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Home > Supreme Court Upholds Constitution's Original Intent

Supreme Court Upholds Constitution’s Original Intent

June 25th, 1999

F O R   I M M E D I A T E   R E L E A S E
CONTACT: Rich Jefferson (540) 338-8663 or media@hslda.org

PURCELLVILLE, VA—Patrick Henry College broke new ground in more ways than one this week. On Friday, June 25, Virginia Delegates Don McEachin (D-Richmond), Jay Katzen (R-Warrenton), Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) and Lt. Gov. John Hager dug their shovels into the soil of the new 44-acre campus in Purcellville. Meanwhile, the ink was barely dry on the Supreme Court’s June 23rd opinion in Alden v. Maine, the first success for the College’s “Center for the Original Intent of the Constitution.”
    The center was created to promote the original intent of the Constitution in a variety of ways, including filing well-researched and well-reasoned “friend of the court” briefs with the Supreme Court. Patrick Henry College President Mike Farris served as counsel of record as the center filed its very first brief in Alden. The center argued against expansive federal Commerce Clause power and for the Founders’ original insistence that states are immune from suit in their own courts.
    The Supreme Court agreed with both arguments. The majority opinion roundly rejected the notion of expansive Commerce Clause power over sovereign state governments, calling it an “act of usurpation” which “deserves to be treated as such.”     The majority opinion devoted page after page to the original intent of the Founders. This was good news for the center, which had written:

It is the position of the [center] that the interpretation of the Constitution according to the original intent of the Founders is the only safe basis for the preservation of limited government and all rights including those important to our association.

    “Congress,” the Court wrote, “has vast power but not all power.” This phrase expresses the vision of a strong but limited federal government that lies at the heart of the new college. Patrick Henry had a vision of a republican government ruling over a nation of free and virtuous citizens. He fought the British tyrant to make that dream come true. This week, as Patrick Henry College begins to take shape on its picturesque campus in northern Virginia and the Center for Original Intent moves forward, Patrick Henry's patriotic dream may be two steps closer to reality.


R E L A T E D   I T E M S

  • FOX Newschannel news broadcast, Monday, June 28, 1999.
  • “For home schoolers, debate’s a hot sport”