September 17th is the day that we reserve for honoring our Constitution. The day was codified in 1917 when many people rightly feared that the country was losing its appreciation for its merits.
Did you celebrate the day last Saturday? I’m afraid that many people did not. This is surely not something that is taught in schools today. Just like civics classes have long been absent from our nation’s schools, education about our Constitution is also sorely lacking. Yet, it should be the paramount thing that we are teaching our youth. Why? Because the freedom protected by the Constitution is the key to a free and happy life.
We need to step back in time. About 250 years ago. A much simpler time in many ways. There were no cars, no paved roads, no computers, no internet, certainly no cell phones – in fact there were no telephones at all. Communication mainly happened by people meeting face-to-face and talking to one another.
Some people say that our Founding Fathers predicted it all… that they knew the government would one day spin out of control and become dictatorial. I say, it wasn’t a prediction, but a result of infliction.
The founding generation came from tyranny. They knew exactly what it was like to suffer under a monarch, one-man rule with an obedient, aristocratic Parliament, where edicts and whims of one person or a select few would upturn lives, cause pain and suffering, and in some cases, result in death.
They knew what it was like to petition the King, and have their requests fall on deaf ears. They knew what it was like to work hard to provide for their families, have to pay taxes on their goods and lands, and then watch the “authorities” squander their hard-earned earnings on things that would never benefit them, and in some cases would outright hurt them. Their famous cry became, “No taxation without representation!”
And so, they broke free. They fought a bloody revolutionary war, it was gruesome and all-encompassing. Ultimately, they won their freedom, and their historic stand against tyranny was enshrined in our Declaration of Independence. The Articles of Confederation came next and it left government almost entirely to the colonies. Later some among them crafted the Constitution, and they structured it such that, if followed, it would protect generations to come from authoritarian rule. It included a Bill of Rights to make the point perfectly clear what government could not do.
The Constitution was Written to Keep the Government in Check
Something that I often explain when I am giving a speech or a presentation is that our Founding Fathers wrote our Constitution to enshrine our rights, and then they built the government to protect those rights. The government is not supposed to control us. We are supposed to control the government. We do that through suffrage (ie voting). It was supposed to make government always responsive to the people. In New York, suffrage is so sacred, our state constitution lists it second only to our Bill of Rights.
There are a couple of other key points to recognize:
- The states created the federal government. The federal government did not create the states.
- Any power not specifically endowed upon the federal government in the Constitution is reserved for the people or the states.
- The Constitution lays out our 3 co-equal branches of government and their enumerated powers (Legislative Branch, Judicial Branch, Executive Branch). The checks and balances set forth in our Constitution are there to prevent any one branch from becoming too powerful. This is the Separation of Powers doctrine. When one branch goes astray, it’s up to the other branches to put that branch back in its place.
That is exactly what we did with our recent win in our quarantine camp lawsuit here in New York! The Executive Branch (Governor Hochul and her Department of Health) severely breached the Separation of Powers doctrine and made a regulation that conflicted with a New York State law, and with the constitution. So I sued Governor Hochul and her DOH for their unconstitutional Isolation and Quarantine Procedures regulation which allowed the DOH lock up or lock down New Yorkers for an indefinite amount of time, without any proof you were actually sick, with no way to get out once they locked you up.
Here we are, almost 250 years later, and in many ways we are living under tyranny. We have Executive branches across the nation (and at the federal level) consistently breaching separation of powers (the cornerstone of our free society). When one branch of government usurps the power of the other branch(es), that is tyranny. And it is We the People who suffer under tyranny.
It is usurpation of power. Also known as breach of separation of powers. Some call it government overreach. Whichever tag you use, it gets us to the same place: our Constitution is under attack. As a result, attorneys like me have to then bring lawsuits against the Executive branches to get the Judicial branches to put the Executives back into their lane.
A few examples of late:
- Our quarantine camp lawsuit victory against Governor Hochul’s illegal quarantine regulation which was struck down as unconstitutional… www.UnitingNYS.com/lawsuit
- Biden’s EPA (power plant emissions limitations) regulation struck down as unconstitutional…
- Biden’s OSHA (vaxx or mask/test) regulation struck down as unconstitutional…
- Biden’s CDC (eviction moratorium) struck down as unconstitutional…
The list goes on. These are cases where the Constitution won; which is wonderful of course. However, this model is not sustainable. Meaning, we can’t just keep bringing lawsuits to put the overreaching, totalitarian Executives back in their lanes. Lawsuits take time. They take money. They take resources. They require lawyers willing to go against the grain to take up the fight.
The lawsuits aren’t easy because all of the above-noted ingredients are rare commodities, especially funding. I am handling our quarantine camp lawsuit (which Governor Hochul plans to appeal) pro bono, which means I am doing it for free. But that is not sustainable either.
Our Constitution is only as good as the people it protects
If the politicians don’t uphold the Constitution, then it becomes useless. If the people don’t require the politicians follow the Constitution, it is useless.
The Constitution must be upheld. Public servants are supposed to swear an oath to uphold the Constitution when they take office. Ask yourself this: “Are my representatives (State and federal), upholding the Constitution? Or are they violating my rights and freedoms, and making my life more difficult and less pleasurable?”
Republished from the author’s Substack.
Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author.