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Do legislators honor the Constitution?

Date published: 7/20/2014

Do legislators honor the Constitution?

Our U.S. Constitution defines what the federal government is authorized to do, including maintain a navy, which is needed to protect the landlocked states. But a federal standing army was not authorized. Why? Because each state had its own militia.

The Second Amendment states that "a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

"Free state" refers to the sovereignty of individual states. Not only was the citizen militia to protect the states against a foreign power, but against any federal forces as well.

Well-armed citizens performed exercises, keeping ready at a moment's notice.

The U.S. Constitution authorizes temporary federal armies but with a two-year time limit (the time before an election in the House of Representatives) as a deterrent to lengthy foreign wars, and it mandates that only Congress is authorized to declare war. This is to prevent the president from unilaterally sending troops into battle.

The last time Congress actually declared war was for World War II. How often since then have we followed the rules regarding war? Korea? Vietnam? Kosovo? Desert Storm? The Middle East?

The unconstitutional War Powers Act and other legislation have given the government wiggle room to go to war without a formal declaration. Even so, they have placed restrictions that have not been honored.

Are our legislators and president honoring the oath of office they took to abide by the Constitution?

Sue Long