What I mean is: will it become threatened or changed in a way which makes it weaker by people whom don’t have the best interests of the U.S. or the world at heart?
Look at the current political climate in the USA, and you’ll understand more context for why I am asking this.
The Constitution has already been greatly undermined, perhaps mortally wounded, by multiple Supreme Court rulings which have rendered its intended control over government a near nullity. As Madison and others proclaimed multiple times and in multiple ways, the Constitution provided limited and enumerated powers to the federal government, leaving the vast majority of power with the states. This has become flip-flopped in the modern era to where the federal government now enjoys the majority of power and the states have become vastly subservient.
U.S. v Butler (1936) and Helvering v Davis (1937) gave the Congress the legal authority to spend money on any thing supporting the “general welfare,” as Congress defined it! No longer would the phrase “general welfare” be a limitation on the spending associated with the enumerated powers, as Madison had insisted. From that point on the phrase “general welfare” would be an additional grant of power.
The initial Constitution also provided for separation of powers; today—not so much. Thanks to Mistretta v U.S. (1989) the Congress is now allowed to delegate its legislative power to the Executive Branch. Congress, our elected representatives, no longer write the laws; all they write are broad policy guidelines and the Executive agencies are allowed to “fill in the details” by promulgating “rules” with the force of law. Coupled with the expansive opinion of what comprises “interstate” commerce resulting from Wickard v Filburn, this now gives the federal government the legal authority to regulate any aspect of any business, regardless of whether that business is involved in commerce across state lines.
With the War Powers Act of 1973 and subsequent Authorization for the Use of Military Force, Congress delegated much of its war-making power to the Commander in Chief. Now the President can lob cruise missiles into any country he chooses without having to first get Congress to declare we are at war with that country.
I could go on, but you get the picture: the Constitution is a mere shadow of its former self. It no longer controls and limits the federal government. Today, “the federal government, yes, can do most anything in this country.” (former Rep. Peter Stark, D-CA)
Once the American people wake up to the fact that their beloved Constitution has been shot full of holes they will face the choice of either working to repair the damage or chuck the whole thing and start over.
Repairing the damage can by pursued through an Article V convention (since Congress shows no inclination of forwarding proposed amendments to the states for ratification, having not done so in 45 years). But many groups and individual are fighting tooth and nail against proposals for such a convention, arguing that the existing Constitution will somehow be “shredded” or replaced in such a convention (without bothering to explain exactly how this might happen).
Why these groups and individuals want to retain the Constitution in its present form is beyond me. Of course, the Court could proceed to undo the damage their previous rulings have caused, but this requires they be presented with a suitable “case or controversy” that allow them to re-examine the previous cases. Not going to happen.
So we will plod along, with Congress under no compulsion to balance their budget, spending money created out of thin air on whatever they want, continuing to raise the debt limit, adding untold trillions to our national obligation, until the whole house of card comes crashing down. Then the people will demand a new Constitution because the old one will clearly have “failed us.” Obviously, the reverse is true, we will have failed the Constitution, failed to study and understand it, failed to teach it properly to our kids, failed to keep its limiting powers intact, in short—failed to honor it.
Of course, our view of the purpose of government has changed over the years, thanks to a hundred years of public education whose curriculum has been controlled progressives. Instead of government merely being the security for our rights, as Jefferson proclaimed, we now view government as the provider of our wants and needs.
The Constitution could endure, but likely won’t much longer, and its failure will be on us.
Gary Porter is Executive Director of the Constitution Leadership Initiative, Inc., a project to inform Americans about the Founder’s view of their Constitution. Comments on this essay and ideas for future essays should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.