'Ridiculous' debt limit debate: Another argument for protecting Constitutional rights first

Andrew Cochran Aug. 7, 2011, 3:16am


One editorial note here about what has been termed by politicians and the public the "ridiculous" debt limit debate as the compromise bill is enacted.

No matter which side you take in the outcome, it should be clear that the issue highlights the massive size and scope of federal power today (80 million checks a month!), and the tendency for that power to eventually overshadow all other facets of Americans' daily life.

That's exactly what the Founding Fathers feared, and why signers of the Constitution, such as George Mason, Eldridge Gerry and Edmund Randolph, led the movement to ensure that federal power is limited even beyond the language of the Constitution, through enactment of a Bill of Rights. Many wise legal scholars are asserting, correctly, that the Commerce Clause in Article I of the Constitution was never intended as the basis for either ObamaCare or a sweeping federal tort reform/medical malpractice bill.

George Mason explicitly warned that, absent a Bill of Rights, the power granted in Article I would eventually overpower both God-given individual rights (including the right to civil jury trials) and the authority which is better left to the states.

In the midst of overheated rhetoric about the intentions of either sides in the debt limit debate (I take particular offense to the characterization of Tea Party activists as "terrorists"), I hope all Americans determine that any enterprise with this much power MUST be limited by strict and pure adherence to the protection of individual and states' rights. Any politician who adheres to such a belief cannot pick and choose between which rights to protect and the time at which to protect them.

The "ridiculous" debt limit debate is the perfect opportunity for those of us who cherish the right to civil jury trials to remind the rest of America that the man who drafted the Bill of Rights, James Madison, referred to that particular right in the highest terms: "as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existent rights of nature."

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