As a young Marine, I took an Oath over 40 years ago to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, domestic and abroad. And again, over 30 years ago, I took the same Oath when commissioned as an officer in the Navy JAG Corps.
I firmly believe that the Constitution is the essential part of our government, our society and our way of life.
The Constitution of the United States has three important parts, as I like to call them: Part 1, The Preamble in all of its aspirations; Part 2, the Articles, the organization of government, and Part 3, the Amendments- beginning with the Bill of Rights. First among the individual rights in the Bill of Rights is (1) the Right of freedom of speech and Association, followed by (2) the Right to Bear Arms, (3) the quartering of soldiers, (4) the Right against unreasonable searches and seizures, (5) the Right of due process of law, (6) the Right to counsel, (7) the Right of trial by jury in civil cases, (8) the Freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments, (9) Other rights of the people, and (10)- The right against Government overreach, limited federal powers.
But then there are the Eleventh and Twelfth Amendments: (11) Makes states immune from suits from out-of-state citizens and foreigners not living within the state borders; lays the foundation for sovereign immunity, and (12) Revises presidential election procedures.
However, I like to believe that there are bills of protection attending the Bill of Rights, and so important as any is the Thirteenth Amendment- (13) the Right against Involuntary Servitude, Fourteenth Amendment- (14) the powerful Equal Protection of the Laws- (15) Prohibits the denial of the right to vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Yet, in all, there are but 27 Amendments to the Constitution, of which the remaining 12 are:
(16) Permits Congress to levy an income tax without apportioning it among the states or basing it on the United States Census- (17) Establishes the direct election of United States Senators by popular vote- (18) Prohibited the manufacturing or sale of alcohol within the United States- (19) Prohibits the denial of the right to vote based on sex- (20) Changes the date on which the terms of the President and Vice President (January 20) and Senators and Representatives (January 3) end and begin- (21) Repeals the 18th Amendment and gives the States the power to prohibit or regulate the transportation or importation of alcohol for delivery or use- (22) Limits the number of times that a person can be elected president: a person cannot be elected president more than twice, and a person who has served more than two years of a term to which someone else was elected cannot be elected more than once- (23) Grants the District of Columbia electors (the number of electors being equal to the least populous state) in the Electoral College- (24) Prohibits the revocation of voting rights due to the non-payment of a poll tax or any other tax- (25) Addresses succession to the Presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, as well as responding to Presidential disabilities- (26) Prohibits the denial of the right of US citizens, eighteen years of age or older, to vote on account of age- and (27) Delays laws affecting Congressional salary from taking effect until after the next election of representatives.
It’s time to have our elected officials re-learn and follow the mandates of our Constitution of the United States, and then apply their knowledge and faith to upholding it and our Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
It is that important, for all of us.