A Fading Constitution?

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on January 5th, 2011

I believe in the Constitution.  And I have railed long and hard in books, lectures and this blogsite about the damage being done to that great document in the name of fine-sounding schemes like "homeland security" and the so-called "war on drunk driving".  

Our Constitution is a marvelous document, the cornerstone of a great nation, and one which is admired and emulated around the world.  But it is only a document; it has no magic.  The Constitution gives the people no more than what is already within them.  When the Supreme Court approves warrentless stops and searches of citizens at DUI roadblocks and there is no outcry, the people are getting what they deserve; the document will not save them.

My blog’s banner above says that our Constitution is "fading".  That is, of course, inaccurate. The document is quite clear; it is the will and courage of the people that is fading.

The following is from a speech given by the renowned Judge Learned Hand in New York’s Central Park on May 21, 1944:


I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts.  These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes.  Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women.  When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.  No constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.  While it lies there, it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it.

 

Share