The frustration and growing anger that many Americans feel today is at how easily judges and politicians seem to reinterpret the meaning of our Constitution without precedent or due process in order to justify what they want it to allow. They don’t want to do the hard and important work of convincing enough Americans to amend the Constitution. No, they have the arrogance to believe that they know what is best without having to secure approval.
I applaud the Republicans for reminding Congress and Americans that we have a founding document that limits the size, scope and power of government. It clearly defines what government’s roles are and what it cannot do to limit the liberty and rights of its citizens.
Even more important than reading the Constitution to start the new Congress is living by it in making their decisions. In suggesting the reading of the Constitution, Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte asserted: “This is a very symbolic showing to the American people and a reminder to members of Congress that we are a government of laws not of men, and that this Constitution is the foundation for all of our laws…. One of the key provisions of our Pledge to America…was that every bill has to contain a declaration of the portion of the Constitution upon which the bill is founded, the basis on which the Congress could act.”
Reading the Constitution could be criticized as “political theater;” requiring new legislation to identify the justification for the bill by referring to the powers enumerated in the Constitution will help to define what a Constitutional Congress ought to be. A Constitution doesn’t only belong on the wall or in our history books; it should be used to drive our critical decisions as we move forward as a country. I applaud the GOP leaders for once again reminding us all that the Constitution is there to protect the rights of its citizens. It shouldn’t be changed by “interpretation” or as a result of a tragic event, but through the established amendment process.
Walter Williams observed, “If the House of Representatives had the courage to follow through on this rule, their ability to spend and confer legislative favors would be virtually eliminated. Also, if the rule were to be applied to existing law, they’d wind up repealing at least two-thirds to three-quarters of congressional spending.”
In this time of big government and unsustainable deficit spending, “We the People” must hold them to that pledge to revitalize a truly Constitutional Congress.