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News Opinion Readers Respond

Cardin gets the Constitution wrong

I do not know Del. Jon Cardin ("The lawless sheriffs of Maryland," June 17), but I would assume from his employment as a lawyer that he attended law school. Given the status of Maryland's school system, it is easy to understand his ignorance of the U.S. Constitution. Just as many others in his chosen profession, he has either neglected reading Thomas Jefferson, or simply has chose to ignore what Mr. Jefferson said relative to the Constitution, government, law, courts and judges!

First, Mr. Jefferson was not in favor of unlimited government. Similarly, he did not possess any special trust in judges or courts. He believed that the mere conferring of the title, "Judge," upon an individual was no guarantee that the individual possessed an elevated level of integrity or any integrity at all. And he was not the only Founding Father with those concerns. Mr. Cardin would do well to study his history.

Mr. Jefferson also said that should the legislative and executive branches become corrupted, it would be the Supreme Court that would consolidate their corruption! In case you weren't watching, that is exactly what happened recently when Chief Justice John Roberts mangled the Constitution to make it fit the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Cardin did mention "nullification" in the penultimate paragraph of his article, but he quite obviously doesn't understand it. Mr. Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, also conceived nullification.

Mr. Jefferson knew that when a government becomes corrupted entirely, it would be unreasonable to expect that that government would correct that corruption from within itself. In other words, a corrupt judiciary obviously may not be trusted to deter a similarly corrupted legislative and executive. Nullification must obviously be separate and distinct from the government that it seeks to reform. And if nullification should fail to correct that misguided government, Mr. Jefferson accounted for the solution to that problem, too. His remedy may be found in the Declaration of Independence about five or six lines down in the second paragraph. I would suggest that Mr. Cardin read that also as he probably has never seen it before.

Mr. Jefferson also said that a law that is unconstitutional is no law at all and needn't be obeyed. Since the Constitution is not the exclusive property of politicians, attorneys, courts and judges, it belongs to law enforcement officers including sheriffs and to "We the People." Those sheriffs understand the Constitution, obviously to a higher level of understanding than does Mr. Cardin. They understand the meaning of the words, "shall not be infringed."

Mr. Cardin consolidated his own personal Constitutional ignorance when he made a preposterous statement in his sixth paragraph when he wrote that legislation will have to be adjusted over time, so that it extends "appropriate rights" to law-abiding citizens. Mr. Cardin fails to understand that our rights do not derive from government, legislation, politicians, courts, judges or the Constitution itself. We are "endowed by the Creator" with those rights, not by the government. Those rights preexisted the nation, its Constitution and all the rest. If Mr. Cardin does not understand that, he will never understand the Founders, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, or the concept of individual liberty!

By the way, would Mr. Cardin happen to have a list of those "appropriate rights" that he mentioned? That should be very interesting reading.

Robert L. DiStefano, Abingdon

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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