We need a 'constitutional audit'

Experts should determine exactly what our government should be doing

  • Follow Editorials

If you were lost, would you keep trudging on in the same direction -- or would you consult your map and read your directions?

America is lost.

Maybe we should pull out our map.

That the country is wandering in the wilderness is clear just from our willy-nilly, zigzag, harum-scarum, mortgage-the-farm-repeatedly Congress -- which is rated by Gallup as the worst in recorded memory, and for good reason. Those in power don't seem to know what form of government we have, and therefore what the limit of their power and authority is.

Or, ominously, where the limit of our patience is.

The health-care reform bill is but one example, albeit the most egregious. It has created what amounts to a constitutional crisis, with nearly half the states finding it necessary to call on the courts to rein in an out-of-control federal government. But again, this is just one example out of many.

Nor is it merely the legislative branch that is overgrown: With a complicit, bended-knee Democratic leadership in Congress, the executive branch has sprouted odiferous little buds of unchecked power -- as best exemplified by the explosion of bureaucratic regulation and powerful, unaccountable "czars" that are being allowed to exist outside the constitutional framework that was intended to give the Senate oversight on such appointments.

This constitutional crisis, not the economic one, is the story of our time. Our financial fortunes will ebb and flow, but once lost, our fundamental rights as Americans can scarcely be regained.

Our government is hopelessly lost. It's time to check the map: the Constitution.

This newspaper is calling on constitutional experts to form a team to perform what amounts to a "constitutional audit" of the federal government.

We need a panel of scholars to examine the federal leviathan -- its agencies, its czars, its pronouncements and all its meanderings into American life -- and determine how much of it all is truly authorized by our founding document.

This is far more than an academic exercise. It's tantamount to having engineers come out to see whether you are building your house properly above the foundation -- or if you're building off it, in the shifting sand.

The poured concrete of the Constitution, far from being taffy that can be pulled in any direction like the "living document" some like to call it, is the bedrock upon which the greatest nation on Earth arose. It wasn't Americans' DNA that made America great; we're not born superior to others around the world. It all comes back to the founding principles we once lived by.

"The future of liberty depends on reclaiming America's first principles," says the Heritage Foundation, in its Leadership for America "First Principles" project -- which warns of "an ever-expanding and centralized government, unmoored from constitutional limits.

"We must restore the principles of America's Founders to their proper role in the public and political discourse, influencing public policy and reforming government to reflect constitutional limits. ... (O)ur vision ... must now be to save America by reclaiming its truths and its promises and conserving its liberating principles for ourselves and our posterity."

In our view, that quest should begin with a constitutional audit -- a top-to-bottom inspection to find out where the federal government has stepped off its constitutional foundation.

It will then be up to us to get it back where it belongs. Otherwise, we will have a make-it-up-as-we-go-along federal government -- and soon, neither we nor the world will recognize this country.

Comments (33) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
soldout
1280
Points
soldout 12/19/10 - 12:00 am
0
0
Amen

Amen

msitua
124
Points
msitua 12/19/10 - 01:14 am
0
0
Where was your request for a

Where was your request for a constitutional audit when the Bush administration lied and basically declared an illegal war on Iraq?

OJP
6433
Points
OJP 12/19/10 - 02:05 am
0
0
Disingenuous. No call for a

Disingenuous. No call for a constitutional audit until NOW?

ACES is nothing more than a comical side show, particularly when it comes to legal credibility.

OJP

Haki
31
Points
Haki 12/19/10 - 07:18 am
0
0
Hilarious! Someone approved

Hilarious! Someone approved this piece. John Tesh?

southernguy08
499
Points
southernguy08 12/19/10 - 07:47 am
0
0
MSITUA, there are two
Unpublished

MSITUA, there are two problems with your post. First, Bush has been out of office for almost TWO years now! Second, and don't miss this, whammy Obammy has continued the war in Iraq, and even escalated the war in Afghanistan. You can ponder those points the next time you decide to thwart attention away from the incompetent Obama Administration. What we need is a BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT, to require by law that congress lives within its means, like the rest of us. We need it...BUT IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!

catfish20
250
Points
catfish20 12/19/10 - 08:27 am
0
0
I also agree with the

I also agree with the article.

Martinez
154
Points
Martinez 12/19/10 - 08:29 am
0
0
It will never happen in part

It will never happen in part because neither party is willing to do it. You can't balance the budget by catering to those who make the most money and have the highest ability to pay just like you can't balance the budget by extending unemployment benefits for rediculous lengths of time. Both parties seems stuck in it's own agenda unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to balance the budget. Blame doesn't lay more on either party in my opinion as both have had their hand in getting us here and further failing to act quickly now to get us out.

Rhetor
1004
Points
Rhetor 12/19/10 - 08:31 am
0
0
Have we actually strayed from

Have we actually strayed from the Constitution? Not really. Do we need an audit? Actually, we have always had such an auditor; it's called the Supreme Court, which has historically (as now) been dominated by conservatives. Please be aware that the Consitution actually does provide for a strong central government, regardless of how badly that rankles some individuals.

Mad Hatter
0
Points
Mad Hatter 12/19/10 - 09:07 am
0
0
Here's something else wrong

Here's something else wrong with your post, MSITUA. One, What lie did Bush tell? Two, the war was voted on and approved by congress.......not illegal. Just because you don't agree with it doesn't make it illegal.

justus4
99
Points
justus4 12/19/10 - 10:00 am
0
0
Where were such astute
Unpublished

Where were such astute observation from '00- '08? A complete failure by those constitutional-protected entities contributed to this horrible decade. In fact, Bush/Cheney has put us on a trajectory with those UNPAID & UNNECESSARY wars i.e., the lives lost, families destroyed,10 billion-a-week price tag, injuries that will never heal, limbs lost, and dreams shattered. The expected VA health cost is more than a trillion, not to mention those ending up on the streets and unproductive or destroy others...but review the article. Not even a mention of Bush/Cheney's deliberate wars that was UNFUNDED! They borrowed money from China to cause untold tens of thousands of harmed humans, including the death and destruction to our most precious investment: The next generation of Americans. So stating that "America is lost" is an accurate observation, but knowing exactly why U are lost helps in finding the correct path. The article is not helpful in that regard.

RoadKing09
16
Points
RoadKing09 12/19/10 - 10:16 am
0
0
Prohibit lawyers or

Prohibit lawyers or accountants from ,holding office in congress.
That will be a big step in the right direction.

Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 12/19/10 - 10:34 am
0
0
The Constitution is not an

The Constitution is not an allegorical summation of how government should perform. It is literal and the law. We can't use it to infringe on the free will of the people by saying well, the intent was this or that. It's written clearly in English, and by God, if it isn't there don't believe it.

Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 12/19/10 - 10:36 am
0
0
I love it that Hillary called

I love it that Hillary called for war with Iraq more than Bush. Ever hear her speech? She sounded like Ali Gee wanting to drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq.

effete elitist liberal
3112
Points
effete elitist liberal 12/19/10 - 11:22 am
0
0
Rhetor: you have it just

Rhetor: you have it just right. But hey, we can have another good laugh
at the expense of Mike ("You can take the boy out of Kansas, but....") Ryan. Now he calls for a "panel of scholars" to tell us all what the Constitution means? But wait a minute, I thought the Tea Party and others on the Right had decided that pointy-headed "perfessers" is what got us in this mess in the first place! Do we really need more "experts"?
We just survived a national election cycle with the airwaves filled with conservatives assuring us "the people" know what our Constitution means, we don't need so-called intellectuals to tell us. Ryan forgot to mention, of course, who would choose the "scholars" to make up his panel. A group of conservative scholars would get one result, of course, and a group of liberal scholars would get a different result. I should think all you conservatives would be happy leaving these matters to the Supreme Court, which, if you had paid attention in civics class, is supposed to decide that the Constitution means, a Court now with a predictably conservative majority, a Court which has handed down a series of conservative decisions in the four years since Bush put Alito on the bench. Of Obama's choices, neither Sotomayor nor Kagan has cast the deciding vote in a single case so far, and that's not likely to change.
No, you conservatives have things pretty much your way on the SC for the foreseeable future. Happy now?

Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 12/19/10 - 11:44 am
0
0
Liberals interpreting the

Liberals interpreting the Constitution are like Bill Clinton explaining the meaning of the word "is."

Mad Hatter
0
Points
Mad Hatter 12/19/10 - 12:04 pm
0
0
Still no evidence of any lie

Still no evidence of any lie Bush told, or explanation of why they think the war is illegal. Typical of a liberal to simply state their opinion as if it was a fact, then back it up with NOTHING.

Mad Hatter
0
Points
Mad Hatter 12/19/10 - 12:06 pm
0
0
The Constitution requires

The Constitution requires very little interpretation if you just read it...... unless you are a liberal who thinks that something like "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" means something other than "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

effete elitist liberal
3112
Points
effete elitist liberal 12/19/10 - 12:15 pm
0
0
Riverman1: I suppose you'd

Riverman1: I suppose you'd rather hear Sarah Palin lecturing us about
our "unalienable rights" or Glenn Beck's chalkboard analysis of American history--two mouths in search of a brain.

dichotomy
32136
Points
dichotomy 12/19/10 - 12:19 pm
0
0
I am not a scholar of the

I am not a scholar of the Constitution. But I am a freedom loving American and a taxpayer, which makes me a persecuted minority. I have a gut instinct that if you could bring the framers of the Constitution back to life long enough for them to see what we have allowed the federal government to become, they would immediately die again from a stroke. Their last words would be "this was not our intent". I know, it's just my opinion. But I think I am not the only one that feels this way.

And for you "Bush did it" crowd, Bush did what any president would have done given the WORLDWIDE intelligence reports from EVERY intelligence agency in the free world. It was agreed to by majority votes in the House and Senate and sanctioned by the United Nations and supported by UN forces and NATO allies. Obama now knows this, and the Democrats in Congress have always known this, and that is why we are still there in both places and the Democrats have continued to fund it. Same thing with GITMO. Get that through your thick partisan skulls. If Afghanistan and Iraq are such illegal, immoral wars then why, after 4 years of control of the House and Senate and 2 years of absolute, unchallengeable power wielded by the Democrats, are we still in both places with increased funding and manpower? Come on, say the words "George Bush was right and the Democrats, when faced with the responsibility of fighting terrorism, continued every Bush policy". The truth is a pretty thing.

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 12/19/10 - 12:22 pm
0
0
The Chronicle is about six
Unpublished

The Chronicle is about six years or so too late with this one! It's laughable how partisan The Chronicle is.

Mad Hatter
0
Points
Mad Hatter 12/19/10 - 12:24 pm
0
0
Grouse.....ever heard the

Grouse.....ever heard the term "better late than never?" Why not now? Care to explain? It's laughable how partisan you are.

IMRIGHTYOUREWRONG
76
Points
IMRIGHTYOUREWRONG 12/19/10 - 12:38 pm
0
0
No, this constitutional audit

No, this constitutional audit is totally necessary. If not, then the terrorists will win.

Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 12/19/10 - 12:43 pm
0
0
Effete, okay, Sarah Palin

Effete, okay, Sarah Palin said "unalienable" and Hillary actually spoke out vociferously to attack Iraq. Fair enough?

Mad Hatter
0
Points
Mad Hatter 12/19/10 - 12:47 pm
0
0
And Obama visited 57 states

And Obama visited 57 states and thinks the National Motto is "E Pluribus Unum."

Fair enough?

lashnjo
0
Points
lashnjo 12/19/10 - 12:56 pm
0
0
The Constitution is way ahead

The Constitution is way ahead of you Augusta Chronicle.
The founding fathers put in a system so that our government would audit itself.
The system involves a intricate system of checks and balances and frequent
elections by the people. The people voted in the politicians who are implementing
the policies that many despise. Those who despise the policies audited their
government in the form of an election and elected officials that would remove the hated policies.
If that isn't auditing I don't know what is.

"Experts should determine exactly what our government should be doing". The Constitution has a body of experts already to do just that. It is called the Supreme Court. Like I said, the Constitution is way ahead of you Augusta Chronicle.

Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 12/19/10 - 12:55 pm
0
0
And Bill Clinton asked for

And Bill Clinton asked for "is" to be defined. Fair enough?

Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 12/19/10 - 01:02 pm
0
0
And Joe Biden said...... Fair

And Joe Biden said......

Fair enough?

mable8
2
Points
mable8 12/19/10 - 01:29 pm
0
0
ACE's is right, we do need a

ACE's is right, we do need a Constitutional audit--and the sooner the better. Any infraction of the Constitution should make any "law" signed into effect null and void because the congressional and/or executive branch violated the Constitutional guidelines. Also, if one were to read the Constitution, one would find that many, if not all, of the directives or policies set forth by agencies within the Federal Government to be void because it is ONLY CONGRESS WHO CAN MAKE LAWS. This means that agencies such as EPA are not empowered to write any law that has an effect on the citizens. Therefore, those policies should be declared null and void because they are without substance and the protection of our Constitution.

ameliaf
0
Points
ameliaf 12/19/10 - 01:33 pm
0
0
And, when asked what the

And, when asked what the general public could do to support the War on Terror, Dubya said "go shopping."

and Dick Cheney said "deficits don't matter."

And, while I agree with the right to bear arms, I do wonder what the framers thinking was when they premised that right with "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, ..."

southernguy08
499
Points
southernguy08 12/19/10 - 01:35 pm
0
0
EEL, I suppose you think
Unpublished

EEL, I suppose you think Obama lecturing us on how grateful we should be regarding his policies is intelligent? Obama is the poster boy of arrogant ignorance. And, the last time I checked, neither Palin or Beck are in office or have any control over our lives. Borrowing from another Dem icon of greatness, Bill Clinton, "Nice try but no cigar!"

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs