Condolences to the family and friends of Joseph Sobran on their loss.
We are all poorer with his passing.
A true American, Mr. Sobran eloquently expressed a philosophy once widely understood and embraced by all people of clear mind and rational thought and now trampled under and nearly forgotten by all but a few.
Fair winds and following seas Sir, we will not soon see your like again.
Gradually I came to see that the conservative challenge to liberalism’s jurisprudence of “loose construction” was far too narrow. Nearly everything liberals wanted the Federal Government to do was unconstitutional. The key to it all, I thought, was the Tenth Amendment, which forbids the Federal Government to exercise any powers not specifically assigned to it in the Constitution. But the Tenth Amendment had been comatose since the New Deal, when Roosevelt’s Court virtually excised it.
This meant that nearly all Federal legislation from the New Deal to the Great Society and beyond had been unconstitutional. Instead of fighting liberal programs piecemeal, conservatives could undermine the whole lot of them by reviving the true (and, really, obvious) meaning of the Constitution. Liberalism depended on a long series of usurpations of power.
Around the time of Judge Robert Bork’s bitterly contested (and defeated) nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, conservatives spent a lot of energy arguing that the “original intent” of the Constitution must be conclusive. But they applied this principle only to a few ambiguous phrases and passages that bore on specific hot issues of the day — the death penalty, for instance. About the general meaning of the Constitution there could, I thought, be no doubt at all. The ruling principle is that whatever the Federal Government isn’t authorized to do, it’s forbidden to do.
That alone would invalidate the Federal welfare state and, in fact, nearly all liberal legislation. But I found it hard to persuade most conservatives of this. Bork himself took the view that the Tenth Amendment was unenforceable. If he was right, then the whole Constitution was in vain from the start.