01.01.2009 0

The Letter of the Law

  • On: 01/23/2009 10:12:42
  • In: Barack Obama
  • By William Warren

    It’s unlikely to become a lasting trend within the Obama Administration. But, it is reassuring to see the Constitution being taken seriously by the 44th President—at least his first day on the job.

    In case one missed the inauguration on Tuesday—also unlikely given the 37.8 million people who tuned in for the mainstream media affaire de coeur—Chief Justice John Roberts and Barack Obama, to a lesser extent, botched the Presidential Oath of Office. Even though a nervous Obama jumped the gun and cut off the Chief Justice early in the process, the latter misstated the oath, awkwardly putting the word “faithfully” out of sequential order.

    Now, such a misstep would be easy to brush aside, especially considering that the new President did indeed finish the oath and every manner of celebration ensued. Moreover, many modern politicians—especially those of liberal ilk—regard the Constitution as a “living, breathing” document anyway, and therefore were likely relieved to hear a bold new interpretation.

    Nevertheless, Barack Obama, to his credit, did retake the oath—word for word and in the proper order—Wednesday night in the White House. According to White House counsel Greg Craig, the oath was re-administered “out of an abundance of caution.”

    The so-called “abundance of caution” could be interpreted one of two ways: Either President Obama was legitimately concerned about doing the right thing and staying true to the nation’s founding document. Or the oath was retaken out of fear of possible legal challenge to the legitimacy of his presidency and the validity of his acts as President.

    Either way, many Americans deeply appreciate that the oath was re-administered and view the great lengths to which the Obama Administration went to get it right as a victory for constitutionally limited government. Although Mr. Obama may not have acted out his abundant reverence for the document, it is clear he acknowledges that such a reverence still exists.

    The profundity of the nation’s founding document cannot—and never should be—understated. For over 200 years, the Constitution has provided the tried-and-true political framework of a nation that has stood the test of time. It is largely owing to a traditional strict adherence to “original intent” that the political system of the United States of America is one of the longest and most successful in history—and the envy of the world.

    Even down to the nitty gritty details of how to swear in elected leaders, the collection of articles and amendments outlines the proper limits of power on the elected government of the United States. It creates the perfect balance between tyranny and chaos; a “more perfect union,” as it were.

    Regrettably, however, the next four years do not bode well for the strict constructionist view that reveres the Constitution as written and painstakingly amended. Most of the top-tier items on President Obama’s agenda stray well outside the enumerated powers specifically granted to the federal government by the Constitution.

    Whether it’s nationally mandated carbon caps, socialized medicine, union card-check violations of the secret ballot, or a vast new federal hegemony over education, Barack Obama appears to have grand plans for the federal government. He—like so many before him—clearly ignores the fact that the 10th Amendment spells out in simple, yet sublime, terms:

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    Based on his campaign rhetoric, political appointments, and inaugural address, it is doubtful Mr. Obama sees many powers as “reserved to the states.” Even now, before the new President’s Administration has taken full effect, many actions of the Big Government going back nearly eight decades have veered far from the original intentions of the Founding Fathers. And states’ rights have been routinely wronged. And Mr. Obama seems highly unlikely to reverse that untoward trend.

    Although he may be a strict constructionist when it comes to swearing an oath, it unfortunately ends there for the 44th President.

    Interpreting the Constitution as “Living and Breathing”, it is likely Barack Obama will oversee a living, breathing, and ever-expanding central government as well—one that sucks the wind out of individual liberty and leaves free enterprise gasping for air.

    William Warren is a contributing editor of ALG News Bureau.

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