OUR FOUNDING DOCUMENT: STABLE OR FLUID?
There has been a great debate roiling in America for more than a century: whether or not the Constitution is carved in stone or a “living document.”
Conservatives wish to govern in accordance with the Constitution and the “original intent” of those who crafted the document. I would agree with this, as obviously would the founders.
In 2006 Todd Gaziono of the Heritage Foundation said: “Original intent is the only legitimate means of interpretation under our written Constitution, and all other philosophies are illegitimate.” Mr. Gaziono is, of course, correct.
That same year Elliott Mincberg, the then-vice president of the George Soros ultra lefty group People for the American Way said: “It was the framers’ intent that the Constitution adapt to changing circumstances.” In other words, it’s a living or malleable Constitution. This has been the progressive movement’s mantra from Woodrow Wilson to today.
Most may be surprised that the founders, as well as I, would agree with Mr. Mincberg. The Constitution can indeed be changed to reflect “changing circumstances.”
OK, both sides of the argument can’t be correct, and they’re not. Obviously, the “living Constitution” crowd is wrong. As we all know, when progressives opine about a “living Constitution,” they are not really talking about changing the document itself. They are, of course, speaking of usurping the Constitution by laws and presidential mandates – then merely claiming that what they did is somehow constitutional because some black-robed demigod said so.
As proof, you’ll notice leftists never speak of constitutional amendments – just the sacrosanct “rule of law,” or “law of the land.”
Still, one could consider the Constitution a living document. It can and has been changed or adapted to the times, unlike the 10 Commandments, which were in fact written in stone. The Constitution has been changed or amended 17 times. And this, for statists, is the problem.