The elections are over. Obama is in again, and ..." />

Constitution often misunderstood

November 19, 2012 Editorials Print Print
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The elections are over. Obama is in again, and that’s that. But after hearing more of the same sophistry spouted off even after the elections have ended, I think it’s time to clarify something.

The purpose of the Constitution of the United States of America is to establish the function, workings, limitations, responsibilities, and powers of the federal and state governments. That’s it. It does nothing else.

In order for something to be unconstitutional, it must counteract some part of the constitution. That is the sum and the whole of the meaning of the word.

 

Has anyone read it lately? Yes? No? Maybe? For those who said no or maybe, it does not contain any clause, article, statement or resolution regarding gay marriage, abortion, the death penalty, or the war on drugs. It does not establish any religion or system of religious beliefs as superior or intrinsic to the governance of the United States.

In fact, take a moment and look at the First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

See that bit about “no law respecting an establishment of religion”? That doesn’t mean anything beyond ensuring the government can’t elevate or discriminate against a religion. Period.

So to everyone who has been telling me for months now that we should have “constitutional values,” or that the Constitution is the master law, or that individuals not working directly for the government can do anything unconstitutional — no, because it’s a document that sets up a government.

But if you must find a morality in the Constitution, go read Article I, Section 8:

“The Congress shall have Power … [t]o define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations … ”

There. The constitution clearly says that if you’re a pirate, Congress can come after you with lawyers. So read your friggin’ Constitution and don’t be a pirate.

—Jeremy Cloud

Community Writer

To contact Jeremy Cloud, email communitywriter@occc.edu.

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