Does the U.S. Constitution stand for anything in an era of government excess? Can that founding document, which is supposed to restrain the power and reach of a centralized federal government, slow down the juggernaut of czars, health insurance overhaul and anything else this administration and Congress wish to do that is not in the Constitution?
The Framers created a limited government, thus ensuring individuals would have the opportunity to become all that their talents and persistence would allow. The Left has put aside the original Constitution in favor of a "living document" that they believe allows them to do whatever they want and demand more tax dollars with which to do it.
Can they be stopped? Some constitutional scholars think the Tenth Amendment offers the best opportunity. The Tenth Amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
In 1939, the Supreme Court began to dilute constitutional language so that it became open to broader interpretation. Rob Natelson, professor of Constitutional Law and Legal History at the University of Montana, has written that even before Franklin Roosevelt's court-packing scheme, it was changing the way the Constitution was interpreted, especially, "how the commerce and taxing powers were turned upside-down, the necessary and proper clauses and incidental powers, the false claim that the Supreme Court is conservative, how bad precedent leads to more bad court rulings, state elections as critical for constitutional activists, and more."
While during the last seven decades the court has tolerated the federal welfare state, Natelson says it has never, except in wartime, "authorized an expansion of the federal scope quite as large as what is being proposed now. And in recent years, both the Court and individual justices -- even 'liberal' justices -- have said repeatedly that there are boundaries beyond which Congress may not go." ... "Chief Justice John Marshall once wrote that if Congress were to use its legitimate powers as a 'pretext' for assuming an unauthorized power, 'it would become the painful duty' of the Court 'to say that such an act was not the law of the land.'"
It would be nice to know now what those boundaries are and whether Congress is exceeding its powers as it prepares to alter one-sixth of our economy and change how we access health insurance and health care.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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