What If the Government Rejects the Constitution?
Andrew P. Napolitano
by Andrew P. Napolitano: Hope
for the Dead
What if the
government never took the Constitution seriously? What if the same
generation – in some cases the same human beings – that wrote in
the First Amendment, "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the
freedom of speech," also enacted the Alien and Sedition Acts, which
made it a crime to criticize the government? What if the feds don't
regard the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land?
What if the
government regards the Constitution as merely a guideline to be
referred to from time to time, or a myth to be foisted upon the
voters, but not as a historic delegation of power that lawfully
limits the federal government? What if Congress knows that most
of what it regulates puts it outside the confines of the Constitution,
but it does whatever it can get away with? What if the feds don't
think that the Constitution was written to keep them off the people's
What if there's
no substantial difference between the two major political parties?
What if the same political mentality that gave us the Patriot Act,
with its federal agent-written search warrants that permit unconstitutional
spying on us, also gave us Obamacare, with its mandate to buy health
insurance, even if we don't want or need it? What if both political
parties love power more than freedom? What if both parties have
used the Commerce Clause in the Constitution to stretch the power
of the federal government far beyond its constitutionally ordained
boundaries and well beyond the plain meaning of words?
What if both
parties love war because the public is more docile during war and
permits higher taxes and more federal theft of freedom from individuals
and power from the states? What if none of these recent wars has
made us freer or safer, but just poorer?
What if Congress
bribed the states with cash in return for their enacting legislation
that Congress likes, but cannot lawfully enact? What if Congress
went to all states in the union and offered them cash to repave
their interstate highways, if the states only lowered their speed
limits? What if the states took that deal? What if the Supreme Court
approved this bribery and then Congress did it again and again?
What if this bribery were a way for Congress to get around the few
constitutional limitations that Congress acknowledges?
What if Congress
believes that it can spend tax dollars on anything it pleases and
tie any strings it wants to that spending? What if Congress uses
its taxing and spending power to regulate anything it wants to control,
whether authorized by the Constitution or not? What if anyone other
than members of Congress offered state legislatures cash in return
for favorable legislation? What if Congress wrote laws that let
it break laws that ordinary people would be prosecuted for breaking?
What if the
Declaration of Independence says that the government derives its
powers from the consent of the governed? What if the government
claims to derive powers from some other source that it will not
– because it cannot – name? What if we never gave the government
the power to spy on us, to print worthless cash, to kill in our
names, to force us to buy health insurance or to waste our money
by telling us that exercise is good and sugar is bad?
What if we
never gave the government the power to bribe the poor with welfare
or the middle class with tax breaks or the rich with bailouts or
the states with cash? What if we don't consent to what has become
of the government? What if the Constitution has been tacitly amended
by the consent of both political parties, whereby instead of ratifying
amendments, all three branches of government merely look the other
way when the government violates the Constitution? What if the president
cannot constitutionally bomb whatever country he wants? What if
the Congress cannot constitutionally exempt its members from the
laws that govern the rest of us? What if the courts cannot constitutionally
invent a right to kill babies in the womb?
What if the
federal government is out of control, no matter which party controls
it? What if there is only harmony on Capitol Hill when government
is growing and personal liberty is shrinking? What if the presidential
race this fall will not be between good and evil, between right
and left, between free markets and central planning or even between
constitutional government and Big Government; but only about how
much bigger Big Government should get?
What if enough
is enough? What do we do about it? What if it's too late?
with the author's permission.
April 13, 2012
him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey,
is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano
has written six books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent
Is Dangerous To Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case
for Personal Freedom. To find out more about Judge Napolitano
and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists,
© 2012 Andrew P. Napolitano
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