Returning to a Constitutionally Limited Government
by Jay Banks
One of the more endearing traits of the political Left is the recurring practice of invoking the constitutionality of an issue only if it is to its benefit. At all other times, the Constitution does not exist.
As of late, when the name of the Constitution is invoked, the interpretations keep getting further and further away from the original intent of the Founding Fathers.
With that in mind, there are several areas that need to be addressed.
First, there seems to be some misunderstanding of interpretation and purpose of the Constitution.
It was the rule laid down by Blackstone that the Constitution should be interpreted as we would interpret any other historical document — by the original intention of the authors. The terms and language must be defined as they were at the time of its enactment, and it must be taken that these were the definitions understood by those authors and not according to any subsequent definition.
In other words, one cannot apply today's definitions to words that meant something entirely different several hundred years ago and use this as a basis for law. The Constitution of the United States must be explained as those who made and framed it intended. Their intention is the law.
As for the purpose of the Constitution, clearly it was intended to be a check on the federal government. Just as citizens are held in line by civil and criminal laws, the Constitution is the law for the government. Thomas Jefferson said it best when he said, "In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
When a congressman from Texas mentioned impeaching federal judges several years ago, newspaper editorials decried this as being unconstitutional. While the unconstitutionality of this measure is highly questionable, one has to wonder how editors weeded through all the glaringly unconstitutional areas of our government to end up picking this subject for editorial material.
The Constitution (Article I, Section 1) states that only congress has the power to make laws. The executive branch and the judicial branch have no legislative powers, whatsoever. And Congress does not have the constitutional authority to delegate its legislative power to institutions that are beyond electoral accountability to the American people.
So why is there never a word said about the fourth branch of the federal government: the unconstitutional and entirely illegal regulatory branch?
What are the alphabet agencies — FDA, EPA, OSHA, and so on — doing when they pass laws? And, while these laws are called regulations, so as not to upset anyone who might actually read the Constitution, the Webster's dictionary defines regulation as a rule, ordinance or law.
The Constitution states that citizens accused of a crime are entitled to a trial by jury and are considered innocent until proven guilty.
Somewhere down the line the IRS must have overlooked the Constitution when it was setting up its "tax courts." And, while the income tax may be constitutional, the IRS does not have the constitutional authority to override such basics as due process of the law or the rights of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, paper, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. Nor does it have the constitutional authority to become a legislative body unto itself.
The IRS is far from being the only government agency that has thrown the Constitution to the wind.
Another good example would be the woman who found out her children were doing drugs. She thought she was doing the proper thing by telling her children to leave and notifying the authorities.
After monitoring her house for a couple of weeks, the DEA seized her house for participating in the drug business. She was never charged with a crime, nor convicted of a crime. It was left entirely up to her redress to attempt to reclaim her property.
This is not uncommon. The ability to document unconstitutional actions by the federal government is limited only by the amount of space given to write. Unfortunately, there is not much newspaper ink being used on the subject. And this is a shame because this is a problem that is not a partisan issue. Bringing an end to unconstitutional government stands to benefit many diverse segments of our population, including both the rich and poor and regardless of party affiliation.
If America is ever to return to its constitutionally limited government, these illegal federal agencies must be abolished. If laws are needed in certain areas they must be passed by Congress. If laws are unpopular, the citizens should be able to vote out the lawmakers that enacted them. This is not possible in the regulatory branch of the government, the majority of whom are not elected nor held accountable to the people.