3 Comments

  1. Robin Tanner

    Gee Joe, this post constitutes, in military parlance, a “target rich environment”. But since I am hurriedly preparing for a three day drive to Charlottesville, I’ll leave it at this … remind me never to engage in a contractual arrangement with you. I am imagining the conversation a few years down the road.

    Me: Joe, our contract states that I am to pay you $X per book. Now you are asking $2X per book?
    Joe: Well, society and circumstances have changed. Among other things, our currency has been devalued. And, in general, we now view most contracts as living documents that we must interpret in view of the realities of today. And it’s clear that our intent was that I be paid in 2017 equivalent dollars., plus 50%
    Me: Well, the reality of today is that it may have been your intent, but it wasn’t mine and it wasn’t stated in the legal document we both signed.
    Joe: Well, I have a judge here in Lafayette who has ruled that it WAS our intent and that the contract says just that.
    Me: What?!? Have you read the contract lately?
    Joe: Doesn’t matter. All that matters is this judge’s interpretation, and he’s my cousin. So, pay up if you don’t want to go to jail.
    Me: Yeah? Well, I still have my arsenal of 2nd Amendment firearms, so come and get it.

    Sheesh, and that’s how civil wars get started.

    • Bookscrounger

      Nice point, but there’s one important omission from your argument.

      If we agree to alter the contract, then there’s no problem.

      Which is the benchmark for altering our foundational contract: ratification. If the supermajority agrees, then the Constitution changes, in any way that the voters decide.

      Naturally, if you are part of the minority you won’t like it. You might even claim we have broken a contract. But if the contract specifically lays out how the contract can be altered or nullified, and the voters have fulfilled the requirements, then I cannot see how the objecting minority have a valid complaint.

      The Constitution does not belong to the Founders, nor to Scalia. It is ours.

      As long as we live and breathe, it lives and breathes.

  2. Robin Tanner

    Ah, Joe, but you are missing the point. What has been happening lately has not been the altering of the contract through ratification. It has been through judicial activism – rulings by life-appointed justices at multiple levels who do not answer to the electorate.

    I’m all for constitutional amendments. There are a few I would support. But no one wants to expend the effort to go this route . Stacking the judiciary in your favor is much easier.

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