Government of men and not of laws

Pá 19 února 2016

And after the yesterday’s comment yet another opportunity to say what I for long wanted to have here recorded. This one touches on another article on First Things:

“In the government of this Commonwealth, the legislative department shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or either of them: The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them: The judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men.” [1]

Which is to say, that on the one hand I completely agree with the previous comment, on the other hand, I am afraid that horses of constitutionalism are for a long time away from the barn. All talking about Constitutionalism seems to me to be passé. Long long time ago American citizens (of which I am not a one) decided through their representatives to ignore their Constitution and the rule of law and embraced firmly the rule of men.

One obvious example out of many: when was the last time when the national discussion about some issue lead to the only constitutional result: new Amendment to the Constitution? 24th and 26th perhaps were important but more certified a change which has already happened (20th, 22nd, 23rd, 25th and 27th seem to me just like a bureaucratic triviality, although the history of 27th amendment is awesome; 21st just repealed 18th) but I guess the last amendments which truly changed the story of your Constitution is 19th.

Most huge changes in the constitution (with little "c") of the United States happened outside of the expected legislative process, mostly in the chambers of the Supreme Court. Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, Citizens United, Obergefell v. Hodges, etc. were all change of the constitution which should be matter of all-national discussion and legislative deliberation, but it just didn't happen, because the Constitution is too cumbersome for those for whom the goal sanctifies the means (i.e., almost everybody).

So, I would be willing to say that since FDR (yes, him again) the proper constitutional process was mostly ignored and the biggest changes were done only by the non-elected group of men (and women) of the Supreme Court, and in the last years even this contempt of the legislative power was not enough and now laws are just promulgated by the fiat of one man, the President of United States, who has no business to make laws whatsoever.

[1]Yes, I know it is not about whole United States, just about Massachusetts, but I always believed that the principle was meant to apply to whole nation.

Category: faith Tagged: blogComment FirstThings UnitedStates constitution