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  • Morning Bell: Our Constitution Is Under Fire

    Today, the federal government has acquired an all but unquestioned dominance over virtually every area of American life. It acts without constitutional limits and increasingly regulates our most basic activities, from how much water is in our toilets to what kind of light bulbs we can buy.

    So while we face many challenges, the most difficult task ahead—and the most important—is to restore constitutional limits on government. Forty visionaries signed a piece of paper 225 years ago today that became one of the most vital documents in the world: the U.S. Constitution.

    By design, it limited the power of government under the rule of law, created a vigorous framework that expanded economic opportunity, protected national independence and secured liberty and justice for all. But how is that limitation of powers working today?

    The Judicial Branch. The rise of unlimited government is most familiar and most prominent in the form of judicial activism. The Founders called the judiciary the “least dangerous branch,” but progressive judges have usurped the functions of the other two branches and transformed the courts into policymaking bodies with wide-ranging power. We need judges who take the Constitution seriously and follow it faithfully.

    The Legislative Branch. For its part, Congress has long legislated without regard to limits on its powers. As a result, decisions that were previously the constitutional responsibility of elected legislators are delegated to executive branch administrators. Congress is increasingly an administrative body overseeing a vast array of bureaucratic policymakers and rule-making bodies. Congress should stop delegating to bureaucrats and actively take responsibility for all the laws (and regulations) that govern us.

    The Executive Branch. Meanwhile, the President has unique and powerful responsibilities in our constitutional system as chief executive officer, head of state, and commander in chief. But the idea that the president— who is charged with the execution of the laws—doesn’t have to wait for the lawmaking branch to make, amend, or abolish laws, but can and should act on his own is toxic to the rule of law. It violates the spirit, and potentially the letter, of the Constitution’s separation of the legislative and executive powers of Congress and the President.

    It won’t be easy to return to the founding principles. We’ll have to move one step at a time, and walk back decades worth of bad decisions by members of all three branches of government. But it can be done, if we use the written Constitution as our guide and we believe that it means what it says and says what it means.

    The Founders worked from the premise that government exists to secure God-given rights, and that it derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. And while many people take that for granted today, it was a novel idea in the 18th century and remains all too rare today.

    Since Americans are equal, self-governing citizens and the United States government is limited, we have the liberty and opportunity to live our lives, control our fate, and pursue our happiness—and the American Dream.

    That’s worth celebrating, today and every day.

    But while our Constitution remains remarkably hale and hearty after all these years (it’s by far the longest-serving constitution in the world), it is under fire from many directions.

    Let us remember today that we have the opportunity to rededicate this country to the Constitution and to the universal principles of liberty at its core. We can, and must, dedicate ourselves to the hard work of restoring constitutional self-government, and so preserving the American Dream for all.

    Quick Hits:

    • The Chicago Teachers Union strike enters its second week today.
    • The Occupy Wall Street movement has called for protests of corporate firms today to observe the anniversary of the movement.
    • Anti-Japan protests are sweeping across China in a dispute over a group of islands in the East China Sea.
    • AT&T says the iPhone 5 has set a new record for pre-ordered phones.
    • Today, Heritage Action for America has launched a new quick-reference page on Medicare Reform Myths Debunked. Check it out here.
    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    23 Responses to Morning Bell: Our Constitution Is Under Fire

    1. Patriot112 says:

      A perfect set-up is when Reid stalls bills a deadlocked Congress and a President who uses the powers of the office to get what he wants.

    2. weber says:

      Why is no one challenging in court?


    4. John Howard says:

      This is well said. However, there is no HOW? The American people do not appear to know much at all about the constitution. Both parties may give lip service to the document and republicans are apt to wring their hands over abuses — but nothing ever happens. Note the attack on religion re the contraception issue, the President's appointments to the NLRB, etc. I'd like to see suggestions on how to return to Constitutional grounding.

    5. Dick Lyon says:

      We need an amendment to the Constitution that forbids the congress and the executive from entering into any treaty or passing any law ar executive order that subornes the stated rights we reserved to ourselves within the Constitutio9n and its amendments.

    6. Donad Thorin says:

      I am pleased to see the Heritage Foundation has come in defense of the Constitution of the United States of America. I first read the eighty-five Federalist Papers nearly sixty-eight years ago. Although I was introduced to Federal Government on my Grandfather's knee seventy-four years ago. I have followed politics and the blasphemous character it has taken. To really understand the Constitution and the intent of the Constitution one must read and understand and follow the character of the fifty-five delegated framers. A difficult task but one of necessity in today's world. I had a good teacher, a Spanish American war Purple Heart recipient, my grandfather. I am seventy-eight and avid follower of Morning Bell the best news you can find. Barack Obama is a faction imperiling our heritage.

    7. Lloyd Scallan says:

      How can we be expected to "redidicate" this nation when our lawmakers, both Dems and Repbls, in Congress make laws and allow "exective orders" that go against the very foundation of our Constitution?

    8. Kenneth Hemphill says:

      One item which demands our immediate attention is for our children to study the Constitution and Bill of Rights with the debates which resulted in the final documents. Why did some founders insist on a Bill of Rights. They will find the answers and why we are fighting so hard to maintain them as intended. A copy of each should be posted in each class room. But first, God must be placed back in the class room.

    9. Sam says:

      "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." – Tom Jefferson – 1787

    10. alexander ilnyckyj says:

      That was nicely written. however, there is no answer to your statement. How do we bring back the constitution? Can you advise?

    11. JuneUSA says:

      We want our Constitution back and have to take some of the power away from the President such as the executive orders.

    12. Andrew Conneen says:

      Just what are these "High crimes and misdemeanors" that the congress has the responsibility to prosecute.
      Has not Obama violated the constitution that he swore to uphold and defend?

    13. micwi says:

      It's sad that learning the Constitution is not a requirement of our high schools. But we know why. Liberals run our education system and they hate the Constitution. Thank you Heritage for you excellent work and reporting.

    14. The reasons Americans don't know about the Constitution is a result of two factors. First, academia has ripped out any real study or teaching about our constitution and we now have a society (49%) that want the U.S. Government to care for them from cradle to grave! The last thing our Founding Fathers wanted was more government!

    15. Dave Erhardt says:

      One more important part of the constitution that is be assaulted is the freedom of religion.From forcing churches to obey Obamacare by enforcing them to insure contraceptives to the increase of gay marriage laws in different states and telling churches that they have to perform gay marriages against their doctrine, the freedom of religion is being attacked everywhere. In Canada, pastors have been jailed because they disapproved gay marriages in their sermons. From God not being mentioned in the original from of the Democratic platform, from the taking away of crosses at funeral sites, it's under attack.

    16. JohnL2 says:

      The Oath of Office for ALL three branches of the Republic's government states "……..I will protect and defend The Constitution of The United States of America against all enemies both foreign and domestic……" ANYONE who takes this oath and does NOT follow it to the letter, MUST be impeached and imprisoned! In the US Military, one takes an oath, and if not followed, is court martialed. Why should our elected people in all three branches not get the exact same treatment?

    17. Paula says:

      I agree JohnL2, but since all 3 branches of our government are so corrupt, there is really little we can do except to take up arms! There is nowhere else to go. That is one of the reasons our founders gave us the 2nd ammendment!! To have a president that is so tight with the Muslim Brotherhood, has brought additional motivation to protect our right to keep & bear arms!!

    18. Jayme G Alfano says:

      anyone with right values, will quickly surmise that what all Free-loving Americans, have experienced and enjoyed for over 236 years, is a society and economy built on the principals of God! Certainly, not attributable to Islam, or socialists, or progressives, or liberals,but rather God-fearing, values driven, good ole Americans, whom in many cases, laid down their lives, for the passion, aspiration, hopes, dreams and desires of all free men. This debt was paid by those who went before us; we owe the same thing in return, for those generations yet to come! As there is no substitute on the face of this earth, for the word of God and what He endowed us with…LIBERTY!
      We are allowing political correctness, anti-traditional family, anti-Christ, anti-Republic, anti-Constitutional and illegal aliens dictate our values and our way of life! This is inconsistent with our Constitution. There are people in this country, that want to reap the efforts of hard working Americans, otherwise known as entitlements, our Government is using these mis-guided people and as such, they in fact are victims! It is incredible to me that people are not living life with eyes ‘wide-opened”.

    19. Jayme G Alfano says:

      For it is through the constant reminder of history, that we do not repeat the same mistakes! Currently our Administration is spewing the same verbiage that is recorded in history by the world’s worst despots. Government is of the people, by the people and for the people! Well, Margaret Thatcher said it best about socialism…”it works great, right up to the point where the other guy runs out of money!” … Fidel Castro, elicited followers, to over-throw the then legitimate government, because he was not happy with his station in life! He prayed on the ignorance of the masses, bribing them with wealth, creating a massive amount of hatred among these people (the same exact thing the current administration is doing as I write this). Once Castro had his illegal victory, which was for his personal greed NOT for the benefit of the people (a major lie in Socialism, Communism and dictatorships!); it’s not about the good of the people it’s all about the greed of very evil men! Freedom is the road to success, socialism only leads to further poverty and human depravity. Free Opportunity it the “sure-fire” path to vitality, success, security and prosperity!

    20. Doug says:

      Like most patriotic citizens,I want to see the U.S. Constitution upheld. We need to fire those who don;t
      follow the constitution. The 2010 midterm election was the first step "We the People" took in establishing our will. If we get out and vote for Romney and Ryan we can stop the seemingly daily attacks on our freedoms stated in our "Bill of Rights." We need a strong president. We don't need an apologist in chief.
      We need a president that will be concerned with our religious beliefs. We need a president who is concerned
      with our economy. We need a real change in the right direction. Vote for America's future. Vote for Romney and Ryan.

    21. smartin says:

      The government, through grants, makes sure that we are not teaching the Constitution or it's principles. The government, run by unions, huge pharmaceutical companies, and a million non taxed, very political, "non profits" and "foundations", has no intention of letting go of this power. Elected officials, who may have originally gone to Washington with some shred of integrity, abandon them quickly when the gravy train comes down the tracks. If we can vote out Obama, who is owned and operated by the pharma companies who WROTE the Healthcare Bill, and we can Romney to hold to his promise of whittling out all the programs that waste our resources, and we can get rid of fraud and waste in the entitlement programs, we will be on track to regain our national pride and our freedoms.

    22. smartin says:

      My town is drying up and dying. Small businesses are giving up and closing. Our government wants the huge chains to survive since they are the ones making the big campaign donations. Our media will NEVER go back to being unbiased as they also benefit from the huge waste of tax dollars for media campaigns of HHS and CDC.

      All I can do is vote and tell everyone else to vote.

      My own family members, three women, have been convinced by the media, that their Social Security benefits are in danger from Romney! They all watch CBS, NBC, and ABC. THey do not have cable TV to get the rest of the story.

      I voted for Obama last time. I believed the golden tongued promises.

      Fool me once, shame on YOU. Fool me twice, shame on ME!

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