Monday, April 10, 2017

The Greatest Founding Mothers: Mercy Otis Warren (Part II)

Warren made the following suggestions for Amendments to be added to the Constitution that make up our Bill of Rights: The rights of conscience (freedom of speech and freedom of religion) and the liberty of the Press (the First Amendment); the right to trial by jury for civil cases (a clause in our Sixth Amendment); and for warrants to avoid illegal search and seizures (these two ideas are the basis for the Fourth Amendment). Warren suggest that “The rights of individuals ought to be the primary object of all government …” She also said: “that man is born free and possessed or certain unalienable rights – that government is instituted for the protection, safety, and happiness of the people, and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any man, family, or class of men – That the origin of all power is in the people….” However, government officials routinely neglect our Bill of Rights. Instead, as Warren rightly points out “to betray the people of the United States, into an acceptance of a most complicated system of government; marked on the one side with the dark, secret and profound intrigues, of the statesman, long practiced in the purlieus of despotism; and on the other, with the ideal projects of young ambition, with its wings just expanded to soar to the summit, which imagination has painted in such gaudy colors as to intoxicate the inexperienced votary, and to send him rambling from State to State, to collect materials to construct the ladder of preferment.” Warren is basically saying that politicians will do what is best for them and their careers and they care little for the people they represent.

Warren was truly a prognosticator over potential issues she found within the writings of the Constitution:

1. She discussed how the Judiciary powers have “no well-defined limits”. This is contrary to Hamilton’s view in the federalist papers which declared the Supreme Court has very little power. Over time Warren has been proven to be right, the Supreme Court has become the most powerful branch of our government because they have given themselves the power to legislate. The Court does not just make decisions as to whether or not legislation is Constitutional, they write new rights into the Constitution without properly amending the document. Warren declared “in short the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Federal Court, includes unwarrantable stretch of power over the liberty, life, and property of the subject, through the wide Continent of America.” She is right, in many cases the Court refuses to make decisions based on the law but over socioeconomic issues they have no business being involved over. The Court has endless power with Substantive due process to incorporate anything into the Constitution their imagination desires.

2. Warren was right when she wrote “from the extent of country from north to south, the scheme of one government is impractical.” In 1788, she was right and the Civil War proved it. The United States was one of the biggest countries in the world and without technology or mass transportation methods Warren was correct to say that just one government to control everything would be difficult, especially in our infancy. This explains why in the first 70 years of American Independence several states threatened to succeed from the Union including Massachusetts and South Carolina.

3. Warren wrote “The Executive and the Legislative are so dangerously blended …” and this so true when one party controls both branches and there are no checks and balances. Take Obama’s first two years in office that included the partisan passing of the stimulus and ObamaCare. We’ll see how Trump does in his first two years with a Republican Congress.

4. On taxes Warren wrote “The exigencies of government require that the collectors of the revenue should transmit it to the Federal City”. She further noted that “Every source of revenue is in the monopoly of Congress”. In other words, Warren could foresee high Federal taxes at the expense of the states. This became a reality since the Supreme Court ruling in McCulloch v. Maryland case in 1819 to the present time.

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