We had wars that weren’t ‘wars,’ now martial law not called ‘martial law’

By Sean Harshey

The lockdowns imposed on law-abiding American citizens as part of governments’ coronavirus response have demonstrated the extent to which our Constitution has become meaningless.

Since World War II, American political leaders have increasingly ignored the United States Constitution, its limitations and requirements viewed as too constricting and the rights of citizens an inconvenience to politicians and unelected bureaucrats in advancing their agendas.

The rights to privacy, abortion and gay marriage: None is even mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. Meanwhile, the 10th Amendment – reserving all powers for the states and the people not delegated in the Constitution to the federal government – has been ignored entirely as though it were not there. Likewise, Article I gives Congress the sole power to declare war. The last time this provision was followed and Congress declared war in accordance with the Constitution was in 1941. Since then, well over 100,000 U.S. troops have died in wars around the world from Korea and Vietnam all the way through the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the longest war in American history, in Afghanistan. These were Americans killed in wars arguably not constitutional.

In 1964 the Supreme Court invented a brand-new constitutional right. The “right to privacy” is found nowhere in the Constitution. The court created it out of thin air on the belief that it should be in there, citing emanations of penumbras. In other words, “What I’m creating isn’t in there, but I’m reading between the lines, and I think this is what the writers of the Constitution really meant.” Just a few years later, since there was now a right to privacy, the court decided there must also be a right for women to abort their children. And so the constitutional right to abortion was also simply added as a brand-new right alongside all those specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

Interestingly, this constitutional right to privacy is completely ignored when it comes to the government establishing and operating secret FISA courts to get secret warrants to spy on American citizens, the never-ending incursions into the private lives of every American in the Patriot Act or the invasions of privacy and meddling in the private medical and financial affairs written into Obamacare. The judiciary only seems to create new rights when it comes to advancing liberal interests. Limiting liberals’ use of government authority against the people is not a concern.

Throughout our history, the Constitution offered protection from government attempts to violate citizens’ rights. Beginning in the 1950s, the Supreme Court began expanding constitutional protections to apply to private businesses in matters such as civil rights, effectively deleting the First Amendment freedom of assembly and the correlated freedom of association. (The latter being a right established as a fundamental right by SCOTUS in the 1950s where it struck down government interference in NAACP activities. Contrast this with the current posture of many civil rights leaders demanding government intervention, tracking and harassment of conservative groups or organizations they call “right wing.”) If it seems like the left has managed to have it both ways, creating robust new rights for themselves out of thin air while denying those same rights to others and ignoring explicit rights altogether, you are not alone. And while the Constitution now prohibits businesses from barring blacks from sitting at lunch counters or homeowners from agreeing to restrictive covenants, these prohibitions on discrimination are not applied to leftist private businesses like Twitter discriminating against conservative users or banks refusing service to gun stores.

New rights were never supposed to be just made up. There is a constitutional process by which the Constitution can be amended. It was, in fact, amended several times over the document’s first 190 years. But, since liberal jurists discovered the power to simply make up any right they believe should be in the document, nobody even tries to amend the Constitution anymore because it is much easier to simply get the court to rule a new right into the document.

Sometimes, the exact constitutional issue seems to apply in a completely opposite way depending on who is advocating a position. When the Obama administration refused to enforce immigration laws, it forced states to enact their own laws to deal with the crime, human trafficking and crushing pressure on local services. SCOTUS ruled these laws invalid, declaring states constitutionally prohibited from interfering in immigration matters because it is a uniquely federal function. Immediately upon the election of Donald Trump, however, Democrats in state and local governments across America began declaring themselves “sanctuary cities” and enforcing their own immigration laws to protect illegal aliens. Again, the left gets to have it both ways.

During this coronavirus panic, Americans are banned from attending church or assembling for meetings, weddings and the like – rights specifically enumerated in the First Amendment. Pastors have even been arrested for daring to hold worship services, and the mayor of New York threatened to permanently shut churches refusing to obey his order banning worship services. Likewise, medical procedures of all kinds have been stopped for the medical community to focus personnel and resources on fighting the coronavirus epidemic. But federal courts ruled abortions (that “right” found nowhere in the actual language of the Constitution) must not be interfered with. Specific, enumerated constitutional rights are violated without restraint, but a made-up right found nowhere in the document is so legally sacred it may not be limited for any reason, even during a pandemic.

Under this mass house arrest of the American people, our freedom of movement, our right to freely use our property, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion are banned without so much as a hesitation from leaders regarding their constitutional authority to do so.

We have wars without calling them wars, strict enforcement of constitutional rights found nowhere in the Constitution and now martial law without calling it martial law.

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