2005: Look Down to Look Ahead
By Virginia C. Armstrong, Ph.D., National Chairman
As we look AHEAD at 2005, we need to look DOWN-at our foundations. An extraordinary array of constitutional/judicial issues faces us in this new year: a greatly increased probability of one or more vacancies on the Supreme Court; Senate Democrat-led filibusters of appellate court nominees; the appointment of a new Solicitor General; the return of court-curbing legislation in Congress, and a laundry list of issues before the U. S. Supreme Court (from the Ten Commandments cases soon to be heard and the Roe v. Wade abortion decision soon to be filed before the Supremes). In the face of these momentous challenges, we need to remember, and fully anchor ourselves in, the foundations upon which our constitutional republic was laid and from which it has grown to greatness. Major principles of that foundation include the following.
- The Constitution is, and must be, by definition, the "supreme, fundamental, paramount, permanent" law of the land. No court decision, statutory law, or other form of "law" is either equal to, or superior to, the Constitution.
- The basic purpose of our Constitution, as of all constitutions, is to provide the stability necessary for our legal system to survive and prosper. Additionally, the Preamble lists six specific Constitutional purposes, which balance liberty with the common good.
- The provisions of our Constitution have a fixed meaning. This meaning can, and must, be determined by careful, objective study of the express language of the text, the context of the provision being interpreted and of the entire document, the intent of the Framers, and the world view in which the Constitution was embedded by its Framers.
- The Constitution, properly interpreted, can express the values of only one world view. It cannot reflect a "pluralism" or "diversity" of world views.
- The world view in which the Constitution is embedded is the Judeo-Christian world view. The Constitution's principles and purposes are defined and prioritized by the Judeo-Christian value system. The Constitution cannot survive if it is ripped from its Judeo-Christian moorings.
- The Constitution embodies a multiplicity of distinct principles to guide our legal system and our culture. These principles include popular sovereignty with representative government, life, liberty, the rule of law, due process of law, equal protection of the laws, and private property/free enterprise. These principles are to be secured by structural principles including federalism and the separation of powers.
- Federal judges have neither the authority nor the competence to rewrite the Constitution by altering its basic meaning. Federal judges are governed by the Constitution. They are required to respect their boundaries and give full application to the consent of the governed, to other branches of the national government, to state governments, and to other societal institutions.
We, America's Twenty-First Century Constitutionalists, must affirm these principles as both our foundation and the objects for which we are fighting in America's Culture War. We call upon all Americans who love our constitutional republic to understand clearly, and support completely, these principles. Thus may we fight together to reclaim our culture, our Constitution, and our courts!