Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “Let me just interject something really quick here and resay that this is Professor Dr. Kevin Gutzman, who is, in some of our opinions and in the opinion of many of your colleagues, the eminent James Madison scholar of our time. There is one other that you mention and you’re flattered that he reviewed your book and gave it his approbation. We’re not talking about someone who has a casual relationship with the works of James Madison.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Let me just interject something really quick here and resay that this is Professor Dr. Kevin Gutzman, who is, in some of our opinions and in the opinion of many of your colleagues, the eminent James Madison scholar of our time. There is one other that you mention and you’re flattered that he reviewed your book and gave it his approbation. We’re not talking about someone who has a casual relationship with the works of James Madison.
Number two, because we have a lot of stuff to get into, Kevin, I want to steer the next part of our discussion here in this direction with Professor Gutzman. As I pointed out, and I was just repeating what Albert Taylor Bledsoe had said, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what James Madison said in a letter. What matters is: What did the State of Virginia do? What did the Federal Convention of 1787 do? Madison went in with a plan and had his hat handed to him. What did the Virginia Ratification Debate do? Again, he didn’t get his way. What did the Virginia Assembly of 1798 do? It doesn’t matter what he wrote in a letter. What did Taylor and his colleagues accomplish? Those are acts of a legislature. They’re not letters. They’re actually law. This is how they actually dealt with it. To say that just because Madison wrote a letter that that’s the final word on the whole shebang is preposterous. How many members of the Virginia Assembly were there at that time, Kevin, over 100, right?
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Kevin Gutzman: Well, when they finally took the vote on the Virginia Resolution, 163 people voted. I’m not sure how many didn’t vote. There were at least 163 members of the House of Delegates. Madison was not a member of the House of Delegates in 1798. That’s the other thing I wanted to get to. Actually, I was hinting at the point you’re making now when I said
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Even if James Madison in 1830 did have this opinion, Madison wasn’t some saint whose sanctity we’re supposed to emulate. The reason we might care about his opinion of something is that he was involved in framing it. He had the authority of the people because he was their representative at the time. In this case, we have him not involved in the legislative discussion. In 1830, he wasn’t a representative of the people at the time. This simply failed as a mode of argumentation. Of course, Levin goes from there to say: I know everything and nobody else knows anything and the Tenth Amendment Center is a bunch of kooks.
Mike: They are bent on undermining or undoing our precious republic.
Gutzman: The republic for Levin apparently is one in which even when Congress is acting in a way that is contrary to the Constitution, that must be upheld. This is not the version of constitutionalism certainly that Virginians in 1798 stood for. It wasn’t the one they had ratified in 1788 either. Nobody ever said ratify this Constitution and then we have to uphold whatever the Congress does even when it’s unconstitutional. Nobody would have ratified the Constitution on that understanding.
End Mike Church Show Transcript