from Tea Party Patriots
January 8, 2017
An article appeared recently urging that Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court be asked about their views on the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution. The Ninth Amendment says that “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
I’m aware of two ways to read the Ninth Amendment. First, as a fountain of all kinds of new rights, all sorts of new mischief. People who read the Ninth Amendment this way argue that the Bill of Rights does not contain all the rights that We the People have, so they put in the Ninth Amendment to head off any argument that people don’t have any rights beyond those listed in the Bill of Rights. The problem with this interpretation is that there are no limits on it. One could argue that people have a right to free healthcare, longer vacations at work like FDR wanted, all kinds of things. This is the kind of thinking that gave us the made-up constitutional right to privacy in the birth control and abortion cases (Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe versus Wade).
But there’s another way to read the Ninth Amendment that makes more sense. The government has certain enumerated powers under the Constitution. If what the government proposes cannot reasonably be related to one of those enumerated powers, the government can’t do it. The people retain the right to be free from governmental action that is not specified in the Constitution.
This discussion is drawn from a book about the Bill of Rights and I’ll put the citation in the wrap-up. There’s more to be said about the Ninth Amendment – how it expresses the philosophical core of the American Idea and how it may or may not apply to state governments, but we’ll leave all that to another day.
Let me mention two things briefly, to finish up. First, Robert Leming of the We the People program, who was on our webinar in December, will be speaking to the Bloomington Indiana Tea Party on January 26th. I am grateful to this audience and to the Bloomington group for taking such an interest in the We the People program for middle and high schoolers. It really is a fine program.
Lastly, I want to bring to your attention a free e-book by Richard Viguerie and Mark Fitzgibbons - The Law that Governs Government: Reclaiming the Constitution from Usurpers and Society’s Biggest Lawbreaker, i.e. the government itself. Richard Viguerie invented the direct mail revolution that helped Ronald Reagan get elected. Mark Fitzgibbons is a constitutional lawyer in Virginia who works with Viguerie. The book suggests ways we constitutional conservatives can reclaim the Constitution from a government that’s out of control. I’ll put the link in the wrap-up.
Ninth Amendment article: “Bill of Rights at 225: Securing all the liberties of We the People”
The Bill of Rights: Original Meaning and Current Understanding (Eugene W. Hickok, Jr., ed.)(see Chapters 28 and 29 on the Ninth Amendment)
The Law that Governs Government: Reclaiming the Constitution from Usurpers and Society’s Biggest Lawbreaker (free e-book by Richard Viguerie and Mark Fitzgibbons)