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Constitutional Purism or Bust

October 8, 2012
Michael Boldin
10/3/2012

When talking about the Constitution as the Founders and Ratifiers gave us, there tends to be two primary viewpoints – those that are in favor of strict limitations on federal power, and those who want those limits obliterated.

Stereotypes in our society generally separate those views by political party support – or even voting habits. People who vote Democrat are generally considered the ones who look at the Founders’ vision as old, outdated, or simply something that gets in the way of their political plans. Republican voters are generally seen as the ones who want smaller government, and the ones who cite the Constitution as justification for that reduction in federal power.

But, many people argue, individual Republican supporters often favor policies that are just as unconstitutional as their Democrat counterparts. They are many who have favored things like the Real ID act, the patriot act, indefinite detention, war without congressional declaration, and much more.

In my own experience over the years, I’ve often noticed a difference in how these two “sides” respond to Constitutional arguments. In talking with Democrats about federal actions they oppose, they’ll readily get on board with a viewpoint that the act in question is unconstitutional. But, when they favor it politically, it takes quite a bit more. And, often times, when providing a pretty convincing argument that the act is in fact unconstitutional, the response is generally something like this – “OK, sure. It’s unconstitutional. But why do we need to be stuck in a period two centuries ago. Those old white guys couldn’t have envisioned our needs for today.”

Basically, it all gets down to a political viewpoint. Use the Constitution when it supports those view, and trash it when it doesn’t.

And now… the rest of the story. …..

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