In his memorable October 27, 1964, speech “A Time for Choosing,” Ronald Reagan noted that one prominent U. S. Senator (William Fulbright) had recently complained that he felt “hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document,” referring to the U. S. Constitution, which the senator considered to be “outmoded” and “incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century.” A few years later, in his inaugural address as Governor of California, Ronald Reagan delivered the immortal line, “Freedom is never more than one generation from extinction.”

I was reminded of President Reagan’s words last week when some as-yet unidentified culprit sought to undermine our constitutional system of government by leaking to Politico an early draft of Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Dobbs, of course, is the Mississippi case in which the U. S. Supreme Court seems poised to reverse Roe v. Wade, the January 22, 1973, decision where the Court somehow read the U. S. Constitution to guarantee a right to an abortion at any time prior to the viability of an unborn child. Although the U. S. Marshal’s investigation into this unprecedented breach of confidentiality is still ongoing, it appears that the purpose of the leak was to intimidate the five justices (Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett) who have decided to reverse Roe v. Wade and return to each state the question of when or whether, to proscribe or restrict the practice of abortion. These justices have been targeted simply because they have the temerity to affirm what anyone who reads the Constitution will quickly discover:  there is no guarantee in the Constitution to an abortion at any time prior to the viability of an unborn child. The Constitution is silent on the topic.  Under the Tenth Amendment, that means the states and the people have the freedom, through their elected officials who represent the voice of the people of their district, to decide when and whether to restrict the practice of abortion.

Regrettably, however, some still consider the Constitution to be outmoded, to be an antiquated document incapable of solving the complex problems of the present. Some appear willing to subvert both the constitutional process and the judicial process in order to perpetuate Roe v. Wade, which never had a textual or historical basis in the Constitution and is now within weeks of being overturned. But any assault on the Constitution, whether in the form of an intellectual elite who leaked a confidential draft opinion from the Supreme Court chambers or a group of hooligans who on January 6, 2021, sought to interfere with the lawful transfer of power in the United States, must be repelled.

Our Constitution is now the oldest governing document of any nation on the face of the earth. It was—as its preamble states—adopted to “form a more perfect union.” Our union is perfected not through unlawful verbal or physical assaults against Supreme Court justices but rather through conduct that respects the Constitution and the institutions it established. That venerable document is more than capable of solving the complex problems that face our country and communities today. As the events of the summer unfold after the Opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is released, whatever the outcome, we must act to protect and defend the Constitution, and to prosecute those who unlawfully assault it. We must do so because, as one of our country’s finest leaders once reminded us, “Freedom is never more than one generation from extinction.”