Liberals just don’t like what the Founders did, do they?

Posted by: Phineas on February 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm

**Posted by Phineas

A little while back, I featured Justice Ginsburg opining that the US Constitution really wasn’t a suitable model for the modern age.

Now we have a Washington Post editor wondering if, perhaps, the first Congress got it wrong when it guaranteed the free exercise of religion in the First Amendment:

That‘s what Washington Post editor Melinda Henneberger told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews last night while defending Catholics. Here’s the full quote:

“Maybe the Founders were wrong to guarantee free exercise of religion in the First Amendment but that is what they did and I don’t think we have to choose here.”

And maybe they made a mistake guaranteeing free speech, too; otherwise we’d be able to punish dolts like Henneberger for saying such stupid things. And that whole trial by jury thing; it just gets in the way of government enforcing the law to protect us.

Head, meet wall.

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy spots several problems with Henneberger’s proposition, the foremost being the centrality of freedom of religious expression to the Colonial experience and the foundation of the United States, itself:

First, there is the sheer unreality of it. As someone of Ms. Henneberger’s sophistication must know, the Founders cannot have been wrong to guarantee free exercise of religion. Had they failed to do so, there would have been no nation to found. Free exercise was a deal-breaker for Americans, and the adoption of the Bill of Rights (in which free-exercise was among the core of individual liberties that had to be specified) was a deal breaker for skeptics in several states who believed the Constitution transferred too much power to the federal government.

(Emphasis added.)

In other words, the new HHS rule regarding insurance coverage for contraception and abortifacients at religious institutions is exactly and precisely the kind of tyrannical and oppressive act regarding the free exercise of religion those who argued for a Bill of Rights had in mind, even if it’s presented as a “public good.”

They weren’t wrong, Melinda, they were prescient.

RELATED: Getting back to Justice Ginsburg and the outdated Constitution, historian Steven Hayward figured out why she seemed so enamored of the South African constitution:

The South African constitution is equally watery. Yes, it does include an independent judiciary and a long list of positive rights. Then there’s this:

“When interpreting the Bill of Rights, a court, tribunal or forum must promote the values that underlie an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom; must consider international law; and may consider foreign law.”

No wonder Ginsburg likes it so much: it more or less gives judges a blank check to look anywhere they want to reach any result they want.

So much more fun that sticking by our stodgy old rules, no?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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5 Responses to “Liberals just don’t like what the Founders did, do they?”

Comments

  1. Tex says:

    Two rules for being a Liberal:

    1. Get dumber each year.
    2. Never break rule #1.

  2. Veritas says:

    Nice analysis. Unfortunately Jefferson was correct in all respects regarding the danger of an unelected, unaccountable judicary. When voters can see their will trampled whenever two judges get together what is the point in pretending we have a republic or any form of representative government.

  3. Carlos says:

    They are just too dumb to realize the premise of migration to the New Country was about religious freedom, pure and simple.

  4. Drew the Infidel says:

    Remember the old country song, “If You Don’t Stand For Something, You’ll Fall For Anything”?

  5. Carlos says:

    Why would libs, Democrats in general and statists like the Founders? They were just a bunch of old white European power-structure males who had nothing better to do than to create the greatest system of government in history, one that allowed individual freedom to triumph over subservience to the state.

    Oh, I think I just answered why they DON’T like the Founders!