Saturday, September 17, 2016

On this day in 1787

...delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the final draft of the United States Constitution. An advocate for the protection of liberty and good government practices, George H. Earle, Jr., brother of Florence Earle Coates, reflects:

"At this moment the most stable Government in the world is our own, and it is solely because, in its real essence, it is the most free, in the only sense in which Freedom really exists; where men can act at their own free discretion, restrained only by the necessities of Justice.  If the spirit of the Constitution is to be observed, that great instrument is always self-preserving.  It needs only to be followed to be safeguarded." (1920)

"In the first place, the meaning of the Constitution never varies. It means today exactly what it meant on the day of its adoption. To hold otherwise would destroy the judicial character of the Supreme Court, and make the continuance of our 'unalienable' rights completely uncertain. This has been forcibly stated in South Carolina vs. United States, 199 U. S., at 448: 'The Constitution is a written instrument. As such its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when adopted it means now. * * * Those things which are within its grants of power, when made, are still within them, and those things not within remain still excluded. * * * Any other rule of construction, would abrogate the judicial character of this Court, and make it the mere reflex of the popular opinion or passion of the day.'" (1921)

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