The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 15: A copy of former President George Washington NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 15: A copy of former President George Washington's personal copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights is displayed at Christie's auction house on June 15, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)   

The Constitution: What difference does it make?

Photo of Robert Morrison
Robert Morrison
Senior Fellow, Family Research Council

Hillary Clinton’s infamous question was hurled back at senators whom the lapdog media accused of badgering the outgoing secretary of state: “What difference does it make, Senator?”

She was talking, of course, about the four dead Americans at Benghazi. She was responding to the charge that she abandoned them to their fate on the night of September 11, 2012.

That famous ad she ran in her 2008 campaign against Barack Obama showed a telephone ringing in the White House at 3 a.m. The ad said we needed someone tried and ready to exercise authority.

In the actual crisis of 2012, however, that red telephone was answered by faceless State Department middlemen. Those bureaucrats who took the hit for Madame Secretary’s dereliction of duty doubtless enjoyed their year-long “administrative leave” – with full pay and benefits. That’s the wrist-slap her toadies got as a result of taking no action to rescue those Americans in harm’s way.

What difference does it make? That’s a great question. And it’s one we should ask ourselves today, Constitution Day. We have Russia’s latest dictator taking to the editorial pages of the New York Times to lecture us on the “dangerous” idea of American exceptionalism. Vladimir Putin doesn’t have to worry much about Russia’s constitution. If he doesn’t like any part of it, his Duma will rubber stamp it for him.

Well, Vladimir Vladimirovich, America is exceptional. And our Constitution is one reason why. As Ronald Reagan never tired of pointing out: Ours is the only Constitution in the world that begins with “We the people…” As Thomas Jefferson would say, “it is in the manners and spirit of the people that a republic is preserved in vigor.”

A republic is what our Constitution guarantees to us. No kings, no aristocrats, not even black-robed judicial masters to lord it over us. A republic is that form which, as Lincoln so eloquently described it, is a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

We need to respond to President Obama’s promise – or was it a threat? – “to fundamentally transform this country.” The Constitution was drafted and approved to provide checks and balances on the exercise of power.

James Madison, Father of the Constitution, said it well: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” That men are not angels then or now is apparent every day. One obvious example: President Obama has just named law professor Cornelia Pillard to the all-important D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Prof. Pillard says that women must have access to free contraception and abortion or they will be “conscripted” – her word – into motherhood.

If Prof. Pillard becomes Judge Pillard or, even worse, Justice Pillard, we would see a radical judge, serving a life term, who turns the Constitution on its head. The legislative branch’s power of the purse would be annulled by the judiciary. Can the people’s elected representatives vote not to pay for the killing of the unborn? Not if Prof. Pillard’s twisted view of the Constitution is adopted. Her appointment shows us President Obama’s radical priorities and confirms what many have feared about his inner beliefs.