The U.S. Constitution divides the federal government into three co-equal branches: the Legislative Branch, made-up of the House of Representatives and the Senate; the Judicial Branch, which consists of the federal courts up to and including the Supreme Court; and the Executive Branch, which consists of the president, the vice president, the presidential Cabinet, and all of the other functions of the federal government.

The Executive and Legislative branches were designed to work in opposition to and in cooperation with each other to pass laws, and the Judicial Branch sits as an unaligned moderator to mediate disputes between the other two, as well as decide whether laws and decisions made by the other two branches are valid and legal under the Constitution. All laws must originate in and be passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the president, although the president can veto legislation he disagrees with. And Congress can overrule the president's veto with a two-thirds majority vote of both Houses. All other functions of the government are the responsibility of the president, with oversight by the legislature.

The U.S. Constitution has 27 amendments, the first 10 of which were approved and ratified by the states shortly after the Constitution itself was ratified. The first 10 amendments are known as the Bill of Rights and enumerate the rights and responsibilities of the citizens residing in the new United States of America. The Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights are all written in plain English, and do not need interpretation. The statements of rights and responsibilities within these documents are clear and concise, and spell out exactly what the federal government is allowed to do, and what it is forbidden to do. And everything not specifically given to the federal government to do is the responsibility of the states and the American people.

However, over time, the federal government has wandered more and more into areas where it shouldn't, and many of those encroachments have been made due to Supreme Court rulings that are in direct violation of and counter to both the statements and intent of the Constitution. Among these things is the "right" to an abortion and the mandate to bus students to address segregation, neither of which are in the Constitution, and are examples of nothing more than liberal justices running amok and creating laws illegally. Interestingly, the Supreme Court now leans back toward the right, and the next few years will see it become even more conservative because of Ruth Bader Ginsberg's death. Then, many of the illegal actions of previous courts may well be overturned and legality returned to the court and to the country.

And that tells you just about everything you need to know about the major difference between modern conservatives and modern liberals. Modern conservatives believe the Constitution should be followed as written and not embellished. Modern liberals believe the Constitution is a "living document" that can be reinterpreted as necessary to fulfill an agenda. And as time has passed, liberals have been a lot more successful at "re-interpreting" the Constitution as it pleases them, which has radically changed the country in the past several decades.

Conservatives have been fighting a losing, rear-guard action to save and preserve the country as it was designed and left to us. Luckily for me, the next several chapters of this struggle will be fought after I am gone, and I won't be forced to live in the new Socialist Utopia the left is creating.

Dr. Jonathan C. Jobe, of Crescent Valley, is a retired educator and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

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