On February 25, I experienced an event which was as remarkable as it was personal. My wife Iris and I attended a hearing of the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. The hearing was a debate exploring the constitutionality of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. What made this event remarkable was not whether the Republicans had the better arguments than the Democrats or vice- versa, but the fact that we were able to see the Constitution of the United States in a action, up close. And I’m happy to say it works as the founders of our constitution envisioned it would.
In 1776, America’s Founders gathered in Philadelphia to draft the Declaration of Independence, which dissolved the political ties that had bound the American people to Great Britain. A new nation was thus born, free and independent, the United States of America. Eleven years later, in 1878, after American patriots had won our independence on the battlefield, many of the men who had met earlier in Philadelphia, plus others, met there again to draft a plan for governing the new nation, the Constitution of the United States. In 1789, after the plan had been ratified, the new government was established. Together, the Declaration and the Constitution are America’s founding documents. In the end, however, no constitution can be self-enforcing. Government officials must respect their oaths to uphold the Constitution; and we the people must be vigilant in seeing that they do.1
At this hearing, Iris and I witnessed our elected officials respecting their oaths, to uphold the Constitution. And it was magnificent to watch.
What made this personal for us was to delight in the fact, that it was our son, Josh Blackman, a constitutional law Professor at South Texas College of Law (second from the left) who was invited by congress to present expert testimony to the members of the House Judicial Committee. To the left of Josh was Adam Laxalt, Attorney General of Nevada, and to his right Professor Elizabeth Foley, Florida International University College of Law, and Professor Stephen Legomsky. Washington University School of Law.
Josh is deeply committed to the sanctity of the Constitution, and is not afraid to speak out when he believes it has been violated. Although Iris and I don’t always agree with our son because of the social implications, I am deeply impressed with his passion and higher purpose he brings to his scholarship. To Josh, this is not his job, it is his calling.
The trend of looking at a job as more than a pay check is catching on. Even retailers of every day goods are trying to inject meaning into the job description. For example, a Kohl’s Corp. executive said at an investor conference last year that if the retailer’s associates “can truly relate their work to some higher purpose,” they will sell more sweaters and handbags.2
How many of us can honestly say that their work is the source of meaning and purpose in their life? According to Amy Wrzesniewski, an associate professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management, about one third of individuals feel their work is a calling.2 For the rest of us, we can be inspired by observing those who believe that purpose and one’s profession can be closely aligned and try to re- envision our own work.. As parents we couldn’t be more proud of our son’s higher calling; to protect our Constitution.
To view Joshua’s complete testimony which included an opening remark from the chairman acknowledging our attendance, click on link below.
1- The Cato Institute- Preface to the Consitution
2- Wall Street Journal, 2/25/15, I Don’t have a jobe. I have a higher calling.