Weaverville – Weaverville Councilwoman Michele Wood has generated much discussion among citizens of the town and readers of the Tribune. Her angry, some would say violent, Facebook post, which has now been taken down, was posted after the US Supreme Court overturned the case that said there was a constitutional right to abortion, better known as Roe v. Wade.
I believe most have never even read the Constitution that outlines our freedoms. Heck, most can’t tell you how many stars are on the flag, who America won its independence from, or how many states make up our country. Who should we blame for that? Our schools, parents?
Freedom is always only one generation away from being lost when it’s not instilled into the younger generation. Most probably think our freedoms come from the government, and that’s dangerous! Because if they come from the government, they can be taken by the government.
So that’s what happened to Roe v. Wade? Was it given by the government and therefore taken by the government? Is there a constitutional right to abortion?
It depends on how you view the Constitution—as a “living document,” as some like to view it, or as a founding document that only changes when amended.
David A. Strauss, a Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Jenner & Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic, discusses that topic in a 1996 commentary called “A Living Constitution,” in which he writes:
“Do we have a living Constitution? Do we want to have a living constitution? A living constitution is one that evolves, changes over time, and adapts to new circumstances without being formally amended. On the one hand, the answer has to be yes: there’s no realistic alternative to a living Constitution. Our written Constitution, the document under glass in the National Archives, was adopted 220 years ago. It can be amended, but the amendment process is very difficult. The most important amendments were added to the Constitution almost a century and a half ago, in the wake of the Civil War, and since that time, many of the amendments have dealt with relatively minor matters.”
“Meanwhile, the world has changed in incalculable ways. The nation has grown in territory and its population has multiplied several times over. Technology has changed, the international situation has changed, the economy has changed, social mores have changed, all in ways that no one could have foreseen when the Constitution was drafted. And it is just not realistic to expect the cumbersome amendment process to keep up with these changes.
What Strauss calls a “cumbersome amendment process,” others would call a safeguard that keeps a majority from running over the rights of the minority. While at first it appears that Strauss supports a “living Constitution,” he then writes:
“On the other hand, there seem to be many reasons to insist that the answer to that question is “Do we have a living Constitution that changes over time? It cannot be yes. In fact, the critics of the idea of a living constitution have pressed their arguments so forcefully that, among people who write about constitutional law, the term “the living constitution” is hardly ever used, except derisively. The Constitution is supposed to be a rock-solid foundation, the embodiment of our most fundamental principles—that’s the whole idea of having a constitution. Public opinion may blow this way and that, but our basic principles—our constitutional principles—must remain constant. Otherwise, why have a Constitution at all?”
That’s where the judges come into the picture. They make sure that laws don’t conflict with the Constitution. I think one must look at Roe v. Wade as a government-given right that was never found in the Constitution in the first place. As a result, the recent Supreme Court decision corrects the flawed Roe v. Wade law. Also, keep in mind that the Supreme Court’s overturning does not ban abortions but gives the states the right to regulate or ban abortions as the citizens of the states see fit.
As for Wood’s Facebook post, did it incite violence with her comment?
I guess Weavervilleians will just have to wait and see if anything burns down, but we don’t have to wait and see that violence toward America has gotten its encouragement from somewhere. We don’t have to wait to see that violence against pro-life clinics and churches has gotten its incentive from somewhere, and comments from people in power like Wood’s, on unstable minds, are like throwing a lighted match onto a pool of gas.
A Foot Note On the Budget
Just last month, the Weaverville Town Council passed their more than $7 million budget. Readers might remember a sticky point in the budget was additional funding for disgruntled firefighters who have in recent years found themselves on the low end of the pay scale for area firefighters.
The town found an extra $20,000 to throw at the problem, with $10,000 going to sign-on bonuses for four new firefighters and $10,000 going to enhance the fire department’s salaries.
What many may not know is that the town also found $10,000 to increase Weaverville Town Manager Selena Coffey’s annual salary from $115,000 per year to $125,000 annually. Asked about the raise for Coffey, Mayor Patrick Fitzsimmons said, “The town manager received a raise for the new year beginning July 1 after receiving no raise for the past two years.”
I would agree that Coffey was due for a raise. I don’t know many of us who would stay in a job that didn’t recognize our contributions to the company each year with a raise. Unless you are a company owner, you will be among the last to receive a raise. The extra $10,000 spread over three years is less than a three percent increase in Coffey’s salary annually. Coffey has helped the town navigate two of the most unusual years in the town’s history and is worthy of the salary increase.
However, if the town could find $10,000 for one person’s salary, it seems they could have found more than $10,000 to bolster an entire department’s salary—Jus’ saying.