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Although it only contains about 8000 words, the United States Constitution is probably the most misunderstood document, we have. It is often misquoted and misinterpreted. The most annoying words I hear from posters, politicians, and others that misinterpret our constitution are" the framers intent was" and then they go onto reference another document. The framers were more contentious than our current Congress, how can anyone know what they intended? I've heard the "church and state" referenced several times as solid proof that the founders wanted a quasi biblical document. The words "church and state" do not appear in the constitution, but it’s one of those founder intentions. Truth is, even though Thomas Jefferson called himself a Christian, he did not believe Jesus was the son of God, nor did he believe in the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, or the Resurrection. He was an admirer of the moral teachings of Nazarene, but he also owned an English translation of the Quran. It was Thomas Jefferson's absolute determination never to admit religion into any institutions of the public realm. Thomas Jefferson wrote that the first amendment erected a wall of separation between the church and state meaning that the government should not establish, support, or, otherwise involve itself in any religion.

Ron Paul likes to say that the constitution was written explicitly for one purpose-to restrain the power of the Federal government but the framers did the exact opposite. They weaken the states by giving more power to the central government. You don't think so, read Article 1, Section 8, which ends with a "necessary and proper" clause, which delegates to Congress the power to "to make all laws, which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing powers, and all powers vested by this Constitution in the government of United States, or any Department or Office thereof." It is true that Thomas Jefferson thought that the constitution gave too much power to the central government and framers intentionally created a weak Executive because they feared kings. The framers put in checks and balances to neutralize any concentration of power. I liked the way a pundit described the constitution when he said “it’s like guardrails on a steep mountain; it keeps you from going over the side, but it doesn't help you see what's ahead."

We don't have a constitutional crisis, but we have several issues that have to be resolved by the Supreme Court but others can be solved by Congress or the lower courts. The Supreme Court will not get involved in solving whether president Obama violated the Constitution when he circumvented the" War Powers Act" by staying in Libya without congressional approval. I don't think president Obama buys the definition of “hostilities" he is using to stay in Libya. I believe that he thinks this will all blow over when NATO forces get rid of Qaddafi. Until then Congress will keep its “paper tiger" reputation.

Will the 14th Amendment, Section 4," the validity of the public debt of the United States should not be questioned" sway those members of Congress that will vote "NO" to raise the debt ceiling? Congress has raised the debt ceiling 75 times since 1962, including 17 times under the republican icon Ronald Reagan and has raised the ceiling 10 times since 2001. If they don’t raise the debt limit, the president may have to take action. The president can use his constitutional authority by taking extra measures to avoid a calamity. The president could use his Executive power to order the Treasury to produce binding debt instruments that cover all our obligations around the world. It would even be constitutional for him to least Yellowstone Park if he wanted to. It won't come to that but it all boils down to what the definition of "is." is."

The Healthcare Law will likely land on the doorsteps of the Supreme Court because the critics say it's unconstitutional for Congress to require any one to buy a product from a private company. I don't think anyone disputes the fact that healthcare (17% of economy) involves interstate commerce but conservatives argue that government can't regulate something you don't do. The Obama Administration will argue that it's not a mandate, but more of a tax imposed on those who do not buy Health Insurance and, unless everyone pays into the system; affordability and availability will be in jeopardy. I think the decision will come down on how Justice Kennedy (known swing voter) feels that morning. It's going to be a 5-4 decision, one way or the other.

I think it's healthy to have discussions about constitutional matters but the interpretation will be left to the Supreme Court. We don't have to agree with the decisions, and those decisions are not etched in stone. Recently, after a careful analysis the Obama Administration found the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be discriminatory and that it will likely be found unconstitutional. As a result, the Justice Department decided not to defend discrimination. This is no different from the opposition party challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate of the Health care Law. On February 25, 2005, President George W Bush’s Federal government challenged a state’s decision to remove the feeding tube of Terri Schiavo. We have three distinct but co- equal branches of government, so occasionally we will test the separation of powers to find a solution we can all live with.

I did not cover the constitutional limits of free speech or the freedom given to ALL in the 14th amendment, because that would take another blog or two.

"The happy Union of these States is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example; the hope of Liberty throughout the world." James Madison

July 27 issue of Time Magazine and July issue of Newsweek.