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One Document Elana Kagan Might Want To Re-Read This Weekend

By Matt Smith

During questioning from Senator Tom Coburn (R, OK), Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan responded, “I said in my opening statement that I was only going to make a single pledge, the pledge that I made in my opening statement, but I’ll make you another: I’ll re-read The Federalist Papers.”

The Federalist Papers were written after the Constitutional Convention as part of what today would be considered a massive intellectual public relations campaign for state ratification. What Senator Coburn might have thought to press Elena Kagan on was whether she had recently re-read the key document of America written before the Constitution.

On Sunday, America commemorates the 234th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. A document signed by fifty-six patriots who believed:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

As you examine the writings of the time, the Founding Fathers in their drafting of what has been dubbed “The Charters of Freedom” viewed the documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, held 1774-1789, as a continuous philosophical formation of our country.

However, on January 22, 1973, seven justices on the Supreme Court inserted words into the Constitution under the guise of privacy and forgetting the “unalieanable” right to life written in the Declaration of Independence, our country’s first founding document.

Since 1973, averaging estimates from both the pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute and Centers for Disease Control brings us to 3,804 abortions per day or roughly 51,373,020 children who never had the chance to invoke their unalienable rights.

Instead of asking if Elena Kagan has read The Federalist Papers – ask her how she is going to interpret the document they are about from the highest court in the land. Does she think the Constitution is a living document? Does she think the Constitution should be modernized? Does she think international law should be consulted as she has written? Since President Obama publicly said he would nominate someone who shared his world view, how is she going to use such a view in her approach to rulings?

President Obama decided on March 18, 2008 to open his major address on race during the 2008 presidential campaign by highlighting that the drafters and signers of the Declaration wanted “to form a more perfect union.” The speech is filled with a history lesson and rhetoric on important issues such as race relations and civil rights. It is clear though, he chose to pick and choose which sections of the Declaration to highlight.

Unfortunately, the one civil right omitted from the speech delivered by the man who broke down the very barriers he talked about that day was the right to life. The omission is one seen time and again by certain Members of Congress. They can be seen on C-SPAN standing in the well of the House of Representatives or Senate speaking with all their oratory abilities on the rights of citizens but not once mentioning the unborn.

The Founding Fathers had a “world view” for our country and the principles to uphold it. We would be served well and placed once again down the path to becoming a shining city on the hill if elected officials referenced our Charters of Freedom instead of trying to constantly re-write them.

So on this July 4th, maybe President Obama, his Supreme Court nominee, and those in Congress who repeatedly vote for pro-abortion policies can take a moment to read the Declaration of Independence and be reminded of the rights that were written down by the Founders not inserted by the Court 197 years later.

Matt Smith is Vice President of Catholic Advocate

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2 Responses to One Document Elana Kagan Might Want To Re-Read This Weekend

  1. Greg says:

    Your article makes so wonderfully clear that a full scale public discussion of who we are and how we are to conduct our common business is needed.

    We need forums in which we can discuss these issues respectfully and ask questions that call upon the participants to tell the personal story of how they came to form their views. Only when we touch the heart can we hope to come to real understanding.

  2. Chili Dogg says:

    I wanted to hear these questions:

    Miss Kagan, between July 4, 1776, when the DoI was signed, and Sept. 17, 1787, when the Constitution was signed, did American citizens have the right of free speech, or did they have the right of free speech only after the 1st Amendment to the Constitution was signed? If you think they did have the right of free speech during that time, what was that right based on, as it could not have been based on the Constitution? If you think they did not have the right of free speech, would you have voted against claims to such a right had you been a justice between 1776 and 1787?

    Also, when the DoI mentions “inalienable rights, including the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, what is the content of the term “liberty”? If you name the rights covered by “liberty”, how do you arrive at the content of the term “liberty” if you are agnostic on the meaning of “inalienable rights”? If you cannot name the rights covered by the term “liberty” and “inalienable rights”, then how do you propose to protect rights that you cannot identify?

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