Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its Faults, if they are such; because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years, and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”     Benjamin Franklin,    Final Speech at the Constitutional Convention

September 13, 2008

Do Strict Constructionists Wish to Bring Back Slavery?

by Stephen Littau

The View seems to be an endless source of idiotic commentary, especially in the realm of politics. It appears that Whoopi picked up where Rosie left off when Sen. John McCain appeared on the show.

To have “a strict constructionist” philosophy means to return to slavery and other injustices of the era of the founding fathers? What Whoopi fails to understand (and what Sen. McCain failed to explain) is that the founders themselves knew that the Constitution as written was not perfect and would have to change over time via the amendment process:

Article V. – Amendment

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

On December 6, 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery:

1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

A strict constructionist judge would, by definition, take Article V and the Thirteenth Amendment into account because a strict constructionist judge would rule on the current state of the Constitution; not as it was approved in convention on September 17, 1787.

Having said that, I do not believe that a President McCain would appoint strict constructionists any more than any other president has in recent memory. Anyone who could have authored the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill, a law which undermines the very foundation of freedom of speech and expression, cannot be taken seriously as someone who respects and/or supports the Constitution. In the modern political parlance, the term “strict constructionist” has become a codeword* for someone who supports whatever the current so-called conservative agenda happens to be. If McCain were serious about appointing strict constructionists, he would appoint individuals who would find many of the Bush Administration’s policies, executive orders, signing statements and laws unconstitutional. Many of McCain’s own proposals would also necessarily be D.O.A.

But Whoopi need not worry: if McCain does become the next POTUS, she will not find herself picking cotton. Even by McCain’s definition of “strict constructionist.”


*The ladies on The View are concerned with good reason that in many cases, the term “strict constructionist” has become a codeword for someone who simply would overturn Roe v. Wade.

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8 Comments

  1. Wow, he really made zero effort to explain it to her (and her audience). What was he thinking?

    Of course, the Left has been wailing about Roe-v-Wade since Reagan took office (maybe earlier, I don’t remember). They are perpetually convinced young women will be bleeding to death in back alleys soon. Even if Roe-v-Wade is ever overturned, it’s not going to have the impact everybody thinks it will.

    Allow me to shamelessly point us all to my own archives:
    http://www.atlasblogged.com/archives/2005/07/replacing_oconn_1.php

    Comment by Wulf — September 13, 2008 @ 1:20 pm
  2. What a train wreck. Whoopi’s and McCain’s statements were uneducated. I really wish one of the ladies responded to his “strict constitutional interpenetration” comment by asking if that also means he’s for the abolition of anti-constitutional government agencies and programs like the war on drugs and the Federal Reserve.

    Comment by joephus — September 13, 2008 @ 5:46 pm
  3. Wow, he really made zero effort to explain it to her (and her audience). What was he thinking?

    Could it be that McCain didn’t know how to respond because he doesn’t know what’s in the Constitution?

    Comment by Justin Bowen — September 14, 2008 @ 2:22 pm
  4. What Whoopi fails to understand (and what Sen. McCain failed to explain) is that the founders themselves knew that the Constitution as written was not perfect and would have to change over time via the amendment process

    You’re assuming that Whoopi takes the time to actually understand the nuances of policy and the Constitution before running her mouth about it, which would be a somewhat rare trait for a celebrity…particularly on “The View” :)

    Comment by UCrawford — September 18, 2008 @ 2:30 pm
  5. Hey U.C., where have you been? Haven’t heard from you in awhile.

    No, I don’t think that Whoopi has any understanding of the Constitution at all. If she did, she wouldn’t have asked such an idiotic question.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — September 18, 2008 @ 7:28 pm
  6. Kind of dropped off the grid for awhile and restricted any online blogging to football for the forseeable future. Job stuff and my mom got really sick (terminal cancer) so I’ve kind of had other things on my mind these days. But I’ve popped in from time to time and I’ll be back eventually :)

    Comment by UCrawford — September 19, 2008 @ 6:06 am
  7. Sorry about your mom U.C. Let us know how you (and your mom) are doing from time to time okay?

    Comment by Stephen Littau — September 19, 2008 @ 10:36 am
  8. No worries…we’re doing about as well as we can these days. The concern is appreciated, thank you.

    Comment by UCrawford — September 19, 2008 @ 11:51 am

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