Some federal employees are griping because a new law requires them to take a 25-minute tutorial on the U.S. Constitution. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., sponsored this law, along with a similar law requiring every public school to "hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on Sept. 17," which is Constitution Day.
Byrd deserves our thanks for this great idea because most Americans, including public officials, are abysmally ignorant of the text and the meaning of our Constitution. The only thing the matter with his law is that he should have required a constitutional tutorial to be taken by judges and members of Congress.
If judges understood the Constitution, they would know that it gives government eminent-domain power to take your private property for "public use," and judges have no power to change those words to "public purpose" and then define an increase in tax revenue as a public purpose. The Constitution provides an amendment process, but judges are not part of it.
If former U.S. Rep. John Anderson, R-Ill., and former Sen. Birch Bayh, D-Ind., understood the Constitution, they would realize the time-tested superiority of our method of electing U.S. presidents by the Electoral College. Its rationale and structure are the perfect mirror of the Great Compromise that made our Constitution possible: the combination of equal representation of states with representation based on population.
Anderson, Bayh and associates in the Campaign for the National Popular Vote know they can't change the Electoral College honestly by passing a constitutional amendment. So they have launched a devious plan to get states to enact identical bills requiring their own electors to ignore the winner of their state's election and cast all their state's ballots for the candidate whom the state believes received the most popular votes nationwide.
This would be organized vote-stealing. It's ridiculous and un-American to try to force electors to vote against their constituents' wishes.
If current members of Congress understood the Constitution, they wouldn't be toying with a devious plan to subvert the District Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8, clause 17), which makes clear that the District of Columbia is not a state or a congressional district, and that Congress is given the power "To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States."
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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