camera that many constitutions written after World War II, such as the South African Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and even the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights are better models than the U.S. Constitution!
“The United States Constitution is terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights.” – New York Times
What these documents have in common is they are statist examples – where centralized government and centralized power, not the ideals of personal freedom and individual liberty, reign supreme. Top-down political power is something the Egyptians should hope to avoid, having just forcibly removed a brutal and tyrannical dictator!
The author of a Feb. 6, 2012 New York Times article, titled “‘We the People’ Loses Appeal with People around the World,” gives cover to Ginsburg’s Constitution-bashing: “The United States Constitution is terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights.”
The article continues: “[The Constitution’s] original meaning in the 18th century may send the signal that it is of little current use… The rights guaranteed by the American Constitution are parsimonious by international standards, and… frozen in amber.”
The article also quotes Sanford Livens, author of Our Undemocratic Constitution, saying, “The U.S. Constitution is the most difficult to amend of any constitution currently existing in the world today.“
They all miss the point completely.
The U.S. Constitution is not out of date, it is sublime…
At the recent CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) 2012 meeting, guest speaker and British Member of European Parliament (MEP) Daniel Hannan called the U.S. Constitution a sublime document.
He praised America for our infectious confidence, optimism, self-belief, and exceptionalism. He said these qualities are unique to America and asked the audience, where does it come from?
He responded that many of his American friends usually say it comes from our culture. But, Hannan set the record straight: Our culture is a product of our institutions; our character comes from our political structure. “There’s nothing in the soil, nothing in the water… there’s no law of nature that makes this country the way it is… it comes from your institutions… [your] republican system of government would have the same happy effect anywhere it would be tried…“
He also cautioned us. As a member of European Parliament, he says he comes from our future, or the future our current leadership is intent on taking us to – statism, bureaucracy, bigger and more powerful government. He warns we will not enjoy it.
“Big government leads to lesser people, small government leads to a greater people.”
Our founding documents guarantee Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That, contrary to the New York Times and Ms. Ginsburg, sums it all up perfectly. Hannan compares the European Union’s equivalent called the Charter of Fundamental Rights as protecting the right to [union-boss-ordered] strikes, affordable housing, and free healthcare.
The U.S. ideal that decisions should be taken as closely as possible to the people is what the Constitution guarantees and protects. On the other hand, the constitutions Justice Ginsburg recommended and the New York Times hold in esteem are dangerous because they take power away from the people.
Hannan explains, “The tragedy of the European Union is it was founded in the opposite imperative. Line one, of Article one in the Treaty of Rome [the EU’s foundational document] commits us to ever closer union.” The imperative is for bigger and ever-growing central government.
We need to keep an eye on our representatives, while we take precautions and prepare ourselves for the greater statism they seek.
For example, our Constitution was ratified by the colonies; the European Charter was repeatedly rejected across Europe, yet it was forced on the people, anyway. Big government leads to lesser people, small government leads to a greater people. Active vigilance is warranted to keep your independence and self-reliance.