Monday, July 5, 2010

Jefferson on the Foundation of the Constitution

One of the core founders offers a thought for Independence Day.
I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That "all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people."

To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.

Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers.

Opinion on Creating a National Bank, 1791
In short, Jefferson regarded the now sadly neglected 10th Amendment as a bedrock principle of the new republican government, and a vital bulwark to keep it strictly limited. High time to make up for that neglect.

[For extensive commentary on the 10th, see Dr. Randy Barnett's fine book, Restoring the Lost Constitution.]

[Hat tip: Robert Tracinski, TIA Daily, July 4, courtesy of Ted Keer.]


Ted Keer said...

You know, Jeff, I read Robert Tracinski's "Jefferson's Tea Party Speech" yesterday and felt so uplifted.

Then today the first thing I saw in the news was the head of NASA saying: "When I became the NASA administrator -- or before I became the NASA administrator -- [Obama] charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering,"

Jefferson agonized over the Louisiana purchase, but he did it, and he sent out Lewis and Clark to explore that frontier. Obama has defunded the moon mission, and now, rather than stand up to the modern-day Barbary pirates, he has sent Lewis and Clark on a mission to make them feel good about themselves.

I am left wordless.

-Ted Keer

Jeff Perren said...

Yes, Ted, Charles Bolden's words are revolting. So, let me remind you of some more fitted for our present circumstances:

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the
fatigues of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine

Courage, my friend. For, "Courage conquers all things." Ovid

Ken said...

Restoring the Lost Constitution is indeed masterful. Every time I hear someone say things would be hunky dory if we could just get Judge Inkblot on the Supreme Court (Robert Bork: intellectually or morally unqualified? We report, you decide), I think of Barnett. I'd much prefer Barnett for the job, or Janice Rogers Brown if one insists on a sitting judge.

Jeff Perren said...

I agree with you about Brown, Ken. I expect her to be nominated right about the time the country becomes free again and she's not so badly needed.

By the way, if you really want to get the shivers about the Supreme Court, read The Dirty Dozen by Levy and Mellor. (Or, you might try the much older, 1983 Sweet Land of Liberty by Henry Mark Holzer.)