The Authentic Constitution: An Originalist View of America's Legacy

The Authentic Constitution: An Originalist View of America's Legacy

The Authentic Constitution: An Originalist View of America's Legacy

The Authentic Constitution: An Originalist View of America's Legacy

Excerpt

Alan Keyes, the Republican presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, described the relationship between the Declaration and the Constitution of the United States in the following way:

The doctrine of unalienable rights is to the Constitution what the laws of phys
ics are to architecture or engineering. Those laws are not repeated in every plan
or architect’s drawing, but they are assumed and must be respected or the re
sults will be defective and dangerous.

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst and author, described the relationship in this way:

The significance of the Declaration for constitutional scholars is that it is be
lieved to contain the philosophical underpinnings of the Constitution. In other
words, an understanding of Natural Law, its conferral of rights upon men and
women, and the relationship between those rights and the role of government
is fundamental to understand and interpret the Constitution properly.

Finally, noted constitutional law attorney Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr. described the relationship in this manner:

[T]he legitimacy of the Constitution depends upon the Declaration of Indepen
dence; and therefore the Constitution’s powers cannot contradict the Declara
tion’s principles. For, were the Declaration not an actual law both prior in time
and superior in authority to the Constitution, and the source of WE THE PEO
PLE’S authority to enact the Constitution, the Constitution itself would not
be valid. After all, before they could enact their own laws, binding on anyone,
including themselves, Americans had to win legal independence from Great
Britain. They secured that independence only under the aegis of the Declara-

1 Alan Keyes, By their Fruits, WorldNetDaily [Internet]; available from http://www.worldnet
daily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46709; accessed 6 July 2008.

2 Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, The Constitution in Exile (Nashville: Nelson Current, 2006), xix.

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