Essay by rocky4u_023 August 2005

download word file, 8 pages 3.0

clause two of the United States Constitution

states, "under the Authority of the United States, [the Constitution]

shall be the supreme law of the land." As a result of the fact that

the current activist government is pursuing inconsistent policies,

many believe the Constitution has become irrelevant because no guiding

principles seem to exist. Thomas Jefferson once said, "The

Constitution belongs to the living and not to the dead." Accordingly,

it is often referred to as a "living" document because of its regular

alteration and reexamination; therefore, the Constitution has not

become irrelevant in defining the goals of American government. This

will be shown by examining how the Constitution ensures and upholds

American ideas of rights, defines governmental structures, allows for

an increase in governmental growth, and permits the Supreme Court to

shape and define public policy through Constitutional


Through years of research on court cases, political scientists

are in agreement that most people favor rights in theory, but their

support diminishes when the time to put the rights into practice

arrives. For example, a strong percentage of Americans concur with

the idea of free speech throughout the United States, but when a court

case such as Texas vs. Johnson (1989) arises, most backing shifts away

from complete freedom of speech. In the case, a Texan named Gregory

Johnson set fire to an American flag during the 1984 Republican

National Convention in Dallas in order to protest nuclear arms

buildup; the decision was awarded to Johnson in the midst of stern

opposition (Beth 68).

Lockean philosophy concerning the natural rights of man also

serves amajor role in an American's idea of rights. Many citizens

feels that it is the task of the state to preserve such birthrights as

life, liberty, and property. The juristic theory of rights deals with...