Editorial: Bill of Rights anniversary call echoed

Dec. 13, 2012 @ 08:40 PM

While members of the nation’s two major parties bicker and debate their way toward a showdown, today is a reminder of why many are independent of Democrats and Republicans.

For as long as we’ve been a country, debate has ensued about the powers of Congress. The Constitution is a mark of genius, still providing guidance and clarity more than 200 years past its origination.

The Bill of Rights, the first 10 of which were ratified today 221 years ago, has also stood the test of time. Libertarians tell us they’ve also been trampled on many times over since 1791 as well.

In drafting Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, our Founders laid out the powers of Congress within the Legislative Branch. But before the Bill of Rights followed, states were already writing constitutions. Some added a state bill of rights to go with them. And so grew the argument, and mainly the struggle, for power.

A federal Bill of Rights document, in fact, was not even thought necessary. When Virginia became the 10th state to ratify, the Bill of Rights became part of the Constitution.

We would note that the two amendments not gaining ratification of the 12 proposed dealt with the number of representatives in the House, and compensation for representatives of the House and Senate. Representation, a core issue for our revolution, still burns fires today.

Another issue not leaving anytime soon is debate on jurisdiction of federal and state laws. Last week, marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington that would seem to violate federal laws went into effect.

Court dates seem likely to decide if federal or state laws rule.

Government is big, far bigger than we could ever have imagined. There is little to no doubt, along the way from the 1700s to today, Congress has overstepped the Tenth Amendment — powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Our Founders wanted checks and balances for the people. Politicians have stretched the boundaries, and in some cases, broken them.

On this anniversary date, we echo the call for government to stay within the limits of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.