For John, BLUF: At the end of the day, it is about The People, not SCOTUS or POTUS or Congress. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Law Professor Glenn Harland Reynolds, writing in USA Today, gives us a discussion of the Declaration of Independence, "Declaration should still wake the powerful up at night".
Before the declaration, the standard political theory went something like this: God anointed a king, who is the locus of sovereignty on earth. Though the king is supposed to rule decently, it is the duty of everyone else to submit to the king, who is answerable only to God. The king might grant you rights, but if he did so that was an act of generosity on his part, not an entitlement on yours.Read it all.
Divine-right political theory was understandably popular with kings and their supporters and hangers-on, and a form of it survives in assorted variations today. But the declaration takes a different approach. It says that rights come from God, not from the king, and that they are "unalienable" — that is, incapable of being sold ("alienated") surrendered, or given away.
What's more, rather than rights coming from the government, government exists to protect rights. Government, in the declaration's explanation, exists to protect rights, and rather than subjects enjoying rights with the consent of the government, the government itself rules only by the consent of the governed. And when the government fails to live up to its duties, and the people no longer consent to it, it becomes illegitimate and subject to replacement by something the people like better.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.
Regards — Cliff