Humpty Dumpty and the Kolkhoz
"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;"
"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; However "no law" means that Congress can pass laws governing (1) broadcast ads that (2) refer to a clearly identified candidate for federal office, that (3) are distributed within 60 days before a general election or 30 days before a primary, and that (4) are targeted to the identified candidate’s electorate."
The latest is Kelo v. New Haven
which has turned the Fifth Amendment's takings clause from
"No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation, unless it is done "pursuant to a carefully considered development plan, which was not adopted to benefit a particular class of identifiable individuals.
The decision also notes that the limitations of the term "public use" were just too restrictive for thousands of city and county petty tyrants and that it has now been redefined as "public purpose", which means "anything that the government wants to do."
When does "public use" not have to mean "public use"?
This Court long ago rejected any literal requirement that condemned property be put into use for the ... public."
Interpreting words in a manner inconsistent with their meaning in plain speech: that's the Humpty Dumpty part of the title.
`When _I_ use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'
So now, in the first case, the Court has said that restrictions on political speech are constitutional.
Guess what kind of speech the Founders had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment? Hint: it wasn't topless dancing.
And now, the scope of the takings clause has been redefined from a narrow "public use", which, to those of us oldsters who grew up in the days when common sense was common and words had definitions which were agreed upon by all parties, meant things like railroad lines, highways, water, sewer and power line easements and the like, to "if it's yours and we want it, it's ours."
This in effect has turned the U.S. into one giant collective farm where all property belongs to the State (if and when it so desires to take it away from you.) That's the kolkhoz part of the title.
You see, if you look at the cast of characters who signed off on these two doublethink-in-legal-form opinions, you will note that they are those who envision the Constitution as a "living document".
And unfortunately, that, too, is the opposite of what it means.
For the Founders meant for the Constitution to be interpreted according to the plain meaning of its words: "East" does not mean "West", and "shall" does not mean "maybe".
The Founders also intended for the Constitution to be difficult to change by requiring the approval of two-thirds of the state legislatures for any proposed constitutional amendment to become law.
They did not intend for the constitutionality of laws to be determined because of "evolving standards of decency" [ Roper v. Simmons ] or by what the European Court of Human Rights thinks [ LAWRENCE et al. v. TEXAS ]
One would think that the Justices would take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. And the plain meaning of those words would imply that the standard against wich laws should be compared in order to determine their constitutionality should be the Constitution and not some nebulous concept or opinions from a foreign court.
If Justices decide the constitutionality of issues not on the language of the Constitution but on such things as those listed above, well, I was going to say they violate their judicial oath.
However, I can't seem to get a firm answer on just what they do swear to when they are sworn in, and the sites I'm turning up I can't vouch for their accuracy, so I will not reference them here.
If the Constitution isn't composed of words whose meaning is consistent with their use in plain speech, then the Constitution means nothing.
In other words, if the Constitution is a "living document" then it's DEAD.
And to think that some of the most recent appointmees to the federal judiciary were called "extremists" and "out of the mainstream" because they had the audacity to publicly state that the Constitution Meant What It Said.
From the reasoning (or lack thereof) employed in the judicial gymnastics discussed above, I'd say that those are EXACTLY the type of judges this country so desperately needs.