100 years ago, the United States ratified an amendment to the Constitution that changed the way America chose its senators. The amendment’s supporters said that senators directly elected by the people would not only be more democratic, but also less corrupt and less susceptible to special interest influence.
Instead of reducing corruption, however, changing the method of Senate selection provided entirely new avenues of political exploitation by fundamentally transforming our federal government. Most importantly, the amendment destroyed the federalist structure that the Founding Fathers installed to protect state sovereignty.
Today, members of the Georgia state House of Representatives seek to restore state representation to the federal government by reviving the Founders’ original intent. The goal of House Bill 273 is “to protect the sovereignty of the states from the federal government and to give each individual state government representation in the federal legislative branch of government” by repealing the Seventeenth Amendment.
Of course, this resolution would not necessitate any action or response from the federal government should it pass, but it could spark a national debate on the concept of federalism, unconstitutional government, and the Founders’ original intent.
Why was the Seventeenth Amendment ratified?
As the Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution, they understood that free and independent states, fresh from a long and costly war with England, would not approve of a charter that required them to totally surrender their sovereignty to a new federal government. To balance the legitimate concerns of the states with the need to preserve the union and form a national government for mutual protection and prosperity, the Founders chose a federalist system of divided powers between the states and the proposed federal government.
When we hear the term “anarchy,” it brings to mind a society with no laws or structure. In the hands of good people, anarchy can represent absolute freedom. One could argue that Americans would be far more prosperous if we were free of the heavy taxes and regulations that hamper our economy today.
But in the hands of the bad, anarchy represents chaos. There is no rule of law to deter criminals; no police force to protect the people or their property; no military to repel foreign invaders.
But that is only if we consider the citizens of a state. Expand the focus and consider anarchy of government.
Merriam-Webster defines anarchy as the “absence or denial of any authority or established order.” Ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We the people are in fact the rightful government of the United States, and those we have elected are mere public servants chosen to handle the affairs of the state according to our will and within the constraints of our Constitution.
Considering the history of our federal government in recent years – particularly the behavior of this Congress and administration – we can see an escalating trend of disregard for the established order of our Constitution and an increasing denial of the people’s authority over government.
No different than a robot in a science fiction movie that becomes “self-aware” and wrecks havoc on it’s former human masters, our government has also become self-aware: realizing, seemingly, that it is no longer the servant of the people, but the master. No longer bound by the Constitution, but all-powerful.
As discussed yesterday at The US Report, President Obama is peddling a jobs bill that contains elements that may actually be unconstitutional. But there appears to be more to the story.
The American Jobs Act states on page 133 (Section 176) that “A State’s receipt or use of Federal financial assistance for any program or activity of a State shall constitute a waiver of sovereign immunity, under the 11th Amendment to the Constitution…”
This strips state sovereignty and increases dependence upon the Federal government. And if it were to pass, this legislation would open the door for trial lawyers to sue the states in Federal court. Just follow the money.
Here’s what the Eleventh Amendment says:
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.
Basically, this amendment prevents the Federal government from hearing cases brought against a state by a citizen of another state or country. But Congress – and the states themselves if they so choose – can abrogate this Eleventh Amendment protection according to the Heritage Guide to the Constitution (pg. 376):
Congress can, for example, require the states to waive their immunities as a condition for receipt of federal grants under the Spending Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1).
Why would the Federal government need to suspend the Constitution in order to save jobs? And when did the United States become so dependent on the government for jobs in the first place?
President Obama’s proposed abrogation of the Constitution may not actually violate the Constitution, since…
“The powers of the legislature are defined, and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken or forgotten, the constitution is written.”
– Chief Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Now consider what Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 33:
“But it will not follow from [the Constitution] that acts of the [federal government] which are NOT PURSUANT to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the [states], will become the supreme law of the land. These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such.“
Simply put, when the federal government acts outside its constitutional powers, it should be considered an act of usurpation.
Clearly, any branch of government operating outside the bounds of their limited authority is unconstitutional, but the problem appears that nothing has been clearly codified. If our legal system gave the same consideration to high crimes, treason, and usurpations as it did to, say, fraud and murder, our elected and appointed officials would know precisely what they could–and couldn’t–get away with.
More to follow.
“I don’t think it’s unconstitutional but I don’t care if it is or not. I think that the courts will make that decision.”
– Howard Dean – Democratic National Committee Chairman and former presidential candidate, in reference to Obamacare
For society to function properly, it must live by laws. We citizens have laws we must follow, and our government has laws they must follow as well – the Constitution. Unfortunately, the Constitution has been largely marginalized and ignored by the federal government.
There is solution: the Enumerated Powers Act.
The Enumerated Powers Act (EPA) has been introduced during each session of Congress since 1995, but the bill is sent to committee – never to be considered again. It simply states that Congress must cite the article, section, and clause of our Constitution that grants them the authority to pass any legislation. What senator or representative could be against the Constitution? After all, they each swore an oath to “support and defend the Constitution.” During the 111th Congress, Congressman John Shadegg (R – Ariz.) had the support of 70 co-sponsors for the EPA, up from 53 during the 110th. The momentum is on our side, but unfortunately Mr. Shadegg retired in 2010. So ‘We the People’ must contact the representatives we sent to Washington and urge them to pass the EPA in order to ensure constitutional government.
In an age where the federal government passes bills that number in the thousands of pages, I have posted the EPA in full below:
To require Congress to specify the source of authority under the United States Constitution for the enactment of laws, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘Enumerated Powers Act’.
SEC. 2. SPECIFICATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY FOR ENACTMENT OF LAW.
(a) Constitutional Authority for This Act- This Act is enacted pursuant to the power granted Congress under article I, section 8, clause 18, of the United States Constitution and the power granted to each House of Congress under article I, section 5, clause 2, of the United States Constitution.
(b) Constitutional Authority Statement Required- Chapter 2 of title 1, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 102 the following new section:
‘Sec. 102a. Constitutional authority clause
‘Each Act of Congress shall contain a concise and definite statement of the constitutional authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act. The failure to comply with this section shall give rise to a point of order in either House of Congress. The availability of this point of order does not affect any other available relief.’
(c) Clerical Amendment- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 2 of title 1, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 102 the following new item:
‘102a. Constitutional authority clause.’.
Join the Victory Institute’s Facebook page, Pass the Enumerated Powers Act for more.
Which does the mainstream media hold in higher regard: the Constitution or Democratic party interests? After reading Jerome Corsi’s latest article exposing the media’s double standard on presidential eligibility, it would appear to be the latter.
The same media outlets that sounded the alarm in 2008 over McCain’s eligibility are now marginalizing the growing concerns whether our current president is constitutionally qualified to hold office.
When McCain became the Republican nominee, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, FactCheck.org, Snopes.com, the Times of London, and many other media outlets questioned his eligibility to serve, as he was born in the Panama Canal Zone.
Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states that “No person except a natural born citizen … shall be eligible to the office of President.” But according to U.S. law, McCain was in fact eligible to serve, as he was born on a Navy base to American parents.
McCain appeared before Congress with his actual birth certificate (not a “Certification of Live Birth,”, which Obama and the media wrongly portray as a birth certificate), thereby averting a possible Constitutional crisis. However, FactCheck.org still maintains that “If McCain wins the presidency, the constitutionality of these congressional statutes could be challenged in the courts.”
Why didn’t Congress also bring in Obama, who has sealed nearly all of his records, to testify as McCain did? Obama’s refusal to release the very documents that would resolve the matter has cost an incredible $1.7 million in order to fight requests to release the information according to World Net Daily. If our president has nothing to hide, then why doesn’t he release his actual birth certificate as McCain did? After all, there aren’t separate versions of the Constitution for Republicans and Democrats.
My view is that the media was right to investigate McCain’s eligibility. But they should have given candidate Obama the same scrutiny. While the media – and these supposed “fact-checking” websites – wrote piece after piece questioning the validity of the Republican candidate, those who questioned the Democratic candidate were – and continue to be – attacked and smeared by the same. Their efforts to label concerned citizens “birthers” and “racists” is nothing more than a diversionary tactic to shift the focus from where it belongs.
Whether you think the so-called “birther” movement is nuts or not, what is truly ridiculous is that our president has allowed this controversy to continue for nearly two years. Government officials swear an oath to “support the Constitution,” not to selectively apply the law when it is politically expedient for them.
Do you think that you a right to privacy when it comes to the location of your cell phone? The Holder Justice Department say you don’t. A Justice Department attorney told the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that there is “no Constitutional bar” to the government accessing your cell phone’s location through your cell phone company’s records.
Should law enforcement be permitted to track our cell phones? Certainly, but they should only do if they have probable cause.
From Declan McCullagh’s cnet news article (which contains excerpts from the court transcript):
Judge Dolores Sloviter sharply questioned Eckenwiler, saying that location data can reveal whether people “have been at a protest, or at a meeting, or at a political meeting” and that rogue governments could misuse that information.
And our Constitution is there to protect us against “rogue governments.” While we are nowhere near Iran’s level of crackdown on political opponents and protesters, we are certainly not headed in a good direction with our current leadership. If the Justice Department can prevent crime while preserving our rights, by all means they should do so. But those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.
David A. Rivkin, Jr. and Lee A. Casey published an excellent piece at National Review Online addressing the line between trying our enemies as enemy combatants subject to the rules of war; or criminals subject to our Constitution (emphasis added).
The right way to proceed, consistent with the law, morality, and history, is to treat captured enemy personnel as enemy combatants, subject to the laws of war. By contrast, criminals — including individuals who commit terrorist acts but, whatever their ideological predilections, are not members of entities such as al-Qaeda that have been engaged in an armed conflict with us (this would include Timothy McVeigh and Major Nidal Malik Hasan) — should be treated as criminal suspects subject to the workings of the criminal-justice system. Treating an al-Qaeda operative who enters the United States to carry out an attack as a common criminal not only denies the nature of this challenge we face, but it works to level the playing field to our disadvantage.
Retired Special Forces Colonel Gordon Cucullu told me in an interview that we actually give our terrorist enemies more rights than the Geneva Conventions afford them. According to Common Article 3, non-uniformed combatants are to be shot on sight, and for good reason when you consider the effect that they have on humanity. War is best fought by uniformed members of the military.
But all we have done since the Iranian Embassy takeover in 1979 is placate jihadists. Trying foreign operatives as criminals simply because they perpetrate their acts on or above our soil not only endangers American citizens, but further emboldens our enemies and grants them access to the very Constitution that they are trying to destroy.
The NRO article is in response to a New York Times op-ed defending Obama administration’s decision to treat Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the al-Qaeda operative who attempted to blow up an airliner over Detroit) as a criminal defendant. No surprises there.