To Construe the Constitution, Look to the Declaration

The Declaration did not mention majority rule, which the Founders embraced because they considered it, when public opinion is properly refined and filtered, the best — although hardly a certain — mechanism for protecting the natural rights affirmed in the Declaration. Those rights, not a procedure (majority rule), were their foundational concern. The equilibrium of James Madison’s constitutional architecture is currently in disarray, with congressional anemia enabling presidential imperiousness. Nevertheless, the architecture was designed to “secure” — the crucial verb in the Declaration’s second paragraph — the natural rights the Declaration affirms.