tiition but its alleged “penumbras” and “emanations” to rulerntliat state laws limiting abortion were unconstitutional. (ThernCourt has never found “penumbras” or “emanahons” in, say,rnthe Second Amendment, or any other clause that might limitrnfederal power. It plays the Constitution like an accordion, expandingrnits favorite clauses and squeezing out the inconvenientrnparts.) Few scholars deny that the reasoning of Justice Harr)’rnBlackmun’s majorit)’ opinion, with its loft)- mumbling aboutrnthe Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments, was shoddy; it wasrnsimply a rambling justification for imputing a current item ofrnthe liberal agenda to the Constitution. But it achieved the desiredrnresult.rnThe ruling outraged millions, yet nobody did anything aboutrnit. No calls for the impeachment of the justices for usurping thernpowers of tlie states issued from the Congress, the media, thernpeople, or the churches. The Court acted in the secure knowledgernthat the states were not only helpless but supinely passivernagainst federal usurpation of their authorit)’.rnIf the states had retained the right of secession, the Courtrnwould never have dared to issue such grossly arbitrary rulings forrnfear of provoking a dissolution of the Union. But thanks to thernCivil War and the centralization it unleashed, no state evenrncontemplated withdrawing from the federation. Consolidationrnwas now complete.rnGiven a Court determined to impose a liberal agenda byrnconstant usurpation, how are the states supposed to defendrntheir reserved powers? The question is never asked; thernproblem is hardly recognized.rnE.xcept for the deceased 18th Amendment, the federal governmentrnhas never possessed any constitutional power to enforcernmorality’ as such. But, largely through the courts, it hasrnused the Constitution to advance its pet views. The first dut}’ ofrnlavs and courts is to rule impartially; we are entitied to be suspiciousrnof the integrity of judges who keep finding their ownrntrendy agendas mandated by so old a document.rnYet this has become the norm. When Justices Blackmunrnand William Brennan died, both were eulogized for the ver)’rnthing that should have discredited tiicm: their eagerness to userntlie Constitution as a pretext for their special interests and petrncauses. They were not impartial; the’ hardh’ pretended to be.rnJustice Blackmun saw himself as a legal oracle; near the end ofrnhis career, he grandly announced his opposition to capital punishment,rndespite tiie plain text of the Constitution. One mayrnoppose capital punishment on many grounds, as I do; but onerncannot honestly affirm that the Constitution forbids it. ButrnBlackmun never let that stop him: He even boasted that Roe v.rnWade was “the most liberal ruling in many years” —as if thatrnwere a justification!rnJustice Brennan, more cunning than Blackmun, praised thernConstitution precisely for its malleability. He called it “arnsparkling oration on the dignity of man,” dismissing concerns ofrnoriginal or inherent or even logical meaning. This was a spectacularrncase of judicial free association. The Constitution is notrnan oration; it says nothing about “the dignity of man,” or anyrnsuch high-flown matter. It merely lists the powers of the federalrngovernment and distributes them among tlic three branches.rnBrennan actually acknowledged that he did not consider thernNintii and Tenth Amendments part of the Bill of Rights. Herndid, however, have a special fondness for the 14th.rnToday, the federal government is very much in the moralityrnbusiness. It has taken a wrecking ball to America’s traditionalrnChristian heritage, but is trying to replace that with its own peculiarrnmoralit)’ on smoking, gun ownership, sodomy, and abortion.rnBill Clinton may seem an unlikeK spiritual leader, but hernembraces the role eagerly, citing the same Bible that taught himrnthat some forms of extramarital sex are not—or perhaps “do notrnrise to the level of”—adultery’.rnAmerica could never have been dc-Christianized withoutrnthe centralization of power. If the federal courts and Congressrnhad been confined to their “few and defined” constitutionalrnpowers, Christian culture would have survived at the grassrootsrnlevel. But federal usurpation has proved a far worse evil thanrnthe most pessimistic Antifederalists could have predicted. I’hernfederal government has become systematically anti-Christianrnwhile claiming to espouse religious neutrality.rnC.S. Lewis observed that the modern world makes religion arnpurely private matter, while shrinking the area of privacy. Hernwas writing in England, but he perfectly summed up our ownrnexperience. The “separation of church and state” turns out tornmean that, as the state expands, the church must recede.rnThe federal government has neither the power nor the dut)’rnto enforce traditional morality. But it does have a duty to respectrnit, and to leave it alone. Instead, it has claimed the authorityrnto contravene and undermine it. President Clinton regardsrnapproval of sodomy and abortion as a ci’ic duh’. This isrnthe liberal version of George Will’s “statecraft as soulcraft.”rnThroughout history, even bloody t}’rants have rareh’ aspiredrnto change the traditional moralit}’ of their subjects, however immoralrntheir personal conduct. The totalitarian ambition ofrnchanging the moral fabric of an entire nation had to await thern20th centur)’. The modern state seeks to produce a certain t)’pernof deracinated man, fit for, and submissive to, arbitrary’ rule.rnConservatives should adopt a simple agenda of their own:rnrestoring the Constitution. Fhis is a large task, but it would savernus endless labor if we could force the federal government to producernits credentials for every law it passes. Yet, faced with newfederalrnlaws and programs, few conservatives dare to pose thernquestion: Where do you get the power to do that? Instead, theyrnhave learned to live, however grudgingly, with the liberal interpretation,rnthereby allowing their enemies to rewrite the groundrnrules of politics at whim and ensuring their own defeat. Conservativesrnhave failed to insist on an alternative interpretation, sornmost Amencans assume that the liberal version is the only onernavailable.rnThe principle of American federalism is simple: Whateverrnthe federal government is not positively authorized to do, it isrnforbidden to do. This is absolutely clear from the text of thernConstitution, from the ratification debates, from tiie early commentariesrnof jurists and presidents, and even, in a way, from thernpettifoggery to which Lincoln and FDR were drix’cn in theirrnevasions of constitutional limits. We need not worn’ about thernrelative weight and merits of social and economic issues. Confinernthe federal government to its allotted powers, and suchrnthings will take care of themselves.rnCan the Constitution be restored to its full rigor? The statusrnquo has proved acceptable to Democrats and Republicans, tornliberals and conservatives —notably neoeonseratives—all ofrnwhom have found their own uses for limitiess, centralized power.rnBoth sides are sworn to preserve unconstitutional entitiementrnprograms (beginning with Social Sccurit’and Medicare),rnand countless voters would put their government checks aheadrnof the Constitution. For now, alas, the U.S. Constitution posesrnno serious threat to our form of government. crnOCTOBER 2000/15rnrnrn