Reading Tim Sandefur’s first guest post, I have a quick clarifying question. Let’s say that the public disagrees with Tim’s view, and that to make its point, a constitutional amendment pursuant to Article V is passed that explicitly approves the existing status quo of judicial interpretation and explicitly rejects the Declaration of Independence as a guide to interpreting the Constitution. In Tim’s terms, the Amendment expressly adopts the wolf view and rejects the sheep view. Here’s my question: If that happened, how would Tim interpret the Constitution then? Would his view be that the Amendment should be recognized and that his book’s view of the Constitution will have been rendered obsolete? Or would he say the new constitutional amendment is illegitimate and must be ignored, as it is inconsistent with natural rights?
I ask that question because I think Tim’s views could reflect one of two positions. The first position is that the Constitution enacts classical liberalism because it just so happens that the Framers were classical liberals, and their policy views were enshrined in the Constitution they enacted unless and until it is properly changed. On that view, the people ultimately get to decide what the Constitution means because they can amend the Constitution however they want pursuant to Article V (as long as they don’t interfere with equal suffrage in the Senate). The second position is that the Constitution enacts classical liberalism because classical liberalism it is the only correct system: It is the only system that that correctly understands the nature and meaning of rights. On that view, the people are powerless to change the Constitution in this way because they have no power to alter the correctness of classical liberalism.
I hope Tim won’t mind me interfering with his guest-blogging by asking this question, but I know it would help me in understanding his view just to know which of the two positions he has in mind.