The Growth and Reinterpretation of the Constitution

                                                     Class Number 4
                                                     By Ken Williams

                                                                       Copyright (c) 2007
All rights reserved

          In this session we are going to fast forward.  The first time the U.S. Supreme Court declared a law passed by Congress and signed by the President to be unconstitutional, do you have any idea what happened?  Under the Constitution, the Supreme Court cannot trump the Legislative Branch.  It has no right to declare a law enacted by Congress and signed by the President to be unconstitutional.  The first time the Supreme Court declared an act of Congress to be unconstitutional, the very next day Congress began impeachment proceedings against all of the justices who had sided with the majority of the Court.  The result was that the Supreme Court withdrew its decision.  However, today, the Supreme Court goes back to that incident as a precedent that established their right to control Congress by declaring laws passed by the Legislative Branch to be unconstitutional, no matter what the Constitution said.  The Supreme Court now, legally, but unconstitutionally, has control over the Legislative Branch (Congress).

          Do you have any idea what happened the first time the U.S. Supreme Court declared an act of the Executive Branch (the President) to be unconstitutional?  The president was James Madison.  Madison's predecessor had made a governmental appointment prior to leaving office; however, that appointee had never been installed in office before the former president's term expired.  Madison refused to implement the appointment.  The Supreme Court found that Madison must put the appointee into office.  What happened?  President Madison refused to put the appointee into office, ignoring the ruling of the Supreme Court, because the Court, under the Constitution, had no authority over the Executive Branch of government (equal but separate).  Despite Madison's snubbing of the Court, the Supreme Court now looks back to that ruling as a precedent giving it authority over the Executive Branch, even though the Constitution prohibits it.

          With these two actions, the Supreme Court had essentially set itself up as the ruling body of the United States, asserting its power over both the Legislative and the Executive bodies, and destroying the constitutional concept of "equal but separate."  But that was still not enough for the Court.

          The next step was to try to take over control of the states.  There are only two statements in the Constitution which apply to the states.  The first is that every state must be organized, as the federal government is, as a republic and not a democracy.  The second is that in elections for federal (and only federal) positions, everyone must have an equal vote with all other citizens of the United States.  That is all, period!  But the Court was not satisfied with control over the federal government.  They wanted to control the states as well.  consider a few rulings, which by any literal interpretation of the Constitution, the Supreme Court should have refused to hear, because they are not covered in the Constitution; and anything not given to the federal government in the Constitution is off limits to the federal government:
1. Most states were set up just like the federal government with the legislative house apportioned by population, and the other based on georgaphy (in most cases one legislator from each county, called the State Senate).  The Supreme Court ruled that to be unconstitutional because it gave voters in small counties a greater voice than those in big cities.  But under the Constitution, the Supreme Court had no right to even hear that case.  It was outside the realm of its authority: first, because the Constitution does not give the federal government the right to control anything that is confined within a state's borders; second, because the federal government only has jurisdiction over elections for federal office, according to the Constitution; and third, because the only jurisdiction the federal government has over the organizaton of state government is that it must be set up as a republic as is the federal government.
2. What about the abortion ruling?  Before the Supreme Court ruling, the matter of abortion was a state issue.  Some states allowed it; some didn't.  Under the Constitution, the Supreme Court had no right to even hear a case that would trump state law and state operations.
3. What about same sex marriages?  A federal judge in California has ruled that the will of the people in approving Proposition 8 was unconstitutional.  That ruling will now travel through the federal court system until it is heard by the Supreme Court.  However, under the Constitution, no federal court even has the right to hear such a case.  It is a state matter.  It has to do with a state constitution over which the federal government has no control.
We could go on and on and on.  The U.S. Supreme Court has taken over control of the individual states, in violation of the Constitution that the Court has sworn to uphold.

          How did the Court take the right to control states in violation of the Constitution?  There surely had to be some rationalization for it.  There is, of course.  In 1940 there was an issue between a union and a company.  The Court had no right to hear the case because it was an internal controversy within a state's borders.  However, the Supreme Court pointed to three amendments to the Constitution which had been added following the Civil War.  The first required slaves to be freed in all of the slave states.  Because the former slave states freed the slaves, but refused to grant them citizenship, the second of the three amendments granted citizenship to anyone born in the United States.  That included virtually all of the former slaves.  Then, because the slave states granted the former slaves citiznship, but refused to allow them to vote, the third of the three amendments granted voting rights to the former slaves.  In the 1940 decision, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time, that because those three amendments applied to the individual states, therefore everything in the federal Constituton also applied to the states.

          How did this affect the states?  The Court said that everytime the Constitution said that Congress should or should not do something, that the founding fathers did not only mean Congress; they also meant your state legislature, your county commission, your city council, your school board, your library board, your water and sewer commission and every other governmental entity included.  The Court completely rewrote the Constitution, giving it virtualy complete control over every form of governmental function from a legislative body to a small committee.  In one decision, the Supreme Court did exactly what the framers of the Consitution said the federal government could never do.  In so doing, the U.S. Supreme Court had taken over everything in the country, in violation of the Constitution they had sworn to uphold.

          All of what has happened comes down to two words: "liberal" and "conservative."  We hear those words frequently, but few know what they really mean.  We are told that liberals support "tax and spend" policies; that they support bigger and bigger government, etc.  Conservatives are portrayed as wanting smaller government, lower taxes, and are sometimes pictured as reactionaries.  While these may or may not be outward appearances of liberals and conservatives, they do not get to the root of their political foundations.

          By definition, conservatives believe that the Constitution should be interpreted literally for what the words mean; and by what the framers of the Constitution meant when they wrote it.  They left us with more than 35,000 written documents explaining in detail what they meant by each phrase they place in the Constitution.  When cases come before the Supreme Court, those should be the only considerations; first to determine whether or not the case is a federal case, and then in handing down the opinion; both based on a literal interpretation of the Constitution.

          By definition, liberals believe that the Constitution is a "living document" (you will sometimes hear them using that term) which has grown with the country, and will continue to grow as our society changes.  It is used as a guideline for government based on the continuing growth of society particularly in the area of morality.  Since words can mean anything you want to make them mean, the understanding of what the Constitution means changes with society and its understanding of what it wants and needs.  As a result, much of the Constitution now is understood to be compltely different than intended by the founding fathers, and in some cases has been so turned around as to mean the exact opposite of what the framers meant when they wrote it.

          What does this mean for you and me individually.  We speak of the guarantees of the Constitution.  There are no guarantees!  The founding fathers provided for amendments to the Constitution when necessary.  However, we have amended the Constitution simply by changing its interpretation.  Therefore there are no guarantees!  At any time the Supreme Court can reinterpret the Constitution any way they like.  And with the appointment of more and more liberal justices, that reinterpretation is likely.

          The Supreme court claims to make its decisions based on what the Constitution says and what the founding fathers meant.  But most all of the Count's decisions also include previous Supreme Court decisions (precedent, which can be, and often are, opposites from each other), even international law (which should have nothing to do with an opinion), and more recently they have even claimed their own reasoning as the basis for some decisions.  There is more than one Supreme Court decision which listed no basis in the Constitution and no basis in precdeent; only common sense.  The bad part of that is that those decision have now become a basis for prededent in future decisions, as they change the meaning of the Constitution.

          Let's conclude this session by taking one portion of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, and follow it through from what was originally meant, to the Court's changing it to mean the exact opposite.

          Undoubtedly you have heard the term "separation of church and state."  Let me ask you where I might go to find that term in an official government document.  You say I should look at the Constitution?  I could look for the rest of my life and not find those words or anything close to it.  The first time that term appeared officially was in 1947 when the U.S. Supreme Court used it in a majority opinion, completely reversing its meaning from what it had meant in common usage for over 500 years.

          The idea of "separation of church and state" is not something unique to America.  In fact it was a Christian term which predated the Reformation by more than 200 years.  What we think of as the Christian Reformation actually began more than 200 years before Martin Luther, when it was confined within the Roman Catholic Church.  The call from many church leaders was to get the government out of the church, and get the church back to the Bible.  From the time of Constantine, when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, government had made its stamp on the practice and the theology of the church, taking the church farther and farther away from the Bible and ever more beholden to the government.  The cry of those who wanted to return to true biblical Christianity was, "Separation of Church and State;" get the government out of the church, so the church can operate freely in society.  The phrase had nothing to do with getting the church out of every day society, as it does today.  It had only to do with getting the government out of the church.

          Let's fast forward to the late 1700's and the Constitutional Convention.  The states were fearful of a federal government which would invade their lives, and their state's autonomy.  The Federalist Papers guaranteed the people of the United States that the federal government would never interfere with the rights of the indvidual states and their citizens.  Of course, that guarantee was voided when the Supreme Court took over authority of almost everything in its 1940 decision.  There were calls for guarantees of personal rights on a federal level.  Without those guarantees many states said they would not ratify the Constitution.  With the promise of the "Bill of Rights," the Constitution was ratified.  The Bill of Rights includes the first ten amendments to the Constitution.  This issue of separation of church and state comes up in the very first amendment.

          The first amendment reads this way: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  The first three phrases of this amendment are part of this discussion on the separation of church and state, and the history of how it has come to be interpreted today.

          The first phrase says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."  First, notice that this is a directive to "Congress" and only to Congress.  Today the Supreme Court says that this also includes your local school board, city cuncil, state legislature and any governmental body (even committees).  Second, it states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."  The discussion at the Constitutional Convention was about which church should be the national church.  We discussed this earlier.  If you were to read the numerous proposals for this amendment, and the discussion among the founding fathers, it is quite apparent that this amendment prohibits Congress from ever establishing a national church (a denomination) - and that is all it prohibits.  At one point the framers of the Constitution even proposed a five denomination coalition to form the national church.  The Baptists in Rhode Island, one of the proposed five, cited "the sepration of church and state," refusing to allow the government in any way to be involved with their church and to ever exercise any control over it (at the time that was the meaning of the phrase).  The result: an amendment that forbad Congress from ever declaring a national church.  Third, this amendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."  The federal courts have used this phrase to deny the right of high school students from praying or using the name of God or Jesus in their graduation ceremonies.  But this phrase says "make no law."  Where is the law that Congress passed requiring the students to pray or use the name of God or Jesus?  And wait till you see the extent to which this has been carried.

          The second phrase says, "...or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."  This phrase forbids the federal government from ever interfering with any religious activities, whether inside the church building or outside in society, or even within the government operations themselves.  The federal govenment is prohibited from telling anyone they cannot pray at a commencement exercise, or at a city council meeting for two reasons:  first, because the federal government cannot have any control over anything religious within the borders of the country; and second, because the federal government, under the Constitution has no control over anything localized within the borders of a state, including education, which was left entirely to the individual states by the founding fathers.

          The third phrase says, "...or abridging the freedom of speech..."  The federal government has no right to tell me I cannot pray or quote the Bible at a city council meeting, in a school assembly program; at a high school graduation ceremony, or sporting event; or any other public activity.  To tell me I cannot pray or quote the Bible at certain activities is to abridge my freedom of speech and relegate me to a second class citizen.

          Now, having looked at the First Amendment itself, let's look at what happened.  The first thing that happened was red flags raised by the Rhode Island Baptists.  They were fearful of the first phrase, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."  They were afraid that at some time in the future that mention could be used against them to allow the federal government to intefere in their church practices.  They wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson airing their fears, stating that it appeared to them that this implied that the government had the power to regulate religious expression.  They believed that freedom of religion was a God-granted, inalienable right, and that the government should be powerless to restrain the free expression of religion in any arena.  Thomas Jefferson had also been critical of a number of the proposed amendments.  But, while he would have liked the subject to have been skipped altogether, he was far more comfortable with the version of the amendment that had been accepted than with any of the other proposals.  Jefferson responded January 1st, 1802, "Freedom of religion is your God-given, inalienable right and would not be meddled with by government."  He wrote that "there is a wall of separation between church and state that will prevent the government from interfering with or hindering in any way any religious acivity."  Did you notice that the Rhode Island Baptists and Thomas Jerrerson still understood the original meaning of the term "separation of church and state?"  It had no effect on the church; it only banned the government from imposing any conditions on religious practice in any arena.  And that remained the understanding of the term through most of our history.

          The subject came up from time to time.  In 1844, in the case Vidal vs. Girard, a French philanthropist donated a large sum of money to the Girard School operate by the City of Philadelphia, on the condition that the school must be operated on the secular French Revolution philosophy that required an absence of religion.  He asserted that morality could be learned apart from the Bible, and required that no Christian minister could set foot on the campus.  The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court because it involved a foreign national.  The Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision.  It says, "Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament...be read and taught as a divine reveltion in the school - its general precepts expounded...and its glorious principles of morality inculcated?  ...where can the purist principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?"

          In 1892, in a case of the Church of the Holy Trinity vs. the United States, the Supreme Court opined, "No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, because this is a religious people...this is a Christian nation."  The opinion was only 16 pages long, but it quoted from 87 pecedents proving that the United States is a Christian nation.

          In another case the same year, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled, "There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning.  They affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation...this is a Christian nation."

          There are over 300 court case decisions which declare that the United States is a Christian nation...up until recently.  In 1947 (Emerson vs. the Board of Education), with one fell swoop, the Supreme Court discounted all of the more than 300 precedents, took the term "separation of church and state" out of context, and completely changed its meaning to mean exactly the opposite of what it had meant for more than 500 years.  They did that with only a one vote margin, and with one justice signing on to the decision which he had never read.  The Supreme Court adopted (legislated) a new policy.  No longer would religion be protected from the government as it had since the Constitution had been ratified.  The policy now would be to separate religion from the public square (to regulate religious activity).  One of the Supreme Court Justices even had the audacity to say that the framers and signers of the Constitution either didn't understand the Constitution which they had written, or they were hypocrites and ignored what they knew was wrong.

          Then in 1962 (Eagle vs. Vitale) the Court separated Christian principles from education.  They did this by changing the definition of the word "church" to no longer mean a religious church organization, but now it meant any religious activity performed in public.  But the 1962 case involving prayer and Bible reading in school was only the beginning.  In 1971 the Court ruled that any public religious expression must be for a secular purpose.  If you could not prove that (and how could anyone prove that?) the religious expression was prohibited.  In 1985 the Supreme Court added a new test.  They said that if it looks like government is even friendly toward religion that would be unconstitutional.  That is a far cry from the founders' comments regarding the government encouraging religion but not regulating it in any way.  But the most absurd test of all came from the Court in 1992.  It was called "The Outsiders Test."  The Court wrote that if anyone from a religious minority were to observe someone doing a religious activity that makes that individual "feel like an outsider," we'll make them stop.  Since 1992, virtually all religious cases that have come before the Supreme Court, in their briefs have included something like this: I was walking along and saw [whatever it was they were complaining about] and "it made me feel like an outsider."

          Regardless of the absurdity of the arguments behind these decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has done four things agaist the citizens of the United States and the Constitution:
1. The Supreme Court has ignored the actual wording of he Constitution.
2. The Supreme Court has set aside more than 300 precedents with its 1947 ruling and legislated a new precedent which all future rulings would cite.
3. The Supreme Court has elevated an eight word phrase from a private letter above the Constitution itself.
4. The Supreme Court has sided with 3% of the population, agains 97%; so now the majority is ruled by the minority.

          Such rulings are also a violation of the "Consent Clause" of the Constitution which protects the majority from the minority.  In simple English that means, the majority rules.  However, the judiciary, in effect says, if the majority is for it, it is unfair to the minority.  The founding fathers set forth povisions so that could never happen; but it has happened.  The Court has found a way around the Constitution.

          Sit down and read the Constitution.  You can do it in half an hour or less.  Instead, we leave it to the media, lawyers and the courts to tell us what the Constitution says and means.  We could not go back to living under a literal interpretation of the Constitution if we wanted to.  There are so many constitutionally suspect services and activities which our governnent provides which we would never give up (one group has estimated that 80% of what the federal government does is unconstitutional by any literal interpretation).  But that is not the big problem.  In order for the federal govenment to provide those services, the courts have had to change their interpretation of the Constitution - literally changing its meaning.  If the courts which have already taken away some of our individual liberties, can do that, what guarantee do we have that they will not, over time, take away others.  The fact is that by redefining (even rewriting) the Constitution (in their opinions), the U.S. Supreme Court has left our citizenship without any guarantees of rights.  By interpreting the Constitution figuratively, as they now do, they can make the Constitution say anything they want to make it say.

          By the way, isn't that exactly what LIBERAL theologians have done with the Bible?  If you interpret the Bible figuratively you can, indeed, make it say anything you want to make it say.  Certainly you have heard that phrase; maybe even used it yourself.  Conservative theologians believe the Bible should be interpreted literally for what the words say as understood by the people to whom it was originally written.  Therefore, you cannot make the Bible say anything you want to make it say.  The only time the Bible is to be taken figuratively is when the Bible itself indicates that a particular story is an illustration or a parable.  So, you see that the term "Liberal" and the term "Conservative" are terms which mean the same thing whether they are used in the political world, or in the religious world.  Our founding fathers intended the Constitution to be understood by the words they wrote, as they meant them when they wrote them in our founding document.  How do we know what they meant?  They explained what they meant in more than 35,000 writings  (14,000 major publications) which they left behind outlining in detail exactly what their intention was.  Of course, those documents are now ignored.

Links for more information...




"Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever."

                       AT THE U.S. CAPITOL BUILDING

A box was placed in the cornerstone of the Capitol Building during the cornerstone laying ceremony.  That box contained a manuscript read by Daniel Webster at that ceremony:

Webster said of the lawmakers, that they were "devoted to...and thankful to God for His preservation of liberty and happiness."  Then he prayed, asking God that this dependence upon and service to God might continue to be the basis for the nation to "endure forever."


                             THE AMERICAN PURPOSE

Very few people today have any idea of the purpose behind the American experiment.  See if you can find the founding purpose for America in the following:

Benjamin Frankilin was the U.S. Ambassador to France.  He was directed to tell the French people, the French politicians and the French resistance about America's Christian revolution and advise them to follow suit.  He told them, "Whoever will introduce into public affairs, the principles of Christianity will change the face of the world."

What happened, instead, was a bloody, godless revolution in which Christians were exterminated at the guillotine just because they were Christians.  What happened in France was said to have been "abhorrent" to Americans, especially since France had been an ally with America.

Abraham Lincoln was not ignorant of the American Purpose.  We remember his Gettysburg Address for its "Four score and seven years ago..." statement.  But Lincoln, in that speech, recounted the reason and purpose behind the United States.  He continued speaking, saying, "To that great task which remains before us, the task of building the Kingsom of God throughout the world.  This was the purpose of those that first came to this shore; for the advancement of the Christian faith."


Essays on our Real American History
By Ken Williams

If you were to read an American history book written before 1930, and compare it to an American history book written in the past 25 years, you would hardly recognize the two as being the history of the same country.  Revisionists have sysematically changed the history of our country as a springboard to changing our society.  They have deleted many of the events of our history, changed the emphasis of others, robbed many of the important figures in our history of their voices, and actually deleted the very purpose and impetus that propelled the United States into greatness.  We want to bring back the truth about our past.

Essay  #1: The Real Story of Columbus
Essay  #2: The Real Story of the Jamestown Settlement
Essay  #3: The Story of the Pilgrims as it Used to Appear in our History
Essay  #4: The French and Indian Wars
                     "A Story Lost to Modern Day History Books"
Essay  #5: The American Revolution
Essay  #6: The Birth of the Constitution of the United States of America
Essay  #7: The Bill of Rights
Essay  #8: The Role of the Church in the Founding of America
Essay  #9: George Washington
Essay #10: The Greatest Depression and the Greatest Revival
Essay #11: Abraham Lincoln
Essay #12: James Garfield
Essay #13: Who Has Hijacked the Government of the United States of 

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