Fence Post

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 7, 2010 | Go to article overview

Fence Post


Constitution not

to be updated

When studying the Constitution there are two ways to construe it. The first is constructionism, which uses a literal word for word interpretation. The second is called, among other things, the "living constitution," whose adherents claim the constitution needs to be "interpreted and adapted" to suit modern times.

There exists a very obscure part of the Constitution that handily refutes the "living constitution" interpretation.

As a college political science major, I can say with certainty we never studied it. So obscure is it, that when I picked up a copy of the Constitution from The John Birch Society, an organization that prides itself on its knowledge of the Constitution, it was absent from its copy. It was also absent from every copy of the Constitution I have ever received from a congressman, including Bill Foster. And it is also absent from the World Book Encyclopedia, circa 1990.

It's the Preamble. No. It's not the Preamble to the Constitution. It is found between the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in something entitled "Preamble to the Bill of Rights." And here it is:

"The conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: (i.e.-The Bill of Rights) And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution."

So, according to the Founding Fathers, the purpose of the Bill of Rights was, among other things, to prevent misconstruction of the Constitution. That has implications ... the most obvious of which is that we are to use a constructionist interpretation. After all, the opposite of misconstruction is construction. And a desire to prevent misconstruction means, of course, a desire to promote constructionism. So much for the "living constitution."

We need to make this forgotten part of the constitution known far and wide.

Jeff Lonigro

St. Charles

2nd Amendment

should be honored

The Supreme Court recently applied the right to keep and bear arms to state and local governments. Justice Scalia wrote in that decision that this right guarantees, "the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation."

Where does that leave Illinois residents and visitors who want to exercise this fundamental right?

Illinois law makes it a felony for people to carry firearms for self-defense in vehicles or most any other places. The current Illinois statute is depriving you of your civil right to defend yourself and family with the exception of your home.

Most Illinois legislators believe your self-defense right only applies in your home. Outside your home those legislators care little about your family's safety. Gov. Quinn stated any right-to-carry bill sent to his desk "is dead;" Mayor Daley is still coming up with regulations to make defense in your home expensive and hard to comply with.

Heller vs. D.C. also states that the right to bear arms is a fundamental right. All laws currently on the books that prohibit or by regulation deny in practice the exercise of a fundamental right should be considered presumptively unconstitutional. Such laws abridging the Second Amendment would fail challenge if applied to First or Fourth Amendment rights.

Does a $100 permit renewable every few years to read a newspaper or to be secure from an unreasonable search or seizure sound ridiculous? …

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