“Cry, the Beloved Constitution”

J. Harvie Wilkinson III (Bob Brown/Richmond Times Dispatch)

The above is the original title of an op-ed penned by 4th Circuit Court Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III for the New York Times, which was reprinted in The Virginian-Pilot today.

The risks of continuing our present constitutional course are grave. One faction risks damage to the nation at large, the other to the vital roles of smaller communities. All factions owe their fellow citizens the hope and the prospect of democratic change, not the message that their views have been constitutionally condemned and their opponents’ views carved in the stone of our founding charter.

The judge has been consistent in his writings about protecting the constitution. In this 2006 piece, he argued against the constitutionalization of family law.

A young Wilkinson wrote a pretty thorough book on Harry Byrd, which certainly has helped to shape my thinking on both the subject and the writer.

This latest missive is well worth a read – and consideration.


2 thoughts on ““Cry, the Beloved Constitution”

  1. I disagree with his characterization of liberals:

    Liberals are mounting their own, equally damaging, assault on the Constitution. They have forsaken the textual and historical foundations of that document in favor of judicially decreed rights of autonomy. It is one thing to value those rights our cherished Bill of Rights sets forth. But to create rights from whole cloth is to turn one’s back on law.

    The Constitution explicitly says, in the Ninth Amendment, “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

    The problem is not in the “[creation of] rights from whole cloth,” but in the idea that others should pay for you to exercise your rights. Rights are what other people (including the government) cannot stop you from doing. Rights are NOT what other people (directly or through the government) have to give you.

    You have the right to birth control. Fine. Pay for it yourself. Don’t demand that others buy it for you.

    You have the right to own a gun. Does the government have to buy you one?

    Also, your rights end where others’ begin. I have the right to carry a gun. Business owners have the right to say that I cannot carry one in their place of business, either as a customer or as an employee.

  2. BTW, WordPress has decided that since my email has a wordpress account attached to it, I have to log in to comment. So warren is now narceleb again.

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