Two hundred and 40 years ago, citizens fed up with a distant, authoritarian government risked their livelihoods and lives to formally break away from the most powerful nation in the world.
The Declaration of Independence we celebrate each July 4 is a truly landmark document that defined the source of human rights as God, not government; declared that the sovereignty of a government is derived from the people; and set the stage for a Constitution that carefully sought to prevent the domination of our nation by any single faction or branch of government.
The Founders, and great Americans throughout our history, understood well the fragility of liberty.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” President Reagan reminded us. “It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
The decisions handed down by the Supreme Court over the last few weeks have reminded me that the fight for freedom is just as dynamic in 2016 as it was in 1776.
On one hand, the court kept in place a lower court decision that found President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty program illegal. Since Georgia was one of the 26 states that filed suit against the federal government in this case, and the overwhelming majority of my constituents join me in opposing amnesty, I worked hard to make our voices heard in this case. I voted for a resolution allowing the House of Representatives to file an amicus brief in this case that outlined the argument that only Congress can write the laws. The court’s decision is a clear rebuke to the lawless executive and a win for the separation of powers.
Unfortunately, the court was in grievous error just a few days later when it struck down a Texas law regarding health and safety standards for that state’s abortion clinics. This ruling endangers women, removes valuable safety precautions, and erodes states’ rights. As a lifelong pro-life advocate, I cannot imagine what our Founders would say to our nation’s refusal to extend the most fundamental right — life — to the most vulnerable members of our society.
The Supreme Court’s actions in these matters highlight the importance of a strong legislative branch. America’s Founders understood the power of an informed, involved electorate and placed tremendous responsibility in the hands of the men and women chosen to be the voice of the people in Congress.
I know from my travels throughout Northeast Georgia that I have the honor of serving Americans who deeply cherish their freedom, and it is a privilege for me to join you in the effort to secure liberty for the next generation.
Doug Collins represents Georgia’s 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives; dougcollins.house.gov.