Walter E. Williams

Most people whom we elect to Congress are either ignorant of, have contempt for or are just plain stupid about the United States Constitution. You say: "Whoa, Williams, you're really out of line! You'd better explain." Let's look at it.

Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill., responding to a question during a town hall meeting, said he's "not worried about the Constitution." That was in response to a question about the constitutionality of Obamacare. He told his constituents that the Constitution guaranteed each of us "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Of course, our Constitution guarantees no such thing. The expression "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is found in our Declaration of Independence.

During a debate, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., gave his opinion about the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, concluding that "the Constitution is wrong." Not to be outdone, at his town hall meeting, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., responded to a constituent's question about Obamacare by saying, "There are very few constitutional limits that would prevent the federal government from (making) rules that can affect your private life." Adding, "Yes, the federal government can do most anything in this country." The questioner responded, "People like you, sir, are destroying this nation." Her comment won shouts of approval from the audience.

Last year, a CNS reporter asked, "Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?" Speaker Pelosi responded: "Are you serious? Are you serious?" She shares the vision of her fellow Californian Stark that Washington can do most anything.

Congressional ignorance and contempt for our Constitution isn't only on the Democrat side of the aisle. During a town hall meeting, Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., was asked by one of his constituents whether he knew what Article I, Section I of the Constitution mandated. He replied that, "Article I, Section I is the right to free speech."

Actually, Article I, Section I reads, "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives." LoBiondo was later asked whether he knew the five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. Fearing further revelation of his ignorance, he replied, "I can't articulate that."

By the way, those five guarantees are: free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to peaceable assembly and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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