The proper way to muck with the constitution

Calpundit points out that President Bush has in his first term has supported 5 amendments to the Constitution, ranging from a flag burning amendment to the recently proposed federal marriage amendment, and that this flurry of (in his view) trivial amendments shows that Bush thinks the Constitution is merely a rough draft- echoing similar criticisms of leftist activist judges and theorists who also think of the Constitution as a "living document" open to constant reinterpretation as politics dictates.

A critical difference, though, is that proposing amendments to the Constitution is the proper way to propose changes to it, as opposed to "judicial interpretation" of penumbras, implied meanings, nuances, convenient technicalities, etc., which invent new rights and privileges (usually for the State) out of whole cloth.

Politics is a poor substitute for voluntary transaction when it comes to ordering human affairs. But, given that politics happens, within that realm there are 'more bad' and 'less bad' ways to go about political decisions. Leaving large-scale issues of social and cultural importance in the hands of a handful of judges to essentially rule by fiat, and to in turn use the state's mechanisms to force these changes on a generally unwilling public would seem to be worse than subjecting such decisions to processes more open to input from the people about to be coerced into accepting often wrenching cultural change. In other words, if coercion is to be had, then let it be done with the highest amount of consultation with the potentially coerced as possible.

So, regardless of what President Bush's views toward the Constitution may be, proposing amendments to implement policy is far more respectful to the Constitution than seeking to do so by judicial fiat.

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