Monday, April 9, 2012

The Constitution is over rated

Every time we get into a discussion about rights, we argue over if it is allowed by the Constitution of the United States.  It has become our go to document on the rights of human beings.

But, think about these issues.  Rick Santorum thinks that we don’t have the right to privacy because the word privacy isn’t mentioned in the Constitution.  Also, don’t look to the Constitution to insure that you are innocent until proven guilty, it isn’t there.  While the Constitution outlines many ways that States can’t deny someone to vote such as by gender or race, the document doesn’t guarantee the right to vote.  As a final example, but not the end of the misconceptions, the words “separation of powers” can’t be found in the Constitution.

The Constitution may be a guide on our rights, but is not the final word.  If we were to only have those rights that are numerated in the document, we would limit ourselves.  Even if we made an attempt to list every right, it would still be an incomplete list.  Many of the people that helped write the Constitution were leery about adding the “Bill of Rights” because there were concerned that it would be seen as a complete list.  They didn’t see the document as the final say on our rights, which we retained, but limiting what the government could do.

Need an example?  Remember a few years ago when cities around the country were taking property and giving it to developers?  The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution, led by the strict constructionist, said that property could be taken and given to developers that would increase the tax base of the city.  In just a few short months, states past laws that made it illegal.  Even though the Constitution seemed to allow the taking of property, people across the country realized that we had more rights than listed in the old document and enacted laws that guaranteed those rights.  (This is happening again in our country.  Property is being taken by the states of Texas and Oklahoma for the pipeline.  Something the Republicans have wanted to do for a long time and that Obama was trying to protect until he reversed course.)

Something is over rated if it is seen as being more than it is.  The Constitution of the United States is a great document, one that every country should adopt.  But, it is not the final word on our rights, it is just the base.  We have plenty more than listed and we should work with legislatures to ensure those rights.


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