Jonah Goldberg proves, as if we needed reminding, that the people “who talk about reverence for the Constitution … consistent with the ‘genius of our constitutional design'” are the ones who haven’t read it. For example, one such person, Jonah Goldberg, writes both the previous and the following in the same article:
When one discusses the Constitution on college campuses, students and even professors will object that without a “living Constitution,” blacks would still be slaves and women wouldn’t be allowed to vote. Nonsense. Those indispensable changes to the Constitution came not from judges reading new rights into the document but from Americans lawfully amending it.
Someone needs to remind this self-professed “strict constructionist” that “Americans” do not amend the Constitution, lawfully or otherwise. Know how I know? It’s in the Constitution:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths thereof, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress[.]
While he may be technically correct, inasmuch as the people in state legislatures are Americans, the operative comparison throughout his little essay is between the American people and unelected Supreme Court justices who monkey with the will of said people (as expressed by popular referendum). Hence:
Similarly, the ratifiers of the 14th Amendment would be stunned to learn, in July of 1868, that they had just created an adamantine right for homosexuals to marry one another and receive state benefits to boot, as a federal judge in California recently decided (overruling, I might add, the will of California voters).
Moreover, an appeal to the lawful rights of generic “Americans” in an essay in which you also note that
one discusses the Constitution on college campuses, students and even professors will object that without a “living Constitution,” blacks would still be slaves and women wouldn’t be allowed to vote
is a none too tacit acknowledgment that you know that your appeal to the will of said people is a bit exclusive—as in white, wealthy, and male. However, you’re not even appealing to them, but to their duly elected representatives, and in such a way that a hundred years hence, hacks of your ilk will feel comfortable claiming that your “will,” as an “American,” desired universal health care. Now, as amusing as I find that prospect, methinks Goldberg would like to avoid that situation; instead, he invites it.