Court often misinterprets the Constitution

The Constitution of the United States of America is not the easiest read. It is written in the English of 200 years ago and is not understood very well by many people. Because of this lack of understanding among the people, many government officials and others have gotten away with disregarding the Constitution, either purposefully or out of ignorance.
Some of the most important examples I’ve noticed of Constitutional ignorance are the Supreme Court’s tendency to legislate from the bench, Congress’s acceptance of the income tax, and the sometimes deliberate misinterpretation and disregard of the First and 10th amendments.
The Supreme Court has been a controversial part of government since its establishment. Although most of its decisions have been respectable, several important cases have crossed the line from ruling to legislating. The court has used cases such as Roe v. Wade to not only make a decision on the constitutionality of the case, but also to say how their rulings should be used and applied. These add-ons to the court’s rulings are clearly legislation and should be left up to Congress or the states.
Congress has also had its share of constitutional indiscretions, most notably the income tax. While the 16th Amendment, which authorizes a tax on income, is perfectly legal, it goes against everything the Founding Fathers wanted for the United States. The fathers even went so far as to ban this kind of tax in the Constitution.
The First and 10th amendments are two of the most important parts of the Bill of Rights. They are also two of the most misused.
The 10th Amendment says that any power not given by the Constitution to the U.S. government nor prohibited by the Constitution is left up to the states and the people. The federal government consistently uses this amendment to its advantage and uses shallow excuses such as the “Commerce Clause” and the “Implied Powers Clause” to justify the crime. A recent example of this is the health care bill, but past examples include Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.
The problems with the First Amendment are very much intertwined with the 10th Amendment. The First Amendment bans Congress from making any laws that prohibit the freedoms of speech and religion, among other things. However, many people take the First Amendment beyond its purpose and say that any law by any power concerning religion and free speech is unconstitutional. This is simply not the case. The 10th Amendment says that any power not given to the federal government is handed to the states and people. Therefore the issues of freedom of religion, such as prayer in school, and freedom of speech, such as the banning of books, are under the jurisdiction of the states and people and legal if the states choose to support them.
The Constitution has been ignored many times and nothing is done about it. This is why constitutional literacy is important. I encourage everyone to read the Constitution and find out how the Founding Fathers meant the country to be run.
–By Scott Mokris, Home-schooled

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