November 3, 1934 - Article - Does the Constitution Protect the Individual, by Thomas B.K. Ringe

At noon on the fourth day of March, 1933, dense throngs gathered around the Capitol at Washington, as well as countless millions seated at ease beside their radios in all parts of the broad land lying between the two great oceans, heard with tense interest the President-elect, following a precedent of 144 years' standing, utter these words: "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." (pg. 23)

It is incumbent upon the President from time to time to give the Congress information of the state of the Union and to recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall deem necessary and expedient - this is done through the so-called "message to Congress." The President may on extraordinary occasions convene the Congress.

The Constitution provides that the President "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed," and foremost among "the laws" is the Constitution itself..... Like the Congress, he may not exceed the powers particularly granted to him by the people.

Neither the Congress nor the President may assume judicial power.

Recognizing the imperfection of all human endeavor, the people, in writing the Constitution, provided a means by which amendments might be made.

The case with which a popular proposed amendment may be adopted is demonstrated by the speed with which the 21st, repealing the 18th providing for prohibition, was approved. An amendment must have the approval of two-thirds of each house of Congress or of a national constitutional convention and the legislatures or conventions of three-fourths of the states.

There is no other proper means of changing the Constitution, either temporarily or permanently. Any attempt to use means other than that of amendment is unlawful and directly opposed to the Constitution. The people made certain that that instrument should not be amended without mature and deliberate consideration. (pp. 86-87)

The right of property is close to that of liberty. It is a natural compliment. Property may not be confiscated. A tax on property must be within the power of Congress to impose. Any attempt by any branch of Government to control the acquisition, management or disposition of property by an individual or corporation must be founded on a grant of power to that branch. (pg. 87)

The people intended that the Constitution and the laws made under it within their proper sphere be paramount over all; they intended that no branch of the Government or other authority should have the power to overcome its supremacy, and to remove all possible doubt, expressly provided, in Article VI:

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof..... shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or the laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

All executive, legislative and judicial officers of both the United States and the several states are required to be bound by an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution. Every person today occupying an office of authority in either the state or the National Government is bound by a solemn pledge to uphold the Constitution.

The Constitution was and is the foundation of our national existence. It should protect us from abuses by the Federal Government as well as by state governments. (pg. 88)

True it is that the people may give to Congress, to the President and to the Supreme Court new and greater powers than those granted in 1787, but this requires amendment to the Constitution, without which those powers are still vested solely in the people. There can be no valid fundamental to change in the Constitution by constitutional means; but there should ever be immediate, vigorous and open objection to an attempted change by unconstitutional means. In the words of Lincoln:

A majority held in restraint by Constitutional check and limitation, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it, does, of necessity, fly to anarchy or to despotism. (pg. 89)

Comments: It would seem that the principle of "no-fault divorce" has been applied to the oath to support the Constitution since the days of Franklin Roosevelt. There is no way any government official can uphold the oath if the government functions de facto. Also, a government that exercises unrestrained power over the people flies to despotism, where the claim and exercise of constitutional rights become criminal acts. A primary example of this today can be seen when a worker claims his/her right to free labor and refuses to file and pay income tax on their labor. That person today is considered as engaging in criminal behavior and most people will agree.

Back to Old Weekly Press Table of Contents