The Naked Constitution: What the Founders Said and Why It Still Matters

In the spirit of Glenn Beck’s The Original Argument comes conservative legal expert Adam Freedman’s lively manifesto on why it’s so important that we recover the original meaning of the United States Constitution.

Why? you may wonder. Aren’t the non-amended portions of the Constitution reading just like they did in the late 1700s?

Well, yes…but that doesn’t stop liberal interpreters of the law.

Freedman argues in The Naked Constitution that the fashionable “living” Constitution theory has been used by judges and politicians since the Progressive Era of the early 1900s to centralize power in Washington and threaten individual freedom.

Indeed, from law school classrooms to the halls of Congress, America’s elites have come to regard the Constitution as a mere decorative parchment to be kept under glass at the National Archives.

Here Freedman defends the controversial doctrine of originalism as the only way to restore the Founding Fathers’ vision of American liberty. He also explains the fundamental themes animating America’s founding charter:

  • limited government
  • federalism
  • separation of powers
  • and individual liberty.

Check out the following visual reminder from Freedman on why the 2012 election means so much for the future of the U.S. Supreme Court:

Freedman also explores the nature of each of the three branches of government as well as the key individual rights enshrined in the Constitution to show how original meaning can help answer the most pressing questions facing America today, including:

  • Can the president invade another country without the approval of Congress?
  • Can the president order the assassination of or spy on American citizens in the name of fighting terror?
  • Do corporations have the same “free speech” rights as individuals?
  • Can the federal government coerce states to adopt particular policies or force individuals to buy insurance?

Ultimately Freedman calls for a new constitutional convention that will free the nation from capricious courts and idiosyncratic judges, as well as limit the growth of government for decades to come. Here’s an excerpt from The Naked Constitution that breaks down the idea of a new convention:

Most Americans—even those who don’t consider themselves originalists—think that the Founding Fathers were onto a good thing, and that our country has deviated from their original design. Despite that popular feeling, federal officials consistently ignore the Constitution because there are powerful incentives to do so. We can’t change human nature, but we can change incentives though structural amendments. That is what an Article V convention can achieve.

Here’s Freedman (via phone) debating progressive TV host Thom Hartmann on the idea that the Supreme Court is too liberal and undermines the law through its interpretation of a “living” Constitution: