The Constitution? Who Needs it?


The Constitution…Who Needs It?

by L. J. Martin

I never thought I’d live to hear a Supreme Court justice dismiss the Constitution of the United States as being out of date, as not being worthy of being a model for another country aspiring to a more perfect government.  Perhaps that statement, that belief, portends the ultimate end of our country as we know it?

I wonder, is it time to throw the Constitution out and start over?  Let’s see, we have the most freedom of any country in the world.  We’re still the most prosperous country in the world.  We still enjoy a mixture of races and religions who get along better than any other place in the world.  Does that speak for itself?

Ruth Gader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, the highest court in the land, literally said, “I would not look to the U.S. Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” Ginsburg said in the interview, which aired on Jan. 30 on Al-Hayat TV.

I consider that an affront to all American’s, and to America, and to all she’s become as the shining light on the hill, to quote Ronald Reagan who would never have appointed Ms. Justice Ginsburg to the seat she now warms, which may now be her greatest accomplishment.

I wonder, does Ms. Justice Ginsburg hold herself equal to Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and their peers?  Thomas Jefferson was well known to spend 12 hours a day studying all aspects of the knowleged of the time, and did so for eight decades.  I fear her brain is beginning to atrophy. Possibly one of the failings of the document (if it actually has any perceivable failings), as I discuss below, is the fact we live much longer than we did in the 18th century.  Of course Jefferson lived to be 83.

She argued that the United States has the “oldest written constitution still in force in the world,” so instead “you should certainly be aided by all the constitution-writing that has gone one since the end of World War II.”

Haiti was the 2nd free country in the Americas, not long after the U.S. found itself free.  Under that premise maybe she would suggest other countries follow Haiti’s lead?  America is listed No. 4 by the Human Development Report as to standard of living in the world; Haiti is not listed in the top 47.

“I might look at the constitution of South Africa,” Ginsburg said. “That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary.”

Ginsburg, appointed to the Supreme Court by former President Bill Clinton, said South Africa’s constitution is “a great piece of work that was done” and cited other documents outside America’s constitution that Egyptians should read.

“Much more recent than the U.S. Constitution, Canada has a Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” Ginsburg said. “It dates from 1982. You would almost certainly look at the European Convention on Human Rights.”

“Yes,” she concluded, “why not take advantage of what there is elsewhere in the world?”

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I agree that countries seeking a form of government look to other places and documents, then settle upon that country and that document which has resulted in the greatest country on earth.

Ginsburg spent a considerable portion of her career as an advocate for the equal citizenship status of women and men as a constitutional principle. She advocated as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union and was a member of its board of directors and one of its general counsel in the 1970s. She was a professor at Rutgers School of Law–Newark and Columbia Law School. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Thanks to for some of the above.

As an advocate of the Constitution which brought about those advantages mentioned above, I’m forced to suggest to Ms. Justice Ginsburg that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  It’s sort of like having a world record setting dragster, winning by a great edge over all the others, and saying “let’s change it.”  Duh.  Do you fine tune it?  Of course, you want to keep it winning, but making a radical change?  No way.  By the same token, if a better fuel comes along, and your competitors are adopting it, then change is in order.  I believe that due to the ease of transportation in today’s world, something that couldn’t have been forseen by the forefathers, the 14th Amendment should be revised.  The mere birth of a child in the U.S. should no longer be a guarantee of citizenship.  That’s a change due to industry and science, not philosophy.  We should still welcome legal immigrants, but not encourage illegal ones who take advantage of that outdated Amendment.

The Constitution is under siege, not only from those who challenge it from the outside, but obviously from within the very heart of its promise—by one entrusted by the rest of us to protect the document that is the very heart and soul of this country, one who looks for it’s faults rather than it’s ultimate purity and intent, one who ignores the fact that it’s result is the most envied in the world.  The Constitution is thought by many to be a living breathing document, subject to change, subject to interpretation depending upon the whims of the time.  I think that so very, very wrong.

Of course the framers of the Constitution were people of their time.  Of course they did not know about changes that would come to pass in science and industry.  Of course they were shaped and the document was shaped by conditions at the time.  The framers were not soothsayers, they were men, and as such had limitations.  All the more reason to be astounded by their foresight and intelligence, and their accomplishment.  Yes we had slavery at the time of the drafting of the Constitution, and yes, that, and many other things have changed since its adoption, as they should have.  However none of that demeans the document.  Only things of equal import, of an equal change in the marks made on men’s souls, should cause a re-direction of the intent of the document.  Notice, I don’t say a change, as I think the document speaks for itself, if read in the light of today’s time.

Just look at what the Constitution has wrought.  Look at the result.  Look at this country we enjoy, and which, I hope, most of us still revere.  Look at all we have, then advise other’s that it’s not the path to follow?

Ms. Justice Ginsburg, perhaps it’s time for you to retire to some quite place where you can contemplate what you and all American’s have, what benefits have fallen upon all of us as a result of that perfect document, the Constitution of the United States of America.

L. J. Martin is the author of 30 published works, dozens of articles in national publications, and of the conservative blog  He lives in Montana with his wife, an NYT bestselling author of over 55 works of fiction.  See for more.






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