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September 2008
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We the People of the United States, to secure the Blessings of Liberty

Happy Constitution Day!
It’s the 221st Anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution — a document that gives specific limited delineated powers to the government, while retaining the rest for the people.
In 221 years, of course, much has changed. Most people think that English, the language we speak now, is the language that they used back then. If that were so, just about anybody could read the Constitution as it was originally written. Wouldn’t that be something!
But today, we depend on a body called the Supreme Court that painstakingly translates the old text into language for today.
For example, when you read the Constitution in its original language, it says that the federal government has the power:

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Now you might think that it means that the federal government has the authority to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the indian tribes…
But in fact that phrase, when translated, specifically means that the federal government is given the full authority to arrest people who grow a plant in their back yard for their own use, even if they have received permission from their state government to grow and use the plant.
Isn’t it good that we have the Supreme Court Translation Device so we can know what the Constitution says?
It gets particularly useful in the Bill of Rights section.
For example: “Congress shall make no law…” means “Congress shall make some laws…”
and “shall not be violated” means “shall be violated if the government says it has a good reason.”
So be careful when you read the Constitution. You could accidentally believe that you have the right to be secure in your person against unreasonable searches and seizures, and wouldn’t that be just silly?
Happy Constitution Day!
P.S. Don’t forget to have your spare bedroom ready. If peace breaks out in Iraq, you need to be prepared to put up the soldier who will be assigned to you.
Update: More here

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