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Diminishing the Constitution

Friday, February 10, 2012

It is certainly no surprise for gun owners to see the New York Times run a story belittling the United States Constitution. After all, the Times has worked for decades to devalue our founding document.

“[I]ts influence is waning,” opines the Times. It is “terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights.” The paper faults the Constitution for being difficult to amend and reflective of the times in which it was written. While the Times does not go so far as to claim the U.S. Constitution has been bad for America, it does lament that it is of “little current use to, say, a new African nation.”

 But it was a much bigger shock when the Times reported in the same story that Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a sitting associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and grande dame of the Court’s liberal voting bloc, shares the Times’ dim view of the Constitution. Ginsburg said “I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012.”  Her personal recommendations would instead include “the South African Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the European Convention on Human Rights.”

None of this should come as a surprise. One wonders, for example, if Justice Ginsburg even looks to the United States Constitution when interpreting it in 2012. Having had only limited success in getting the courts to creatively re-imagine the Constitution to suit their individual tastes, America’s legal, academic, and media elites are now determined to minimize what is left of the founding charter’s original meaning and intent by making unflattering comparisons to “sexier,” more expansive documents that empower state bureaucracies, undermine individual rights, and micromanage citizens’ day-to-day lives.

Those who hold this view would be happy see our Constitution abandoned in favor of a more “modern” document that grants “rights” such as health care, housing and employment, while eliminating protections for the right to keep and bear arms and restrictions on the powers of the central government.  What these visionaries see as deficiencies in our Constitution are exactly the things that make it work so well. Its purpose is to guarantee fundamental rights and to protect liberty by restricting government power.

While it is lamentable that the Times cannot see the greatness of our Constitution, it is far more troubling that Justice Ginsburg cannot. And most troubling of all is the possibility that if elected to a second term, President Obama could appoint even more justices who share Justice Ginsburg’s views.



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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.