By Jonathan Sorg | Federalism In Action
General George S. Patton, United States Army, famously said, “Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.” We, as a people, find ourselves where we have always best performed, under duress and against all odds. Our culture, way of life, our liberties, and the United States Constitution are in the crosshairs with the guns in range. However, the growing chorus of the American people and more representatives in government represent a firewall taking the offensive. We are beginning to see members of government take on directly the fundamental transformation of America.
As highlighted by the Heritage Foundation, Utah Senator Mike Lee, and Glenn Beck, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state has introduced House Resolution 613 to restore “the authority of the American people and the separation of powers.” The resolution is concise, direct, noble, and ambitious. It reminds us of the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence, two eternal pillars of Western civilization and expression for all those yearning for personal freedom. The resolution remembers the explicit aim and exultant spirit of the U.S. Constitution, which placed the people upon the altar and the policy makers in the pews. We, as the arbiter’s of our lives and the decisions of our electors, must take back what is rightfully ours and restore the separation of powers as originally proscribed. Resolution 613 uniquely emphasizes this cause saying, “Whereas the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, and the checks and balances each branch has on the others’ legitimate powers, make up the main structural mechanism by which the Constitution limits power, assures responsible government, and prevents tyranny.”
This resolution and others like it require us to ask ourselves why are the separation of powers or the Constitution overall important? The late and great justice Antonin Scalia answered these questions as only he could with vigor, lucidity, and simplicity. He notes that most people may point to the Bill of Rights as the founder’s greatest gift, whether it be the first, second, or any of the first ten amendments. Justice Scalia reminded us that the word “constitution” most precisely refers to structure and in the case of government, its diffusion of power. He reminded us that our Bill of Rights does not set us apart as any banana republic and even the Soviet Union had parchment guarantees of rights or liberties. The root of American freedom has been decentralization of power and its intended dysfunction. Government legislation was to be difficult to pass and then subject to presidential veto and potentially judicial verdict. Put simply, we were to have few laws passed and only involving matters allocated to Congress in Article I.
In Federalist 73, Hamilton warned of excess legislation arguing, “that the power of preventing bad laws includes that of preventing good ones; and may be used to the one purpose as well as to the other. But this objection will have little weight with those who can properly estimate the mischiefs of that inconstancy and mutability in the laws, which form the greatest blemish in the character and genius of our governments.”
Congresswoman Rodgers bravely reaffirms the legislative branch as supreme in government and the proper branch to reign in the rogue. Resolution 613 gives us a path to realign the branches which will give the people its rightful supremacy over government bureaucrats and agencies. This is a manifestation of the people’s will to end the intransigence of those we elect to the Constitution they swear to uphold. This resolution is another verse in the crescendo of Americans awakening to their power who together resound, “Let music swell the breeze, And ring from all the trees Sweet freedom’s song.”
About the author: Jonathan Sorg is a millennial and recent graduate of Indiana University with a degree in Political Science. During his time at Indiana, he participated on the Debates and Lectures committee while also serving in the YAL campus chapter. Following graduation Jonathan worked in the financial services industry before joining Federalism In Action. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys the outdoors, physical activity, occasional idleness and reading books of historical non-fiction, economics, or political thrillers.