Safe­guard our Demo­cratic process by re­vis­ing Con­sti­tu­tion with cau­tion

South Florida Times - - OPINION - JOSEPH HATCHETT

One of the first things you learn in any Amer­i­can his­tory class is the fun­da­men­tal im­por­tance of our na­tion’s con­sti­tu­tion. This found­ing doc­u­ment has laid the ground­work for how the United States op­er­ates to this day, from the rights to which we are en­ti­tled as cit­i­zens to the role of gov­ern­ment in our lives. My ca­reer path took me to po­si­tions as a Florida Supreme Court jus­tice and a fed­eral ap­peals court chief judge, and I sim­ply could not have got­ten there with­out the rights en­shrined in the con­sti­tu­tion.

Equally im­por­tant, is Florida’s state con­sti­tu­tion.The Florida Con­sti­tu­tion op­er­ates sim­i­larly to our na­tion’s con­sti­tu­tion, out­lin­ing the struc­ture of our gov­ern­ment and our free­doms. But the Florida Con­sti­tu­tion has one very sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence: Ev­ery 20 years, a 37-mem­ber Con­sti­tu­tion Re­vi­sion Com­mis­sion is con­vened to con­duct a thor­ough re­view of the state char­ter to de­ter­mine what changes may be best for our state.

Start­ing in Fe­bru­ary, the com­mis­sion will travel the state, hold­ing pub­lic hear­ings to gather in­put from the Florida res­i­dents about changes to our con­sti­tu­tion. Aware­ness about this, par­tic­i­pa­tion and vot­ing are key to pro­tect­ing our demo­cratic process.

The com­mis­sion is com­posed of in­di­vid­u­als ap­pointed by the Gover­nor, the House Speaker, the Se­nate Pres­i­dent, and the Chief Jus­tice of the Florida Supreme Court, along with the Florida At­tor­ney Gen­eral. Mem­bers can de­velop their own pro­pos­als and have re­viewed hun­dreds of ideas sub­mit­ted by Florid­i­ans sug­gest­ing changes they would like to see made, from the use of tax dol­lars to gun rights. The com­mis­sion’s pro­posed amend­ments go di­rectly to a statewide bal­lot next Novem­ber. This is a sig­nif­i­cant amount of power placed in the hands of small group of Florid­i­ans, and their de­ci­sions and ac­tions can make a sub­stan­tive im­pact on the state in which we all live.

The Florida Con­sti­tu­tion can be amended in more ways than any other state’s con­sti­tu­tion, which is a dou­ble-edged sword. It means that nec­es­sary changes can be made as needed, but it also means it can be com­par­a­tively easy for pro­vi­sions to be added to the con­sti­tu­tion that do not truly be­long there.

With our con­sti­tu­tion wide open in the re­vi­sion process, it is vi­tal that each amend­ment be con­sid­ered with cau­tion. As a long-time judge, I see the sep­a­ra­tion and bal­ance of pow­ers as the most es­sen­tial part of our demo­cratic form of gov­ern­ment.With­out it, one branch of gov­ern­ment could at­tempt to run roughshod over the other two, de­stroy­ing the bal­ance that our na­tion holds so dear. PLEASE TURN TO SAFE­GUARD/5A

A few weeks ago, some­one sent me a piece by vlog­ger Can­dace Owens in which she says “The Left uses‘racism’to con­trol black vot­ers." She was right on.Iron­i­cally,a few days later,the left and the main­stream me­dia went wild call­ing Pres­i­dent Trump a racist be­cause he sup­pos­edly called Haiti and some African coun­tries “S**t hole” coun­tries.

Funny how for the past six decades, Democrats have called Repub­li­cans racists so black folk would re­main loyal to them and stay on the Demo­cratic Plan­ta­tion. They can’t keep us “in chains” any­more, but they have “chained our minds."

It was bad enough with Bush 41 and Bush 43, but it is worse with Trump - “PO­TUS 45”. He used the term “Son-of-a-B***h” when talk­ing about the foot­ball play­ers who were re­fus­ing to honor the flag and stand for the Na­tional An­them and the Left ac­cused him of racism and talk­ing about their moth­ers. Every­body knows that “Son-of-a-B***h” is a term used by white men while “mother f**ker” is a term used by black men. And nei­ther term has any­thing to do with race.

But while black folk are be­ing blinded by “FAKE” de­ter­mi­na­tions of racism, Democrats are re­plac­ing them with il­le­gal aliens (or im­mi­grants, mostly His­panic) that Pres­i­dent Obama flooded the South­west with through his Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der in June, 2012, cre­at­ing DACA (De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals).

Mind you, most con­sti­tu­tion­al­ists agree that Obama’s ac­tion in cre­at­ing DACA was il­le­gal and un­con­sti­tu­tional. He used an il­le­gal act to help il­le­gals. How about that! These il­le­gals, other­wise known as“Dream­ers”from the Se­nate Bill, The Dream Act (De­vel­op­ment, Re­lief, and Education for Alien Mi­nors Act), have be­come the lib­er­als' new “Ne­groes."

You see, lib­er­als used to only use us Black Folks to beat up on Repub­li­cans while call­ing them racists. Now it’s the il­le­gal im­mi­grants, par­tic­u­larly the “Dream­ers”, who are be­ing used to beat up on Repub­li­cans.

Democrats in the Se­nate, led by Senator Chuck Schumer, even tem­po­rar­ily shut down the gov­ern­ment over DACA. They chose to

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