Florida’s Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Chris Smith, who is African-American, told a group of Tea Party members that “Marbury, Madison, and Hamilton wrote in that Constitution that I wasn’t a man. The federal government had to step in because our Constitution is an imperfect document (emphasis added).”
This view of the Constitution was propounded by Smith at the inaugural meeting of the Florida Senate’s Select Committee on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). When Tea Party members articulated their concerns about the unconstitutionality of the Act, Smith proceeded to lecture them about the famed document. Referring to Norman Rockwell’s painting of a young black girl who was escorted to her newly desegregated classroom by agents of the government, Smith uttered his statement about the document.
But here’s how far off Smith was: William Marbury wasn’t around when the Constitution was drafted, and the Constitution itself did not make manhood a federal affair; that was left to the states. In fact, it was because of the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution that the federal government did “step in”, not the other way around.