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News Link • Bill of Rights

The constitutional right to be left alone - by George Will

• Washington Post
Wilkinson’s recurring refrain is that judges should be disposed to defer to majorities, meaning the desires of political, popularly elected institutions. But because deference to majority rule is for Wilkinson a value that generally trumps others, it becomes a kind of cosmic theory — a solution that answers most vexing constitutional riddles. Wilkinson’s premise is that “self-governance,” meaning majority rule, is the “first principle of our constitutional order.” 

3 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ana Panot
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You are a great guy, Annonymous75! You have this powerful gift the rest of us don’t have, of making difficult and complicated issues or matters clearer and much easier for everyone to understand.

I want a dinner-date with you – it’s on me -- so that I can listen more to you, learn and fathom more the depth of your wisdom … how about that? No hanky-panky or strings attach … just a casual meeting of two people in this website who are in the side of the public.

Comment by Bertha Anonimo
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The term "Majority" is usually used to break an impasse. It makes the "difference". In dealing with a situational issue, where everything is equal, the majority rules. It is the "strength" of Democracy because majority means power, more power than that of the few or the minority, but it is also Democracy’s "weakness" because the majority is not always right.

I have not lost a civil case yet in the court of law, where preponderance of evidence rules. I study the case first before I commit my legal services. I advise my client if it is a losing case, and I pass. It is hard to lose a case using this legal compass to show you the way when you practice law.

Nonetheless, the opinion of the majority never scares me. I know that when I am legally, spiritually and morally right, God is always with me, and for me that’s the Majority, even though I stand alone.

Comment by Dennis Treybil
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Wilkinson's inclination to defer to majorities is somewhat supported by Federalist Paper 78.  This was penned by Hamilton who later demonstrated he was more of a centralist (wanting all power transferred to Washington) that an actual federalist (which involves distribution of power among a central body, states and the people).  However, if a majority runs afoul of the first amendment, or Article I section 9 or section 10, to defer to the majority is to abdicate, to borrow a phrase from the article.

What if a majority advocates and succeeds in passing a complete ban on guns?  Assuming the country does not tear itself apart before court can be convened, this is another case where deferring to the majority amounts to abdication.

Nothing succeeds like success.  Which is to say, nothing is so good as getting it right to begin with.  It is well and good that the courts are there to referee when conflicts occur.  Better yet that the conflicts not occur.  Widespread observance of the constitution among the people, not just among elected officials and bureaucrats, helps keep legislation in line with the constitution to begin with.

It might be said that if ignorance is part of the problem, education is part of the solution.  However, as Doug Casey lamented in an interview recently posted  here at Freedom's Phoenix, some folks spend a bunch of time trying to figure ways around Constitutional roadblocks to their agenda.  And that's the human factor.

Of course, the human factor could be eliminated, but if that happened, who would read my comments?!

DC Treybil

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