We here at Chronicles are Constitutional Fundamentalists. We swear allegiance to the Constitution of Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, and not the Constitution of Warren, Brennan, and Souter. We do not believe that the Constitution is a “living document” that must be altered by successive Supreme Court justices to keep pace with the times. The Constitution is an expression of timeless truths about men and their government, and if it was not ordained by divine providence, it was certainly the product of some of the country’s greatest political minds. Constitutional change is sometimes necessary, of course, but it should be accomplished through the amendment process specified in Article V, not through the whims of transient majorities of nine Law Lords.

The Framers of the Constitution, understanding that men are fallible, corruptible creatures, set up a structure to balance powers in government against each other, the better to counter tendencies toward self-interest and demagoguery. Thus it is crucial that the president, the Congress, and the courts be limited in their roles. It is the role of the president to conduct foreign policy and to execute the laws passed by Congress, and it is the role of the courts to interpret the Constitution in a manner that objectively reflects the intention of the Framers and the ratifying conventions of the states. It is emphatically not the role of the president to make law by executive order, nor is it the role of the courts to reject federal or state legislation because it does not accord with judges’ personal notions of public policy.

Under the Constitution, branches of government are set against each other: The president and judges are impeachable and removable by the Congress; the president can veto congressional legislation; and the courts determine the constitutionality of acts of the legislature or executive. The Framers also set up an important second-level check on the inevitable tendencies to abuse and corruption. This was the system of dual sovereignty, whereby the federal government was one of limited and enumerated powers, with the states or the people themselves retaining the rest. The Framers’ theory was that the primary governments were to be the state and local ones, and that the federal government should be limited to matters truly national or international in scope. Thus the federal government has no business dictating educational, moral, or even religious policy for the state and local governments, and it is wrong to read the Constitution in a way that permits such usurpations. The Bill of Rights was intended to guard against encroachment by the federal government, and was not to be used as a tool to reject the efforts of local governments.

We believe in the principle of equal justice under the law, and we believe that no American should be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process or of the privileges and immunities of United States citizenship because of race, sex, or ethnic background, and we believe that this was the true intention of the Reconstruction amendments. We believe, however, that the 14th Amendment has been wrongly used by the federal courts to take away from the states those powers which rightfully belong to them.

We believe, with the Framers, that each individual has a spark of divinity within him, but rights cannot be exercised without responsibilities, and the community has a right to self-rule free from arbitrary interference by governmental officials. We believe that to depart from Constitutional Fundamentalism as it has been here defined is to depart from the principle of the Rule of Law, and to substitute for tried and true maxims of government the arbitrary power of the sophister, economist, or calculator. Burke was right, and so are we.