Set apart. Holy.
Is the United States Constitution sacred?
In a civil sense, the United States Constitution is indeed sacred. Not because the words are inherently divine, unalterable, and worshipful. Though crafted brilliantly, it was not without fault.
What makes this document sacred is not its articles and subsequent amendments, but the place of these magnificent words in the minds and hearts of its citizens.
In the midst of the struggle for independence and in the year that the Colonies would declare their freedom from the Crown, that great wordsmith Thomas Paine expressed what so many felt when he wrote in Common Sense:
“[that] the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.”
When the Constitution would be created eleven years later, the framers would include an oath not as it had been with the mother country — “ I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty …” — but instead an oath to our “King”.
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
This formal acknowledgement that the rule of law was supreme only holds power to the extent that hearts and minds believe, accept, and demand it.
When Scalia was before the Senate seeking confirmation to the highest court he said this, echoing the father of the Constitution, Madison (who said the Constitution was just a parchment barrier):
“Because the amendments [Bill of Rights], by themselves, do not do anything. The Russian constitution probably has better, or at least as good guarantees of personal freedom as our document does. "
What is the real difference? why was the Soviet Constitution empty, and the United States Constitution full?
Americans actually believe and demand they be applied to all from the weakest citizen to the strongest. Though we pursue it imperfectly, it is the rule of law (as ultimately expressed in the Constitution), that we do in fact pursue.
So when we have a President who disobeys our law, as Nixon did in the 1970s, "We the people " demand that even the supreme executive must bow the knee to our true king.
Through so many centuries, kings were held as sacred, holy and ruling by the “grace of God” or by His authority. The true revolution of America 230 years ago was that no, the King was not sacred.
The rule of law as ultimately expressed in our Constitution was sacred.