Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

92

The National Association for Constitutional Government was formed for the purpose of preserving the representative institutions established by the founders of the Republic and of maintaining the guarantees embodied in the Constitution of the United States. The specific objects of the Association are:

1. To oppose the tendency towards class legislation, the unnecessary extension of public function, the costly and dangerous multiplication of public offices, the exploitation of private wealth by political agencies, and its distribution for class or sectional advantage.

2. To condemn the oppression of business enterprise,—the vitalizing energy without which national prosperity is impossible; the introduction into our legal system of ideas which past experience has tested and repudiated, such as the Initiative, the Compulsory Referendum, and the Recall, in place of the constitutional system; the frequent and radical alteration of the fundamental law, especially by mere majorities; and schemes of governmental change in general subversive of our republican form of political organization.

3. To assist in the dissemination of knowledge regarding theories of government and their practical effects; in extending a comprehension of the distinctive principles upon which our political institutions are founded; and in creating a higher type of American patriotism through loyalty to those principles.

4. To study the defects in the administration of law and the means by which social justice and efficiency may be more promptly and certainly realized in harmony with the distinctive principles upon which our government is based.

5. To preserve the integrity and authority of our courts; respect for and: obedience to the jaw, as the only security for life, liberty, and property; and above all, the permanence of the principle that this Republic is “a government of laws and not of men.”

5914

1932

Tinkering With the Constitution

By Joseph R. Long

Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University There has recently been formed a tion of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth society, with headquarters in Brook- Amendments in the single year. 1913, lyn, having for its object the securing these "gateway" amendments are being of an amendment to the federal con- proposed. stitution. The society calls itself a The theory, of course, upon which "Committee on the Federal Constitu- this radical change in our fundamental tion,” and the amendment which they law is being urged is that the Constituadvocate is one providing easier modes tion does not now express the real will of amendment than those prescribed in of the people, and that it is practically Article V. They propose to "carry on

unamendable in the modes now proa campaign of education in favor of vided. As stated in the published platthis measure through the daily and pe- form of the Brooklyn committee, “the riodical press, book and pamphlet pub- people of the United States have not lication, letter and circular, pulpit and control over their fundamental law at platform." Among the members of the present time, save in a minor dethis committee are men of national gree. The consequence is, our institureputation and of the highest rank in tions do not reflect the popular will, the intellectual world. When men of but in reality other forces over which this character unite upon such an un we have only a measure of control. dertaking, the movement is entitled to Our community life, therefore, is not at least respectful consideration. And what it would be had we the power to this is not the first nor the only effort shape it in our own way.” We prothat has been made to accomplish the pose in this paper briefly to inquire same object. During the recent period whether this contention is true. The of unrest through which we have been satisfactory solution of the problem passing, in which the courts, the Con- will require some examination of the stitution, and our fundamental political history of proposed amendments to the institutions generally, have been sub- Constitution. jected to the attacks of the muckrakers,

When the Constitution was submita number of resolutions have been in- ted to the states in 1787, its framers troduced in Congress proposing similar did not regard their work as final but amendments. Such an amendment was contemplated that amendments would introduced by Senator La Follette in be made from time to time. Accord1912, and its adoption has been urged ingly they provided in Article V a upon Congress by the legislature of mode, or rather two modes, of amendWisconsin. And even since the adop- ment. Their expectation that amend

ments would be proposed in the future 'Reprinted from the Yale Law Journal of has been amply realized. While the May, 1915, by permission of the author and of the Yale Law Journal Company.

Constitution was still before the people

« PředchozíPokračovat »