In the beginning, there was the Ninth Amendment and the Ninth Amendment was the beginning of these United States. It’s the genesis of America.
If we start the story at the beginning, we understand that all the rights in the universe belong to the people, as Constitutional scholar KrisAnne Hall likes to say. And these rights came from our Creator.
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From that, the people created government and gave it certain powers to guarantee our rights. It’s important to remember that only the people have rights because rights come from God rather than from people.
That’s why government possesses no rights, but only powers delegated by the people. This is an important distinction because men can’t rightfully take away what our Creator has given us. But people can properly take away any power it has delegated to the government.
On the flip side, men can’t grant each other rights because we’re not the Lord. And government can’t grant each other more power because it’s not the people. That which is created is not superior to its creator.
This line of reasoning is known as “Rules of Construction” in legal arguments. “They tell us how to ‘construe’ the powers delegated to the federal government,” explains Michael Maharrey, communications director with the Tenth Amendment Center.
KrisAnne Hall calls the Ninth Amendment “the most important clause in the entire Constitution” because it’s the foundation upon which all the rest stand.
It’s also important to understand what the Constitution is, and what it does. The Constitution is a compact among the States that primarily does three things: (1) It sets up the structure of our federal government; (2) It limits the power of our federal government; and (3) It guarantees our rights against government encroachment.
The States (representing the people) strengthened our sovereignty by creating the federal government to essentially be an ambassador to other nations, a referee among the States, and an armed guard for national defense.
All this emphasis on personal liberty makes these United States unique in the history of nations.
America was founded on ideas that put the people above the government. The first is a theological maxim that we are all born free and in God’s image. Inherent in our humanity is Liberty, and it came from our Creator. Second, is the political application of a Constitutional Republic that puts the Rule of Law above the Law of Rulers.
The Ninth Amendment is that rock-solid foundation we can stand upon to remind politicians that all rights belong to the people. And that it’s government’s job to protect those rights.
After all, we were here first. And then the States. And then the federal government. And the rules of construction dictate who’s the boss and who’s the servant.
So when any government servant tells us to move from that rock of Liberty, it’s our job to plant our feet firmly where they belong and say, “No - YOU move.”
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