The Corporate Law Group

Happy Constitution Day!

Constitution DayToday is Constitution Day. The Buzz recently reread the Constitution from the perspective of a lawyer who has drafted something and was asking if it was clear. The Buzz has drafted one or two things in 32 years of practicing law (we still haven’t ‘practiced’ enough to actually do it). The Bottom Line: It was clear but we have ignored that clarity and engineered a massive FUBAR. We have done nothing to protect the Constitution from the government of which it was skeptical. You can thank the Supremes for that (the kind that wear robes, not the kind that can hold a tune). We were supposed to be a government of enumerated powers, not a feudal system of enumerated rights. If there were a drafting failure, it was including the end of Article 8 what is sometimes called the general welfare clause. That has been at the heart of most of the mischief imaginable in 19 trillion dollars of debt. How is bailing out a massive, inefficient, wasteful, consumer-rejected business which perpetrated a deadly automotive defect (hint: Its name rhymes with Schmeneral Schmotors) helping the general welfare? It isn’t. That bailout made us all poorer. And as to the Bill of Rights: Many early Constitutionalists said it wasn’t necessary because all our rights, including those listed, were inalienable. Identifying some rights might put in jeopardy the thousands of rights not listed. Man were they right. Now we are barely hanging onto those rights spelled out and we’ve lost everything not spelled out. Is it too late? You bet. Although maybe we can reign things back in by deleting “general welfare” from Article 8 and seeing how our governing masters handle it. That might be worth a shot. One thing is clear to this lawyer: The founders never anticipated what we now have. They thought they were writing clearly, but it goes to show how much damage lawyers can do given 230 years.