Climate change and the Constitution

To the Editor:

In response to my prior letter, last week a climate change advocate confirmed my contention that climate change, at its core, means a change to our form of government and elimination of constitutional protections for private property and free markets. The writer suggests the preamble of the Constitution authorizes the government “to…promote the general Welfare” and the Constitution established a democracy.

A pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths (Madison, The Federalist No. 10). Hence, the founders established a constitutional republic, not a democracy.

Any functioning of government can occur through ordinary law, except for the single purpose of a constitution, which is, to limit what the government does. A preamble is an introductory statement of the purpose of the remainder of the document (placing limits on the government), not an authorization to do anything.

The Constitution specifies in Article I, Sec. 8, the only powers allowed to Congress and the federal government and those 17 powers (depending on how you count) are allowed, and limited to, for the general welfare purpose in the Preamble. The only legal way to extend those powers is through the constitutional amendment process.

No contract or social compact can be changed by some parties to the agreement by changing the interpretation of the document without mutual assent of other parties (i.e., legal written amendments). There is no such thing as a living contract that changes at the whim of some parties. Thus, such parties are limited to the common-law procedure of proving in a court of law that they, or their property, has been damaged in some way by other parties.

The climate change administrative state conflates within an administrative agency legislative, executive and judicial powers, eliminating the constitutional separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. The agencies determine what items to regulate and the allowable amount, administer those regulations and hold hearings to determine guilt and penalties for non-compliance.

Thus, abrogating our constitutional protections is their climate change solution.

Eldon L. Rash