I am not a legal philosopher but I love the expression that “the law is either a sword or a shield.”
It really applies to the current presidential primary contests and how the candidates pick and choose which parts of the U.S. Constitution they think applies to their argument and which sections should be ignored.
The hands-down winner of the most recited section of the Constitution is the Second Amendment which guarantees that every citizen shall have the” right to bear arms.”
Any voter who suggests any form of gun control is met with a condemnation that they are infringing on the Second Amendment.
Even though opinion polls show that eight-five percent of Americans favor restrictions on giving gun permits to people who have mental illnesses, the pro- gun candidates say not.
When the pollsters ask members of the National Rifle Association the same question they find that a majority favor such a restriction.
To show how strongly the pro-gun lobby defends its constitutional rights, even after the numerous tragedies in Connecticut, Colorado, and California, the gun rights groups insist that no changes be made to existing gun laws.
Even a tragedy like the recent San Bernadino experience, will not soften the hearts of the pro-gun group.
A recent attempt to ban the issuance of gun permits to people who are the airline no-fly list, was met with howls of indignation.
After all, they claimed, there are mistakes made on the no-fly list.
Another very popular section of the U.S. Constitution is the First Amendment.
The First Amendment is the second most quoted amendment and is used by countless numbers of politicians throughout the year when defending their right to besmirch an opponent. It is especially tailor-made for the Donald Trumps of this world, who have thrown politically correct language into the dustbin and insist on saying whatever crosses their minds.
For Mr. Trump especially, insults, taunts and uttering an occasional curse word are protected speech.
One of the amendments that rarely enter the public arena is the 11th amendment, which guarantees the right of the President of the United States to offer a candidate for a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court.
That amendment has been used by presidents since the days of George Washington, to exercise their power to recommend a candidate for the High Court.
Since the untimely passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Republican presidential candidates have chosen to ignore that part of the constitution and insist that as far as President Obama is concerned his term in office is officially over, even if by law he has almost 11 months left in office.
Oddly enough, there was no member of the U.S. Supreme Court who embraced the Constitution and its plain language more than Justice Scalia.
He was of the opinion that all the modern day judges and lawyers shouldn’t try to interpret what the document meant and instead stick to its strict wording.
The best example of being two faced is candidate Ted Cruz, who clerked in that court and argued many cases before the panel.
Cruz insists that we follow every comma and period of the law except in the case of filling vacancies.
At least once a year I get a piece of mail that includes a copy of the U.S. Constitution. It comes from a well-known, the conservative Federalist Society, that insists that the Constitution be read for what it says which I assume is the right of the President to nominate someone for the Supreme Court..
I guess I shouldn’t be too dismayed by all the hypocrisy of the presidential candidates and their followers.
It’s a sign of the times that when it comes to modern-day politics there is no consistent position on anything. Just what the moment demands and what you can get away with.