On the Mayor's Mind: Constitution week

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Chris Roberts, Mayor
City of Shoreline
By Chris Roberts, Mayor
City of Shoreline

On Sunday, our nation celebrated the 230th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States. Thirty-eight of the 41 delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document, sending the Constitution out to the States for ratification. In Shoreline, I proclaimed this week to be Constitution week, encouraging our residents to reflect on the ideals of the Framers.

We owe a lot to the delegates during that hot Philadelphia summer in 1787. The work the delegates did to create a stable government that united the thirteen independent states into a single nation required tremendous compromises on a wide range of issues. And, while there was not unanimous support for the Constitution among the voting public, a majority of delegates to the state ratifying conventions approved the Constitution, with the expectations that the first Congress would propose the addition of the Bill of Rights.

Since its adoption, the Constitution has now been amended 27 times, most recently in 1992. In practice, these amendments changed the balance of our government, providing more rights to the people and constraining the sovereignty of the states. Subsequent generations of Americans added provisions into the Constitution safeguarding individual liberty, safeguarding  justice, elevating protections of civil rights, and expanding the right to vote.

Every generation interprets the meaning and limitations of the Constitution. In 2017, we continue to debate the contours of free speech and the ability to regulate campaign financing. There are debates about whether legislators should have the power to draw the boundaries of their own districts and the scope of the President’s powers to issue pardons. In this sense we,  the current generation of Americans, are both constitutional architects and guardians of our Constitutional ideals.

I believe it is our job to reflect on the ideals of the Constitution - and to be active in upholding those principles - the goal to establish a more perfect union, to establish justice, to provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty, to ourselves and our posterity.


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