Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) was being pressed in a live TV debate, so he may be excused for blurting out the truth.
Here’s a portion of what very liberal Mr. McGovern said:
“We have a lousy Supreme Court decision [in the Citizens United case] that has opened the
floodgates, and so we have to deal within the realm of constitutionality. And a lot of the
campaign finance bills that we have passed have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme
Court. I think the Constitution is wrong. I don’t think that money is the same thing as human
What a stunning statement! There are several things to consider in this argument. For us as
constitutional conservatives, it’s entirely acceptable to disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court.
I say every day that Roe v. Wade was a terrible decision and should be corrected. The Kelo
ruling set a dangerous precedent. That 2005 case allowed the City of New London to condemn a
private homeowner’s beautiful house, not for a bridge or tunnel, not for a fort or a federal
highway, but simply because the city government could gain more revenue by taking the house
and leasing the property to a private developer! That’s a shocking ruling. If that ruling is
not corrected, your home will no longer be your castle, it will only be your trailer.
Congressman McGovern doesn’t take issue with the Supreme Court, however, he says the
Constitution itself is wrong. Did Mr. McGovern take an oath to support the U.S. Constitution?
Does he consider himself bound by his oath?
Sure, you can responsibly disagree with portions of the Constitution. Ronald Reagan, for
example, disagreed with the two-term limit for President. He thought the Twenty-second
Amendment had been a mistake. But Reagan dutifully left office after two terms. Reagan would
have supported an amendment to repeal the Twenty-second Amendment, but as long as it was in
the Constitution, he felt bound to respect it.
In Congressman McGovern’s case, however, we see why liberals believe in a “living Constitution.”
The living Constitution idea was characterized by Justice Scalia as a Magic Slate. You can write
on it, get the interpretation you want, then lift up the plastic screen, and re-write your
constitution, according to the passions of the moment.
I think Mr. McGovern is wrong in his analysis of the Citizens United ruling. The Supreme Court
did not say that money was more important, or even the same thing, as human beings. It said
nothing like that. What the Court did say is that you don’t lose your First Amendment rights
because you express your ideas through a corporation, a union, or a non-profit organization.
In striking down major portions of the McCain-Feingold Act, the Supreme Court ruled that
government cannot stop pro-life groups, for example, from highlighting the records of
politicians like Jim McGovern before an election. By preventing pro-life citizens from
drawing voters’ attention to how their elected representatives actually vote, this unwise
and unconstitutional measure denied citizens their rights to communicate about political
matters. That’s one of the main reasons for the First Amendment’s protection of free speech.
Now that he mentions it, does Jim McGovern really think “money is [not] the same as human
beings?” If so, maybe he’ll join Congressman Mike Pence’s (R-Ind.) drive to de-fund Planned
Parenthood. That outfit gets billions in taxpayer funds and it kills 350,000 unborn children
—undeniably human beings—every year.
It would be great to welcome Jim McGovern to the ranks of those of us who believe human lives
are more important than money. I’m not cynical, but I must admit I have doubts that
Mr. McGovern, should he win re-election next month, will put his fine words into practice
when it comes to unborn children.
Now, we can see why “constitutional conservatism” is important. Without a firm reliance on the
Constitution as our anchor, the entire ship of state is adrift. Under the current administration
and the current Congress, our ship of state is headed for the rocks.
By Ken Blackwell, a contributing editor at Townhall.com, is a senior fellow at the Family
Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union. He is the co-author of the new bestseller
The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency,
on sale in bookstores everywhere..or click on the Amazon link in the right column.