Judge Andrew Napolitano
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Here is an uncomfortable pop quiz: Who has killed more children, Adam Lanza or Barack Obama? We'll hold off on the answer for a few paragraphs while we look at the state of governmental excess -- including killing -- in America. But you can probably guess the correct answer from the manner in which I have posed the question.

We all know that the sheet anchor of our liberties is the Declaration of Independence. The president himself quoted Thomas Jefferson's most famous line in his inaugural address earlier this week. He recognized that all men and women are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The president would no doubt like to modify the word "created" to read "shall be maintained," since his presidency seems dedicated to keeping us equal, not in terms of equality of rights and opportunity but of outcome. He has dedicated himself to using the coercive power of the federal government to take from those who have and give to those who don't. Under the Constitution, charity is a decision for individuals to make, not the government.

This forced egalitarianism was never the purpose of government in America. When the people in the original 13 states gave up some of their personal liberties to create their state governments so they could perform the services that governments in the West do, and when the states themselves gave up some of their liberties to create the federal government of limited powers to address the issues of nationhood, they never authorized government to impose taxes to transfer wealth to those who lack it or need it.

This may sound harsh, but there is simply no authority in the Constitution for the feds to tax Americans or to borrow money in their names to rebuild private homes in New Orleans or at the Jersey Shore. And there is no moral authority for that, either. If folks want to give money to those whose properties were damaged by natural disasters and lacked adequate insurance coverage, they are free to do so, but nowhere does government have the authority to compel us to do so.

This shows how far we have come from the Constitution the Founders gave us. They "constituted" a government of limited powers, and they did so because they wanted the government to protect our freedoms, since they understood that personal responsibility and freedom -- not government handouts -- are the soundest routes to prosperity. Hence, they limited the government because they knew the lessons of history. And those lessons informed them that often it is the government itself that is the greatest threat to personal freedom.

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Judge Andrew Napolitano

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of the State of New Jersey. He sat on the bench from 1987 to 1995, during which time he presided over 150 jury trials and thousands of motions, sentencings and hearings. He taught constitutional law at Seton Hall Law School for 11 years, and he returned to private practice in 1995. Judge Napolitano began television work in the same year.