PERSPECTIVErn-rn//^MrnrfimrnM ‘•’imrnimtArn’mrni^fWirniilP^^MiMurndi^^i ^SSSSmk. m – ~. • ..”‘^^>^^Bu^rnw4^ ^.-‘-L^B^rnM> .^i^^K^^^^mi-rnW&^^^^M ^^^^^SttS^KfjrnaS^i^M^S^BS^^^Mhrn^mlirnf%fjffflf^rnOur Constitutional Covenant With Deathrnby Thomas FlemingrnI he compact which exists between the North and thern± South,” proclaimed WilHam Lloyd Garrison in an abolitionistrndeclaration of 1843, “is a covenant with death and anrnagreement with hell.” When the Southern states concludedrnthat they were no longer bound by what their enemies regardedrnas a compact with the devil. Garrison and his colleagues werernflexible enough to set aside their hatred of both union and Constitution,rnand they compelled the hated South, by fire andrnsword, to return to the union.rnFlexibility (or lack of scruple) has characterized most interpretationsrnof the Constitution since the dissolution of the oldrnAmerican union; and in recent decades, judges, politicians, andrnideologues have become carefree in demanding constitutionalrnprotections for women who want to kill their unborn childrenrnand for other women who want to protest against the womenrnwho want to kill their children.rnLook for a “right to life” that supersedes the states’ jurisdictionrnover homicide cases, and you will find it only in the samernpenumbra where the “right to privacy” had been lurking unnoticedrnfor two centuries until it was unearthed by the brilliantrnconstitutional mind of William O. Douglas. It must be in thatrnsame black aura where judges have discovered the rights ofrnpornographers and nude dancers, the right of non-Christians torneliminate prayer from public schools, or the right of the federalrngovernment to overturn state laws imposing literacy requirementsrnon voters, or prohibiting partial-birth abortions.rnHere is one point on which conservatives and leftists seem tornagree: that the Bill of Rights is merely a tool for bypassing thernmessy politics of a corrupt democracy. Anyone who loses a fightrnat the ballot box can reopen the war by going to the federalrncourts. This is the opposite of what the Kramers of the Constitutionrnand the Bill of Rights had in mind.rnhi the debates over ratification of the Constitution, manyrnstates called for a Bill of Rights to protect both the states and thernpeople from future tyranny. Federalists were skeptical: Some ofrnthem, frankly, did not want restrictions on the growth of therncentral government; others were afraid that the introduction ofrnrights into the Constitution would backfire. Theodore Sedgwickrnfeared that a Bill of Rights would give the national governmentrn”a right of interference which would naturally tend torncheek, circumscribe and finally annihilate all state power.”rnBoth sides were right. The federal government has takenrnpower over the states, communities, and private life with aboutrnthe same speed and brutality as the Moors took Spain. ThernMoors were invited by a disgruntied Gothic prince claiming hisrnrights, and the invitation to federal expansion has generally beenrnthe pretext tliat somebody’s rights were being violated. The transformationrn—like so many political revolutions—was accompanied,rnor even accomplished by, a sleight-of-tongue involving thernword “rights.” The Bill of Rights refers to several concrete andrnhistoric rights asserted by the recentiy liberated colonists: thernrights of the people “peaceably to assemble, and to petition thernGovernment for a redress of grievances”; “to keep and bear arms”;rn”to be secure . . . against unreasonable searches and seizures”; “torna speedy and public trial”; and to “trial by jury.”rnIn addition to these enumerated rights, the first ten amendmentsrnalso provide for certain freedoms—”the free exercise ofrnreligion,” freedom of speech and of the press—and the TenthrnAmendment, asserting the powers of the people and of thernstates, makes it clear that these threats are aimed specificallyrnand exclusively at the general government. The point is made,rnhowever, in the first words of the First Amendment: “Congressrnshall make no law . . . ” It never occurred to the Iramers of thesernamendments that judges or the president could make laws,rnmuch less that any federal branch could pervert their clear languagerninto a pretext for invading the people’s liberties.rnThe trick played on the American people was the device ofrnconfusing the lofty sentiments of the Declaration of IndepenlO/rnCHRONICLESrnrnrn