Archive for Thursday, September 15, 2005

Constitution still worth celebrating

September 15, 2005

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Those who wonder about the power and promise of the U.S. Constitution need look no farther than the document's preamble. The promises it contains are the cornerstone of our nation. Its power is in its ability to endure.

Almost 218 years after its adoption, the Constitution continues to be revered, studied, dissected and debated as to what the intent of "the framers."

The 55 men who met in secret on Sept. 17, 1787, couldn't have known their attempt to "form a more perfect Union" still would be the law of the land in 2005. How to interpret the law of the land today, though, is just as perplexing and varied as it was in the early days of the republic.

That the Constitution is a living, breathing document cannot be disputed. The debates that took place as the 13 states considered ratifying the Constitution were heated. And there has been little cooling in the debate about just what exactly the Constitution says.

Look at the current events taking place in Washington, D.C., where John Roberts is facing confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Questions about the Constitution's guarantees - specific or implied - fill the hearings. Senators want to know the view of President Bush's nominee for chief justice of the United States on any number of issues: privacy rights, voting rights, legislating from the bench, property rights, and on and on.

Our favorite line from the hearings so far was when the nominee was asked about the balance of power between the courts and the Congress. Roberts said the Supreme Court was not the taskmaster of Congress. "The Constitution is the court's taskmaster, and it's Congress' taskmaster as well," he said.

We often find fault with rulings from the Supreme Court and/or lower courts. It's bound to happen. But as the nation gets ready to mark Constitution Day on Saturday, it's reassuring to know the Blessings of Liberty that have been secured for ourselves. It's even more reassuring to know that those on either side of the debate over Roberts' nomination want to secure the blessings for our Posterity.

On Saturday, if only for a moment, take time to celebrate our Constitution.

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