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Its time that they remembered
After reading and listening to a lot of historical opining (I really hate that word but it fits) over Presidents Day, I think I have finally figured out whats wrong with our country.
It is my belief that when our forefathers in the Constitution created three branches of government, legislative, executive and judicial, it was intended the three branches to be equal in power, partners, so to speak, since each has separate duties and jurisdiction.
All legislative or lawmaking powers are vested in a Congress made up of two bodies, a Senate and a House of Representatives; all executive powers vested in a president who is commander in chief of the services, makes treaties and appoints various officials with the advice and consent of the Senate and the judiciary consists of one Supreme Court with jurisdiction over all cases arising under the Constitution, laws of the United States and treaties made.
What has gone wrong is that as the nation grew in power until it has become the most powerful country in the world, each of the branches also grew in its quest for power and today, each thinks it is No. 1, or superior to the other two.
Congress believes it should be running the country, with the president comparable to a city manager, hired to see the garbage is picked up, etc., and the Supreme Court is expected to interpret the Constitution as legislators want it interpreted in the laws they pass, looking at current legislative intent, not that of the founders.
The president knows he is the national city manager but he wants to do his job without having to consult and please 535 members of Congress and he wants the Court to adhere strictly to the language of the Constitution.
Members of the Supreme Court think they are smarter than all the members of Congress put together, plus the president. Their position is complicated by the fact some are believers in strict adherence to the Constitution and the others are so impressed with their own superiority even to each other that they want to find new meaning in the laws and the Constitution itself. Some are willing, indeed eager, to look at intent, but their own, personal intent, not that of Congress.
This lack of balance is why today, 216 years after the Constitutional convention, followed by the Bill of Rights, we are still arguing over the first two amendments concerning religion, freedom of speech and the press and the right to bear arms.
How can we ever restore the equal partnership of the three branches? I dont think its possible. It would help if term limits could be imposed on Congress where many members have been dug in for decades, something Im sure the founders never anticipated. But the court threw that out years ago when this state attempted it.
Im sure all 50 states would never agree on a constitutional amendment restricting the length of service for members of Congress. Yet why not? If we can restrict a president to two terms, why not members of the legislative branch where election for too many has become a lifetime job? Twelve years in either house, or 24 by serving in both.
The presidents zeal for secrecy has damaged his standing with the people whose faith in his leadership has been challenged. A more open government is needed.
The Supreme Court has become blindsided and dangerous in its newfound predilection to broaden the rights of government over private property rights.
All three branches appear to have forgotten that they derive their power from the consent of the governed, which is us. Its time they remembered.
Adele Ferguson can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA, 98340.