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It’s Constitution Day, and We Need it More Than Ever

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
National Archives via AP

It’s Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Today marks the 234th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution. As events of the past few weeks have demonstrated, it’s as relevant today as the day it was written.

The framers’ study of history and human nature taught them that no one could be trusted with unlimited power. In fact, their own experiences living under a tyrannical British monarchy inspired their fight for independence in the first place. That’s why they divided the federal government into three separate branches, each with limited and enumerated powers—including the president. The executive powers outlined in Article II are remarkably few, and several are even checked by other branches of government, making clear that the president is not a king. Even more importantly, the framers adopted the system of federalism, which gives states extraordinary latitude to govern themselves, be “laboratories of democracies,” and serve as a vital counterbalance to federal power. The ingenious structure of the Constitution has shielded our freedoms since 1787.  

Lately, however, the federal overreach from President Biden and his fellow Democrats has put these safeguards to the test—and demonstrated exactly why we need the Constitution.

Last week, President Biden announced his plan to force businesses to require their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Biden’s decree flies in the face of individual autonomy and will have a destructive impact on America’s small businesses; the backbone of our economy and the sector that has been hit hardest by Democrat-led COVID-19 lockdowns and enhanced unemployment benefits. But it’s not just a gross overreach of executive power. Biden’s decision to deputize his Department of Labor to enforce the vaccine mandate is a stunning use of the administrative state to accomplish his political goals. Rule by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats is exactly the kind of tyranny the Founders sought to avoid.

Likewise, Democrats are seeking to dictate how individual states run their local elections through their new bill, H.R. 4. That legislation would force local leaders to appeal to Biden’s Department of Justice to pass common-sense, widely-supported election integrity reforms like voter ID requirements, make it more difficult to clean up voter rolls, and force states to accept inaccurate census data. This national takeover of our elections is a blatant attack on state sovereignty. 

In perhaps its most egregious assault on federalism, the Department of Justice is seeking to interfere with states’ ability to govern themselves. Attorney General Merrick Garland recently filed a lawsuit against Georgia for its election integrity legislation. There’s nothing unconstitutional about this law. It was passed by duly-elected legislatures and signed by their respective governors. The Biden administration simply finds it politically inconvenient.

Democrats’ authoritarian tendencies are on full display. Thankfully, we have the Constitution to check these overreaches of power—but only if we use it. Otherwise, Articles I-VII are little more than what James Madison called “parchment barriers against the encroaching spirit of power.”

That’s why more than half the states in the country have already announced their intent to sue the Biden administration for its unconstitutional vaccine mandate. Republicans in Congress are ready to fight the federal takeover of elections. And the Republican National Committee has legally intervened to defend Georgia's legislation from the Department of Justice’s tyrannical attack. This is exactly the kind of accountability the framers envisioned when they designed our Constitution.  

This Constitution Day, let’s reacquaint ourselves with the document that has enabled this nation to become the greatest, freest, most prosperous nation on earth. We need its protections now more than ever, because human nature hasn’t changed.

Luckily, neither has our Constitution.

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