Ratification, Supreme Law of the Land?

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    Dr McClanahan, this is from my friend, Ron:

    I just got through listening to your lecture on ratification of the Constitution and several times you made the comment that in order for us to have a proper understanding of the meaning of the Constitution we also have to look at the writings of those who disagreed with the Constitution. My question is, how is that possible seeing how these two sides had totally different and opposing ideas? To state my question in a different form, there were many people who were strongly against the Constitution and didn’t want to accept it in any form. How does reading their objections to a Constitution they didn’t want to see enacted into law help us to understand how we are to interpret the Constitution now that it has been approved as the supreme law of the land?

    Perhaps I can illustrate where my confusion is coming from. In every Supreme Court case the justices give a majority opinion and a minority opinion that refutes the majority report. Even so, the majority opinion is the one that becomes the law. If I understand you correctly, if we look at both sides of the arguments as it concerns the ratification process that would be like saying that whenever the Supreme Court renders a verdict we are to look at both the majority and minority reports in order to determine how to interpret the law. But since both reports are diametrically opposed to one another, how do we then determine which argument to use in order to know how to correctly interpret the law?

    Can you help clear us this confusion for me?
    Thanks, Ron



    I don’t think I said we need to continually look at the opponents of the Constitution for meaning, we need to read and hear what the proponents said it would mean; however, the opponents were more astute as to how the Constitution would be abused once ratified. In that way, we can see that they were more perceptive and we can understand, perhaps, how we should guard against federal usurpation of power. We have a Constitution that was ratified by the States in 1787 and 1788 and one that has been distorted by the political class and the federal court system, most importantly the SCOTUS, beginning with Ellsworth and the Judiciary Act in 1789 and Hamilton and his various proposals in 1790 and 1791.

    The rebuttal to the opponents of the Constitution is the true meaning of the document, so by looking at both sides, we can accurately ascertain how the proponents of the document promised it would be used once ratified. Several lied, but that is the Constitution we should insist that the political class abide by.

    Hope that helps.


    I concur with Dr. McClanahan entirely.

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