Mike Lee: We’ve Drifted Far from Founding Generation’s Idea of Limited Purpose Gov’t

In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to promote his book “Our Lost Constitution” on Sunday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) discussed the role of the U.S. Constitution and what he sees as some its purpose, which is to ensure a “limited-purpose government.”

Partial transcript as follows:

TODD: You and I are going to have a longer conversation about your book on Press Pass. But I’m curious. You call it Our Lost Constitution. Do you think the Constitution is a living document? Or do you believe it is sort of as written, a strict sort of document that shouldn’t be over-interpreted?

LEE: It’s written in such a way that it can be amended with time. Over time, it can be amended. And it has been amended 27 times. But once it’s written, once its provisions are put in place, we need to follow it. And if it’s not up to date, then we need to amend it from time to time, just as we have.

TODD: So that’s how you would change it, amend it only, not trying to reinterpret it.

LEE: Well, we reinterpret it for the times, certainly. I mean, for example, the founding fathers didn’t contemplate interstate air travel. But it fits comfortably within the commerce clause, as I explain in the book, to regulate channels and instrumentalities of interstate commerce, like interstate airways, even though they didn’t contemplate that specific thing.

What I explain in my book, the reason I wrote Our Lost Constitution is because we’ve drifted so far from the founding generation’s understanding that this is supposed to be a limited purpose government. And there are a number of provisions, a half dozen of which I profile in the book, that we’ve neglected entirely. We need to restore them.

TODD: All right. Well, maybe the country needs a constitutional convention. That would give us a nice little education on that. Senator Lee, thanks for coming on Meet the Press. Appreciate it. We’ll be back in less than a minute with End Game.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor


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