In matters of a constitutional government and law there is no place for "compromise" and/or "pragmatism". Either an action is based on, and thus authorized by, the fundamental law or it is not. The meanings of the words in a constitution, like all other contracts, do not change, but rather must be understood to mean exactly what they meant when the document was written.
Let us look at the following meaning of the words: "compromise", "pragmatism" and "principle", so we have a clear starting point of understanding:
1. A settlement of differences in which each sides makes concessions.
2. Anything resulting from such a settlement.
3. Something midway between different things or combining certain of their qualities.
1. A theory in American philosophy, developed by Charles S. Peirce and William James, that the meaning of a proposition or course of action lies in its observable consequences, and that the sum of these consequences constitutes its meaning.
2. A method or tendency in the conduct of political affairs characterized by the rejection of theory and precedent, and by the use of practical means and expedients.
1. An accepted or professed rule of action or conduct: a person of good moral principles.
2. A fundamental, primary, or general law or truth from which others are derived.
3. A fundamental doctrine or tenet; a distinctive ruling opinion.
4. A personal or specific basis of conduct or management: to adhere to one's principles
5. A guiding sense of the requirements and obligations of right conduct: a person of principle.
Each State in the Union and the United States of America are, as a matter of constitutional law, to have a "republican form of government" which are to be based at all times on the "rule of law".
Our fundamental laws are found in the Holy Bible; the Declaration of Independence; the lawful Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; the Constitution for the United States of America; and many other founding documents. All those in government must take an "oath of office" (or are bound by the oath of their superior) in order to have any authority to lawfully act in their official capacity. For example, the "oath of office" for the President of the United States, found in Article II, Section 1, Clause 8, of the Constitution for the United States of America, is:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
The required "oath of office" for those in the Pennsylvania government, found in Article VI, Section 3, of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity."
When someone is elected, he or she must take, sign and file this "oath of office" before entering into the duties of their office. Further, "Any person refusing to take the oath or affirmation shall forfeit his office." (Article VI, Section 3, of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)
When asked about something in either the State or federal Constitution, most of those in government say: "I am not a constitutional scholar". They usually rely solely on attorneys or judges to explain our fundamental laws, rather than personally studying and understanding these documents, which they swore (or affirmed) to "support, obey and defend". Sadly, most attorneys and judges do not study or understand either Constitution, but particularly, the Constitution of Pennsylvania.
Once someone is elected, or appointed, to a government office, takes an "oath of office" (or is bound by a superior's oath), and gets paid for doing their job, there is no excuse for not strictly following the lawful Constitution of Pennsylvania and/or the Constitution for the United States of America according to the original intent of each word in these fundamental documents. These Constitutions are not "living" documents, but rather they are legal documents, and as such, they must be strictly interpreted and applied according to the language of the day in which they were written. To do otherwise is a violation of their "oath of office" and a crime.
"A written constitution is not only the direct and basic expression of the sovereign will, it is also the absolute rule of action and decision for all departments and officers of government with respect to all matters covered by it, and must control as it is written until it is changed by the authority which established it. No function of government can be discharged in disregard of or in opposition to the fundamental law. The state constitution is the mandate of the sovereign people to its servants and representatives. No one of them has a right to ignore or disregard its mandates, and the legislature, the executive officers, and the judiciary cannot lawfully act beyond its limitations. Disobedience or evasion of a constitutional mandate may not be tolerated even though such disobedience may, at least temporarily, promote to some respects the best interest of the public.
Neither emergency nor economic necessity justifies a disregard of cardinal constitutional guaranties.
The constitution of each state, so far as it is consistent with the provisions of the Federal Constitution, is the fundamental law of the state and a part of its supreme law, and acts passed by the legislature inconsistent therewith are invalid. There is no law enforceable by the courts above or beyond a constitution."
[16 Am. Jur. 2d, 81 without citations referenced or stated]
"The framers of the constitution contemplated the instrument as a rule for the government of courts, as well as of the legislature.
… Why does a judge swear to discharge his duties agreeable to the constitution of the United States, if that constitution forms no rule for his government?
… If such be the real state of things, that is worse than solemn mockery. To prescribe, or take this oath, becomes equally a crime.
… Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the constitution is void, and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument."
[Marbury v. Madison, 5 US (2 Cranch) 137, 179 (1803)]
Clearly, each public servant is required by a constitutional "oath of office" to read, study, understand and to at all times strictly "support, obey and defend the Constitution for the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth and to discharge the duties of their office with fidelity."
There is absolutely no place for "compromise" or "pragmatism" by those at any level of government when performing their official constitutional duties and responsibilities. We must hold each and every person in government strictly accountable to the "rule of law", or we shall surely be ruled by tyrants.
Please vote responsibly for those who shall honestly take and strictly follow their "oath of office".