In 1992 when Roe v. Wade again came before the Supreme Court, 19 years after the Court had found abortion rights in the Constitution, the Justices cast aspersions upon the original decision. Nevertheless, the Court upheld the poor reasoning of its predecessor on the grounds that after so many years women had acquired squatter's rights to abortions. The plurality opinion found that "an entire generation has come of age free to assume Roe's concept of liberty in defining the capacity of women to act in society, and to make reproductive decisions."
In other words, an incorrect ruling had been sanctified by the passage of time and belonged to women under the doctrine of adverse possession.
The Supreme Court did not see fit to save prayer in public schools with the same reasoning, although the people had had rights of adverse possession to school prayer much longer than women had exercised abortion rights under the original Roe v. Wade decision.
The 1992 decision upholding Roe v. Wade on the basis of rights exercised over a generation establishes a precedent that makes it impossible for courts ever to overturn the Second Amendment. Americans have exercised the right to be armed from the first day of origin of the United States.
Nevertheless the Second Amendment is no more safe than the First or any other. The US Constitution ceased to be a controlling document when Americans gave up the belief that "the ends do not justify the means."
Causes have become more important than rights. We are urged to do something about "gun violence," the Constitution be damned. To be safe from terrorists, we must set aside habeas corpus. To prevent the First Amendment from undermining military aggression, reporters must be embedded in the military so they can be censored.
And so on. Everyone can write his own examples.
The sacrifice of the US Constitution to causes and the inconsistencies in Supreme Court rulings have led to many reasoned complaints. One of the latest is Who Killed The Constitution? by Thomas E. Woods and Kevin Gutzman.
It is inappropriate for me to review a book that cites me in the index and bases two of its chapters on The New Color Line by Lawrence Stratton and myself. I will refrain from doing so, but I will say that Who Killed The Constitution is more than a rant. The chapter on federal prosecution of people who exercised their rights under California law to medical marijuana is worth the price of the book.
As Stratton and I show in our book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, law is no longer a shield of the people. Chasing after devils in the name of good causes has turned law in America into a discretionary weapon in the hands of police and prosecutors. No one is safe.
Falling afoul of the law is a random process that can affect the innocent as well as the guilty. Sometimes classes of people are persecuted when advocacy groups succeed in hyping new crimes. "Child advocates" succeed in creating hysteria about child sex abuse, and day care centers across the country were framed in orchestrated wrongful prosecutions.
The "repressed memory" movement launched another witch-hunt across America that destroyed families and sent parents and grandparents to prison for crimes that never happened. In his recently published book, Try To Remember, Dr. Paul R. McHugh, University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, tells the story of the fraudulent cult of "recovered memory."
Today it is routine for Americans to be convicted on the basis of prosecutors paying witnesses-for-hire for false and perjured testimony.
Americans today are overwhelmed with injustices and lies. Most prosecutions are wrongful, because police and prosecutors have discovered that it is easier to frame the guilty than to convict them on the evidence. Most crimes are "solved" by the police picking a defendant and the prosecutor piling on charges until the defendant is coerced into a plea bargain.
The United States government in the 21st century has wasted $3 trillion on wars based on lies and fabrications. This is the behavior of a government that is essentially bankrupt and is unable to attend to the health care of its population. Wars against fabricated enemies became the most important order of business for America in the first decade of the 21st century.
It is not only the Constitution that is dead in America, but also respect for truth. In place of honest reporting, the media provides spin to benefit the government or some interest group.
All of us just witnessed banksters use the media, the Federal Reserve, and the Bush regime to steal $1 trillion from the taxpayers. Despite what we see and experience, it continues.
Elections don't fix it. Failures don't stop it.
How can a country recover from such a state? I don't know the answer. Thomas Jefferson thought only through violent revolution.
Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan's first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow's Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.