Relevance of the Constitution

With the exception of the Second Amendment, is the Constitution merely an out of date nuisance?

Sections 7 and 8 in Article 1 certainly are problematic for would-be tyrants. To them, clause 1 in each is especially annoying. But what is a demagogue to do?

And what is that Article 2, section 4 impeachment garbage? You mean a President can be effectively indicted by a simple majority of the House of Representatives for “misdemeanors”? I mean I can see treason and bribery being grounds for removing a loser from the Supreme Court or the executive branch.

Where it gets dicey is with the words our fourth president used to define what treason is. In Article 3, section 3, Madison wrote that treason against the United States “. . . consist(s) only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” Not sure what a strict constructionist on the Supreme Court would make of that. But I gave it thoughtful consideration as a student in Dr. Owen S. Ireland’s and Dr. Harold Rakov’s classes back in the 1960’s at S.U.N.Y. Brockport. For one thing, I gathered that, to “comfort” could—in part—be to make someone, or some enemy, feel better! Imagine what Madison may have had in mind when he provided that high officials of the United States might be impeached for “misdemeanors”. What is your definition of a misdemeanor anyway? I leave it to the reader to decide what constitutes “aid” to our enemies. And what defines an enemy?

Then there’s the annoying Bill of Rights, not to mention amendments such as the 14th, 19th and 22nd.

Joe Arpaio might have learned the 4th Amendment “probable clause” protection may apply to non-citizens. Who knows? And the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures” just might apply to all within our borders.

So where will presumptive nominee Brett Kavanaugh come down on something like Amendment 9? When a strict constructionist like Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork was going through unsuccessful hearings, I would have given plenty for someone to ask him what Amendment 9’s meaning was. If it has no meaning, why was it included in the Bill of Rights? Read it and see what you think. While a certain case can be made for it, is this the time to add a Supreme Court justice who may feel the President is above the law?

Some who may have favored Clinton’s impeachment and conviction are all good with overlooking far more numerous and egregious “indiscretions” today.

What fascinates some who take citizenship in a republic seriously is that tearing down institutions such as a free press, the judiciary, free elections, the F.B.I.–and the Constitution itself–are being shrugged off as “fake news”. After all, don’t we all have more important things to concern ourselves with?

Concerned and even alarmed,

Gary Kent
Albion, NY