Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day --- Despite Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Fought to Found Mother's Day

Tried to Quash It

Today Americans celebrated Mother's Day, founded by Anna Jarvis (pictured above) despite the efforts of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (also pictured above), now a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Believe it or not, now-Justice Ginsburg once signed a report suggesting that Congress "replac[e] Mother's Day and Father's Day with a Parents' Day as an observance more consistent with a policy of minimizing traditional sex-based differences in parental roles."  (Hat tip to Ed Whelan over at Bench Memos.) 

Whatever one thinks about the merits of now-Justice Ginsburg's proposal, Congress could not lawfully eliminate Mother's Day if it tried.  To be sure, Congress recognized Mother's Day by statute in 1914.  However, that statute did not purport to require Americans to celebrate the occasion.  Moreover, the national government is one of limited powers, and the Constitution does not authorize Congress to require the celebration of Mother's Day or ban that celebration, any more than it authorizes Congress to require or ban the celebration of birthdays or wedding anniversaries.  Thus, thanks to the genius of the Founders, and despite the misguided intermeddling of some, Americans will freely and enthusiastically continue to celebrate Mother's Day so long as there are mothers.