Negative Liberties

“[T]here is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen.  It is monstrous if the state fails to protect its residents against such predators but it does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or, we suppose, any other provision of the Constitution.  The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties; it tells the state to let people alone; it does not require the federal government or the state to provide services, even so elementary a service as maintaining law and order.”  Bowers v. DeVito, 686 F.2d 616, 618 (1982).

The government of the United States is one of specific positive authority rather than implied power.  All else, every conceivable sovereignty not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, stays with the people:  every right retained, every power reserved.

Enlarging this broad liberty jurisdiction remains the whole point of America’s experimental system of self-government.