FFF: The Real Constitutional Crisis

Laurence Vance at the Future of Freedom Foundation talks about the ever-spreading Constitutional crisis in the US.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a crisis (plural: crises) is:

All federal programs that are not explicitly authorized by the Constitution should be eliminated.
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1a: the turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or fever

b: a paroxysmal attack of pain, distress, or disordered function

c: an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person’s life; a midlife crisis

2: the decisive moment (as in a literary plot); The crisis of the play occurs in Act 3.

3a: an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially: one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome; a financial crisis, the nation’s energy crisis

b: a situation that has reached a critical phase; the environmental crisis, the unemployment crisis

And likewise in other dictionaries.

The Constitution

Regardless of any flaws or problems that the Constitution had or has (the countenance of slavery, the assumption of the right of eminent domain, ambiguous clauses, the income tax), it is the supreme law of the land that the federal government is supposed to follow. The Constitution is neither a long nor an obscure document. Any American with a computer or smart phone can access it in a matter of seconds. Yet most Americans are woefully ignorant about the Constitution.

The Constitution was drafted in 1787, ratified in 1788, and took effect in 1789. It established the United States as a federal system of government where the states, through the Constitution, granted a limited number of powers to a central government. As James Madison, the father of the Constitution, so eloquently explained in Federalist No. 45,

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will for the most part be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people; and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

There are about thirty enumerated congressional powers listed throughout the Constitution. Most of those powers are found in the eighteen paragraphs of Article I, Section 8. Six of them concern the militia and the military. Four of them concern taxes and money. The rest relate to commerce, naturalization, bankruptcies, post offices and post roads, copyrights and patents, the federal courts, maritime crimes, and the governance of the District of Columbia. The last paragraph gives Congress the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.” The Bill of Rights (the first ten Amendments to the Constitution) was added to the Constitution in 1791. The first eight Amendments protect civil liberties and fundamental rights. the Ninth and Tenth Amendments make it clear that all rights and powers not delegated to the federal government are retained by the people and the states.

The ignorance that most Americans have of the Constitution is exceeded by the ignorance of the Constitution that most congressmen have. Members of Congress swear to uphold the Constitution. Article VI, Clause 3, of the Constitution requires that senators and representatives be “bound by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution.” U.S. law requires that members of Congress be sworn in before they can take their seats. The congressional oath of office begins, “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” One would think that members of Congress — most of whom have at least a bachelor’s degree and many of whom are lawyers — would have a firm grasp of what the Constitution says. Yet they are often the worst offenders when it comes to violations of the Constitution.

The crisis

It was called a constitutional crisis.

After the death of a black man, George Floyd, while in the custody of a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25, anti-police demonstrations erupted in large, predominantly black cities across the country. Yet, Portland, Oregon, which is about 77 percent white and 6 percent black, became the epicenter of anti-police demonstrations this past summer. Some of the demonstrations were peaceful, but others not so much. Protesters shut down streets, broke windows, set fires, committed acts of vandalism and looting, and clashed with police. Then, on July 10, it was reported that armed federal forces were making arrests and using tear gas against the demonstrators.

Writing in the Guardian, Trevor Timm, the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, mentioned the Constitution in his report about Portland: “A remarkable and nightmarish scene playing out in Portland should terrify anyone who cares about the US constitution: unmarked vans full of camouflaged and unidentified federal agents are pulling up next to protesters on street corners, then snatching and arresting them with no explanation.” Writing for the Associated Press, journalist Gillian Flaccus is the one who termed the events in Oregon a “constitutional crisis”: “Federal law enforcement officers’ actions at protests in Oregon’s largest city, done without local authorities’ consent, are raising the prospect of a constitutional crisis — one that could escalate as weeks of demonstrations find renewed focus in clashes with camouflaged, unidentified agents outside Portland’s U.S. courthouse.” In a lawsuit filed against the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Marshals Service, Customs and Border Protection, and the Federal Protective Service, the Oregon Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, accused the federal agencies of violating the constitutional rights of Oregon residents.

According to the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 15): “[Congress shall have power to] provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.” The Insurrection Act of 1807 requires state legislatures or governors to request help from the federal government. It empowers the president to call into service the U.S. Armed Forces and the National Guard to address “an insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination or conspiracy, in any state, which results in the deprivation of Constitutionally secured rights, and where the state is unable, fails, or refuses to protect said rights.” The armed federal forces that descended uninvited on Portland were not members of the Militia, U.S. Armed Forces, or the National Guard. Under the guise of “protecting” federal property and maintaining “law and order,” they were functioning as de facto secret police — wearing military fatigues, sporting all manner of weapons, driving unmarked vehicles, compiling dossiers on journalists, grabbing people indiscriminately off the streets without regard to their lawful presence or personal behavior, assaulting people who weren’t engaged in criminal activity, detaining people who weren’t near federal property, and holding people for hours without charge.

But according to acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf, “I don’t need invitations by the state, state mayors, or state governors, to do our job. We’re going to do that, whether they like us there or not.” According to attorney and chronicler of the police state John Whitehead, “Just about every nefarious deed, tactic or thuggish policy advanced by the government today can be traced back to the DHS, its police state mindset, and the billions of dollars it distributes to local police agencies in the form of grants to transform them into extensions of the military.”

Constitutional scholar and senior judicial analyst at Fox News Judge Andrew Napolitano well explained the constitutional crisis in Portland:

The only constitutional role for armed federal forces in Portland, Oregon, was to assist U.S. marshals in protecting federal property and personnel there.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the feds have no lawful role in policing streets unless requested to do so by the governor or legislature of any state.

The feds’ activities are unconstitutional because they are using government force to arrest people without probable cause or arrest warrants. We know there is no legal basis for these “arrests,” as they have not charged anyone.

The First Amendment to the Constitution requires the government to protect speech, not assault those who exercise it. If these indiscriminate beatings and kidnappings are intended to deter folks from publicly dissenting, it is profoundly unconstitutional, counterproductive and will be costly to the federal government.

Under the Constitution, the ability to regulate for health and safety belongs to the states and local governments. The feds simply do not have the lawful authority to fill in gaps in local law enforcement, no matter how offended they may be.

This last point is why Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.) commented about the situation in Portland, “We cannot give up liberty for security. Local law enforcement can and should be handling these situations in our cities but there is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will.”

Past constitutional crises

There have been other constitutional crises since the adoption of the Constitution in 1789.

The Constitution wasn’t even ten years old when the first constitutional crisis took place. In 1798, in the name of “national security,” the Federalist majority in Congress passed, and President John Adams signed into law, four pieces of legislation known collectively known as the Alien and Sedition Acts. The Naturalization Act, the Alien Friends Act, and the Alien Enemies Act targeted noncitizens (who were perceived to be political opponents of the Federalists) by extending the residency period for aliens seeking citizenship, allowed the president during peacetime to imprison or deport aliens considered “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States,” and authorized the president to imprison or deport any male citizen of a hostile nation above the age of 14 during times of war. The most egregious piece of legislation was the Sedition Act. It authorized fines or imprisonment for persons who, in speech or print, criticized “the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States.” (The office of the vice president, which at the time was held by Adams’s nemesis, Thomas Jefferson, was not mentioned.) Critics of the Sedition Act argued that it blatantly violated the freedom of speech and freedom of the press clauses of the First Amendment. Federal courts prosecuted many Jeffersonian newspaper editors for violating the Sedition Act.

The so-called Civil War was itself a constitutional crisis. According to Thomas J. DiLorenzo, author of The Problem with Lincoln (2020), Abraham Lincoln ruled as a de facto dictator. He essentially “resurrected the Sedition Act,” imprisoned judges, suspended the writ of habeas corpus, authorized government officials to read Americans’ mail, imprisoned “tens of thousands of Northern state citizens” for “criticizing the government,” and “shut down more than three hundred opposition newspapers in the Northern states.”

The Sedition Act was actually resurrected in 1918 while the United States was fighting World War I. The Espionage Act of 1917 made it a crime for any person to convey information intended to interfere with the U.S. war effort. The Sedition Act amended and broadened the Espionage Act. It effectively criminalized speech and expression that criticized the government. Whoever “shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag” could receive a $10,000 fine and twenty years in jail. Under the Sedition Act, Americans were arrested for reading aloud the Declaration of Independence or singing German beer-hall songs. Although World War I ended in 1918, the Sedition Act was not repealed until 1921.

More recently, there is the USA PATRIOT Act, passed in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. It vastly expanded the federal government’s authority to spy on Americans, while at the same time reducing checks and balances on those powers. It is an assault on both the First and Fifth Amendments. Napolitano terms sections 215 and 505 of the PATRIOT Act as “fatal to freedom,” “weapons of mass surveillance,” and “instruments of a totalitarian government that defy the Constitution.”

The real constitutional crisis

There is currently a constitutional crisis in America, and it has existed since long before the Portland protests and the PATRIOT Act. It is a crisis that has been perpetrated by both political parties in the Congress, approved by the president, sanctioned by the Supreme Court, and carried out by the bureaucrats who administer the myriad departments, bureaus, agencies, corporations, endowments, commissions, administrations, authorities, and boards of the federal government.

The existence of Social Security is a constitutional crisis. Not only is Social Security immoral because it takes money from those who work and gives it to those who don’t, the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to have a retirement program, a pension plan, a forced savings account, or a disability plan.

The existence of Medicare and Medicaid is a constitutional crisis. Not only should no American be forced to pay for the health care of any other American, nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to subsidize any American’s health insurance or health care, pay for anyone’s prescription drugs, have health-care programs, or have anything whatever to do with health insurance, health care, or medicine.

The existence of the war on drugs is a constitutional crisis. Not only is the drug war a failure and a colossal waste of the taxpayers’ money, nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to regulate, monitor, or restrict Americans’ consumption, medical, or recreational habits; what Americans put in their mouths, noses, veins, or lungs; or Americans’ eating, drinking, or smoking habits.

The existence of federal aid to education is a constitutional crisis. Nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a Head Start program, student loans, Pell Grants, teacher-education or certification requirements, school accreditation, math and science initiatives, a Department of Education, an Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a Higher Education Act, special-education mandates, or national standards, or to have anything to do with the education of anyone’s children. Education should be a service obtained on the free market just like any other service.

The existence of the welfare state is a constitutional crisis. Nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have food stamps, refundable tax credits, Section 8 housing vouchers, or entitlement programs. Nowhere does the Constitution authorize the government to fight poverty, maintain a safety net, provide public assistance, or guarantee income security. All charity should be private and voluntary.

The existence of foreign aid is a constitutional crisis. Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 1 of the Constitution says that the Congress shall have power “To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.” It does not say that taxes should be collected to provide for the general welfare of people in other countries. Like domestic charity, foreign charity should be entirely voluntary.

The existence of federal subsidies for art, culture, and the humanities is a constitutional crisis. Government funding for them is basically providing welfare for cultural elitists. It is always immoral for the government to take the resources from some Americans and redistribute them to other Americans. And the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to subsidize them. Although the Constitution does authorize the national government to issue patents and copyrights, it does not follow that that entails giving subsidies to inventors and writers.

The existence of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a constitutional crisis. The TSA provides security for private entities — the airlines. But not only is the security provided not paid for, not asked for, and just security theater, the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to provide security for the airlines or any other private business.

The existence of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (NRPC) is a constitutional crisis. Amtrak, as the NRPC is more commonly known, is a government corporation that has relied on government subsidies every year it has been in operation. But since when does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a corporation, be a stockholder in a corporation, appoint and confirm a board of directors, or operate a passenger rail service?

The existence of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a constitutional crisis. The existence of the EEOC is predicated on the idea that the federal government should prevent and punish acts of discrimination in employment that it considers to be unjustified. But not only is discrimination not aggression, force, coercion, or violence — and therefore, as far as the law is concerned, not the concern of government — the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to have an EEOC or oversee any employer’s hiring or firing practices.

The existence of the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) is a constitutional crisis. It outlaws the selling of one’s body organs. Aside from the obvious fact that if you own your own body, then you certainly own the organs in your body, the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to be concerned in the least with what Americans want to do with the organs in their body.

What is so perplexing and frustrating about the massive constitutional crisis that the United States is in is that it could quickly and easily be fixed. All federal programs that are not explicitly authorized by the Constitution should be eliminated. All federal departments, bureaus, agencies, corporations, endowments, commissions, administrations, authorities, and boards that carry out functions not explicitly authorized by the Constitution should be shuttered. Doing that would reduce the federal government by about 95 percent. And therein lies the problem. Not only do the Congress, the hundreds of government agencies and programs, and the entrenched bureaucracy resist a reduction in the government of any size, most Americans receive some kind of payment, benefit, or subsidy from the federal government.

Wilder, Wealthy and Wise: America – Walking The Razor’s Edge

From John Wilder at Wilder, Wealthy and Wise comes America: Walking The Razor’s Edge

…But that ridge (to me) was a razor’s edge. On either side was disaster. I took a deep breath. I put one foot in front of the other. And I walked – one step, two steps, three steps – to the top, where my friends were waiting.

What brought this to mind was an email forwarded by frequent commenter, 173dVietVet, where he said (in part) this on discussing where our country is:

“(I’ve) Done a bit of mountain climbing in my Ranger days and I know full well the meaning of knife’s edge, where any wrong step throws you headlong forever into the abyss of death that lies on BOTH sides . . . .”

We are in that zone. In climbing mountains, the knife edge is more than a metaphor – it’s real. On either side is death, and it’s not metaphorical death, it’s mangled into a wadded pile of Wilder by the combined forces of gravity and the sudden stop on the rocky outcropping at the bottom. Sure, Wile E. Coyote could survive, but not me.

But in life, the knife-edge is a metaphor.  We’ve created a financial situation where the economy is horribly broken, and for the last year we’ve survived mainly by printing money and not allowing people to be evicted from houses, despite the questionable legality of that.

A bigger component to our knife edge is that the rule of law has been progressively ignored in the country.  Where is the right of the Federal Government to stop evictions of tenants?

Oh, there isn’t one.  They just made it up.

That would be (at best) an action by a State, though even then it’s of questionable legality.  But then the Patriot Act made spying on American citizens “legal” so who cares about legal, anyway?  Then every agency with three letters of an alphabet decided to swallow up all of that online data, and all of the phone calls, despite laws to the contrary.

Of course, Federal employees were put in prison.

Hahahaha!

No.

Despite obviously illegal orders, no one was put in prison, and the only one likely to be put into prison is the whistleblower (Edward Snowden) if he ever shows back up in the United States.  It used to be the Constitution that was ignored, but that’s so 1940s.

Now, the government can ignore any inconvenient law it wants to ignore.  Of course, the people that can ignore the law are those that are either leaders, government employees, or those favored (think Antifa™) by the government.

Destroy evidence?  A felony for most.  But when the government does it?  It’s “a regrettable incident.”

What people misunderstand is that Trump isn’t at all the cause of our problems today.  Trump is a symptom.  Without Trump, the answer would have been (yet another) Bush, this time Jeb, versus (yet another) Clinton, this time Hillary.  Oh, the excitement for electing ¡Jeb!

The difference between another Clinton and another Bush?  Nothing, really.  And America didn’t want that – so America elected Trump.  If anything, Trump cleared the fog, and made the knife edge we were walking clearer.

And now, we are walking, and the knife-edge is sharper and narrower than the one that I walked to get to the top of that mountain on July 4th a couple of decades ago.

We have left the bounds of Constitutional governance some time ago – people think it’s quaint when I bring the entire idea of the Constitution up.  Is there a path back to an actual Constitutional government?

Sure.  It’s narrow – a knife-edge.  But so was getting that Constitutional government in the first place.  But getting that original Constitution depended upon men climbing a mighty steep mountain several hundred years ago.  Were they afraid when they saw the cliff’s edge, the price of failure?

I’m sure they were.  But yet they continued.  And when it was time to thread that final few steps to the summit?

They did, and damn the dangers on either side.

We face the same knife-edge.  Where are we going?

Publius Huldah: A Constitutional Roadmap for Conquering Election Fraud

Attorney Publius Huldah writes A Constitutional Roadmap for Conquering Election Fraud.

The following shows what the State Legislatures and each Branch of the federal government have the authority to do to address the monstrous crime which has been committed against our Country.

1. Article IV, §4, US Constitution

The fundamental Principle which should guide us in dealing with this issue is set forth at Article IV, §4, US Constitution. It reads,

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…”

The essence of a “Republic” is that sovereign power is exercised by Representatives elected, directly or indirectly, by The People. 1

Election fraud strikes at the heart of our Constitutional Republic. Therefore, Congress, the federal courts and the Executive Branch [i.e., the “United States”] have the duty, imposed by Article IV, §4, to negate the fraud in order to preserve our republican form of government.

As shown below, the States also have authority to remedy the election fraud committed in their State.

2. The Constitutional framework governing federal elections

These are the clauses in the US Constitution everyone should study:

♦ Art. I, §4 is the “times, places, and manner” clause: It means what it says! Federal and State judges, and federal and State executive agencies, have no authority to tinker with election laws made by the State Legislatures or Congress. When they tinker with the laws, their acts are usurpations and must be treated as such [link].

♦ Art. II, §1, clause 2: The President & Vice President are to be elected by Electors appointed, in such manner as the State Legislatures shall direct…

♦ Art. II, §1, clause 4: Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors and the Day on which they Vote.

♦ The 12th Amendment sets forth the procedures for how the Electors are to cast their votes for President & then for Vice President. To our detriment, we have ignored those procedures for a long time.

♦ The 20th Amendment, §1, says the terms of President & Vice President end January 20; and the terms of Senators & Representatives end January 3.

♦ And §2 of the 20th Amendment says Congress shall meet on January 3, unless they make a law setting a different date. Congress did make a law which changed that date to January 6.

3. The Statutory framework

At Title 3, US Code, §§ 1-21 [link], Congress implemented the constitutional provisions.

Congress understood there would be fights in the States over the selection of the Electors. So they provided for the fights:

A.

At 3 USC §1, Congress set November 3 as the date for appointing the Electors in the States.

But the next two Sections address what happens when Electors aren’t appointed on November 3.

♦ §2 says the Electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the Legislature of each State may direct.

♦ And §3 says Electors are chosen when any controversy respecting their appointment has been finally determined. “Determining the controversy” is, of course, the purpose of the litigation and the hearings in State Legislatures.

B.

Article II, §1, clause 4, US Constit., gives Congress authority to determine the Date on which the electors vote:

♦ 3 USC §7 sets that date for December 14.

♦ But 3 USC §§12 & 13 provide for what happens when Congress hasn’t received the Electors’ votes by December 23.

So we see that flexibility to deal with fights in the States over the selection of Electors is built into the US Code.

C.

Now we get to the counting of the Electors’ Votes in Congress: 3 USC §15 says Congress is to meet on January 6 to count the votes. The President of the Senate [Mike Pence] presides. He is to call for objections to the votes. The rest of §15 and §§16-18 deal with handling the objections in Congress respecting the Electors’ votes.

So the statutory framework recognizes that selecting the Presidential Electors can get messy; and that there would be fights over the Electors in the States and in Congress. We are working through this process right now.

4. Congress has the power to determine whether the President elect and Vice President elect are qualified for office.

Section 3 of the 20th Amendment shows that Congress has the authority to determine whether the President elect and Vice President elect are qualified for office. 2 If either is not a natural born citizen, Congress has the power and the duty to disqualify that person. 3 Accordingly, it was Congress’ duty to inquire into whether Obama was a natural born citizen; and today it is Congress’ duty to inquire into whether Kamala Harris is a natural born citizen.

Congress also has the power – and the duty – to disqualify Biden and Harris on the ground that the fraud bringing about their sham “election” was an attack on the States’ Right, guaranteed by Article IV, §4, to have a republican form of government.

5. Election Fraud is a federal crime

It is the DUTY of the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute the election fraud. It is disgraceful that they have done nothing.

6. The Duty of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is surely aware of its Duty, imposed by Article IV, §4, US Constitution, to guarantee to the States a republican form of government where Representatives are elected by The People – and not by corrupt politicians who pay for massive organized election fraud and cheating.

While the Supreme Court obviously cannot enforce its own rulings and must depend on the Executive Branch of the federal government to enforce them; 4 the Supreme Court must issue an Opinion consistent with Article IV, §4, which, when enforced by the Executive Branch of the federal government, solves the present crisis.

7. The State Legislatures should appoint replacement Electors

It is clear that State Legislatures have the power to ignore the fraudulent election and appoint a new set of Presidential Electors. Such is consistent with the Constitution and the statutory scheme laid out in 3 USC §§1-21. Furthermore, the Supreme Court has already acknowledged that State Legislatures may do this.

REMEMBER that Article II, §1, clause 2, US Constitution, says Electors are to be appointed “in such Manner as the State Legislatures” may direct.

Originally, Electors were generally chosen by the State Legislatures. In McPherson v. Blacker, decided 1892 [link], the Supreme Court gave the history of how each State Legislature chose their Electors since the first presidential election. It was only later that State Legislatures began to provide for the popular election of the Presidential Electors.

Congress expressly recognizes that State Legislatures may resume at any time the power to select the Electors. Remember that 3 USC §2, says,

“Whenever any State has held an election for the purpose of choosing electors, and has failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law, the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct.”

Additionally, in Bush v. Gore, decided 2000 [link], the Supreme Court said that the State Legislature’s power to select the manner for appointing electors is plenary; it may, if it chooses, select the Electors itself; and even after granting the franchise to the People to select the Electors, State Legislatures can resume the power at any time.

So yes, in States where the election was stolen, the State Legislatures may – and should – reassume their plenary power to select the Electors. America urges the State Legislators to be bold and do what is right.

8. Warning

Republican establishment cowards who refuse to confront and defeat the election fraud don’t seem to understand the consequences of their refusal to man up and fight the fraud. Our Country is right now in the process of being overthrown and taken over by profoundly evil people. You better fight while we still can.

Endnotes:

1 Federalist No. 10 (J. Madison) [link]: “A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, … *** … The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; …”

2 The qualifications are set forth at Article II, §1, clause 5 and the 12th Amendment, last sentence.

3 Whether or not a President elect or Vice President elect meet the constitutional qualifications for office is a political question for Congress to decide.

4 Federalist No. 78 (A. Hamilton) [link] “…The Executive not only dispenses the honors, but holds the sword of the community. The legislature not only commands the purse, but prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated. The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.” [Caps are Hamilton’s; other emphasis added]

The Trumpet: What Does the U.S. Constitution Say About the Election Crisis?

The Trumpet talks about what the Founding Fathers said in regards to solving contested elections in What Does the U.S. Constitution Say About the Election Crisis?

The rule of law is under attack in America. Evidence shows politicians are trying to transform the nation by emphasizing ends over means. Former United States federal prosecutor Sidney Powell claims to have evidence exposing large-scale voter fraud. During an interview with Fox Business, Powell said she had “staggering statistical evidence” that a leading voting machine firm, Dominion Voter Systems, stole votes from U.S. President Donald Trump.

“Well, I can hardly wait to put forth all the evidence we have collected on Dominion, starting with the fact it was created to produce altered voting results in Venezuela for Hugo Chávez and then shipped internationally to manipulate votes for purchase in other countries, including this one,” she told Lou Dobbs on November 13. “It was funded by money from Venezuela and Cuba, and China has a role in it also. So, if you want to talk about foreign election interference, we certainly have it now. We have staggering statistical evidence.”

What Powell is talking about is the biggest political scandal in U.S. history—if proved true.

If corrupt politicians can get away with using Communist-funded software to rig an election, then we no longer live in a constitutional republic. We live in an authoritarian technocracy.

Shockingly, most political and media figures do not want to give Powell a chance to present her evidence. News sources from the center-left Washington Post to the center-right Wall Street Journal have condemned Powell’s claims as a conspiracy theory. Former President Barack Obama said in an interview with 60 Minutes that President Trump needs to “put the country first” and concede the election right away. A group of 1,000 attorneys published a letter on November 10 making similar demands. They accused President Trump of violating his oath to the U.S. Constitution by claiming there was evidence of voter fraud.

Of course, none of these figures say what specific clause of the Constitution President Trump had violated. That is because the Constitution does not prohibit presidents from investigating voter fraud. In fact, as the nation’s chief law enforcement executive, you could say the Constitution mandates that he investigate these fraud allegations.

Those accusing President Trump of violating the rule of law are ignoring a major aspect of constitutional law. The Constitution does not give the media the power to pick the president, nor does it give attorneys the power to pick the president. It does not even give the American people the power to pick the president. The supreme law of the land gives the electoral college the power to pick the president. This means every politician, lawyer and soldier who has taken an oath to the Constitution is bound to accept the president chosen on December 14 by the 538 electors of the electoral college.

The recounts and court cases that happen before then are an attempt to inform these electors how their state voted. Electors are not constitutionally required to vote for the candidate who won their state, and six electors did not do so during the 2016 presidential elections. Only 33 states have laws punishing electors for not voting the way their state did.

The framers of the U.S. Constitution also wrote specific provisions on how to solve a contested election. They empowered Congress to be the backup if the electoral college could not decide on a winner. The 12th Amendment specifies that if no candidate receives 270 votes in the electoral college due to disputed ballots, or some other reason, the House of Representatives shall immediately choose between the three leading candidates. In this congressional vote, the representation from each state has one vote.

In regard to the current election crisis, law professor Donald Brand wrote, “If neither candidate gets to 270 electors due to disputed ballots, the House would have to decide the election. Though the House has a Democratic majority, such an outcome would almost certainly benefit Trump. Here’s why: In a concession to small states concerned their voices would be marginalized if the House was called upon to choose the president, the founders gave only one vote to each state. House delegations from each state meet to decide how to cast their single vote. That voting procedure gives equal representation to California—population 40 million—and Wyoming, population 600,000. This arrangement favors Republicans. The gop has dominated the House delegations of 26 states since 2018—exactly the number required to reach a majority under the rules of House presidential selection.”

Many Democrats hate the electoral college and want to replace it with a system where the winner of the popular vote becomes president. But they cannot condemn President Trump for violating the rule of law for refusing to concede an election before the electoral college has even convened. The framers of the U.S. Constitution established provisions on how to decide contested elections, and the only people violating the rule of law are those trying to circumvent those provisions by letting the media pick the president.

In 1999, British historian Paul Johnson wrote an article in the Sunday Telegraph titled “No Law Without Order, No Freedom Without Law.” He wrote: “The rule of law, as distinct from the rule of a person, or class or people, and as opposed to the rule of force, is an abstract, sophisticated concept. It is mighty difficult to achieve. But until it is achieved, and established in the public mind with such vehemence that masses of individuals are prepared to die to uphold it, no other form of progress can be regarded as secure. The Greeks had tried to establish the rule of law but failed. The Romans had succeeded under their republic but Caesar and his successors had destroyed it. The essence of the rule of law is its impersonality, omnipotence, and ubiquity. It is the same law for everyone, everywhere—kings, emperors, high priests, the state itself, are subject to it. If exceptions are made, the rule of law begins to collapse—that was the grand lesson of antiquity.”

Americans today do not understand “the grand lesson of antiquity” as our founders understood it. That is why the nation is on a dangerous path toward lawlessness.

For decades, activists have striven to fundamentally transform America by emphasizing ends over means. If a policy lacks support to be passed by the lawmaking branch of government, radicals call for the president to enact it via executive order, or for the Supreme Court to enact it via judicial activism, or for protesters to take to the streets. They accuse President Trump of violating the rule of law when he investigates lawbreaking, but they attack the supreme law of the land if the electoral college votes in a way they do not like.

The Prophet Isaiah described such lawless thinking 2,700 years ago: “None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands” (Isaiah 59:4-6).

This passage is a prophecy about end-time America (as our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong, proves). Today, corrupt politicians “speak lies,” “conceive mischief,” and “bring forth iniquity.” But God will not allow them to “cover themselves in their works.” He will expose the corruption so people have a chance to repent before a lawless spirit completely destroys America by replacing the rule of law with the horrifying rule of brute force!..

Mises Institute: America at the Point of No Return (Book Review)

The Mises Institute has published a book review of Michael Anton’s The Stakes: American at the Point of No Return. Some people could learn a bit about their country just from reading the review.

…In one of the best sections of the book, Anton sets forward his understanding of the Constitution. He says, “Our founders sought to establish the weakest possible federal government capable of performing its essential functions, for three fundamental and intertwined reasons. First, government is inherently dangerous, so the less power it has, the better. Second, the states—being closer to the people and more responsive to regional differences and needs—are better equipped to handle most matters than a far-off centralized administration. Third, the states were prior to the federal government; the people, through their states, created the latter to serve them, not the other way around.”

Anton continues: “According to the parchment [the Constitution], the federal government is supposed to field and fund an army and navy, protect the borders, make treaties, regulate foreign trade and interstate commerce, maintain a sound common currency…and that’s about it. But if you haven’t noticed, there is almost nothing today that the federal government doesn’t do—or try to. The fact that it fails embarrassingly at most of the tasks it sets itself never circumscribes its ambitions, which seem to multiply by the year.”

Again sounding like a supporter of the free market, Anton says about the federal budget: “That leaves about a trillion for means-tested welfare—which, like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, are not constitutionally authorized; they are also of dubious and uneven effectiveness at best.”

Anton notes that the founders believed that the American Revolution was grounded in universal truths, “but they did not expect their declaration to revolutionize the world—nor were they under any illusion that it, or they, had the power to do so….America is—in the words of John Quincy Adams—‘the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all’ but also ‘the champion and vindicator only of her own.’”

Those who wish to restore these principles face a challenge of unprecedented severity. Anton argues that an elite based in certain blue states disdains ordinary Americans. “The core message of the meta-Narrative is that America is fundamentally and inherently racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, transphobic, and so on. The flaws and sins of America derive directly from those of its founding stock, who are natural predators, inherently racist, and malevolent.”

Elite policy is at its worst in California, now under the near-total domination of the left wing of the Democratic Party. “In modern California, hypocrisy and double-standardism aren’t merely part of the business climate; they’re endemic to the whole society….Sam Francis dubbed this system ‘anarcho-tyranny’: complete freedom—even exemption from the gravest laws—for the favored, maximum vindictive enforcement against the pettiest infractions on the disfavored.” Anton fears that if President Trump isn’t reelected, the Democrats will seek actively to suppress whomever in the red states challenges them, and they will prove very difficult to dislodge from power.

Who are the ordinary Americans the elite disdains, and who are the elite? The ordinary Americans are those whom Hillary Clinton called “deplorables,” i.e., white males who value their family, their religion, and their property, including their guns. “Funny thing, too: a core tenet of modern liberalism is supposed to be the sanctity of ‘one man, one vote.’ Except, you know, not really. The barely concealed presupposition of denouncing Republicans as ‘racists’ simply because whites vote for them is that all votes are not created equal. Votes of color are morally superior to white votes, which are inherently tainted. Which is why the left holds any election won by a Republican to be morally if not (yet) politically illegitimate.”

The elite consists at its core of wealthy financiers and business interests allied with government. It is buttressed by professionals who have attended top universities, especially those of the Ivy League. In a way that readers of Hunter Lewis on “crony capitalism” will recognize, Anton writes: “So-called ‘public-private cooperation’ will increase. This benign-sounding phrase—who could object to ‘cooperation,’ to government and business ‘solving problems together’? —masks a darker reality. What it really describes is the use of state power to serve private ends, at private direction. Hence foreign policy…will be further reoriented around securing trade, tax, and labor ‘migration’ patterns and paradigms that benefit finance and big business.”

If elite dominance continues, Anton predicts that those of us who dissent will be rigidly restricted. “Free speech as we have known it—as our founders insisted was the bedrock of political rights, without which self-government is impossible—will not survive coming leftist rule. The playbook is already being expanded to include banking and credit. Getting on the wrong side of elite-woke opinion is increasingly to find oneself locked out of the financial system: no bank account, no credit card, no ability to get a loan or pay a mortgage. Pay cash? The move to a ‘cashless society’…will obviate that option right quick.”

Anton cites an especially chilling instance of the policy of suppression. “A new regulation in the United Kingdom—which we must assume will be proposed here sooner or later—would allow Britain’s National Health Service to deny non-emergency care to those deemed ‘racist, sexist, or homophobic.’ Government bureaucrats, naturally, will be the ones doing the deeming.” Small wonder that Anton has had enough…

Publius Huldah: Mail-in voting? A “political question” which only State Legislatures and Congress may decide

Publius Huldah opines on the legalities of mail-in voting. Mail-in voting? A “political question” which only State Legislatures and Congress may decide

It has become obvious that one of the purposes of the COVID-19 scam is to bring about unrestricted mail-in voting in the toss-up and Red States so that the upcoming presidential election can be stolen by the Left for the senile Joe Biden and his constitutionally ineligible running mate, Kamala Harris.

On September 9, 2020, the Left achieved their goal for the Red State of Tennessee – unless the Tennessee State government enforces the US Constitution and rejects the federal judge’s unconstitutional order.

1. The absurd Order from the US District Court, Middle District of Tennessee

The Tennessee Code permits mail-in voting for certain categories of people [Tenn. Code § 2-6-201]; but requires those who register by mail to appear in person at the official place of voting and bring proof of identity when they vote for the first time [Tenn. Code § 2-2-115 (b) (7)].

Our elections are already tainted by the “ghost voters” described in Deroy Murdock’s article (published 2017) [here]. Murdock showed that throughout the United States, over 3.5 million persons who didn’t exist were registered to vote. But that number wasn’t sufficient to elect Hillary Clinton; so the Left needs more ghost voters. With mail-in voter registration, dead people can be registered to vote; and with unrestricted mail-in voting, those dead people can vote forever.

The Plaintiffs in this action claim to be distressed about the statutory requirement that first-time voters (who registered by mail) appear in person to vote because it forces them to choose between their “health” [they might catch COVID-19 if they go to the polls] and their right to vote. 1

On September 9, 2020, federal judge Eli Richardson issued a preliminary injunction which has the effect of setting aside, for the upcoming presidential election, the statutory requirement – established by the Tennessee Legislature – that persons who registered by mail, show up in person the first time they vote.

Here is Richardson’s 29 page Order.

So let’s cut 29 pages of bunk down to its essence: Richardson ruled that the Tennessee Legislature’s requirement that the first-time voters (who registered by mail) physically appear at the polls, imposes a “moderate burden” on voting rights; and the State failed to show the Court that Tennessee has a “legitimate state interest” to justify that burden. 2

Even worse: Throughout his Order, Richardson writes repeatedly [some 20 times] of Plaintiffs’ “First Amendment right to vote”; and says at the end of para 31 of his Order,

“…it is likely that Plaintiffs will prevail on their claim that the first-time voter requirement violates the First Amendment right to vote…”

But the First Amendment makes no mention of a “right to vote”. 3 Furthermore, in footnote 22 of his Order, the Judge says:

“In a prior order, the Court declined to address any suggestion that there is no First Amendment right to vote, for any purposes at all, by mail in particular… The Court was well aware that McDonald supports such a suggestion, but the Court simply did not need to opine on that matter. The Court likewise does not need to do so here…”

What? The Judge declined to address whether or not a First Amendment right to vote actually exists even though he has already determined that Plaintiffs are likely to prevail on their claim that the requirement that first-time voters (who registered by mail) show up in person to vote “violates the First Amendment right to vote”!

2. Why do Plaintiffs and the Judge repeatedly speak of a “First Amendment right to vote”, when the Judge isn’t prepared to say that such a right even exists?

They may be aware that the federal court has no jurisdiction over this case; but are attempting to fake it by claiming that the case “arises under the Constitution” via the First Amendment.4

The judicial power of the federal courts is limited to those few categories of cases enumerated at Article III, §2, clause 1, US Constitution. Not one of the categories invests the federal court with jurisdiction over this case. This case can’t be said to “arise under the Constitution” because there is no “right to vote” in the US Constitution; and the remaining categories listed in Article III, §2 are clearly inapplicable.

So it appears that Plaintiffs have fabricated a mythical “First Amendment right to vote” in order to provide a pretext for the federal court to exercise jurisdiction in this case – and that the federal judge let them get away with it.

3. Article I, §2, clause 1, US Constitution, negates the absurd claim that there exists a federal constitutional right to vote.

At Article I, §2, cl. 1, the States expressly retained their pre-existing power to determine the qualifications of voters:

“The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.” [italics added]

Accordingly, those who are eligible to vote for Representatives to their State Legislature are the ones eligible to vote for Members of the federal House of Representatives. 5

With four later Amendments, the States agreed that they would not deny eligibility to vote to Citizens on account of race (15th Amendment), sex (19th Amendment), failure to pay a tax (24th Amendment), and for those 18 years of age or older on account of age (26th Amendment). It is important to note that these four amendments do not grant the “right” to vote to the persons described in the Amendments – merely that the suffrage will not be denied to those persons on account of their race, sex, etc.

So the States retained their original authority to set whatever qualifications for voting they deem appropriate, subject to their agreement that they would not deny suffrage on account of a Citizen’s being in one of those four categories.

So there is no “right to vote” set forth in the US Constitution. To the contrary, voting is a privilege granted or denied on the basis of whether applicants meet the qualifications for voting set forth within their State Constitution. 6

4. What does our Constitution say about how the President and Vice President are to be elected?

Article II, §1, cl. 2 and the 12th Amendment set forth the procedures for electing President and Vice President. Those procedures are described here under the subheadings, “Electors appointed by States were to choose the President” and “The 12th Amendment establishes procedures for voting by Electors”.

Our current procedures bear no resemblance to the Constitutional requirements. 7 It’s too late to obey the Constitution for the upcoming presidential election; so let’s see what our Constitution says about the federal elections to Congress.

5. US Constitution: the “times, places and manner” clause

Pursuant to Article I, §4, clause 1, State Legislatures have the power to prescribe the Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for US Representatives 8 and US Senators.9

This clause also provides that Congress may make laws which override such State laws.

So the power to determine the time, place and manner of holding such federal elections is delegated exclusively to the Legislative Branches of the State and federal governments.

It is up to the State Legislatures to decide which “burdens” are appropriate with respect to the place of voting – with Congress having power to override what a State Legislature decides. The Judicial Branches of the state and federal governments may not substitute their views as to which “burdens” are appropriate and which are not. These are “political questions” granted to the Legislative Branches to decide; and the Judicial Branches – state and federal – may not lawfully interfere. 10

It is clear that “manner of voting” includes such matters as a requirement of personal presence at the place of voting. This is what our Framers contemplated, as shown by their words quoted in footnote 8 below. When a State legislature decides that personal presence is required – that decision can be overturned only by Congress.

So Judge Richardson’s view that the Tennessee Legislature doesn’t have a good reason for requiring first time voters (who registered by mail) to vote in person and present ID is irrelevant, and his Order is ultra vires.

6. What is the State’s remedy against the unlawful Court order?

So! You have seen that determining the “place and manner of voting” is a political power delegated exclusively to the State and federal Legislatures. It is thus a “political question”; and the federal [and state] Judicial Branches may not substitute their views for those of the Legislative Branches.

And since there is no “right to vote” contained in the US Constitution, the Federal District Court has no jurisdiction over this case. This case doesn’t “arise under the Constitution” or fit within any of the other categories of cases enumerated at Article III, §2, cl.1, US Constitution.

So the pretended Order of September 9, 2020, is ultra vires and lawless, and the State of Tennessee has no obligation to obey it.

The duty of the elected and appointed State and local officials is to obey the US Constitution. When the dictates of a federal [or State] judge contradict the Constitution, State officials must side with the Constitution and against the judge. 11

And what will happen if the State of Tennessee refuses to comply with the Judge’s order? The Judge can’t enforce his Order. He has to depend on the Executive Branch of the federal government to enforce it. 12 Do you believe that President Trump will send in federal troops to force the State of Tennessee to comply with Judge Richardson’s ultra vires Order?

Note:  In addition to the Offices of President & Vice-President, many other offices will also be on the Ballot:  the entire US House of Representatives is up for grabs.  So is the House in the State Legislatures all over the Country.  1/3 of the US Senate will be on the ballot; and a proportional number of Senate Seats on State Legislatures throughout the Country will be on the ballot.

EVERY REPUBLICAN LEGISLATOR NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND:  Your Seat is likely to be stolen in this upcoming election.

So you better wake up and get your State Legislature to smack down the federal & state judges who are assisting the Left in stealing your Seat.  And if Congress doesn’t act, they will lose control of the Senate and most likely every seat in the House.

Why should the Left stop with stealing only the Presidential election when they can also steal YOUR seat?

Endnotes:

1 How do they get their groceries?

2 Order at paras 29 – 31.

3 The First Amendment says,

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment is a limitation on Congress’ powers to make laws – it doesn’t grant a “right” to vote!

4 In Federalist No. 80 (2nd para), Hamilton states that cases “arising under the Constitution” concern

“…the execution of the provisions expressly contained in the articles of Union [the US Constitution]…” [boldface added].

In the 3rd & 13th paras, Hamilton illustrates what “arising under the Constitution” means: He points to the restrictions on the power of the States listed at Art. I, §10 and shows that if a State exercises any of those powers, and the fed. gov’t sues the State, the federal courts have authority to hear the case.

5 The 17th Amendment [ratified 1913] provides that those who are eligible to vote for Representatives to the US House are eligible to vote for US Senators.

6 With the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, Congress usurped the retained power of the States to set and enforce eligibility standards for voting. In a series of 3 papers, the last of which is here, I show how the assertions about The Federalist Papers made by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, in their attempts to justify their unconstitutional judgments, are false.

7 Our disregard of these constitutional provisions doubtless contributed to the creation of the current chaos.

8 Our Framers told us what “times”, “places” and “manner” mean:

In Federalist No. 61 (4th & 5th paras), Alexander Hamilton shows that “Time” refers to when elections are held. He explains that under the Articles of Confederation [our 1st Constitution], States had been conducting elections from March to November; and that uniformity in the time of elections is necessary “for conveniently assembling the [federal] legislature at a stated period in each year”.

“Place”: Hamilton also points out that the suffrages of citizens living in certain parts of the States could be defeated by restricting the place of election for Representatives in the House to “an INCONVENIENT DISTANCE from the elector” (2nd para). [caps are Hamilton’s].

“Manner” of holding Elections refers to such things as paper ballots or show of hands, the place of voting, and whether the States will be divided into congressional districts for purposes of electing Representatives. James Madison discusses the “Manner” of holding Elections in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 2, August 9, 1787:

“Mr. Madison: … the Legislatures of the States ought not to have the uncontrouled right of regulating the times places & manner of holding elections. These were words of great latitude. It was impossible to foresee all the abuses that might be made of the discretionary power. Whether the electors should vote by ballot or vivâ voce, should assemble at this place or that place; should be divided into districts or all meet at one place, shd all vote for all the representatives; or all in a district vote for a number allotted to the district; these & many other points would depend on the Legislatures and might materially affect the appointments …. what danger could there be in giving a controuling power to the Natl. Legislature? Of whom was it to consist? 1. of a Senate to be chosen by the State Legislatures … 2. of Representatives elected by the same people who elect the State Legislatures…” [emphasis added]

Rufus King in the Massachusetts Convention said in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 3, January 21, 1788:

“Hon. Mr. King rose … It was to be observed, he said, that in the Constitution of Massachusetts, and other States, the manner and place of elections were provided for; the manner was by ballot, and the places towns; for, said he, we happened to settle originally in townships…” [emphasis added]

9 When Art. I, §4, cl. 1 was drafted, the State Legislatures were to choose the State’s Senators to the US Congress – so the “place” of choosing the US Senators would be wherever the Legislature met. With ratification of the 17th Amendment, Congress gained oversight over State laws addressing the “place” of election of US Senators.

10 In Marbury v. Madison [link], decided 1803, the Supreme Court explained the concept of “political powers” and that the manner in which political powers are exercised is beyond the reach of the courts:

“By the Constitution of the United States, the President is invested with certain important political powers, in the exercise of which he is to use his own discretion, and is accountable only to his country in his political character and to his own conscience. …whatever opinion may be entertained of the manner in which executive discretion may be used, still there exists, and can exist, no power to control that discretion. The subjects are political. They respect the nation, not individual rights, and, being entrusted to the Executive, the decision of the Executive is conclusive … [and] can never be examinable by the Courts.”

Marbury addresses the political powers exercised by the President. That same deference to the exercise of political powers has long been extended to the acts of the other political branch, Congress. Where the Constitution grants a political power to Congress, the manner in which Congress exercises the discretion is also beyond the reach of the Courts. So, for example, if Congress were to exercise the power granted to it by Article I, § 4, clause 1, to make a law banning mail-in voting; its action can never be examined by the Courts – the Courts may not substitute their views for those of Congress.

11 Marbury v. Madison also stands for the Great Principle that when an Act of one branch of government violates the Constitution, the other Branches must obey the Constitution and not the unlawful Act.

12 Alexander Hamilton made this same point over 200 years ago – see Federalist No. 78 (6th para). If law schools had made The Federalist Papers required reading, our Country wouldn’t now be in such a mess

Tenth Amendment Center: The Constitutionality of a National Bank – Hamilton vs. Jefferson

Here another US government history article. From Mike Maharrey at The Tenth Amendment Center, The Constitutionality of a National Bank: Hamilton vs. Jefferson.

The First Bank of the United States was charted for a period of 20 years by Congress on Feb. 25, 1791. Alexander Hamilton championed the bank, but it wasn’t without its detractors. One of the most vocal opponents of the bank was Thomas Jefferson who argued that it was unconstitutional.

The debate was really about more than chartering a bank. At its core, it was an argument about the extent of federal power. Jefferson held to the promise of the ratification debates – that federal authority would remain carefully circumscribed by the enumerated delegated powers. Given that the Constitution doesn’t authorize Congress to charter corporations, much less a national bank, Jefferson argued that it was an unconstitutional act.

On the other hand, Hamilton pivoted from the position he took during the ratification debates and justified his project by invoking the doctrine of “implied powers.” His arguments foreshadowed how federal policies of every imaginable stripe would be justified moving forward. Arguably, Hamilton’s arguments for the First Bank of the United States set the foundation for much of the federal overreach we have today.

Jefferson and Hamilton both wrote documents making their cases for the establishment of the bank. Jefferson wrote his Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank first.

He rested his argument on the Tenth Amendment, writing:

“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That  ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.’ [XIIth amendment.] To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.”

He then succinctly stated his conclusion.

“The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill, have not, in my opinion, been delegated to the United States, by the Constitution.”

Jefferson proceeded to outline the various clauses of the Constitution supporters of the bank used to constitutionally justify and explained why they failed to bear the burden of that power.

The primary justification was the Commerce Clause, but Jefferson argued that “to erect a bank, and to regulate commerce, are very different acts.” Erecting a bank actually creates an institution of commerce, and as Jefferson pointed out, “to make a thing which may be bought and sold, is not to prescribe regulations for buying and selling.”

He went on to argue that if erecting a bank is an exercise of the commerce power, it would be void because it would also impact commerce within individual states.

“For the power given to Congress by the Constitution does not extend to the internal regulation of the commerce of a State, (that is to say of the commerce between citizen and citizen,) which remain exclusively with its own legislature; but to its external commerce only, that is to say, its commerce with another State, or with foreign nations, or with the Indian tribes.”

Next Jefferson tackled the General Welfare Clause, pointing out that Congress cannot lay and collect taxes for any purpose it pleases, “but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union.” Likewise, Congress can’t do anything it pleases to promote the “general welfare.” It can only further the general welfare by laying taxes and acting within its enumerated powers.

“In like manner, they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please, which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. It is an established rule of construction where a phrase will bear either of two meanings, to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which would render all the others useless. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lacce them up straitly within the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.” [Emphasis original]

Jefferson drove his point home by pointing out a very inconvenient fact for Hamilton – the Philadelphia Convention debated and rejected delegating the power to charter corporations.

On one of the final days of the convention, James Madison proposed the federal government be delegated the authority “to grant charters of incorporation where the interest of the U.S. might require & the legislative provisions of individual State may be incompetent.”

Rufus King of Massachusetts objected specifically on the grounds that “It will be referred to the establishment of a Bank, which has been a subject of contention in those Cities (New York and Philadelphia). He also warned that “In other places it will be referred to mercantile monopolies.”

George Mason of Virginia proposed limiting the power to charting corporations for the construction of canals. “He was afraid of monopolies of every sort, which he did not think were by any means already implied by the Constitution as supposed by Mr. Wilson.”

Ultimately, the convention rejected the proposal completely. Historian Dave Benner wrote, “This casts overwhelming doubt on the notion that the Constitution allowed Congress to form such monopolies. No enumerated power to grant monopolies and corporate charters was ever included in the document, and during the ratification campaign, none of the Constitution’s advocates cited the presence of such a power.”

But Hamilton’s arguments didn’t rely on the existence of any delegated power. Instead, he appealed to the existence of unwritten “implied powers.”

In response to Jefferson’s appeal to the Tenth Amendment and that the federal government can only exercise delegated powers, Hamilton affirmed it, and then effectively nullified its limiting force. He wrote, “The main proposition here laid down, in its true signification is not to be questioned.” But he continued, insisting, “It is not denied that there are implied well as express powers, and that the former are as effectually delegated as the latter.”

But who decides the extent of these implied powers? Who determines their limits? In effect, Hamilton sets up an almost unlimited reservoir of power the general government can dip into in order to take whatever actions it deems appropriate. This was a 180-degree reversal from the position he took during the ratification debates when he insisted that the new general government would only exercise limited powers.

Hamilton primarily based his defense of the national bank on the “necessary and proper clause,” citing it as the source of these “implied” powers. While Jefferson relied on a very narrow definition of “necessary and proper,” Hamilton used the phrase to milk implied powers out of the Constitution.

The debate centered on the meaning of the word necessary. Jefferson took a very narrow view, arguing that the government can carry out all of its enumerated powers without a national bank. “A bank therefore is not necessary, and consequently not authorized by this phrase.”

“It has been urged that a bank will give great facility or convenience in the collection of taxes, Suppose this were true: yet the Constitution allows only the means which are ‘necessary,’ not those which are merely ‘convenient’ for effecting the enumerated powers. If such a latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase as to give any non-enumerated power, it will go to everyone, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience in some instance or other, to some one of so long a list of enumerated powers. It would swallow up all the delegated powers, and reduce the whole to one power, as before observed. Therefore it was that the Constitution restrained them to the necessary means, that is to say, to those means without which the grant of power would be nugatory.”

Hamilton found this view too limiting. He wrote, “It is certain that neither the grammatical nor popular sense of the term requires that construction. According to both, necessary often means no more than needful, requisite, incidental, useful, or conducive to.”

“It is a common mode of expression to say, that it is necessary for a government or a person to do this or that thing, when nothing more is intended or understood, than that the interests of the government or person require, or will be promoted by, the doing of this or that thing. … To understand the word as the Secretary of State does, would be to depart from its obvious and popular sense, and to give it a restrictive operation, an idea never before entertained. It would be to give it the same force as if the word absolutely or indispensably had been prefixed to it.”

Jefferson hit the problem with Hamilton’s view on the head. It opens up a door to virtually unlimited government power. This runs counter to James Madison’s assurance in Federalist #45 that “the powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.” [Emphasis added]

Under Hamilton’s “implied power” doctrine and his loose reading of the necessary and proper clause, there is very little the federal government can’t do. After all, virtually anything could be defined as “needful” or “useful” to the government. During the ratification debates, opponents of the Constitution worried that the necessary and proper clause would be construed exactly as Hamilton read it. At the time, Hamilton swore they had nothing to worry about. In Federalist #33, he wrote, “It may be affirmed with perfect confidence that the constitutional operation of the intended government would be precisely the same, if these clauses [necessary and proper and the supremacy clause] were entirely obliterated, as if they were repeated in every article. They are only declaratory of a truth which would have resulted by necessary and unavoidable implication from the very act of constituting a federal government, and vesting it with certain specified powers.” [Emphasis added]

Hamilton pivoted from “specified powers” in 1788 to “implied powers” just three years later.

In his push for a bank, Hamilton also invoked a rule of construction very favorable to the government. He wrote, “This restrictive interpretation of the word necessary is also contrary to this sound maxim of construction, namely, that the powers contained in a constitution of government, especially those which concern the general administration of the affairs of a country, its finances, trade, defense, etc., ought to be construed liberally in advancement of the public good.”

This was not “a sound maxim of construction” at the time.

St. George Tucker was an influential lawyer and jurist, and he wrote the first systematic commentary on the Constitution. Published in 1803, View of the Constitution of the United States served as an important law book, informing the opinions of judges, lawyers and politicians for the next 50 years. He explained that we should always construe federal power in the most limited sense possible.

 “The powers delegated to the federal government, are, in all cases, to receive the most strict construction that the instrument will bear, where the rights of a state or of the people, either collectively or individually, may be drawn in question.”

This is the exact opposite of Hamilton’s maxim. As “Light Horse” Harry Lee put it during the Virginia ratifying convention, “When a question arises with respect to the legality of any power, exercised or assumed by Congress, it is plain on the side of the governed. Is it enumerated in the Constitution? If it be, it is legal and just. It is otherwise arbitrary and unconstitutional.”

When political power resides in the people, the default position should always be to assume the most limited government power possible – not the most liberal reading as Hamilton insisted.

Later in his life, Jefferson made a similar point in a letter to William Johnson.

“On every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”

There was no probable construction authorizing charting a national bank.

Reading Hamilton’s arguments for the bank, it becomes clear he was trying to “squeeze” meaning – and power – out of the Constitution. Under the limited general government promised by supporters of the Constitution during ratification, including Alexander Hamilton, there would have been no national bank.

Hamilton’s twisting of the Constitution to wring out new powers set the stage for all the federal overreach that would follow. It was the “foundation” for the “living breathing” Constitution we live under today.

Publius Huldah: Constitutional Methods for the Fed Gov to “call forth the Militia” to Suppress Insurrections

Publius Huldah has a good, short article on the Constitutional underpinnings of the militia and origin of the National Guard in Our Constitution provides two separate & independent methods for the federal government to “call forth the Militia” to suppress Insurrections

Because of its excellence and relevance to the insurrections being fomented in our cities by the Marxist organization “Black Lives Matter”, Antifa, and other revolutionary organizations; I sent the recent paper by Edwin Vieira, JD., Ph.D., titled, “The President’s Authority To Suppress Insurrections” [link], to my lists.

In response, some objected that the riots in the cities are local issues to be handled (or not) by the State and local governments – that they are not “federal” issues over which the federal government has jurisdiction. Some also asserted that Article IV, §4, US Constitution prohibits the President from sending the National Guard into a State to quell such disturbances, unless & until the Legislature or the Governor of the State requests it.

Those objections are not well-founded.

First: What’s going on in our cities is not something which can be prudently brushed aside. It is a classic manifestation of a Marxist revolution – see, e.g., this article from “Workers’ World”. Furthermore, as shown below, the President of the United States has constitutional and statutory authority to exercise his own judgment as to whether he should send in the “Militia” to suppress the uprisings.

Second: Our Constitution provides two separate and independent methods for the federal government to suppress such uprisings.

Dr. Vieira’s paper sets forth the other method of “calling forth the Militia” – the method provided for at Article I, §8, clauses 15 & 16, US Constitution. That provides for the intervention of the Militia within a State at the initiative of the federal government, regardless of whether the State requests it. 1

When highly knowledgeable and experienced persons, such as Dr. Vieira, speak in their area of expertise, and their words contradict our existing beliefs; we ought to re-examine our beliefs, instead of dismissing what such persons say. 2

So let’s review Article I, §8, clauses 15 & 16, and some of the early Acts of Congress implementing them.

1. The American Militia is 400 years old

Throughout our colonial period, able-bodied free males were expected to be armed and trained and ready on short notice to defend their home, family, neighborhood and Colony. They were the “Militia”. In Mel Gibson’s movie, Patriot, Gibson’s character commanded a South Carolina Militia Company. The Militia was not “regular Army” – it was comprised of farmers, pastors, shopkeepers, etc., trained in the use of arms and prepared to fight for defense of Family and Community.

In our Constitution of 1787, our Framers provided for a regular Army and Navy at Article I, §8, clauses 12, 13 & 14. Pursuant to Article II, §2, clause 1, the President is Commander in Chief (CINC) of the Army and Navy. 3

Our Constitution also recognized the continued existence of the Militia, and assigned to it three specific federal functions: Article I, §8, clause 15 empowers Congress:

“To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”. 4

Clause 16 authorizes Congress:

“To provide for the organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”.

In 1792, Congress passed the Militia Act which “provided for” the arming of the Militia by requiring every able-bodied male Citizen of the ages 18-45 (with a few exceptions) 5 to acquire a rifle, bayonet, ammo pouch, ammo, 6 and report to his local unit for training. HERE is the Militia Act of 1792.

When the Militia of a State isn’t in the service of the United States for one of the three purposes listed in Clause 15, its function is to help in its own State – however the need arises. And in Federalist No. 46, James Madison says the Militia is to defend the State from the federal government in the event it becomes tyrannical. 7

2. Who has the authority to call forth the Militia into service of the United States?

Article I, §8, clause 15 authorizes Congress to “provide for” calling forth the Militia “to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”. How does Congress “provide for” calling forth the Militia into the service of the United States?

In Martin v. Mott, 25 US 19 (1827), the Supreme Court considered the Militia Act of 1795 [link] which authorized the President to call forth the militia when he judged it necessary to repel an invasion or enforce the laws of the United States. The Court pointed out that the power had been entrusted by Congress to the President, and said that,

“We are all of opinion, that the authority to decide whether the exigency has arisen, belongs exclusively to the President, and that his decision is conclusive upon all other persons.”

So! In the Militia Act of 1795, Congress “provided for” calling forth the Militia by delegating to the President the power to determine when it was advisable to call the Militia into national service to repel an invasion or to execute the laws of the Union. 8

3. Transformation of the Militia into the federally controlled National Guard

During the early 1900s, Americans elected Progressives [Fabian socialists] to office. And these “Progressives” commenced the conquest of our Country. They had to eliminate the threat the Militia posed to the totalitarian federal government they intended to create. So with the “Efficiency in Militia Act of 1903” (the “Dick Act”) [link], Congress federalized the Militia. And this is how the Militia of the several States, which is the primary defense of a Free People and the States against a tyrannical federal government [2nd Amendment], was put under federal control. And the States went along with it because their People were ignorant, short sighted, and bought off with federal appropriations for the new federalized “National Guard”.

So we don’t have an organized & trained Militia – now, we have federal troops – some on active duty in the Regular Military; others as weekend warriors in the Reserves or National Guard.

4. Current Acts of Congress providing for calling forth the “Militia” (federal armed forces)

Today, the provisions of the US Code which address calling forth the “Militia” 9 into national service are: 10 USC §251, 10 USC §252, 10 USC §253, and 10 USC §254. Note that the President still has statutory authority to use his own Judgment respecting whether to send the “Militia” into any State:

♦ to enforce the Laws of the United States [10 USC § 252];

♦ to suppress uprisings which deprive the people of the rights, privileges and immunities, and protections recognized in the Constitution and secured by Law, and the State government isn’t protecting those rights [10 USC §253]; and

♦ to suppress uprisings which oppose or obstruct the execution of the laws of the United States or impede the course of justice under those laws [10 USC § 253].

5. Conclusion

Our Constitution is an elegant piece of work. Its parts are interconnected and fit together. So we must read each clause in the light shed by the other clauses and by the Principles of our Founding as set forth in our Declaration of Independence. We must never insert our own biases – no matter what they are.

One of the most valuable characteristics of our federal system is the ability of the state and federal governments to be “checks” on each other. In Federalist No. 28 (7th para), Alexander Hamilton says,

“… in a confederacy [10] the people … may be said to be entirely the masters of their own fate. Power being almost always the rival of power, the general [national or federal] government will at all times stand ready to check the usurpations of the state governments, and these will have the same disposition towards the general government. The people, by throwing themselves into either scale, will infallibly make it preponderate. If their rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress. …”

We would be wise to celebrate the President’s constitutional and statutory authority to protect us from the death and destruction being brought about – with the connivance of State & local officials – by the Marxist revolutionaries. When State and local governments refuse to protect their people from such death and destruction, the President has a clear power to intervene.

Now, we must start electing Presidents who know and obey our Constitution. 11

Endnotes:

1 Our Framers thought of everything – including rogue State governments. See, e.g, Federalist No. 28.

2 One of the themes of Proverbs is that a wise man listens and increases his understanding. Be wise.

3 To be CINC means that the President has the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first General and admiral of the Confederacy (Federalist No. 69).

4 Let that clause sink in! Our Framers did not want a standing Army [go here and search for “standing armies”] – that’s why appropriations for the regular Army were limited to two years (Art. I, § 8, cl. 12). National defense, enforcement of federal laws, & suppressing Insurrections were to be the responsibility of the Militia. When the federal gov’t needs to enforce its laws, it is to call forth the Militia – the armed and trained Citizens – to do the enforcing! During the Washington Administration, the federal gov’t called forth the Militia to enforce the federal excise tax on whiskey. Federal law enforcement is thus the province of the Citizens – the Militia! It is most manifestly NOT the province of armed thugs in the employ of the Executive Branch of the federal gov’t.

5 Pursuant to §2 of the Militia Act of 1792, federal officers & employees were exempted from service in the Militia. Can you figure out why they were exempted?

6 The arms, ammunition and accoutrements so acquired by the Militia Man were his personal property and were held free from claims of all creditors. They could not be seized and sold in payment for any judgments, debts or taxes. See last sentence of §1 of the Militia Act of 1792.

7 This is why Article II, §2, clause 1 provides that the President is CINC of the Militia only when it is called into national service. This is also why §2 of the Militia Act of 1792 exempts all federal officers and employees from service in the Militia.

8 The Militia Act of 1795 also provided that in cases of insurrection against a State government, the President could send in the Militia upon request of the State Legislature or Governor.

9 Even though we no longer have a “militia” within the meaning of Article I, §8, clauses 15 & 16; the current US Code uses the term in order to connect the activities of the federal armed forces with Art. I, §8, clause 15.

10 Our Constitution created a “federation” (“confederation”) of sovereign states which were united together for the sole purposes enumerated in the US Constitution.

11 I may have been wrong to fault President Trump for not sending the National Guard into the States to suppress the Insurrections.  In The Coming Coup? [link], Michael Anton writes:

“…It started with the military brass quietly indicating that the troops should not follow a presidential order. They were bolstered by many former generals—including President Trump’s own first Secretary of Defense—who stated openly what the brass would only hint at. Then, as nationwide riots really got rolling in early June, the sitting Secretary of Defense himself all but publicly told the president not to invoke the Insurrection Act. His implicit message was: “Mr. President, don’t tell us to do that, because we won’t, and you know what happens after that.”

If that is true, then the President ought to fire Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and should “purg[e] the [military] officer corps of anyone not down with the program and promoting only those who are.”

Tenth Amendment Center: The Constitution Wasn’t Written to Protect Your Liberty

From the Tenth Amendment Center comes a short piece on the limited purpose of the US Constitition, The Constitution Wasn’t Written to Protect Your Liberty

One of the most biggest misconceptions I hear about the Constitution is that it was written to “protect our liberty.”

It wasn’t. At least not in a direct sense.

The confusion likely arises from the words of the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

It’s true that the Constitution was written during a time when protecting unalienable rights was widely viewed as the primary role of government. But the Constitution is not a philosophical document. It is a legal document that formed a political union and created a central government.

That’s all it does. Asking it to “protect your rights” is really asking too much. That wasn’t why it was written or ratified.

Now the Constitution does reflect the philosophy espoused in the Declaration in that it established a general government of limited, enumerated powers. The decentralized nature of the political system it created was intended to encourage liberty.

By strictly limiting the authority of the general government, the founding generation hoped it would never possess enough the power to intrude on our rights.

But there isn’t any provision in the Constitution that actually empowers the federal government to protect our liberty. In fact, the founding generation would have almost certainly considered that too much power for a general government to wield.

In practice, this means the federal government really doesn’t have any responsibility to “protect your rights” beyond staying within its constitutionally delegated powers. Its obligation isn’t to act in order to protect liberty, it is to not act outside of its legitimate authority.

In the same way, the Bill of Rights was never intended to empower the federal government to protect your rights. As the preamble to the Bill of Rights makes clear, it was intended to add “further declaratory and restrictive clauses” to the Constitution “in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers.” I have often said it would be better named “The Bill of Restrictions.”

A lot of people want the Constitution to deliver something it never promised. They want the government to serve as a liberty enforcement squad. This is a dangerous proposition. In order to protect your liberty, the government must define your liberty. The best thing the government can do is stay out of the way. The Constitution created a limited federal government for that purpose.

But it’s ultimately up to us to hold it within its limits. Unfortunately, by insisting that the government “protect their rights” they are doing the exact opposite.

LawOfficer.com: Officer Defends The Constitution & Placed On Leave Pending Termination

An article from LawOfficer.com about Port of Seattle Officer Greg Anderson – Officer Defends The Constitution & Placed On Leave Pending Termination

Port of Seattle Police Officer Greg Anderson filmed an inspirational, timely and truth filled video on May 5th.

Similar to what we have been saying here at Law Officer, he questioned why law enforcement around the country was enforcing newly invented rules in light of COVID-19.

“That is not how our job works okay, what really has been pissing me off lately is the fact that these officers that are going out here and enforcing these tyrannical orders… what they’re doing is they’re putting my job and my safety at risk because what you’re doing is your widening the gap between public trust and law enforcement officers,” said Anderson. He went on to say, “I want to remind you that regardless of where you stand on the coronavirus we don’t have the authority to do those things to people just because a mayor or a governor tells you otherwise I don’t care if it’s your sergeant or your Chief of Police we don’t get to violate people’s constitutional rights because somebody in our chain of command tells us otherwise it’s not how this country works those are de facto arrests you know we’re violating people’s rights.”

The next day, Greg woke up and received a message from his chain of command thanking him for a job well done.

He was relieved because like we often discuss in the Courageous Leadership Seminar, law enforcement is often crucified for telling the truth.

Three hours after he was told by his department they were in full support of his video,  Greg got a call instructing him to take down the video.

He refused.

By the next day the video had reached 430,000 views and the agency flat out told him “is time to pull the plug on this.”

Greg responded that “maybe we should embrace this message.”

A few hours later he was told that if if he didn’t take it down immediately and accept a letter of reprimand, the department would take a much harsher approach.

Greg refused to remove the video in part because of the content of that video.

DONATE TO OFFICER ANDERSON HERE

“I thought it was grounded in liberty and integrity and that no one would have issue with it,” Greg says.

“I had to be willing to die on that hill,” Anderson stated.

“The whole message I was trying to share that if you believe something in your heart you have to stand by that message, even if it costs you everything.”

With that, Greg told his boss, “I can’t take the video down.”

His Chief told him, “If you openly defy your Governor, you can’t be a police officer in the State of Washington.”

As is usual in the weak and cowardly leadership that has permeated this fine profession, Greg was subsequently placed on leave and threatened with termination.

Greg says “that I cannot afford to lose my job.”

He has kids and a house but he is steadfast in his beliefs.

And for that Greg Anderson is a hero.

In a statement, Anderson wrote, “I’ve received tons of questions regarding my termination from the Port of Seattle Police. So I figured I should explain. I have been placed on administrative leave (still being paid) pending investigation. I was told by both the agency and my union that this will result in termination due to it being an insubordination charge for refusing to take down the video. I’m not sure what the timeline looks like. I walk un-intimidated into the fray. Thank you for all the support.”

The Port of Seattle Police Department has refused to comment.

AIER: Why Didn’t the Constitution Stop This?

Robert Wright at the American Institute for Economic Research writes about Constitutional issues surrounding the pandemic and lockdown orders in Why Didn’t the Constitution Stop This?

constitution

The genius of the U.S. Constitution is that the Framers, especially James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, saw it as a constraint on bad policymaking. Given the number of really bad policies that various US governments and officials, from school boards to POTUS, have implemented, especially recently, it is high time to restore weakened or lost Constitutional restraints against arbitrary rule.

Five forces threaten Americans with destruction: 1) nature; 2) foreign powers; 3) the national government; 4) state and local governments; 5) themselves. The threat from 3, 4, and 5 is double-edged, meaning that Americans can be harmed by the actions of those forces as well as by their inaction.

The national government, for example, can harm Americans by being insufficiently prepared for natural catastrophes and foreign incursions, as with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the 9/11 attacks. It can also harm Americans, though, by doing too much, as with the invasion of Iraq and the way-too-long occupation of Afghanistan. (Relying too much on FEMA instead of states or private initiatives may be another example, but less clear cut than the needless wars.)

The national and state governments are supposed to check each other’s power, so that if one overreaches, the other can thwart it. We usually think about this in terms of “states’ rights” but in fact federalism, as the concept is sometimes called, runs both ways: the states should check the national government when necessary but the national government should also check the power of the states when they overreach, as they sometimes do.

Advocates of states’ rights often cite the Tenth Amendment, which reads in its entirety “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Because the word “expressly” does not occur before “delegated” in the ratified version of the amendment, however, it is among the weakest parts of the Constitution.

Traditionally, though, the states retained primary control of so-called “police powers,” the powers that form the legal basis for the economic lockdowns that have imprisoned most Americans for over a month now. Books have been written about this stuff so obviously I cannot relate all the details and nuances involved but ultimately they matter little in the present case. The key point is that police powers, national, state, or local, do not provide carte blanche to governments. Specifically, the Constitution constrains state police powers in numerous ways.

Importantly, courts see Constitutional rights as tradeoffs between conflicting interests. So while the Constitution says that the national and state governments cannot infringe individual speech rights, they can pass laws that make it illegal for an individual, for example, to falsely yell “fire” in a crowded theater. The notion is that the property and natural rights of the theatergoers trump the free speech rights of the liar.

Similar restrictions apply to the right of assembly. All Americans have the right to assemble with other Americans for any lawful purpose but state police powers, the positive duty of states to protect the physical safety of assemblers and non-assemblers, mean that governments may restrict assemblies through permit systems.

Similar arguments are made to defend the pistol permit systems common in many states. They are bogus but show how far courts go to balance one person’s rights with those of others. If you believe that gun control laws should be followed because they are laws passed by democratically elected representatives you have missed the point of the Constitution, which, again, is to constrain policymakers, to protect individual Americans from the national and state governments and also other Americans.

Just because a majority wants some policy doesn’t mean that that policy is a good idea, after all. I imagine at one point in March 2020 a majority of Americans might have thought it a good idea to deport, tax, infect, or maybe even kill Chinese-Americans in order to make “them” pay for what “they” did to “us.” (I don’t want to link to evidence of that … just look at your social media feeds if you need evidence.) That is a typically ugly human reaction to trauma but one that would have been proven empirically wrong as well as morally bankrupt and economically inane (sunk costs). Thankfully, the Constitution remained strong enough to prevent that horror.

It did not, however, prove strong enough to prevent state governments from taking their police powers too far. They engaged in fancy word play to hide the fact that they acted without a shred of precedent. What they imposed is not a quarantine, which constrains the movement of sick people, nor a cordon sanitaire, which locks people into an afflicted area, nor a protective sequestration, which locks people out of an unafflicted area. Instead, they have implemented partial martial law (military rule essentially) by imprisoning Americans in their own homes without due process of law and stolen their property by shuttering their businesses. (Some recompense has been attempted but of course only bluntly and at a cost to all taxpayers, including those in states that did not shutter most businesses.)

Remember, just because a state has general police powers doesn’t mean it can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, simply because its actions are popular, or passed into law, or urged by some scientist. Imagine, for example, if some executive thought everyone ought to drink bleach, crazy as that seems, and actually mandated it. Would you do it? (Hint: Don’t do it! Even if some guy in a suit or lab coat tells you that you must.) What if some leader believed that the coronavirus is spread primarily by clothing and mandated that we all go naked in public, except for our masks and gloves of course? Or if one thought an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) would solve the problem (and destroy all computers in the process)?

Any promulgation that violates the Constitution, in any way, shape, or form, is null and void. A federal judge has the authority to declare any state law or executive order unconstitutional and demand that it be revoked. Judges generally give governments broad leeway to protect “public health” but the policies must be rational and they must weigh the rights of all involved parties. Historically, many government epidemic responses never got litigated because the crises passed before suits could be brought and because quarantines, cordons, and sequestrations can make rational sense in specific situations. But, again, state governments for some reason have tried to combat the novel coronavirus with novel policies that come with huge negative side effects for everyone — workers, consumers, and taxpayers — and that have and will continue to cause deaths, minimization of which is the ostensible goal of lockdown policies.

Why draconian lockdown rules have not yet been deemed unconstitutional I still do not know, but the fact that a former federal judge who teaches at Harvard apparently does not know the difference between a quarantine and a lockdown might provide a clue…(continues)

Click here to continue reading at AIER.

FFF: Monetary Destruction in America

Jacob G Hornberger at the Future of Freedom Foundation has a well written article detailing Monetary Destruction in America. It’s a bit of a long read, but worth the Constitutional and monetary education.

The Constitution made it crystal clear what the official money of the United States was to be when it called the federal government into existence. That money was to be gold coins and silver coins, not paper money.

Article 1, Section 10, of the Constitution, which is a restriction on the power of the states, states, “No State shall … coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts….”

What were “bills of credit”? That was the term used at that time for paper money. Through that provision in the Constitution, the Framers expressly prohibited the states from issuing paper money. It prohibited them from making anything but gold coins and silver coins legal tender or official money. It prohibited the states from issuing their own coins, leaving that power and responsibility to the federal government.

With respect to the federal government, Article 1, Section 8, states, “The Congress shall have Power …To coin Money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign Coin…. To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States.”

Why wasn’t there an express prohibition on the power of the federal government to emit “bills of credit” or paper money? The reason is that the Constitution established a government of limited, enumerated powers. The federal government’s powers were limited to those listed in the Constitution. If a power wasn’t enumerated, it couldn’t be exercised. Since there was no power to issue paper money given to the federal government, it couldn’t exercise such power.

It was different with the states. Under the Constitution, they were to have whatever powers they wished to exercise, unless there was an express restriction on a particular power within the Constitution. That was why the Framers deemed it necessary to restrict the powers of the states when it came to money: no printing of paper money, no coining of money, and no making anything but gold coins and silver coins official money.

The federal government, on the other hand, was given the power to coin money, not print money, and to regulate the value of such money. It was also given the power to punish people for counterfeiting “the Securities and current Coin of the United States.”

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution also gave Congress the power “To borrow Money on the credit of the United States.” That’s what counterfeiting “the Securities” of the Constitution was referring to — debt instruments of the United States, such as bills, notes, and bonds.

There is something important to realize about the federal government’s debt instruments: It was understood that they were not money or “legal tender” but rather promises to pay money — i.e., promises to pay gold coins and silver coins.

When we consider all of these constitutional provisions, it is easy to see that the Framers intended to establish a monetary system in which gold coins and silver coins were to be the official money of the United States. And, in fact, that is precisely what happened after the federal government was called into existence. The Coinage Act of 1792 established the first mint in Philadelphia for the purpose of issuing coins. The silver dollar was the first unit of money issued. That would be followed by the silver half-dollar, quarter-dollar, dime, and half-dime. Gold coins consisted of the $10 gold Eagle, $5 Half-Eagle, and $2.50 Quarter-Eagle.

That gold-coin, silver-coin system remained the monetary system of the United States for more than 125 years. It turned out to be the most stable monetary system in history, one that, along with no income taxation, no welfare state, no warfare state, no immigration controls, and very few economic regulations, played an important role in the tremendous rise in economic prosperity and rising standards of living in the United States throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.

It is often said that America’s “gold standard” was a system in which paper money was “backed by gold.” Nothing could be further from the truth. There was no paper money. There were only debt instruments promising to pay gold and silver. The system was one in which gold coins and silver coins were the official money of the United States.

Paper money

Why did our American ancestors have such a deep antipathy toward paper money? They knew that throughout history public officials had plundered and looted people through the use of paper money. To finance their ever-burgeoning expenses, public officials, of course, would first resort to tax increases. At some point, however, taxes would get so high that people would begin to resist, cheat, or, in extreme cases, violently revolt. That’s when kings and other regimes would resort to the printing press to finance their expenditures. They would simply crank up their printing presses, print whatever amount of money they needed, and go spend it.

The result would be a devaluation of everyone’s else’s money…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

Mint Press: The Attack on Civil Liberties in the Age of COVID-19

Rhode Island National Guard Military Police direct a motorist with New York license plates to a checkpoint, March 28, 2020, David Goldman | AP

Constitutional attorney John Whitehead writes about The Attack on Civil Liberties in the Age of COVID-19 at Mint Press. It is important to reflect upon whether the government is taking actions for which it has the authorized power in perilous times like these. There have been many calls on the federal government to take actions for which it has no Constitutionally delegated authority – like national quarantines. State governments have more power, but still limited by their own constitutions – a reason why Washington State, for example, recently passed a constitutional amendment to provide for broader emergency powers. That being said, during this pandemic, some people have taken the absurd approach that if the government is requiring you to do something, and you believe that requirement is unconstitutional, then you it is your duty to do the opposite. For example, because you believe that a statewide stay at home order is an unconstitutional exercise of power, you may deliberately gather with others to protest. This is akin to shooting yourself in the head because the government makes suicide illegal. Just because a particular exercise of power is not constitutionally sound, the underlying requirement may still be the wise course for people to take, and indeed may be your duty as a responsible citizen to take. Protest the illegality, but not by getting people killed.

You can always count on the government to take advantage of a crisis, legitimate or manufactured.

This coronavirus pandemic is no exception.

Not only are the federal and state governments unraveling the constitutional fabric of the nation with lockdown mandates that are sending the economy into a tailspin and wreaking havoc with our liberties, but they are also rendering the citizenry fully dependent on the government for financial handouts, medical intervention, protection and sustenance.

Unless we find some way to rein in the government’s power grabs, the fall-out will be epic.

Everything I have warned about for years—government overreach, invasive surveillance, martial law, abuse of powers, militarized police, weaponized technology used to track and control the citizenry, and so on—has coalesced into this present moment.

The government’s shameless exploitation of past national emergencies for its own nefarious purposes pales in comparison to what is presently unfolding.

Deploying the same strategy it used with 9/11 to acquire greater powers under the USA Patriot Act, the police state—a.k.a. the shadow government, a.k.a. the Deep State—has been anticipating this moment for years, quietly assembling a wish list of lockdown powers that could be trotted out and approved at a moment’s notice.

It should surprise no one, then, that the Trump Administration has asked Congress to allow it to suspend parts of the Constitution whenever it deems it necessary during this coronavirus pandemic and “other” emergencies.

It’s that “other” emergencies part that should particularly give you pause, if not spur you to immediate action (by action, I mean a loud and vocal, apolitical, nonpartisan outcry and sustained, apolitical, nonpartisan resistance).

In fact, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been quietly trotting out and testing a long laundry list of terrifying powers that override the Constitution.

We’re talking about lockdown powers (at both the federal and state level): the ability to suspend the Constitution, indefinitely detain American citizens, bypass the courts, quarantine whole communities or segments of the population, override the First Amendment by outlawing religious gatherings and assemblies of more than a few people, shut down entire industries and manipulate the economy, muzzle dissidents, “stop and seize any plane, train or automobile to stymie the spread of contagious disease,” reshape financial markets, create a digital currency (and thus further restrict the use of cash), determine who should live or die…

Click here to read the entire article at Mint Press.

See also Aesop of Raconteur Report’s response to claims of never ending government tyranny related to Covid.

…”Objection: Assumes facts not in evidence, i.e. that a temporary quarantine will become a decades-long boondoggle.

Reductio ad absurdum Fallacy, 20 yard penalty and loss of possession.

And I observe FTR that people crying about something that’s not yet three weeks old as though it will go on endlessly are children who were never spanked, sent to bed without their supper, or told to wait for any form of gratification…(continues)

Rutherford Institute: How Will the Constitution Fare During a Nationwide Lockdown?

Constitutional attorney John Whitehead at the Rutherford Institute thinks about rights vs public health during a mandatory quarantine/travel restriction in This Is a Test: How Will the Constitution Fare During a Nationwide Lockdown?

“It takes a remarkable force to keep nearly a million people quietly indoors for an entire day, home from work and school, from neighborhood errands and out-of-town travel. It takes a remarkable force to keep businesses closed and cars off the road, to keep playgrounds empty and porches unused across a densely populated place 125 square miles in size. This happened … not because armed officers went door-to-door, or imposed a curfew, or threatened martial law. All around the region, for 13 hours, people locked up their businesses and ‘sheltered in place’ out of a kind of collective will. The force that kept them there wasn’t external – there was virtually no active enforcement across the city of the governor’s plea that people stay indoors. Rather, the pressure was an internal one – expressed as concern, or helpfulness, or in some cases, fear – felt in thousands of individual homes.”—Journalist Emily Badger, “The Psychology of a Citywide Lockdown”

This is a test.

This is not a test of our commitment to basic hygiene or disaster preparedness or our ability to come together as a nation in times of crisis, although we’re not doing so well on any of those fronts.

No, what is about to unfold over the next few weeks is a test to see how well we have assimilated the government’s lessons in compliance, fear and police state tactics; a test to see how quickly we’ll march in lockstep with the government’s dictates, no questions asked; and a test to see how little resistance we offer up to the government’s power grabs when made in the name of national security.

Most critically of all, this is a test to see whether the Constitution—and our commitment to the principles enshrined in the Bill of Rights—can survive a national crisis and true state of emergency.

Here’s what we know: whatever the so-called threat to the nation—whether it’s civil unrest, school shootings, alleged acts of terrorism, or the threat of a global pandemic in the case of COVID-19—the government has a tendency to capitalize on the nation’s heightened emotions, confusion and fear as a means of extending the reach of the police state.

This coronavirus epidemic, which has brought China’s Orwellian surveillance out of the shadows and caused Italy to declare a nationwide lockdown, threatens to bring the American Police State out into the open on a scale we’ve not seen before.

If and when a nationwide lockdown finally hits—if and when we are forced to shelter in place— if and when militarized police are patrolling the streets— if and when security checkpoints have been established— if and when the media’s ability to broadcast the news has been curtailed by government censors—if and when public systems of communication (phone lines, internet, text messaging, etc.) have been restricted—if and when those FEMA camps the government has been surreptitiously building finally get used as quarantine detention centers for American citizens—if and when military “snatch and grab” teams are deployed on local, state, and federal levels as part of the activated Continuity of Government plans to isolate anyone suspected of being infected with COVID-19—and if and when martial law is enacted with little real outcry or resistance from the public—then we will truly understand the extent to which the government has fully succeeded in recalibrating our general distaste for anything that smacks too overtly of tyranny.

This is how it begins.

The coronavirus epidemic may well be a legitimate health concern, but it’s the government’s response to it that worries me more in the long term.

Based on the government’s track record and its long-anticipated plans for instituting martial law (using armed forces to solve domestic political and social problems) in response to a future crisis, there’s good reason to worry.

This is not a government with a rosy view of the future.

To the contrary, the government’s vision of the future is particularly ominous if a Pentagon training video created by the Army for U.S. Special Operations Command is anything to go by.

Obtained by The Intercept through a FOIA request, the training video titled “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity” provides a chilling glimpse of what the government expects the world to look like in 2030, a world bedeviled by “criminal networks,” “substandard infrastructure,” “religious and ethnic tensions,” “impoverishment, slums,” “open landfills, over-burdened sewers,” a “growing mass of unemployed,” and an urban landscape in which the prosperous economic elite must be protected from the impoverishment of the have nots.

Add health contagions to the mix, and we’re arrived there, ten years ahead of schedule.

The training video is only five minutes long, but it says a lot about the government’s mindset and the way its views the citizenry. Even more troubling, however, is what this military video doesn’t say about the Constitution and the rights of the citizenry: nothing at all…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at the Rutherford Institute.

Tenth Amendment Center: Ignoring the Constitution

A couple days ago we posted an article that Jacob Hornberger had written for the Future of Freedom Foundation on the First Amendment. In Ignoring the Constitution at the Tenth Amendment Center, he reminds us of other parts of the Constitution that have been eroded and ignored over time. A constitution exists as a conveyance of authority to a government from the people it governs. It strictly limits the powers exercisable by that government. Some people believe that a constitution should be “a living document” in that the words should be re-interpreted over time to mean whatever the rulers think it should mean in the present day. This is the same as having no constitution at all. It means nothing to write things down on paper if it then becomes okay for people to “re-interpret” the text as the opposite of what was written. This is what we have today in the United States. We have a Constitution, but it has been ignored, re-interpreted, and swept under the rug. There are effectively no limits on the power of the US federal government. If you haven’t already noticed this, you haven’t been paying attention.

Constitutional violations have become so commonplace in American life that when they occur, the reaction among many Americans is ho-hum.

There are two classic examples of this phenomenon: the declaration of war requirement and gold and silver as legal tender.

Article 1, Section 8, enumerates the powers of Congress. It states in part: “Congress shall have Power To declare war.”

Article 2, Section 2, enumerates the powers of the president. It states in part: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.”

Thus, while the president is given the power to wage war, he is not given the power to declare war. The decision on whether to go to war lies with Congress. Unless Congress declares war, the president is constitutionally prohibited from waging war.

Yet, we all know that presidents ignore this constitutional restriction with impunity. They exercise both the power to declare war and wage war. There has never been a constitutional amendment authorizing this revolutionary change in our governmental structure.

Moreover, the change has come with the full knowledge and implicit consent of Congress, which has never impeached a president for illegally abrogating Congress’s power to declare war.

Additionally, despite the oath that U.S. military personnel take to support and defend the Constitution, they all blindly obey the president’s order to wage war without the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war.

Article 1, Section 10, states in part: “No state shall make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.

It goes without saying that every state in the Union blithely ignores that constitutional provision. Rather than making gold and silver coin legal tender, they all have made paper Federal Reserve notes, which promise to pay nothing, legal tender.  Many Americans, including state and federal judges, act like that constitutional provision doesn’t exist.

Article 1, Section 8, states in part: “The Congress shall have Power To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof.” There is no power given to Congress to print paper money.

Yet, here we are, living under a monetary system that is based on irredeemable paper notes issued by the federal government. Many Americans, including state and federal judges, act like all this is perfectly normal, as if these restrictions on power within the Constitution don’t matter or don’t really exist.

If public officials are empowered to ignore constitutional provisions whenever they want, then what’s the point of having a Constitution? When the Framers used the Constitution to bring the federal government into existence, their aim was to establish a limited-government republic, ones whose powers were limited to those enumerated in the document. The reason they did that was to ensure that federal officials could not destroy or abridge the freedom of the American people. The Constitution was intended as a higher law that the American people imposed on their government officials. If public officials wanted to change or expand such powers, they would be required to secure an amendment of the Constitution.

Federal officials expect us to comply with their laws. Why shouldn’t they be expected to comply with our law, the law of the Constitution?