The Power of the Constitution
United States Constitution provides the framework of government and also allows
its flexibility to adapt to changes over time. Proof of the Constitutions flexibility
are due to the elastic clause, judicial review, the amendment process, interpretation
of the amendments, and equality.
elastic clause states that Congress has the authority to expand laws. Meaning,
when the government was created, leaders knew that as time changed, so would
human needs. When the Constitution was wrote, it stated that Congress had the
right to establish armed forces such as an army and a navy. As time went on, so
did technology. With the Wright Brother’s invention of the aircraft, an American
Air Force was needed.1 Due to the flexible Constitution and elastic
clause, Congress can now create an Air Force due to the fact that it was given
the right to create an armed force.
Judicial Review is a power granted to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court
could now examine any law at any time and choose if that law is legal or unconstitutional.2
A notorious example of Judicial Review is Brown vs. The Board of Education.
This historical court case was to decide if Jim Crow Segregation was
Constitutional. Jim Crow Segregation had been widely accepted among America for
nearly a century. The Supreme Court ruled that the active segregation law
“Separate but Equal” was not Constitutional and that it broke people’s rights.
The Supreme Court overruled this law and public schools were desegregated.
flexibility of the Constitution could also be seen in the amendment process.
Amendments state the rights of freedom, laws, and powers of the government.3
An amendment starts out as an idea and then has the potential to become a bill.
If an amendment becomes a bill, it is then taken to Congress to be passed in
the House of Representatives and the Senate. If passed by Congress, the president
can sign the bill and then it will become a law, or he can veto the bill. If
the president vetoes or rejects the bill, Congress has the option to take the
bill to the Supreme Court in the attempt for them to approve the bill. If the
Supreme Court approves the bill, it becomes a law.
can be interpreted differently as time goes on. One of the most troublesome
amendments is the 2nd amendment, the right to bear arms. By the time
the 2nd amendment was written, America was a fragile and vulnerable
nation. The professional army was inexperienced and was a militia composed of
ordinary citizens to provide defense and enforce laws. Due to these
circumstances, it was vital for citizens to have the right to buy, own and
carry a gun. Now however, times in the United States are different. Police
forces are instructed to enforce laws, and armed forces to protect us. By
today’s standards, right to carry a firearm is not as necessary as it once was.
Government restrictions have made firearm possession more difficult since the
signing of the Constitution.
under the Constitution has differentiated over time too. When the Constitution
was originally signed, only white males were given the right to vote. Shortly after
the Civil War, African American males were awarded the right to vote as the 15th
Amendment was passed in 1870. However, no female was allowed to vote; only
males. It wasn’t until the year 1919, that the 19th Amendment was
signed, making it illegal to oppose citizens the right to vote based on their
gender. Finally, voting equality had been made possible for every citizen in America.
conclude, The United States Constitution is considered an extraordinary
document for its ability to flex as America continues to change. The elastic
clause, judicial review, the amendment process, interpretation of the
amendments, and equality prove its flexibility.