To the editor:
Many conservative candidates for judicial openings claim to be "originalists" or "constitutionalists." This means they base their judgments on the Constitution as written. They also claim that judges shouldn't "make law," but only interpret it as determined by the Constitution. Of course, interpreting the Constitution has proven to be a very subjective exercise affected by one's political slant.
In reality, there are several constitutional mandates that are not followed by any branch of the government. The most obviously ignored requirement is the election of the President. There is no constitutional provision for the popular vote election of the President. Article II and Amendment XII cover the presidential election. Both clauses require the President and Vice President to be solely elected by what is now called the Electoral College. There are many details and guidelines they must follow, but, in the end, it's up to them.
Article I states that Congress has the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and to establish duties affecting that commerce. Somewhere along the line they relinquished that power to the President. Recent history would indicate such an abdication of duty may not have been the wisest move.
Article I also states that no appropriation of money to support armies will be for a term longer than two years. This would appear to require the military budget to be reinvented every other year.
Article III states the trial of all (federal) crimes shall be by jury. Does this outlaw bench trials?
The above examples are only some of the Constitutional requirements that have somehow been lost over time. There are more unclear provisions that have been interpreted differently by different administrations and different Supreme Courts.
One last interesting example, Amendment XXIV says the right of citizens of the United States to vote in [an] election for President or Vice President will not be denied due to failure to pay a poll tax. Where did this right to vote for President or Vice President come from? Certainly not from the sections of the Constitution governing the elections of these offices.