How many times have people told us that we should put our faith in the Constitution, because it’s there to protect our rights? Originalists tell us that the document is sacred. Progressives say it’s a “living document,” whatever they think that means this week. They both claim the Constitution protects us.
But time after time, we’ve seen that the Constitution can’t do the job it’s supposed to do — that of limiting the politicians who claim power over us. The document was carefully constructed to grant very narrow power to the federal government. And if anybody missed the intent, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments were added to make is clear that the government has no powers which aren’t specifically granted in it. Those amendments make it clear that the states and the people themselves retain any powers not given to the federal government.
How much more clear could that have been?
Has that stopped politicians from controlling both states and individuals? No. Congress invents whatever law it wants, justifying those laws in ways that would have confused and angered the men who wrote the document. The people of the executive branch routinely make up their own versions of laws, claiming vague power that Congress has theoretically given to them, but which violate the text and intent of the Constitution.
And the judges of the judicial branch routinely give us rulings that ignore the text and intent of the document — and which pander to the political need of the day.
The latest example of this is the ruling by a New York federal judge Friday that the NSA is perfectly free to collect pretty much any information that it wants to collect about Americans. Even though the NSA’s snooping is a clear violation of the intent of the Constitution, the judge says it’s fine because the government needs to fight terrorism. (A different judge issued an entirely different ruling earlier this month.)