The Corner

Kerry’s Constitution

Look, I can certainly respect those who oppose the FMA. But when Kerry says “and let’s never misuse for political purposes the most precious document in American history, the Constitution of the United States,” my blood boils a bit. Kerry comes from a branch of liberalism which believes in a “living, breathing,” constitution — in the words of countless liberals.

How is the notion of a Constitution which means whatever the latest and most effective petitioners want it to mean not a political misuse of that “precious document”? Can anyone imagine the most pro-gay marriage voices out there condemning a Supreme Court which found the right to marriage in the Constitution? It’s like all these liberals who’ve discovered federalism for the first time in decades. They don’t believe in federalism for discrimination rules, for abortion rights, for censorship but, suddenly, on gay marriage they love the laboratories of democracy.

When people say that the Constitution, as written, is an evolving document they are in effect saying it can mean anything — and therefore nothing. What is really at stake is a conflict of visions. Conservatives believe that if the Constitution’s meaning is permanent. If we want the Constitution to say something new, it should be amended not reinterpreted. Liberals believe that the Constitution is a malleable, metaphorical mirror of all good things. If the community decides that gay marriage is good, then the Constitution must support gay marriage. That to me is a far more offensive abuse of our most precious document than trying to amend it.

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