An Ohio Supreme Court justice arrived in Tiffin Wednesday for an overnight stay. Justice Sharon Kennedy, elected to fill an unexpired term on the high court in 2012, is running for a full term this year.
Kennedy is to address The Constitution, Liberty, and Order class taught at Tiffin University this morning. The course examines conflicts between individual liberties and social order under our constitutional system, and remarks by the justice during a Wednesday meeting of a local service group indicate the students will benefit from her visit.
Kennedy noted for the club's members the U.S. Constitution does not grant rights to Americans. Some citizens may not realize how the Founding Fathers perceived these rights, a perception reflected in how the document was crafted.
Indeed, the Bill of Rights does not contain the words "granted" or "bestowed" or "allowed."
Instead, it uses phrases such as "Congress shall make no law ..." and "... shall not be infringed" as well as "The right of the people to be secure ... shall not be violated. ..."
The Ninth Amendment even states, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
This is because the rights mentioned in the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are ours by virtue of our humanity. Those who believe in our Creator may even consider these rights to be God-given.
The Constitution does not confer these rights. It does state they cannot be taken away by Congress.
That's an important distinction to bear in mind whenever discussion concerning "constitutional rights" arises.