Friday, February 29, 2008

Theft of the Constitution

From a recovering attorney to a law professor:

Our recent exchange inspired or, at least, moved me to go back to, and read the Federalist Papers as well as the record of the debates about the Constitution and its adoption. Doing that is a great process and one that is inspiring and that we all would do well to repeat periodically, probably at least annually.

What we have forgotten is that the founders deliberately wrote the Constitution in plain language, intending it to be understood by ordinary citizens. And, in fact, it was for the better part of the century that followed its adoption. It not only was understood but it also was celebrated . . . and the celebrations were joyous as can be seen from numerous published accounts of Fourth of July speeches up to the Civil War period and even, for a time, in the years that followed that war.

So great was the respect for the Constitution that it took all that time for the legal profession to complicate it with tortuous interpretations that enabled lawyers and judges to stealthily steal it a bit at a time from the common people upon whom the founders had bestowed it. The process now is well nigh complete. One rarely hears anything about the Constitution from ordinary citizens. They have been hoodwinked into surrendering their birthright to it to the self ordained elite priesthood that the legal profession has become. And as a profession we have much for which to answer.

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