Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Repugnant: candidacy of Spartz (part 1)

Victoria Spartz successfully bought the Republican nomination for Indiana’s 5th Congressional District (INCD5) in the June 2 primary. Her positions on issues are deplorable. We should begin with her misunderstanding of The Constitution.

“Our constitutional republic was created with limited government functions to protect the individual rights to Life, Liberty and Property,” she states on her campaign website. 

The word “property” appears once in The Constitution of 1787: “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States;...” Art. IV, sec. 3.

This is not an individual’s “property,” but that of the United States. Besides, The Framers, in 1787, excluded non-whites, people who did not own land, and women from those who have “rights,” but they provided for the process of amendment. Art. V.

“Property” appears three (3) times in Amendments. “[N]or shall any person ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Amend. V.

Those two mentions in one Amendment, the Fifth, underline the importance of due process of law. That was part of the Bill of Rights - the first ten (10) amendments - and was ratified after The Convention.

The other mention of “property” is in the Fourteenth Amendment: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law...” Amend. XIV, sec. 1. That is one of the Civil War amendments.

The Civil War brought several significant changes to the USA, foremost of which was abolition of slavery. Another significant development was recognition that a strong central government was necessary to curb States’ actions.

A Constitution of “limited government functions,” of which Ms. Spartz speaks, was jettisoned. We need a strong central government to protect our rights - primarily from the States. The civil rights movement fought the States for decades.

As a last word for today, I have to say an aspect of her campaign more repugnant than any other is her blind support for trump. Any candidate for political office who supports trump should be rejected by the voters.

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Comment by pogden297 on June 27, 2020 at 12:54pm

Okay, you are 100% right on the last paragraph.  Spartz's Trumpism is ridiculous and will be her downfall.   But her declaration about the Constitution limiting the power of the federal government is not wrong.

The way our Constitution was written originally, it provided that the national government could only do certain things specifically listed in the Constitution.  Interfering with individual property rights was not on the list of things the national government could do.  So there was no reason to specifically list that limitation in the body of the Constitution.

The argument against adding a "Bill of Rights," i.e. a list of things the national government cannot do, then  implicitly if something is not on that specific list of limitations, then the national government can do it even though not specifically authorized in the body of the Constitution.

When they added the Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments) after the ratifying conventions, that is when they added the 5th amendment on national government depriving people of their life, liberty or property without due process of law.  They also added the 9th and 10th amendment which was intended to make clear that they list of things the national government cannot due in the Bill of Rights, was not intended to mean they could do everything they are not prohibited to doing in the Bill of Rights.

The notion that the primary purpose of the more expansive powers of the national government, post civil war,  is to protect people from their own state government is, well, insane.

The national government has used various constitutional devices - such as its power to tax and spend and the interstate commerce clause, - to increase its power over the year.  But even though that has happened, we still do not have a unitary system in this country.  States are not sub-units of the national government, obligated to blindly carry out whatever dictates Congress or the President comes up with.  In our system both the national and state governments are sovereign.  Under out Constitution, the national government has all power explicitly given to it.  States have all powers not denied to them.    In the areas where state and national government are allowed to act, national power is supreme - if the national government decides to act in that area.

There seems to be a persistent attitude among liberals about federalism that state governments are all backward, incompetent, and don't care about its citizens, while the national government is forward thinking, competent and cares about the people.  My God, if 3 1/2 years of Trumpism and a failing Congress has not disabused liberals of this nonsensical thinking, I'm not sure what would.  In particular look at the national government, mostly Trump's, failures on Covid-19 versus the competence, level-headed thinking of all but a handful of state governors.    Imagine what shape we would be in as a country if Donald Trump had the police powers that state governors/legislatures have.   Why would anyone want that?

No, the system of federalism our Founders designed was brilliant.


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