I disagree with this theory.

The Founding Fathers established the amendment process to ensure "We the People" are protected from whims of the moment. It is what makes our constitutions, both federal and state, our rules of law. It is also why we should periodically read the documents, to familiarize and understand our rights.

Consider the 3rd Amendment, which is rarely questioned or interpreted: "No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

This was an issue during colonial times, but has not been a problem since our constitutional republic was founded.

Fast forward to 2014 and imagine a proposal that would require homeowners to quarter soldiers for the purpose of saving tax dollars and expressing appreciation for their military service. Advocates may say (like they so often do when pushing certain issues) opposing such a plan would mean not supporting our troops. They may also say, "times have changed; we need to change with them" under our "living Constitution."

Preposterous? Think about laws that have been passed in the name of safety and security, but have impacted liberty. The next time you hear someone say it is OK to (re)interpret our rights because "times have changed" and we have a "living Constitution," consider what rights could be lost by going down such a path:


•Freedoms of religion, speech, press and the right to peaceably assemble and petition government (1st Amendment);

•Right to keep and bear arms (2nd Amendment);

The right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures (4th Amendment);

•Right to trial by jury (7th Amendment); and

•The rights of states, the 10th Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

If our Constitution is to be more than just words on paper, we must stop loose readings to find answers to issues not previously anticipated or provided for. Such picking and choosing begs the question: Why is the Constitution necessary at all?

— State Sen. Mike Folmer represents the 48th District, which includes parts of York County.