On Constitutional Authority
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2010; all rights reserved
Constitutions are instruments for implementation of delegated sovereignty.
There are six broad categories of potential sources of sovereignty: libertarian (sovereignty is vested in the individual); popular (sovereignty is vested in the collective will of the people); state (sovereignty is vested in the state); theocratic (sovereignty comes from a god, e.g., divine right of kings or other divinely inspired instruments such as the moral majority); or, tyrannical (sovereignty comes from the strong, albeit the strong are not necessarily evil).
As instruments of delegation, they can cover only such aspects of sovereignty as have been delegated.
The United States Constitution, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court, fails to meet the fundamental principles of libertarian constitutional government (government by consent of the governed) and instead, has evolved into a system based on theocratic and tyrannical authority. It does not respect either individuals or component states as sources of federal authority but instead, relies on the power that has incrementally evolved in the federal government, guided by the purportedly enlightened recipients of divine insights. We have, in a best case scenario, replaced liberty with enlightened tyranny.
This evolution is the result of the greatest failure of the United States’ Constitution, the absence of organic constitutional provisions for its interpretation. This permitted usurpation of such function by the federal judiciary. On analysis, such usurpation is illogical as it involves decisions as to the grant of authority by an agent of the recipient, rather than the donor. Jefferson, Calhoun and other proponents of state nullification were logically correct, even as positions espoused by them were morally reprehensible. It is for the donor to judge the extent of its donation, thus, individuals are the only logical judges as to the authority they delegated to their creations, the states, and states are the only logical judges as to the authority they delegated to their creation, the federal government.
Only a new constitutional convention can put Pandora’s evil toys back in their box.