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Understanding the Constitution

The Balance of Powers Act – How People Are Destroyed For Lack of knowledge

By Publius Huldah

Our own Ignorance is destroying us.  Mark Twain wrote in his autobiography:

“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”

That is what has been going on in our Country for a very long time. Our “intellectuals” can’t think; our “scholars” parrot each other; the self-educated fixate on idiotic theories; no one studies original source writings; and The People jump on every bandwagon that rolls by.

In order to write intelligently on our Constitution, one needs to have studied and understood the original source writings of our Framers.  No matter what your educational level, if you don’t know what is in our Declaration of Independence and federal Constitution; and if you are not familiar from personal study with The Federalist Papers, The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798, Madison’s Report on the Virginia Resolutions (1799-1800), and Madison’s Notes on Nullification (1834), among other original source writings, then you have no business writing about these issues.

But we are flooded with rubbish about the Constitution put out by law professors, history professors, Ph.Ds. of this or that, Heritage Foundation, those with no academic qualifications, and politicians. And none of them know what they are talking about!

And The People read their rubbish and believe it.

One of many such writings which plague us is the Balance of Powers Act  (“BOPA”). 1

The BOPA reflects a justified frustration with the innumerable usurpations by the federal government during the last 100 years.

But it also reflects such fundamental misunderstandings of our Founding Principles that it misstates or ignores them.  Accordingly, it undermines our Constitution.

There are 6 major problems with the BOPA:

1. It wrongly presents the federal government as a party to the U.S. Constitution.

Throughout the BOPA, the following refrain is recited:

 “The guarantee of those powers is a matter of compact between the state and people of _[state]__ and the United States as of the time that _[state]____ was admitted to statehood in _[year of admission]_.” [boldface mine]

That refrain elevates the federal government (“the United States”) 2 to the status of a “party” to the compact (Constitution)!

But the federal government is not a party to the Constitution! WE THE PEOPLE created the federal government when we ordained and established The Constitution. The federal government didn’t even exist until the Constitution was ratified.

Accordingly, our Framers understood that the federal government is merely our “creature”, and is not a “party” to anything. In Federalist No. 33 (5th para), Alexander Hamilton writes:

“… If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard [Constitution] they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.” [boldface mine]

Thomas Jefferson writes in his Draft of the Kentucky Resolutions, 8th Resolution:

“… they [The States] alone being parties to the compact, and solely authorized to judge in the last resort of the powers exercised under it, Congress being not a party, but merely the creature of the compact, …” [emphasis mine]

James Madison writes in his Report on the Virginia Resolutions (1799-1800) under the 3rd resolution:

“It…[is]…a plain principle, founded in common sense…and essential to the nature of compacts, that, where resort can be had to no tribunal superior to the authority of the parties, the parties themselves must be the rightful judges, in the last resort, whether the bargain made has been pursued or violated. The Constitution of the United States was formed by the sanction of the states, given by each in its sovereign capacity. … The states, then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity that there can be no tribunal, above their authority, to decide, in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; … ” [boldface mine]

Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison are saying that because the States alone are “the parties” to the compact, they are the final authority to decide whether their “creature”, the  federal government, has violated the compact.   THIS is why States have the natural right of nullification!

But by asserting that States and the federal government are in a “compact” together, the BOPA elevates our “creature” to the status of a sovereign party right up there with The States!  Thus, it undermines the “plain principle” that the States alone, as the parties to the compact, have the right to decide, in the last resort, whether the federal government has violated the compact! 3

2. It wrongly suggests that each State (after the original 13) has a different Constitution

Here is another wrongheaded aspect of the same refrain in BOPA:

“The guarantee of those powers is a matter of compact between the state and people of _[state]__ and the United States as of the time that _[state]____ was admitted to statehood in _[year of admission]_.” [boldface mine]

The BOPA makes the absurd suggestion (which is piled on top of the untrue assertion that the federal government is a party to the compact) that every State admitted after the original 13, has a different “compact” with the federal government, depending on the year of admission.

So instead of one Constitution applicable to all States, we have (according to the BOPA) some 37 “compacts” (Constitutions) [50-13= 37].   Not only is this absurd, it perpetuates the lie spewed by progressives that the meaning of the Constitution evolves.

When Tennessee was admitted to statehood on June 1, 1796, she was admitted “on an equal footing with the original states, in all respects whatsoever”.  The U.S. Constitution has the same force in Tennessee and in the same manner as if Tennessee had been one of the original 13 States.  See, “An Act for the admission of the State of Tennessee into the Union”.

3. It misstates the original intent of the “interstate commerce” clause.

 Section 2 (3) of the BOPA asserts that the interstate commerce clause (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 3):

“…was meant to empower Congress to regulate the buying and selling of products made by others (and sometimes land), associated finance and financial instruments, and navigation and other carriage, across state jurisdictional lines…”

That is demonstrably false, and no authorities are cited.

We look to The Federalist Papers to learn the original intent of the clause. Federalist No. 22 (4th para), Federalist No. 42 (9th &10th paras), Federalist No. 44 (at 2.), and Federalist No. 56  (4th & 5th paras), explain the two purposes of the “interstate commerce” clause:

♣To prohibit the States from imposing tolls and tariffs on articles of import and export – goods & commodities – merchandize – as they are transported through the States for purposes of buying and selling; and

To permit the federal government to impose duties on articles of commerce and imports.4

 

4. It doesn’t properly set forth the original intent of the “necessary and proper” clause.

Section 2 (4) of the BOPA asserts that the necessary and proper clause (Art. I, Sec. 8, last cl.), was:

“… a limitation of power under the common-law doctrine of “principals and incidents,” which restricts the power of Congress to exercise incidental powers. There are two (2) main conditions required for something to be incidental, and therefore, “necessary and proper.” The law or power exercised must be 1) directly applicable to the main, enumerated power, and 2) it must be “lesser” than the main power.”

That is neither helpful nor authoritative.

The Federalist Papers explain the original intent of this clause. It merely delegates to Congress the power to pass laws necessary and proper to execute its declared powers (Federalist No. 29, 4th para); a power to do something must be a power to pass all laws necessary and proper for the execution of that power (Federalist No. 33, 3rd para); “the constitutional operation of the intended government would be precisely the same if [this clause] were entirely obliterated as if [it] were repeated in every article” (No. 33, 2nd para); and thus the clause is “perfectly harmless”, a  “tautology or redundancy” (No. 33, 3rd para).  Madison says the same in Federalist No. 44, at 1 (under his discussion of the SIXTH class).

In plain English, the clause merely permits Congress to make laws to carry out the enumerated powers of the three branches of the federal government.

For example: The duty of some of the federal courts created by Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 9 is to conduct trials (in the types of cases Art. III, Sec. 2, cl. 1 permits them to hear).  Trials involve parties and witnesses. They must be required to tell the Truth! So, it would be necessary and proper for Congress to make laws against perjury in federal court.

 

5. It misstates the original intent of the “general welfare” clause.

Section 2 (5) of the BOPA asserts that the general welfare clause (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 1) requires:

“… that congress only enact laws which serve all citizens well and equally. When James Madison was asked if this clause were a grant of power, he replied “If not only the means but the objects are unlimited, the parchment [the Constitution] should be thrown into the fire at once.” Thus, we re-establish that this clause is a limitation on the power of the federal government to act in the welfare of all when passing laws in pursuance of the powers delegated to the United States, showing no favor to any race, creed, color or socio-economic class.”

That is not true, and no authorities are cited in support of the assertion that the general welfare clause means that Congress must treat all social classes the same.

The limitation imposed by the Constitution on Congress’ powers is that laws made by Congress must fall within the scope of the enumerated powers delegated to Congress. 

The term, “general welfare”, as used in our Constitution, has nothing to do with treating people of all races, creeds, and social classes the same.

Our Framers understood the “general welfare” (as applied to States) to refer to:

“Exemption from any unusual evil or calamity; the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil government.” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)

They saw that this condition could be brought about by the federal government we created in our Constitution:  A federal government divided into three parts, with each part having checks on the other parts; and with only enumerated powers delegated to each of the three parts.

Accordingly, the Preamble to our Constitution says:

“WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” [boldface mine]

And that portion of our Constitution which introduces the list of most of the enumerated powers delegated to Congress over the Country at Large (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl 1) says:

“The Congress shall have Power … to … provide for the common defense and general Welfare of the United States…” [boldface mine]

Immediately thereafter follows the enumeration of 15 specific powers delegated to Congress over the Country at Large. In essence, these 15 powers authorize Congress to:

♣Provide for military defense and international relations and commerce;

♣Establish a uniform commercial system (bankruptcy laws, a money system based on gold & silver, weights & measures,  mail delivery & some road building, patents & copyrights); and

♣Make laws for naturalization of new citizens.

Our Framers understood that the “general Welfare” – the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, and the enjoyment of the ordinary blessings of society and civil government – would prevail with the federal government of narrowly defined and enumerated powers created by our Constitution! 5

Section (6) (A) of the BOPA then goes on to assert that the commerce clause, general welfare clause, and necessary & proper clause were amended and limited by the 2nd, 9th, and 10th Amendments!

Rubbish! Not only is no authority cited for this bizarre assertion, it is because the author lacks understanding of the original intents of the three clauses that he believes they needed to be “fixed” by amendments!

6. It ignores the Essential Characteristic of our Federal Constitution.

The essence of our federal Constitution is that it created a federal government of three branches, with each branch having checks on the other two branches. Furthermore, it delegated only specific, narrowly defined powers to each branch.

James Madison writes in Federalist No. 45 (3rd para from end) of the “few and defined” powers delegated to the federal government:

“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.” [boldface mine]

What We have lost is the knowledge that Our Constitution delegated only “few and defined” – enumerated – powers to each branch of the federal government. For complete lists and explanations of the powers our Constitution delegated to each branch, see:

♣Congress’ enumerated powers [Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 1-16 is not the complete list]

♣The president’s enumerated powers

♣The federal court’s enumerated powers

Any American of common sense and ordinary understanding is capable of fully understanding the scope of the powers delegated by our Constitution to Congress and to the President. 6

This is one of the keys to Restoration of our Constitutional Republic.

The BOPA contains a number of other statements which are confused and erroneous.

Conclusion

Our Framers were exquisitely educated in Logic, Judeo-Christian values, political philosophy, and statecraft. The American People of our Founding Era had the Wisdom and Humility to listen to our Framers.

Let us once again show that same Wisdom and Humility.  Listen to Our Framers.

Endnotes:

1 The BOPA is the product of The Constitutional Justice Division of the North American law Center.  As grand as those titles do sound, the BOPA does not reflect the light cast by minds schooled in law or statecraft. Furthermore, the writing is confused and some of the sentences undiagrammable.

2 Throughout our Constitution, the “federal government” is referred to as “the United States”.

3 Parties to compacts have mutual rights and obligations. The federal government has no “rights” – it has only those few delegated powers WE enumerated in the Constitution. The People pre-existed the Constitution. The States pre-existed the Constitution. Since the federal government didn’t exist until the Constitution was ratified, it can’t be a “party” to it! It is impossible to understand our Constitution unless one understands that the federal government is merely a “creature” of the Constitution – and as such, is completely subject to its terms.

4 For additional proof of the original intent of the “interstate commerce” clause see: Does the Interstate Commerce Clause Authorize Congress to Force us to buy Health Insurance?

5 The progressives say the general welfare clause gives Congress power to pass any law they say promotes the “general welfare”.

James Madison refutes that misconstruction in Federalist No. 41 (last 4 paras).  See also: Does the general welfare clause of the U.S. Constitution authorize Congress to force us to buy health insurance?

The BOPA’s erroneous assertion that the clause means that laws passed by Congress must “serve all citizens well and equally”, could easily morph into the perversion that Congress may do whatever it likes as long as its laws are fair to all races, creeds, and classes.

But the constitutional standard is that acts of Congress must fall within the scope of the enumerated powers delegated to Congress. We must not blur that clear line with our own fabricated feel-good theories.  READ the last 4 paras of Federalist No. 41!

6 Some knowledge of law and litigation is necessary to fully understand the enumerated powers of the federal courts. But if our People would make the modest effort necessary to learn the enumerated powers of Congress and the President, they would become

a people enlightened enough to distinguish between a legal exercise and an illegal usurpation of authority.” (Federalist No. 16   [Hamilton] next to last para)

Then they would be able to distinguish between constitutional and unconstitutional acts of Congress and the Executive Branch. PH

March 25, 2013

 

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March 25, 2013 Posted by | Balance of Powers Act, Nullification by States | , | 23 Comments

Publius Huldah shows federal gun control is unlawful

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March 3, 2013 Posted by | 2nd Amendment, armed citizens, gun control, marque and reprisal, Militia, Nullification by States, Nullification of unconstitutional acts, Resistance to tyranny, Tennessee Constitution | , , , , | 52 Comments

James Madison Rebukes Nullification Deniers

By Publius Huldah

This is The Age of Ignorance. Our “intellectuals” can’t think.  Our “scholars” parrot each other. The self-educated fixate on idiotic theories.  Our People despise Truth and disseminate lies.

Nullification deniers such as Matthew Spalding of Heritage Foundation, Jarrett Stepman of Human Events, law professor Randy BarnettDavid Barton of Wallbuilders, and history professor Allen C. Guelzo, say that nullification by States of unconstitutional acts of the federal government is unlawful and impossible. They make the demonstrably false assertions that:

♦  States don’t have the right to nullify unconstitutional acts of the federal   government because our Constitution doesn’t say they can do it;

  Nullification is literally impossible;

The supreme Court is the final authority on what is constitutional and what is not; and The States and The People must submit to whatever the supreme Court says; and

James Madison, Father of Our Constitution, opposed nullification.

Their assertions contradict our Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, our federal Constitution, and what James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton really said.

What are the Two Conditions Precedent for Nullification?

The deniers seem unaware of the two conditions our Framers saw must be present before nullification is proper and possible. These conditions are important – you will see why!:

The act of the federal government must be unconstitutional usually a usurpation of a power not delegated to the federal government in the Constitution; and

The act must be something The States or The People can “nullify”- i.e., refuse to obey (the act must order them to do something or not do something), or otherwise thwart, impede, or hinder

What is “Interposition” and What is “Nullification”?

A State “interposes” when it stands between the federal government and The Citizens of the State in order to protect them from the federal government. Interposition takes various forms, depending on the circumstances. Hamilton refers to interposition in Federalist No. 33 (5th para):

“If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard [the Constitution] they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.” [emphasis mine]

“Nullification” is merely one form of interposition.

Here are three highly relevant illustrations:

♠ When the act of the federal government is unconstitutional and orders The States or The People to do – or not do – something, nullification by direct disobedience is the proper form of interposition.

♠ When the act of the federal government is unconstitutional, but doesn’t order The States or The People to do – or not do – something (the alien & sedition acts), The States may take various measures to thwart, impede, or hinder implementation of the federal act in order to protect The Member States, The People, and The Constitution from federal tyranny.  (See the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798.)

♠ When the act of the federal government is constitutional, but unjust (the Tariff Act of 1828), the States may not nullify it; but may interpose by objecting and trying to get the Tariff Act changed.

Our Founding Principles in a Nutshell

In order to understand The Right of Nullification, one must also learn the Founding Principles set forth in The Declaration of Independence (2nd para). Then one can see that “when powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act” 1 is “the natural right, which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression.” 2 These Principles are:

1.  Rights come from God;

2.  People create governments;

3.  The purpose of government is to secure the rights God gave us; and

4.  When a government We created seeks to take away our God given rights, We have the Right – We have the Duty – to alter, abolish, or throw off such government.

Let us look briefly at these Principles:

1. Our Declaration of Independence (2nd para) recognizes that God is the grantor of Rights. So Rights don’t come from the Constitution, the supreme Court or the federal government.

2.  The Preamble to our Constitution shows that WE THE PEOPLE created the federal government. It is our “creature”. Alexander Hamilton says this in Federalist Paper No. 33 (5th para); and Thomas Jefferson, in his draft of The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 (8th Resolution). As our “creature”, it may lawfully do only what WE authorized it to do in our Constitution.

We created a “federal” government: An alliance of Sovereign States 3 associated in a “federation” with a national government to which is delegated supremacy over the States in few and defined areas only. James Madison says in Federalist No. 45 (9th para):

“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 … concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” [boldface mine]

Do you see? We delegated only “few and defined” powers to the federal government. These are the “enumerated powers” listed in the Constitution. 4

These enumerated powers concern:

Military defense, international commerce & relations;

Control of immigration and naturalization of new citizens;

Creation of a uniform commercial system: Weights & measures, patents & copyrights, money based on gold & silver, bankruptcy laws, mail delivery & some road building; and

With some of the Amendments, protect certain civil rights.

It is only with respect to the “enumerated powers” that the federal government has lawful authority over the Country at large!!!  All other powers are “reserved to the several States” and The People.

3. Our Constitution authorizes the federal government to secure our God-given Rights in the following ways: 5

It is to secure our rights to life and liberty by:

Military defense (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 11-16);

Laws against piracy and other felonies committed on the high seas (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 10);

Protecting us from invasion (Art IV, Sec. 4);

Prosecuting traitors (Art III, Sec. 3); and

Restrictive immigration policies (Art. I, Sec. 9, cl. 1).

It is to secure our property rights by:

Regulating trade & commerce so we can produce, sell & prosper (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl.3). The original intent of the interstate commerce clause is to prohibit States from levying tolls & taxes on articles of commerce as they are transported thru the States for buying & selling.

Establishing uniform weights & measures and a money system based on gold & silver (Art I, Sec. 8, cl. 5) – inflation via paper currency & fractional reserve lending is theft!

Punishing counterfeiters (Art I, Sec. 8, cl. 6);

Making bankruptcy laws to permit the orderly dissolution or reorganization of debtors’ estates with fair treatment of creditors (Art I, Sec 8, cl. 4); and

Issuing patents & copyrights to protect ownership of intellectual labors (Art I, Sec 8, cl 8).

It is to secure our right to liberty by:

Laws against slavery (13th Amendment);

Providing fair trials in federal courts (4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Amendments); and

Obeying the Constitution!

This is how our federal Constitution implements The Founding Principle that the purpose of government is to secure the rights God gave us!

4. The fourth Founding Principle in our Declaration is this: When government takes away our God given rights, We have the Right & the Duty to alter, abolish, or throw off such government. Nullification is thus a natural right of self-defense:

Thomas Jefferson said:

“… but where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non foederis,) to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them…” 6 [boldface mine]

James Madison commented on the above:

“… the right of nullification meant by Mr. Jefferson is the natural right, which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression…” 7

Alexander Hamilton says in Federalist No. 28  (5th para from end):

“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success …” [boldface mine]

Hamilton then shows how The States can rein in a usurping federal government:

“…the State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority…”

Do you see?

But the nullification deniers do not see because, in addition to their apparent unfamiliarity with the original source writings on nullification (as well as The Federalist Papers), they reject, or do not understand, the Founding Principle that Rights pre-date & pre-exist the Constitution and come from God.  Nullification is not a paltry “constitutional right”!  It has a hallowed status – it is that natural right of self-defense which pre-dates & pre-exists the Constitution.

Now, let us look at the false assertions made by the nullification deniers.

False Assertion 1:

That States can’t nullify unconstitutional acts of the federal government because the Constitution doesn’t say they can do it.

♣  As we have just seen, Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton saw nullification of unconstitutional acts of the federal government as a “natural right” – not a “constitutional right”. And since Rights come from God, there is no such thing as a “constitutional right”!

♣ The Right of Nullification, transcending as it does, the Constitution; and being nowhere prohibited by the Constitution to the States, is a reserved power. The 10th Amendment says:

“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.”

Nothing in the federal Constitution prohibits The States from nullifying unconstitutional acts of the federal government. Thus, nullification is a reserved  power of the States & The People.

♣  We saw where Madison says in Federalist No. 45 that the powers delegated to the federal government are “few and defined”, and all other powers are “reserved to the several States”.

Thus, it is the federal government which is supposed to look to the Constitution for the list of “enumerated powers” We The People delegated to it.

The States don’t go to the Constitution to look for permission because they retain all powers they didn’t exclusively 8 delegate to the federal government, or prohibit by Art. I, Sec. 10.

The nullification deniers have it backwards:  They permit the federal government to ignore the “enumerated powers” limitations set forth in the Constitution; but insist The States can’t do anything unless the Constitution specifically says they can!

Do you see how they pervert Our Constitution?

False Assertion 2:

That Nullification is literally impossible.

We saw above the two conditions which must exist before nullification is proper and possible:

The act of the federal government must be unconstitutional, and

The act must be something The People or The States can refuse to obey, or otherwise thwart, impede or obstruct.

Here are examples of unconstitutional federal acts the States can and should nullify:

The Constitution does not delegate to the federal government power to ban Christianity from the public square. But in 1962, the supreme Court first ordered The States to stop prayers in the public schools. That Court next banned the Ten Commandments from the public schools.  Since those orders were usurpations of powers not lawfully possessed by the Court,the States should have nullified them by directing their Schools to ignore them.

If Congress by “law”, or the President by “executive order”, orders The People to turn in our guns, We must refuse to comply. The Constitution doesn’t authorize the federal government to disarm us.  So, The States and The People must nullify such law or order by refusing to obey.

Here are examples of unconstitutional & unjust State and municipal laws Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King nullified:

The Jim Crow laws required black people to sit at the back of the bus, and prohibited them from eating in public places and using public restrooms, water fountains, park benches, etc. Using non-violent civil disobedience, Rosa Parks and MLK led black people to refuse to obey these unjust and unconstitutional (Sec. 1, 14th Amdt.) laws. This was nullification by brave Citizens!

Now, I’ll show you unconstitutional acts which couldn’t be directly disobeyed because they weren’t directed to anything The States or The People could refuse to obey:

In 1798, Thomas Jefferson wrote The Kentucky Resolutions, and James Madison wrote The Virginia Resolutions.   These Resolutions objected to laws made by Congress which purported to grant to the President dictatorial powers over aliens and seditious words.

Kentucky and Virginia could object, but they couldn’t prevent the President from enforcing the alien & sedition acts, because the President had the raw power to send out thugs to arrest aliens or people who had spoken or written “seditious” words; and then to persecute them.

So Jefferson and Madison showed why the alien & sedition acts were unconstitutional, protested them, and asked other States to join the protest and take whatever measures needed to be taken to protect The States, The People, and The Constitution.

Now! Note WellRandy Barnett, law professor, and other deniers crow that the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions prove there is no “literal power” of nullification in the States.

But Barnett should know better because he is a lawyer. Every litigation attorney knows this:  At a motion hearing before the judge, opposing counsel whips out a court opinion which he cites as authority for a legal point.  He gives the judge a highlighted copy and gives you (opposing counsel) an un-highlighted copy.  While he is making his argument to the judge, you must listen to what he is saying, and at the same time, read the opinion and develop an argument which “distinguishes” the opinion opposing counsel is using from the case at bar.  When opposing counsel finishes, the judge looks at you and says, “And how do you respond?” You must be ready with your argument right then.

Are we to believe that Randy Barnett, law professor, sitting in his ivory tower and under no pressure, is unable to distinguish between situations where a State does have a “literal power” to nullify (by direct disobedience) an unconstitutional act of the federal government [when it orders The State or The People to do -or not do - something]; and when The State does not have a “literal power” to directly disobey the act [because, as with the alien & sedition acts, it does  not dictate something The States or The People can refuse to obey], and so they can only thwart, impede & obstruct the unconstitutional act?

 

False Assertion 3:

That the supreme Court is the final authority on what is constitutional and what is not; and The States and The People must submit to whatever the supreme Court says.

The federal government has become a tyranny which acts without constitutional authority.

This came about because we were lured away from The Founding Principle that the purpose of government is to secure the Rights God gave us; and were seduced into believing government should provide for our needs and protect us from the challenges of Life.

Progressives of the early 1900s 9 transformed the federal government into the Frankensteinian monster it is today. They imposed the regulatory welfare state where the federal government regulates business and commerce, natural resources, human resources, and benefits some people [e.g., welfare parasites, labor unions & obama donors] at the expense of others.

The Progressives claimed the power to determine what is in the “public interest” and have the federal government implement their notions of what advances the “public interest”.

Under the Progressives, the federal government was no longer limited by the enumerated powers delegated in the Constitution; but would follow the “will of the people” as expressed by their representatives in the federal government.  In other words, the Progressives gave the federal government a blank check to fill out anyway they want. People in the federal government now claim power to do whatever they want to us.

The federal government imposed by the Progressives is evil:

In order to provide benefits to some; the federal government violates the God-given property rights of others.  The federal government robs Peter to pay Paul.

In order to protect us from the challenges of life (including made up problems such as “global warming” and “lack of medical insurance”), the federal government violates everyone’s God-given rights to Liberty.

And thus today, the federal government:

Usurps powers not delegated to it in the Constitution. Most of what it does is unconstitutional as outside the enumerated powers delegated in our Constitution.

Has become an instrument of oppression, injustice, and immorality.

Has taken away most of our God given rights, and is now conniving to take away our God given right to self-defense.

Now you know how the federal government was transformed from being the securer of our God given rights to a tyranny which oppresses some of the people for the benefit of others; and takes everyone’s Liberty away – except for those in the ruling class.

 

So!  What do We do?  What can We do?

The nullification deniers insist We must obey whatever Congress and the President dictate unless five (5) judges on the supreme Court say We don’t have to.  They say the supreme Court is the final authority on what is constitutional and what is not.

But think: Who created the federal government?

We did!  It is our “creature”. Is the “creature” to dictate to the “creator”?

The nullification deniers say, “Yes!”   They say that:

Every law made by Congress [the Legislative Branch of the federal government] is “supreme”; and

Every executive order issued by the President [the Executive Branch of the federal government] is binding; and

The States and The People must obey, unless and until five (5) judges on the supreme Court [the Judicial Branch of the federal government] say the law or executive order is unconstitutional.

In other words, only the federal government may question the federal government; and NO ONE may question the supreme Court!

Under their vision, the federal government WE created with the Constitution is the exclusive and final judge of the extent of the powers WE delegated to it; and the opinion of five (5) judges, not the Constitution, is the sole measure of its powers.

Jarrett Stepman regurgitates the statist lie that “the ultimate decision maker in terms of America’s political system is the Supreme Court.”

Randy Barnett, law professor, chants the statist refrain, “…What has the Supreme Court said and meant? and … Are there now five justices to sustain the claim?”.

Barnett selects two paragraphs from Madison’s Report on the Virginia Resolutions (1799-1800) (which address the alien & sedition acts), and claims they show Madison “expressly denies, or at minimum equivocates about whether, there is a literal power of nullification in states”.

Well, We saw above that States couldn’t directly disobey the alien & sedition acts because they purported to grant dictatorial powers to the President; and did not require The States or The People to do – or not do – something.

And the two paragraphs Barnett claims are so “telling” as to The States’ lack of “literal power” to nullify anything, and as to the ultimate authority of the Judicial Branch, appear under Madison’s discussion of the last two Resolutions (the 7th  & 8th) where Virginia had asked other States to join them in taking measures to protect The States, The People and The Constitution from the federal government.  In his discussion of the 7th Resolution, Madison merely responded to the objection that only federal judges may declare the meaning of the Constitution:  Of course Citizens & States may declare acts of the federal government unconstitutional!  When they do so, they are not acting as judges – they are acting as Citizens and as Sovereign States to take those measures which need to be taken to protect themselves from unconstitutional acts of the federal government.

 

Now! Note WellMadison says, in the same Report Barnett cites, that it is “a plain principle, founded in common sense” that The States are the final authority on whether the federal government has violated our Constitution! Under his discussion of the 3rd Resolution, Madison says:

“It appears to your committee to be a plain principle, founded in common sense, illustrated by common practice, and essential to the nature of compacts; that where resort can be had to no tribunal superior to the authority of the parties, the parties themselves must be the rightful judges in the last resort, whether the bargain made, has been pursued or violated. The Constitution of the United States was formed by the sanction of the States, given by each in its sovereign capacity. It adds to the stability and dignity, as well as to the authority of the Constitution, that it rests on this legitimate and solid foundation. The States then being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity, that there can be no tribunal above their authority, to decide in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and consequently that as the parties to it, they must themselves decide in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.” [emphasis mine]

A bit further down, Madison explains that if, when the federal government usurps power, the States cannot act so as to stop the usurpation, and thereby preserve the Constitution as well as the safety of The States; there would be no relief from usurped power.  This would subvert the Rights of the People as well as betray the fundamental principle of our Founding:

“…If the deliberate exercise, of dangerous power, palpably withheld by the Constitution, could not justify the parties to it, in interposing even so far as to arrest the progress of the evil, and thereby to preserve the Constitution itself as well as to provide for the safety of the parties to it; there would be an end to all relief from usurped power, and a direct subversion of the rights specified or recognized under all the State constitutions, as well as a plain denial of the fundamental principle on which our independence itself was declared.” [emphasis mine]

A bit further down, Madison answers the objection “that the judicial authority is to be regarded as the sole expositor of the Constitution, in the last resort”.

Madison explains that when the federal government acts outside the Constitution by usurping powers, and when the Constitution affords no remedy to that usurpation; then the Sovereign States who are the Parties to the Constitution must likewise step outside the Constitution and appeal to that original natural right of self-defense.

Madison also says that the Judicial Branch is as likely to usurp as are the other two Branches. Thus, The Sovereign States, as The Parties to the Constitution, have as much right to judge the usurpations of the Judicial Branch as they do the Legislative and Executive Branches:

“…the judicial department, also, may exercise or sanction dangerous powers beyond the grant of the Constitution; and, consequently, that the ultimate right of the parties to the Constitution, to judge whether the compact has been dangerously violated, must extend to violations by one delegated authority as well as by another — by the judiciary as well as by the executive, or the legislature.

Madison goes on to say that all three Branches of the federal government obtain their delegated powers from the Constitution; and they may not annul the authority of their Creator. And if the Judicial Branch connives with other Branches in usurping powers, our Constitution will be destroyed. So the Judicial Branch does not have final say as

“…to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact, from which the judicial as well as the other department hold their delegated trusts. On any other hypothesis, the delegation of judicial power, would annul the authority delegating it; 10 and the concurrence of this department with the others in usurped powers, might subvert forever, and beyond the possible reach of any rightful remedy, the very Constitution, which all were instituted to preserve.”

Shame on you nullification deniers who misrepresent what Madison said, or ignorantly insist that Madison said the Judicial Branch is the Final Authority!

False Assertion 4:

That James Madison opposed Nullification by States of Unconstitutional Acts of the Federal Government.

Matthew Spalding (Heritage Foundation) and David Barton (Wallbuilders) cite South Carolina’s Nullification Crisis of 1832 as “proof” that James Madison “vehemently opposed” nullification.

What Spalding and Barton say is not true.  Did they read what Madison wrote on S. Carolina’s doctrine of nullification? Are they so lacking in critical thinking skills that they can’t make the distinction between the nullification doctrine Madison (and Jefferson & Hamilton) embraced, and the peculiar doctrine of nullification advanced by S. Carolina?

We saw in Madison’s Report on the Virginia Resolutions (1799-1800)  that in a proper case, “interposing even so far as to arrest the progress of the evil” is essential “to preserve the Constitution itself as well as to provide for the safety of the parties to it”.

And we saw above that the condition which must be present before nullification is proper, is that the act of the federal government must be unconstitutional.

Now, let’s look at The Tariff Act of 1828 and the S. Carolina Nullification Crisis:

The South was agricultural.  During the 1820’s, the Southern States bought manufactured goods from England. England bought cotton produced by the Southern States.

However, “infant industries” in the Northeast were producing some of the same manufactured goods as England; but they were more expensive than the English imports.  So they couldn’t compete with the cheaper imports.

So!  In 1828, Congress imposed a high tariff on the English imports. The Southern States called this the “tariff of abominations”, because the tariff made the English goods too expensive to buy; and since the Southern States stopped buying English goods, the English stopped buying Southern cotton. The Southern States had to pay more for manufactured goods, they lost the major buyer of their cotton; and their economy was weakened.

Now! Note Well: Our Constitution delegates specific authority to Congress to impose tariffs on imports, and the tariff must be the same in each State (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 1).

Thus, the Tariff Act of 1828 was constitutional! 11

So!  Can you, dear Reader, see something which Matthew Spalding, Ph.D., and David Barton are unable to see?  South Carolina wanted to nullify a constitutional law!  Of course, Madison opposed S. Carolina’s peculiar doctrine of nullification! Madison (and Jefferson & Hamilton) always said the act nullified must be unconstitutional!

In his Notes on Nullification (1834), 12  Madison addressed S. Carolina’s peculiar doctrine. He said that in the Report of a special committee of the House of Representatives of South Carolina in 1828, a doctrine of nullification was set forth which asserted that:

♦ A State has a “constitutional right” to nullify any federal law; and

♦ The nullification is presumed valid, and is to remain in force, unless ¾ of the States, in a Convention, say the nullification isn’t valid.

What Madison opposed was the particular doctrine of nullification set forth by S. Carolina; and what Madison actually said about the S. Carolina doctrine is this:

The federal government has delegated authority to impose import tariffs;

The Constitution requires that all import tariffs be uniform throughout the United States;

States can’t nullify tariffs which are authorized by the Constitution;

¼ of the States don’t have the right to dictate to ¾ of the States on matters within the powers delegated to the federal government;

  Nullification is not a “constitutional right”;

And near the end of his Notes, Madison quoted with approval Thomas Jefferson’s statement:

“…but, where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non foederis,) to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them…” [boldface mine]

Madison then says:

“Thus the right of nullification meant by Mr. Jefferson is the natural right, which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression.” [emphasis mine]

Do you see?  Madison is saying that:

S. Carolina couldn’t nullify the Tariff Act of 1828 because the Act was constitutional.

Nullification is a “natural right”- it is not a “constitutional” right. Rights don’t come from the Constitution.

All agree that when the federal government acts outside of the Constitution, nullification by the States is the proper remedy.

Application Today

When WE THE PEOPLE ratified our Constitution, and thereby created the federal government, WE did not delegate to our “creature” power to control our medical care, restrict guns and ammunition, dictate what is done in the public schools, dictate how we use our lands, and all the thousands of things they do WE never gave them authority in our Constitution to do.

Accordingly, each State has a natural right to nullify these unconstitutional dictates within its borders.  These dictates are outside the compact The Sovereign States made with each other –WE never gave our “creature” power over these objects.

As Jefferson and Madison said, without Nullification, The States and The People would be under the absolute and unlimited control of the federal government.

And that, dear Reader, is where these nullification deniers, with their false assertions and shameful misrepresentations, would put you.

To sum this up:

Nullification is a natural right of self-defense.

Rights don’t come from the Constitution. Like all Rights, the right of self-defense comes from God (The Declaration of Independence, 2nd para).

Nullification is a reserved power within the meaning of the 10th Amendment. The Constitution doesn’t prohibit States from nullifying, and We reserved the power to do it.

God requires us to disobey civil authorities when they violate God’s Law. That’s why the 2nd para of the Declaration of Independence says we have the duty to overthrow tyrannical government. See: The Biblical Foundation of our Constitution.

♦ Nullification is required by Oath of Office:  Article VI, cl. 3 requires all State officers and judges to “support” the federal Constitution. Therefore, when the federal government violates the Constitution, the States must smack them down.

Conclusion

Our Founders and Framers were a different People than we of today. They were manly men who knew statecraft & political philosophy and could think. But our “experts” of today have been indoctrinated with statism and can’t think.  They lie, or they just ignorantly repeat what they hear without checking it out to see if what they are repeating is true.

So WE need to man up, throw off the indoctrination and the phony “experts”, learn our Founding Documents including The Federalist Papers, and stop repeating the lies we are told.  Trust no one.  And repudiate cowardice as the proper response to the evil which is overtaking our Land. Man up, People!  PH

Post script added October 2, 2013:

Something is rotten in the Cato Institute:  Robert A. Levy, Chairman of the Cato Institute, recently wrote an article published in the New York Times,  “The Limits of Nullification“, where Levy regurgitates the same fabrication Randy Barnett told to the effect that Madison said in his Report of 1800, that all the States can do is express their opinion that a federal law is unconstitutional.  The kindest thing one can say about Levy’s article is that it is “childishly  ignorant”.

Endnotes:

1 Thomas Jefferson, The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, 8th Resolution.

2 James Madison, Notes on Nullification (1834). The quote is near the end.  Use “find” function.

3 The deniers seem unaware that The States retained sovereignty in all matters not exclusively delegated to the federal government. Alexander Hamilton says in Federalist No. 32 (2nd para):

“An entire consolidation of the States into one complete national sovereignty would imply an entire subordination of the parts; and whatever powers might remain in them, would be altogether dependent on the general will. But as the plan of the convention [the Constitution] aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not … EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States…” [caps are Hamilton's; boldface mine]

Federalist No. 62 (5th para):

“…the equal vote allowed to each State [each State gets two U.S. Senators] is …a constitutional recognition of the portion of sovereignty remaining in the individual States and an instrument for preserving that residuary sovereignty… [in order to guard] … against an improper consolidation of the States into one simple republic.” (Madison or Hamilton) [boldface mine]

See also Federalist No. 39 (Madison) (6th para, et seq.)

In Madison’s Report on The Virginia Resolutions (1799-1800),  he several times refers, in his discussion of the 3rd Resolution, to the States acting “in their sovereign capacity” when, as “the parties to the constitutional compact” they decide  “in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated”:

“…The states, then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity that there can be no tribunal, above their authority, to decide, in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and consequently, that, as the parties to it, they must themselves decide, in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition….” [boldface mine]

4 Contrary to the misconstructions long and unlawfully applied by the federal government, the federal Constitution is one of enumerated powers only. E.g.:

“…the proposed government cannot be deemed a national one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignity over all other objects…” (Federalist No. 39, 3rd para from end) (Madison) [boldface mine]

“…the general [federal] government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects...” (Federalist No. 14, 8th para) (Madison) [boldface mine]

“…It merits particular attention … that the laws of the Confederacy [Congress], as to the ENUMERATED and LEGITIMATE objects of its jurisdiction, will become the SUPREME LAW of the land…Thus the legislatures, courts, and magistrates, of the respective members [the States], will be incorporated into the operations of the national government AS FAR AS ITS JUST AND CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY EXTENDS…” [caps are Hamilton’s] (Federalist No. 27, last para)

5   Our Constitution authorizes the federal government to secure our God-given rights in the ways appropriate for the national government of a Federation. The States secure them in other ways.

6 The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798,8th Resolution.

7 Madison’s Notes on Nullification (1834).   The quote is near the end. Use “find” function.

8 This explains the limited “exclusive jurisdiction” of the federal government, and the areas where the federal government and The States have “concurrent jurisdiction”.

9 Teddy Roosevelt ran on the Progressive Platform of 1912.  Both major parties have been dominated by progressives ever since.

10 Hamilton says, respecting the Legislative Branch (Federalist No. 78, 10th para):

“…every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.” [emphasis mine]

11 The Tariff Act of 1828 was constitutional; but benefited the Northeast at the expense of the South. It thus violated our Founding Principle that governments exist to secure the rights God gave us.  God never gave us the right to be free of competition in business! Since the tariff was constitutional, but unjust, the remedy was to get Congress to fix it.

12 Madison’s Notes on Nullification (1834) are long & rambling. Copy to Word, enlarge the type, & color-code to sort out the strands of arguments. Keep in mind that what Madison is addressing is S. Carolina’s peculiar doctrine where they wanted to nullify a constitutional tariff! PH

January 31, 2013; revised October 23, 2013

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January 31, 2013 Posted by | 10th Amendment, alien and sedition acts, Allen C. Guelzo, David Barton, Heritage Foundation, Interposition, Jarrett Stepman, Jim Crow laws, Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Madison's Notes on Nullification (1834), Madison's Report on the Virginia Resolutions (1799-1800), Martin Luther King, Matthew Spalding, Nullification by States, nullification deniers, Nullification of unconstitutional acts, Progressives, Randy Barnett, Robert A. Levy Cato Institute, South Carolina nullification crisis, Sovereign States, States Retained Powers, Tariff of Abominations, Tarrif Act of 1828, Tenth Amendment, Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Resolutions of 1798 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 92 Comments

The Governor of Tennessee Must Obey Tennessee Law: No State Insurance Exchange!

By Publius Huldah

According to an article posted by Lesley Swann of the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center, the federal obamacare Act doesn’t actually require The People to submit to obamacare.1

Accordingly, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius is demanding that The States set up State Insurance Exchanges, by means of which The States will force The People into obamacare.

While 20 States have already given notice that they will not implement obamacare by setting up the State Exchanges; Tennessee’s RINO Governor, Bill Haslam, is “undecided” as to whether he will force Tennesseans to submit to obamacare.

But Haslam has no lawful authority to force The People of Tennessee into State Exchanges. If he does it anyway, he will commit the following five (5) violations of Tennessee Law:

1. The Tennessee Health Freedom Act

The Tennessee Legislature enacted in 2011 the Tennessee Health Freedom Act, codified at Tenn. Code Ann. Sec. 56-7-1016. 2

Under this Act, no public official, employee, or agent of Tennessee may force The People of Tennessee to purchase health insurance or impose any penalty for not purchasing such insurance.

So if Haslam attempts to force The People of Tennessee to participate in a State Insurance Exchange, he will violate the Tennessee Health Freedom Act.

2. The State Legislature makes the Laws – not the Governor

The Constitution of the State of Tennessee says at Article II:

“Section 1: The powers of the government shall be divided into three distinct departments: legislative, executive, and judicial.

Section 2: No person or persons belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any of the powers properly belonging to either of the others, except in the cases herein directed or permitted. [boldface mine]

Section 3: The legislative authority of this state shall be vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives….”

If Haslam attempts to force Tennesseans into a State Insurance Exchange, he will violate the Separation of Powers Principle enshrined at Art. II, Sections 1 – 3.

3. The Governor’s Powers are Enumerated, Defined, and Strictly Limited.

Here is a complete list of the enumerated powers and duties of the Governor of Tennessee. Article III provides that:

Section 1: The executive power of the state is vested in a governor [See Sec. 10 below].

Section 5: The governor is commander-in-chief of the State Militia

Section 6: The governor may grant reprieves and pardons.

Section 8: The governor may require written information from officers in the executive department, about their duties.

Section 9: The governor may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the General Assembly.

Section 10: The governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

Section 11: The governor is to give the Legislature information on the state of the government, and recommend matters for their consideration.

Section 14: The governor may temporarily fill vacancies in office.

Section 15: The governor is to be keeper of the Seal of the State of Tennessee.

Section 16: The governor is to sign and seal all grants and commissions of the State.

Section 18: The governor is to sign, or veto, or allow to become law without his signature, every Bill, Joint Resolution or Order passed by the Legislature. He may reduce or disapprove sums of money appropriated for specific items.

Article VI, Section 11: When any judge of the State Supreme Court is disqualified from presiding over a case, the governor is to specially commission another person to serve as judge on that case.

Article VIII, Section 2: The governor is to appoint certain officers of the State Militia.

That’s it! That’s all the governor of the State of Tennessee has lawful authority to do. He has no lawful authority to make laws. He has no lawful authority to force Tennesseans into a Health Insurance Exchange. If Haslam attempts to do this anyway, he will usurp powers not delegated to him by the Tennessee Constitution.

4. The Governor’s Duty is to Enforce the Laws the Legislature Makes!

Note that Art. III, Sec. 10 requires the governor to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”. As long as the laws made by the Legislature are constitutional, the governor is obligated to enforce them! This means that Haslam must refuse to implement the State Exchange. If he doesn’t refuse to implement the State Exchange, he will be guilty of dereliction of his Constitutional Duty.

5. The Governor is Required by his Oath to Obey the Tennessee Constitution

Article X, Section 1, of the Tennessee Constitution requires the governor to take an Oath to support the Tennessee Constitution.

If he takes his orders from Kathleen Sibelius instead of from the Tennessee Constitution and the Tennessee Legislature, he will violate his Oath to support the State Constitution.

Article X, Sec. 1 of the Tennessee Constitution, and Art. VI, clause 3 of the federal Constitution, also require Haslam to support the federal Constitution. Obamacare is altogether unconstitutional as outside the scope of the legislative powers delegated to Congress. This is plain and clearly proven. 3 Thus, Haslam is required by Oath to refuse to enforce obamacare because obamacare is unconstitutional.

If Haslam Violates the State Constitution and State Law, he must be Impeached and Removed.

Article V, Sec. 4 of the Tennessee Constitution provides that the governor shall be liable to impeachment whenever, in the opinion of the Tennessee House of Representatives, he commits any crime in his official capacity which requires disqualification.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary (1828 definition) defines “Crime” as

“1. An act which violates a law, divine or human; an act which violates a rule of moral duty; an offense against the laws of right, prescribed by God or man, or against any rule of duty plainly implied in those laws. A crime may consist in omission or neglect, as well as in commission, or positive transgression…”

Any governor who ignores the State Constitution, ignores State law, violates his Oath of Office, and usurps power must be removed from office. 4

End Notes:

1I haven’t read the obamacare Act. It is over 2000 pages long, and is being implemented right now by thousands of more pages of HHS & IRS Rules. Our Framers warned us of laws which were

“… so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow…”(Federalist Paper No. 62, 4th para from end)

2 The hyperlinks at lexus nexus don’t work. To find the text of the Tennessee Health Freedom Act, click on http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode/ then type in the search term, “Tennessee Health Freedom Act”, jump thru the hoops, and you will find the Act. It is short and worth reading.

3 See, e.g. these model Nullification Resolutions for obamacare

4 Impeachment and removal from office for usurpations of power is expressly authorized by our federal Constitution: See, as to removing a President who usurps power: Federalist Paper No. 66, 2nd para, and No. 77, last para. As to removing federal judges who usurp power, see Federalist Paper No. 81, 8th    

December 12, 2012

 

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December 12, 2012 Posted by | Health Care, Nullification by States, nullification of obamacare, Nullification of unconstitutional acts, Tennessee Constitution | , , , , , | 24 Comments

Now, How Do We Get Rid Of Obamacare? Nullify It!

By Publius Huldah

We are Americans. We are resourceful. When doors are slammed in our faces, we find another way.  Since five (5) lawless judges on the U.S. supreme Court betrayed us by failing to declare the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“obamacare”) unconstitutional; since we may be stuck with obama for four more years; 1  and since a democrat-controlled U.S. Senate will not repeal obamacare, we must find another way.

There is another way. Here it is, and it comes from Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence.

Nullification Resolutions for State Legislatures

1. Resolved, That The States composing the United States of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to the federal government; but that, with the Constitution for the United States, they established a federal government for limited purposes only.  That they delegated to this federal government only limited and enumerated powers; and reserved, each State to itself, all remaining powers, along with the right to their own self-government.

That whenever the federal government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.

That to these Principles, each State agreed as a State, and as The Parties to the Constitution.

That the federal government is not a party to the Constitution, but is merely the creature of the Constitution; and as the mere creature, was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it; since that would have made the creature’s will, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers.  That as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each State has an equal right to judge for itself as to whether the creature has committed infractions, and as to the mode and measure of redress.

2. Resolved, That Art. I, Sec. 2, of the Constitution of The State of Tennessee acknowledges the Principle that the doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

3. Resolved, That in the Constitution of the United States, THE PEOPLE ordained and established a Federation of Sovereign States which united only for THE LIMITED PURPOSES enumerated in the Constitution: national defense, international commerce and relations; and domestically the creation of an uniform commercial system:  Weights & measures, patents & copyrights, a monetary system based on gold & silver, bankruptcy laws, mail delivery and road building. That the 10th  Amendment to the Constitution also declares that “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.”

That nowhere in the Constitution of the United States was any power granted to Congress to make laws respecting the medical care of THE PEOPLE; and that nowhere in the Constitution are powers over this matter prohibited to The States.

4. Resolved, That Art. I, Sec. 1 of the Constitution of the United States provides that all legislative Powers granted by that Constitution are vested in CONGRESS; therefore, Departments within the Executive Branch are forbidden to make any “rules” or “laws” of general application whatsoever.

That administrative rules being promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services, one of the executive Departments of the federal government, to be set forth in Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and which pretend to regulate the medical care of THE PEOPLE throughout the several States; are altogether void, and of no force, as in violation of Art. I, Sec.1, of the federal Constitution.

That as matters pertaining to the “medical care”, “health”, and “human services” of THE PEOPLE are nowhere delegated to the federal government by the federal Constitution; but are among the countless multitudes of matters reserved to The States or THE PEOPLE; the federal Department of Health and Human Services is itself an unlawful Department, and its mere existence an affront to the Constitution; and all of the powers it exercises are usurped powers as outside the scope of the powers delegated to the federal government by our Constitution.

That if the pretended “rules” of this spurious federal Department should stand, these conclusions would flow from them; that unelected bureaucrats within the Executive Branch of the federal government may force upon The States, THE PEOPLE, the medical profession, and The Churches their own ideas of what others must and must not do in the area of medical care; and may force upon them their own ideas of what medical treatments each person shall be provided or denied.

That this spurious federal Department will further send out swarms of officers to trespass upon hospitals, doctors’ offices, other places of provision of medical care, and premises of religious institutions, to harass providers of medical services, dictate to them as to what specific medical treatments they must provide and are forbidden to provide to their patients.

To this abomination is added the additional affront that the objects of these pretended “rules” are altogether outside the scope of the enumerated powers THE PEOPLE delegated to the federal government in our Constitution.

That the Departments within the Executive Branch of the federal government have established a pattern of unlawfully functioning as legislators, when they write “agency rules”; as executives, when they investigate and prosecute violations of “agency rules”; and as judges and juries when they decide whether violations of their “agency rules” have occurred and impose punishment.  Thus the Executive Branch unlawfully functions as legislator, accuser, judge & jury, in violation of the Constitution and of the Principles of Separation of Power and of Checks and Balances.

5. Resolved, That all aspects of the medical care of THE PEOPLE, not being anywhere delegated to the United States by the Constitution, or prohibited by The Constitution to The States, are reserved to The States respectively, or to THE PEOPLE.  Therefore, power over this matter is reserved solely and exclusively to the respective States and THE PEOPLE, each within its or their own territory.

6. Resolved, That to take from The States all the powers of self-government and to transfer all powers to a general and consolidated national government, in defiance of the Constitution which was ordained and established by THE PEOPLE, is not for the peace, happiness or prosperity of THE PEOPLE.

Therefore This State is determined to refuse to submit to undelegated powers exercised over them by the federal government; and rejects altogether the notion that the federal government may exercise unlimited powers over them.

That in cases of an abuse of the delegated (enumerated) powers, the members of the federal government, being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy.

But, where powers are usurped which have not been delegated to the federal government – when the federal government acts outside of, and in defiance of, the federal Constitution by exercising powers not delegated to it by that Constitution; then a nullification of the unlawful act is the rightful remedy.

Thus every State has a natural right – which pre-dates & pre-exists the federal Constitution – to nullify of their own authority all such lawless assumptions of power within the boundaries of their State.  That without this pre-existing natural and original right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whoever in the federal government chooses to exercise tyrannical powers over them.

The States alone are The Parties to the compact; and thus are solely authorized to judge in the last resort of the powers exercised under it.  Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Judicial Branch are not parties to the contract; but are merely the creatures of the compact (Federalist No. 33, 5th para).  As mere creatures, they may exercise no powers other than those enumerated powers specifically delegated to them.

7. Resolved, That the misconstructions long and unlawfully applied by the federal government to the so-called “taxing”, “general welfare”, “interstate commerce”, and “necessary and proper” clauses, to the effect that these clauses bestow unlimited powers on the federal government, goes to the destruction of all limits prescribed to their powers by the federal Constitution. That the true and genuine meaning of those clauses is as follows:

a) The “taxing” and “general welfare” clauses:  Art. I, Sec. 8, cl.1, employs “general terms” which are “immediately” followed by the “enumeration of particular powers” which “explain and qualify”, by a “recital of particulars”, the general terms. It is “error” to focus on the “general expressions” and disregard “the specifications which ascertain and limit their import”; thus, to argue that the general expression provides “an unlimited power” is “an absurdity” (Federalist Paper No. 41, last 4 paras).

The federal Constitution declares that “the power of Congress…shall extend to certain enumerated cases.  This specification of particulars…excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd, as well as useless, if a general authority was intended…” (Federalist No. 83, 7th para).

b) The “interstate commerce” clause: “Commerce” is the buying and selling of goods – only that and nothing more. Webster’s American Dictionary (1828) says “commerce” is:

“an interchange or mutual change of goods, wares, productions, or property of any kind, between nations or individuals… by barter, or by purchase and sale; trade; traffick… inland commerce…is the trade in the exchange of commodities between citizens of the same nation or state.”

Federalist No. 22 (4th para), Federalist No. 42 (9th  &10th  paras), Federalist No. 44 (at 2.), and Federalist No. 56  (5th & 6th paras), explain the two purposes of the “interstate commerce” clause: (1) to prohibit the States from imposing tolls and tariffs on articles of import and export – goods & commodities – merchandize – as they are transported through the States for purposes of buying and selling; and (2) to permit the federal government to impose duties on imports and exports, both inland and abroad.

Article I, Sec. 8, cl.1; Art. I, Sec. 9, cls. 5 & 6; and Art. I, Sec.10, cls. 2 & 3, of the federal Constitution give express effect to these two purposes of the “interstate commerce” clause.

c) The “necessary and proper” clause:  This clause merely delegates to Congress the power to pass laws necessary and proper to execute its declared powers (Federalist No. 29, 4th para); a power to do something must be a power to pass all laws necessary and proper for the execution of that power (Federalist No. 33, 3rd para); “the constitutional operation of the intended government would be precisely the same if [this clause] were entirely obliterated as if [it] were repeated in every article” (No. 33, 2nd para); and thus the clause is “perfectly harmless”, a  tautology or redundancy” (No. 33, 3rd para).  Madison writes to the same effect in (Federalist No. 44, at 1.).

The clause merely permits the execution of powers already delegated and enumerated in the federal Constitution.  No additional substantive powers are granted by this clause.

8.  Resolved, That contrary to the misconstructions long and unlawfully applied by the federal government, the federal Constitution is one of enumerated powers only:

“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.” (Federalist No. 45 , 9th para)

“…the proposed government cannot be deemed a national one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignity over all other objects…” (Federalist No. 39, 3rd para from end)

“…the general [federal] government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects...” (Federalist No. 14, 8th para)

“…It merits particular attention … that the laws of the Confederacy [those made by Congress], as to the ENUMERATED and LEGITIMATE objects of its jurisdiction, will become the SUPREME LAW of the land…Thus the legislatures, courts, and magistrates, of the respective members [the States], will be incorporated into the operations of the national government AS FAR AS ITS JUST AND CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY EXTENDS…” [caps are Hamilton’s] (Federalist No. 27, last para).

That The Federalist Papers – and not the U.S. supreme Court – is the highest authority and evidence “of the general opinion of those who framed, and of those who accepted the Constitution of the US. on questions as to it’s genuine meaning”. 2 The supreme Court is merely a creature of the Constitution and is completely subject to its terms; and when judges on that and lower federal courts – who serve during “good Behaviour” only (Art. III, Sec. 1, cl. 1) – usurp powers, as they did with their lawless opinion upholding obamacare, they must be impeached and removed from office (Federalist No. 81, 8th para).

9. Resolved, That those within the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches of the federal government are sweeping away all the barriers of our Constitution; and that no ramparts now remain against their unbridled and insatiable lust for power over THE PEOPLE except for The  States.

That if The States do not now resist all such blatantly unlawful usurpations of power, THE PEOPLE of their States will be delivered into abject slavery subject to the unbridled control of whosoever occupies the office of President.  Our Representatives in Congress have shirked their constitutional obligation to support the Constitution (Art. VI, cl. 3), by acquiescing in the blatant usurpations by the Executive Branch; and  have failed in their duty to impeach and remove those within the Executive Branch who usurp powers (Federalist No. 66, 2nd para, and No. 77, last para).  That the supreme Court long ago took the side of those who seek to exercise unlimited control over The States and THE PEOPLE; and that Congress has failed in its duty to impeach and remove federal judges who usurp powers (Federalist No. 81, 8th para).

That pursuant to Art. VI, cl. 3 of our federal Constitution, all State legislators, State Officers and State Judges take a solemn Oath to support our federal Constitution. Therefore, they are bound by sacred Oath to protect THE PEOPLE of their States from the usurpations of the federal government whose clear object is the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over the States and THE PEOPLE.

That our Framers anticipated the dangers we now face and provided wise counsel for such a time as this.  Federalist No. 28 (last 5 paras) states that when “the representatives of the people betray their constituents”, the people have no recourse but to exert “that original right of self-defense” [The Declaration of Independence, 2nd para], against “the usurpations of the national rulers” (5th para from end).

That in a Federation of States united under a federal government for only limited purposes,

“…the people… are…the masters of their own fate. Power being almost always the rival of power, the general [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…” (4th para from end)

Thus, THE STATE LEGISLATURES are the ultimate bulwark of The People and The Ultimate Human Protectors of our Constitutional Republic:

“It may safely be received as an axiom in our political system, that the State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority. Projects of usurpation cannot be masked under pretenses so likely to escape the penetration of select bodies of men, as of the people at large. The legislatures will have better means of information. They can discover the danger at a distance; and possessing all the organs of civil power, and the confidence of the people, they can at once adopt a regular plan of opposition, in which they can combine all the resources of the community. They can readily communicate with each other in the different States, and unite their common forces for the protection of their common liberty.” (3rd para from end)

The last paragraph of Federalist No. 28 recognizes that when the federal government seeks

“… a despotism over the great body of the people … [the people] are in a situation, through the medium of their State governments, to take measures for their own defense…”

10. Resolved, That because men are corrupt and may not be trusted with power, the federal Constitution fixed the limits to which, and no further, the federal government may go.  Would we be wise if we permit the federal government to destroy the limits the Constitution places upon its powers? Would we be wise if we permit unelected bureaucrats in the Executive Departments of the federal government to regulate every aspect of our lives?

That if those who administer the federal government be permitted to transgress the limits fixed by the federal Constitution, by disregarding the limits on its powers set forth therein, then annihilation of the State Governments, and the erection upon their ruins, of a general consolidated  government, will be the inevitable consequence.

That the several States, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of infractions to the federal Constitution; and that nullification by those Sovereign States of all unauthorized acts of the federal government is the rightful remedy.

THEREFORE, This State, recurring to its natural rights in matters outside the scope of the powers delegated to the federal government, declares obamacare void, and of no force, and will take measures of its own for providing that neither that act, nor any others of the federal government not plainly and intentionally authorized by the Constitution, shalt be exercised in any manner whatsoever within This State.

Notes:

1. The above is patterned on Thomas Jefferson’s various writings on nullification, including The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798,  written by him in response to the alien and sedition acts passed by Congress which purported to grant to the President tyrannical powers with respect to aliens & “seditious” words.

2. These Resolutions focus on an Act of Congress and administrative rules being made by a Department within the Executive Branch of the federal government. This Model may be easily adapted to address Executive Orders which are outside the scope of the President’s enumerated powers; and supreme Court opinions which exceed their enumerated powersand disregard the federal Constitution, such as their lawless rulings upholding obamacare, banning public expressions of the Faith of Our Fathers  in order to convert us into a secular humanist State, and misapplying Sec. 1 of the 14th Amendment in order to undermine the morals of the People and destroy the residuary sovereignity of The States.

3. Several attorneys, historians, and others who claim special knowledge on this subject have asserted that States have no right to nullify anything the federal government does; that The States and The People must submit to the federal government no matter what it does; that only the federal government may question the federal government; that the federal government created by the Constitution is the exclusive and final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it; and the opinion of five supreme Court judges, not the Constitution, is the sole measure of its powers.

Such people may not understand the distinction between abuses of delegated powers (e.g., unwise bankruptcy laws – Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 4), for which election of better Representatives is the answer; and usurpations of powers which have not been delegated and are thus outside the lawful reach of the federal government (e.g., obamacare), for which nullification is the proper answer. When any branch of the federal government steps outside of the Constitution to make laws or “rules” or issue “orders” or “opinions” which exceed their delegated powers; The States must resort to those original rights which pre-date & pre-exist Our Constitution to nullify such usurpations by the federal government of undelegated powers.

4. Others who claim special knowledge on this subject insist that a single State may not nullify any act of the federal government; that only a majority of States acting in concert may do so.

They overlook (among other things) the nature of the laws protested in the Kentucky & Virginia Resolutions. Those Resolutions addressed laws made by Congress which purported to grant to the President certain dictatorial powers over “aliens” and “seditious words”. The States have no means of stopping the President from enforcing such laws since the President has the raw power to send out armed thugs to arrest people by night; and then to prosecute, convict, & execute them in secret tribunals and chambers. The States may object – but they can’t stop it. The supreme Court may denounce it, but can’t stop it. Only Congress can put an end to it by repealing its usurpatious law and by impeaching & removing a usurping President (Federalist No. 66, 2nd para & No. 77, last para).

But when Congress by means of a law (which is outside the scope of its delegated powers); or the President by means of an executive order (which is outside the scope of his delegated powers); or federal executive departments by means of administrative rules (which they are altogether prohibited by Art. I, Sec. 1 from making); or the supreme Court by means of opinions which contradict Our Constitution; purport to require THE STATES  or THE PEOPLE and THE CHURCHES to do something, or stop doing something, then of course THE STATES – on an individual basis – have both the POWER and the DUTY (imposed by their Art. VI, cl. 3 Oaths of Office) to nullify such usurpatious acts within the boundaries of their States.

These Model Resolutions set forth the Authorities on which they are based, so that State Legislators and Citizens may propose them in their State Legislatures with complete confidence that Our Framers “have their backs”. PH

Endnotes:

1 We can get rid of him earlier if we send enough people to Congress in 2014 with the spine to impeach & convict him and Biden. The Federalist Papers (cited above) are clear that Presidents should be impeached & removed for usurpations of power.

2 See the Minutes of March 4, 1825 of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia  (Thomas Jefferson & James Madison were present) where they voted to make The Federalist Papers one of the texts books for the Law School:

“Resolved that it is the opinion of this board that as to … the distinctive principles of the government of our own state, and of that of the US. the best guides are to be found in 1. the Declaration of Independance, as the fundamental act of union of these states. 2. the book known by the title of `The Federalist’, being an authority to which appeal is habitually made by all, and rarely declined or denied by any as evidence of the general opinion of those who framed, and of those who accepted the Constitution of the US. on questions as to it’s genuine meaning. 3. the Resolutions of the General assembly of Virginia in 1799. on the subject of the Alien and Sedition laws, which appeared to accord with the predominant sense of the people of the US. 4. the Valedictory address of President Washington, as conveying political lessons of peculiar value. and that in the branch of the school of Law, which is to treat on the subject of Civil polity, these shall be used as the text and documents of the school.” [pages 82-83, boldface added]. PH

November 13, 2012

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November 13, 2012 Posted by | 10th Amendment, Department of Health and Human Services, Health Care, Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Nullification by States, nullification of obamacare, Nullification of unconstitutional acts, Nullification Resolutions, obamacare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Rulemaking by Executive Agencies, Tennessee Constitution, Thomas Jefferson, Usurpations of power | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Model Nullification Resolutions for State Legislatures.

The Proposed Tennessee Resolutions of 2012

PLEASE NOTE:  I have revised these model resolutions.  The revised version is better organized and reads better.   You can find the revised resolutions by clicking on the following hyperlink:

Now, How Do We Get Rid Of Obamacare?  Nullify It!

Do use the revised model for your study, instead of the one below.

The revised version – which you can find at the link – sets forth in a nutshell all one needs for a basic understanding of our Constitution – and how the supreme Court destroyed it.

As always, feel free to post your questions.  PH

Proposed by Publius Huldah.

1. Resolved, That the States composing the United States of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to the federal government; but that, with the Constitution for the United States, they established a federal government for limited purposes only.  That they delegated to this federal government only limited and enumerated powers; and reserved, each State to itself, all remaining powers, along with the right to their own self-government.

That whenever the federal government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.

That to these Principles, each State agreed as a State, and as the Parties to the Constitution.

That the federal government is not a party to the Constitution, but is merely the creature of the Constitution; and as the mere creature, was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it; since that would have made the creature’s will, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers.  That as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each State has an equal right to judge for itself as to whether the creature has committed infractions, and as to the mode and measure of redress.

2. Resolved, That Art. I, Sec. 2, of the Constitution of The State of Tennessee acknowledges the Principle that the doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

3. Resolved, That the Constitution of the United States ordained and established a Federation of Sovereign States which united only for THE LIMITED PURPOSES enumerated in the Constitution: national defense, international commerce and relations; and domestically the creation of an uniform commercial system:  Weights & measures, patents & copyrights, a monetary system based on gold & silver, bankruptcy laws, and mail delivery.  That the 10th  Amendment to the Constitution also declares that “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.”

That nowhere in the Constitution of the United States was any power granted to Congress to make laws respecting agriculture, farming operations, labor and employment, or children and families; and that nowhere in the Constitution are powers over these matters prohibited to the States. These matters are altogether outside the scope of powers delegated to the federal government. Therefore, power over these matters is reserved solely and exclusively to the respective States and THE PEOPLE, each within its or their own territory.

4. Resolved, That Art. I, Sec. 1 of the Constitution of the United States provides that all legislative Powers granted by that Constitution are vested in CONGRESS; therefore, Departments within the Executive Branch are forbidden to make any “rules” or “laws” of general application whatsoever.  That administrative rules promulgated by the Department of Labor, one of the Executive Departments of the federal government, set forth at 29 CFR Part 570, and which pretend to regulate child labor throughout the several States; are altogether void, and of no force,  as in violation of Art. I, Sec. 1, of the federal Constitution.

5. Resolved, That child laborers, including agricultural workers and children who work on family and other farms, are under the jurisdiction and protection of the Constitution and laws of the State wherein they are; that no power over them has been delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to the individual States. And it being true as a general principle, and one of the amendments to the Constitution having also declared, that “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”; the rules of the federal Department of Labor set forth at 29 CFR Part 570, which assume powers not delegated by the federal Constitution over child laborers, including agricultural workers and children who work on family and other farms, is not “law”, but is altogether void, and of no force.

6. Resolved, That since children and their parents or employers are under the protection of the State Constitution and laws of the State where they are; in cases of any violations of the Laws of such State, they are entitled to have their cases handled by the duly convened Courts of such State.  That transferring power of defining, prosecuting, and judging any such violations from the three branches of the State Governments to bureaucrats within one of the federal executive departments, is altogether unlawful and an intolerable usurpation of power.

7. Resolved, That the misconstructions long and unlawfully applied by the federal government to the so-called “taxing”, “general welfare”, “interstate commerce”, and “necessary and proper” clauses, to the effect that these clauses bestow unlimited powers on the federal government, goes to the destruction of all limits prescribed to their powers by the federal Constitution. That the true and genuine meaning of those clauses is as follows:

a) The “taxing” and “general welfare” clauses:  Art. I, Sec. 8, cl.1, employs “general terms” which are “immediately” followed by the “enumeration of particular powers” which “explain and qualify”, by a “recital of particulars”, the general terms. It is “error” to focus on the “general expressions” and disregard “the specifications which ascertain and limit their import”; thus, to argue that the general expression provides “an unlimited power” is “an absurdity” (Federalist Paper No. 41, last 4 paras).

The federal Constitution declares that “the power of Congress…shall extend to certain enumerated cases.  This specification of particulars…excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd, as well as useless, if a general authority was intended…” (Federalist No. 83, 7th para).

b) The “interstate commerce” clause: “Commerce” is the buying and selling of goods – only that and nothing more. Webster’s American Dictionary (1828) says “commerce” is:

“an interchange or mutual change of goods, wares, productions, or property of any kind, between nations or individuals… by barter, or by purchase and sale; trade; traffick… inland commerce…is the trade in the exchange of commodities between citizens of the same nation or state.”

Federalist No. 22 (4th para), Federalist No. 42 (9th  &10th  paras), Federalist No. 44 (at 2.), and Federalist No. 56  (5th & 6th paras), explain the two purposes of the “interstate commerce” clause: (1) to prohibit the States from imposing tolls and tariffs on articles of import and export – goods & commodities – merchandize – as they are transported through the States for purposes of buying and selling; and (2) to permit the federal government to impose duties on imports and exports, both inland and abroad.

Article I, Sec. 8, cl.1; Art. I, Sec. 9, cls. 5 & 6; and Art. I, Sec.10, cls. 2 & 3, of the federal Constitution give express effect to these two purposes of the “interstate commerce” clause.

c) The “necessary and proper” clause:  This clause merely delegates to Congress the power to pass laws necessary and proper to execute its declared powers (Federalist No. 29, 4th para); a power to do something must be a power to pass all laws necessary and proper for the execution of that power (Federalist No. 33, 3rd para); “the constitutional operation of the intended government would be precisely the same if [this clause] were entirely obliterated as if [it] were repeated in every article” (No. 33, 2nd para); and thus the clause is “perfectly harmless”, a  tautology or redundancy” (No. 33, 3rd para).  Madison writes to the same effect in (Federalist No. 44, at 1.).

The clause merely permits the execution of powers already delegated and enumerated in the federal Constitution.  No additional substantive powers are granted by this clause.

That contrary to the misconstructions long and unlawfully applied by the federal government, the federal Constitution is one of enumerated powers only:

“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.”  (Federalist No. 45 , 9th para)

“…the proposed government cannot be deemed a national one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignity over all other objects….” (Federalist No. 39, 3rd para from end)

“…the general [federal] government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects...” (Federalist No. 14, 8th para)

“…It merits particular attention … that the laws of the Confederacy [those made by Congress], as to the ENUMERATED and LEGITIMATE objects of its jurisdiction, will become the SUPREME LAW of the land…Thus the legislatures, courts, and magistrates, of the respective members [the States], will be incorporated into the operations of the national government AS FAR AS ITS JUST AND CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY EXTENDS…”[caps are Hamilton’s] (Federalist No. 27, last para).

That The Federalist Papers – and not the U.S. supreme Court – is the highest authority and evidence “of the general opinion of those who framed, and of those who accepted the Constitution of the US. on questions as to it’s genuine meaning”. The supreme Court is merely a creature of the Constitution and is completely subject to its terms; and when judges on that and lower federal courts – who serve during “good Behaviour” only (Art. III, Sec. 1, cl. 1) – usurp powers, they must be impeached and removed from office (Federalist No. 81, 8th para).

8. Resolved, That to take from the States all the powers of self-government and to transfer all powers to a general and consolidated national government, in defiance of the Constitution which was ordained and established by THE PEOPLE, is not for the peace, happiness or prosperity of THE PEOPLE.

Therefore this State is determined to refuse to submit to undelegated powers exercised over them by the federal government; and rejects altogether the notion that the federal government may exercise unlimited powers over them.

That in cases of an abuse of the delegated (enumerated) powers, the members of the federal government, being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy.

But, where powers are usurped which have not been delegated to the federal government – when the federal government acts outside of, and in defiance of, the federal Constitution by exercising powers not delegated to it by that Constitution; then a nullification of the unlawful act is the rightful remedy.

Thus every State has a natural right – which pre-dates & pre-exists the federal Constitution – to nullify of their own authority all such lawless assumptions of power within the boundaries of their State.  That without this pre-existing natural and original right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whoever in the federal government chooses to exercise tyrannical powers over them.

The States alone are The Parties to the compact; and thus are solely authorized to judge in the last resort of the powers exercised under it.  Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Judicial Branch are not parties to the contract; but are merely the creatures of the compact (Federalist No. 33, 5th para).  As mere creatures, they may exercise no powers other than those enumerated powers specifically delegated to them.

9. Resolved, That matters pertaining to “labor”, “employment”, “farms”, “children” and their employers or parents, are nowhere delegated to the federal government by the federal Constitution; but are among the countless multitudes of matters reserved to the States or THE PEOPLE.

Therefore, the federal Department of Labor is itself an unlawful department, and its mere existence an affront to the Constitution; and all of the powers it exercises are usurped powers as outside the scope of the powers delegated to the federal government by our Constitution.

That if the pretended “rules” of this spurious federal Department of Labor should stand, these conclusions would flow from them; that unelected bureaucrats within the Executive Branch of the federal government may force upon The States and THE PEOPLE their own ideas of what children and their employers or parents may and may not do; that they may place any act they think proper on a list of prohibited activities, that they will send out swarms of officers to trespass upon private farms and places of business, to harass employers, children and their parents;  and then prosecute and punish violations of their pretended “rules” in their own pretended “administrative courts” with their own pretended “administrative judges”.

That the federal departments within the Executive Branch of the federal government have established a pattern of unlawfully functioning as legislators, when they write “agency rules”; as executives, when they investigate and prosecute violations of “agency rules”; and as judges and juries when they decide whether violations of their “agency rules” have occurred.  Thus the Executive Branch unlawfully functions as legislator, accuser, judge & jury, in violation of the Constitution and of the Principles of Separation of Power and of Checks and Balances.

To this abomination is added the additional affront that the objects of these pretended “rules” are altogether outside the scope of the enumerated powers delegated to the federal government in our Constitution.

That in this way, those within the Executive Branch of the federal government are sweeping away all the barriers of our Constitution; and that no ramparts now remain between their unbridled and insatiable lust for power over THE PEOPLE except for the several States.

10. Resolved, That if the States do not now resist all such blatantly unlawful usurpations of power, THE PEOPLE of their States will be delivered into abject slavery subject to the unbridled control of whosoever occupies the office of President.  Our Representatives in Congress have shirked their constitutional obligation to support the Constitution (Art. VI, cl. 3), by acquiescing in the blatant usurpations by the Executive Branch; and  have failed in their duty to impeach and remove those within the Executive Branch who usurp powers (Federalist No. 66, 2nd para, and No. 77, last para).  That the supreme Court long ago took the side of those who seek to exercise unlimited control over the States and THE PEOPLE; and that Congress has failed in their duty to impeach and remove federal judges who usurp powers (Federalist No. 81, 8th para).

That pursuant to Art. VI, cl. 3 of our federal Constitution, all State legislators, State Officers and State Judges take a solemn Oath to support our federal Constitution. Therefore, they are bound to protect THE PEOPLE of their States from the usurpations of the federal government whose clear object is the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over the States and the People.

That our Framers anticipated the dangers we now face and provided wise counsel for such a time as this.  Federalist No. 28 (last 5 paras) states that when “the representatives of the people betray their constituents”, the people have no recourse but to exert “that original right of self-defense” [The Declaration of Independence, 2nd para], against “the usurpations of the national rulers” (5th para from end).

That in a Federation of States united under a federal government for only limited purposes,

“…the people… are…the masters of their own fate. Power being almost always the rival of power, the general [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…” (4th para from end)

Thus, THE STATE LEGISLATURES are the ultimate bulwark of The People and The Ultimate Human Protectors of our Constitutional Republic:

“It may safely be received as an axiom in our political system, that the State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority. Projects of usurpation cannot be masked under pretenses so likely to escape the penetration of select bodies of men, as of the people at large. The legislatures will have better means of information. They can discover the danger at a distance; and possessing all the organs of civil power, and the confidence of the people, they can at once adopt a regular plan of opposition, in which they can combine all the resources of the community. They can readily communicate with each other in the different States, and unite their common forces for the protection of their common liberty.”  (3rd para from end)

The last paragraph of Federalist No. 28 recognizes that when the federal government seeks

“… a despotism over the great body of the people … [the people] are in a situation, through the medium of their State governments, to take measures for their own defense…”

11. Resolved, That because men may not be trusted with power, the federal Constitution fixed the limits to which, and no further, the federal government may go.  Would we be wise if we permit the federal government to destroy the limits the Constitution places upon its powers? Would we be wise if we permit unelected bureaucrats in the Executive Departments of the federal government to regulate every aspect of our lives?

That if those who administer the federal government be permitted to transgress the limits fixed by the federal Constitution, by disregarding the limits on its powers set forth therein, then annihilation of the State Governments, and the erection upon their ruins, of a general consolidated  government, will be the inevitable consequence.

That the several States, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of infractions to the federal Constitution; and that nullification by those sovereign States of all unauthorized acts of the federal government is the rightful remedy.

THEREFORE, this State, recurring to its natural rights in matters outside the scope of the powers delegated to the federal government, declares these acts void, and of no force, and will take measures of its own for providing that neither these acts, nor any others of the federal government not plainly and intentionally authorized by the Constitution, shalt be exercised within this State.

Notes:

1. The above is patterned on the relevant portions of The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, written by Thomas Jefferson in response to the alien and sedition acts passed by Congress which purported to grant to the President tyrannical powers with respect to aliens & “seditious” words.

2. These proposed Resolutions focus on administrative “rules” made by a Department within the Executive Branch of the federal government. This Model may be easily adapted to address acts of Congress which are outside the scope of its enumerated powers; Executive Orders which are outside the scope of the President’s enumerated powers; and supreme Court opinions which exceed their enumerated powersand disregard the federal Constitution, such as their lawless rulings banning public expressions of the Faith of Our Fathers and misapplying Sec. 1 of the 14th Amendment in order to undermine the morals of the People and to destroy the residuary sovereignity of The States.

3. Several attorneys, historians, and others who claim special knowledge on this subject have asserted that States have no right to nullify anything the federal government does; that the States and The People must submit to the federal government no matter what it does; that only the federal government may question the federal government; thatthe federal government created by the Constitution is the exclusive and final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it; and the opinion of five supreme Court judges, not the Constitution, is the sole measure of its powers.

Such people may not understand the distinction between abuses of delegated powers (e.g., unwise bankruptcy laws – Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 4), for which election of better Representatives is the answer; and usurpations of powers which have not been delegated and are thus outside the lawful reach of the federal government (e.g., obamacare), for which nullification is the proper answer. When any branch of the federal government steps outside of the Constitution to make laws or “rules” or issue “opinions” which exceed their delegated powers; the States must resort to those original rights which pre-date & pre-exist Our Constitution to nullify such usurpations by the federal government of undelegated powers.

Such people also do not seem to understand our Founding Principles: Our Declaration of Independence says:

“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, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it …”  (2nd para)

In that one paragraph, we learn the five foundational principles of our Constitutional Republic:

  • Our Rights are unalienableand come from God;
  • The purpose of civil government is to protect our God-given Rights;
  • Civil government gets its powers from THE PEOPLE;
  • Civil government is legitimate only when it stays within the powers WE delegated to it; and
  • When civil government becomes destructive of the purposes for which WE created it, WE may throw it off.

The Constitution is the formal expression of our Consent for the federal government to exist; and it is our formal statement of which specific powers WE agreed to delegate to the three branches of that government. Look atthe opening words:

“WE THE PEOPLE … do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The federal government operates with our consent only when it restricts itself to the powers WE delegated to it – when it obeys the Constitution. When it exercises usurped powers which have not been delegated to it, it becomes illegitimate. 

When the federal government loses its legitimacy – as it now has – it is the sworn duty of the States, pursuant to Art. VI, cl. 3, of our Constitution, to resist.

4. Others who claim special knowledge on this subject insist that a single State may not nullify any act of the federal government; that only a majority of the States acting in concert may do so.

But they overlook the nature of the laws protested in the Kentucky & Virginia Resolutions. Those Resolutions addressed laws made by Congress which purported to grant to the President certain dictatorial powers and jurisdiction over “aliens” and “seditious words”. The States have no means of stopping the President from enforcing such laws since the President has the raw power to send out armed thugs to arrest people by night; and then to prosecute, convict, & execute them in secret tribunals and chambers. The States may object – but they can’t stop it. The supreme Court may denounce it, but can’t stop it. Only Congress can put an end to it by impeaching & removing such a usurping President (Federalist No. 66, 2nd para & No. 77, last para).

But when Congress by means of a law (which is outside the scope of its delegated powers); or the President by means of an executive order (which is outside the scope of his delegated powers); or federal executive departments by means of administrative rules (which they are altogether prohibited by Art. I, Sec. 1 from making); or the supreme Court by means of opinions which contradict Our Constitution; purport to require THE STATES to do something, or stop doing something, then of course THE STATES – on an individual basis – have both the POWER and the DUTY (imposed by their Art. VI, cl. 3 Oaths of Office) to nullify such usurpatious acts within the boundaries of their States.   The proper battle cry in such events is, “Not in my state!”

Do you see? PH
Posted March 13, 2012

Postscript Added March 15, 2012:

The federal government is not God.  It is merely our “creature”. We The People created the federal government when We ordained and established Our Constitution. And when We enumerated the powers We delegated to each branch of the federal government, We told the federal government what We were giving it permission to do.

But we have now come to believe that the federal government may do whatever it wants; and we must obey it.  And because we have believed this for so long, a totalitarian fascist dictatorship is right now being imposed on us.

So what should we do?  Revolution and bloodshed? No!  There is a better way, and our Framers show us:  On behalf of The People of their States, The State Legislatures must now resort to that original right of self-defense which pre-exists & pre-dates The Constitution; and must nullify those acts of the federal government which are outside the scope of the powers We delegated to it in Our Constitution.

The Model Resolutions  set forth the Authorities on which they are based, so that State Legislators may propose them in their State Legislatures with complete confidence that Our Framers “have their backs”. PH

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March 13, 2012 Posted by | 10th Amendment, Administrative Law, Checks and Balances, Declaration of Independence, Department of Labor, Elastic clause, General Welfare Clause, Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Necessary and Proper clause, Nullification by States, Nullification of unconstitutional acts, Nullification Resolutions, Oath of Office, Resistance to tyranny, Rulemaking by Executive Agencies, separation of powers, States Retained Powers, States Rights, Tennessee Constitution, Tenth Amendment, The Tennessee Resolutions, Usurpations of power | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 60 Comments

Nullification: Smacking Down Those Who Smackdown The Constitution.

By Publius Huldah.

In response to a recent article in the National Review by Allen C. Guelzo, a nullification denier and history professor at Gettysburg College, and two responding letters to the Editor,1 one “Celticreeler” posted an astute rebuttal you can read here.

The issue in the National Review article and letters is this: Guelzo denies that States have any right to nullify unconstitutional laws made by Congress. He looks at Art. VI, clause 2, U.S. Constitution (the “supremacy clause”) which reads,

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land… [emphasis added]

and concludes that any law made by Congress is the “supreme” law of the land; and everyone must obey, unless & until five (5) judges on the supreme Court say they don’t have to. He claims that only judges have authority to nullify unconstitutional acts of Congress.

In her rebuttal, Celticreeler correctly points out that the phrase, “in Pursuance thereof”, “limit[s] the federal government’s supremacy to laws that were made pursuant to the Constitution…”

She also reprints Guelzo’s reply to her letter to the Editor. And what he says in his reply is so at odds with the words of our Framers,  that I am compelled to respond

We will look at four Founding Principles which Guelzo rejects and reverses.

1. What does “In Pursuance thereof” Really Mean?

Guelzo says in his reply,

“In pursuance thereof ” was intended only to recognize that, at the time of the Constitution’s adoption, no body of legislation had yet been made under the Constitution…

What?   He presents no proof  – though he does throw in the factoid that “The supremacy clause was written by an anti-Federalist, Luther Martin, whom we might presume to have entertained a few anxieties about an overmighty federal government”.

Actually, Luther Martin said the clause he proposed was “very materially different from the [supremacy clause] clause adopted by the Constitution” 2;  but I will not quibble.

In any event, it is The Federalist Papers which are authoritative as to the genuine meaning of the Constitution 3 – not speeches of delegates to the Federal Convention (thou they can shed light). And this is what The Federalist Papers say about Art. VI, clause 2, and “in Pursuance thereof”:

In Federalist No. 33 (6th para), Alexander Hamilton says:

…But it will not follow …that acts of the large society [the federal government] which are NOT PURSUANT to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies [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… [T]he clause which declares the supremacy of the laws of the Union … EXPRESSLY confines this supremacy to laws made PURSUANT TO THE CONSTITUTION … [capitals are Hamilton's]

In the next para, Hamilton says that a law made by Congress which is not authorized by the Constitution,

would not be the supreme law of the land, but a usurpation of power not granted by the Constitution…. [boldface mine]

In Federalist No. 27 (last para), Hamilton says:

the laws of the Confederacy [the federal government], as to the ENUMERATED and LEGITIMATE objects of its jurisdiction, will become the SUPREME LAW of the land; to the observance of which all officers, legislative, executive, and judicial, in each State, will be bound by the sanctity of an oath. Thus the legislatures, courts, and magistrates, of the respective members [the States], will be incorporated into the operations of the national government AS FAR AS ITS JUST AND CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY EXTENDS… [capitals are Hamilton's; other emphasis mine]

And in Federalist No. 78 (10th para),  Hamilton says:

…every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid. [emphasis mine]

Do you see?  Federalist No. 33, 27, & 78 are clear:  Acts of  Congress which are not authorized by the Constitution are “void” – they are “mere usurpations and deserve to be treated as such”. They are not made “in Pursuance” of the Constitution and have “supremacy” over nothing. 4

2. Who is Supposed to Look to the U.S. Constitution for Permission: The Federal Government, the Member States, or the People?

Guelzo says (in his reply):

If the Founders had wanted to grant nullifying power-to the states or any other body-they would have had more than sufficient opportunity to include it in the Constitution.  [boldface added]

Guelzo thus asserts that the States [i.e., the Members of the Federation] don’t have any powers unless “the Founders” said they could have them and wrote it into The Constitution!  He demands that the States look to the Constitution to see what they are permitted to do! According to Guelzo, if the Constitution doesn’t give States permission, they can’t do it.

Guelzo has it backwards – our Founding Documents refute his words. The second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence says that Rights come from God and to secure these rights, 5

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -

So, governments have only those powers “the governed” permit them to have!  In our Constitution, WE THE PEOPLE, acting through our Representative States, decided what powers WE would delegate to the federal government.

Accordingly, WE THE PEOPLE created the federal government when WE, acting through our States, ordained & established the Constitution for the United States of America. In the Constitution, WE itemized the powers WE granted to each branch of the federal government.  No Branch of the federal government may lawfully do ANYTHING unless WE authorized it in the Constitution. WE are the Creators; those in the federal government, are merely our “creatures”.  In Federalist No. 33 (5th para), Hamilton calls the federal government our “creature”; and points out that it is up to THE PEOPLE to smackdown the federal government when it “overpass[es] the just bounds of its authority and make[s] a tyrannical use of its powers”. 6

In Federalist No. 32 (2nd para), Hamilton says,

…the State governments …clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not… EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States. This exclusive delegation …of State sovereignty would only exist in three cases… [caps are Hamilton's, boldface mine]

The Tenth Amendment says:

   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.  [emphasis added]

Do you see? Guelzo reverses & perverts the whole point of Our Declaration of Independence, Our Revolution, & Our Constitution.

It is each of the three branches of the federal government (Legislative, Executive, & Judicial) who must look to the Constitution to see what powers WE THE PEOPLE, acting through our States, allowed them to have. All other powers are reserved to The States or The People.

3. Who Has Authority to Nullify Unconstitutional Laws Made by Congress?

Guelzo says, respecting the power to nullify a law made by Congress,

…That determination lies in the hands of the courts, under the principle of judicial review laid down in McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819…

McCulloch v. Maryland?  In McCulloch v. Maryland, the supreme Court decided [wrongly] that Congress has power under various of the enumerated powers listed at Art. I, Sec. 8, clauses 1-16, and the “necessary & proper clause” (Art. I, Sec. 8, last clause) to incorporate a national bank.  That case is not about “judicial review”.

Perhaps he meant Marbury v. Madison (1803).  Even so, Hamilton had already “laid down” the principle of judicial review in Federalist No. 78 (8th -15th paras) some 15 years earlier.

And in the Constitution, WE did not delegate EXCLUSIVE authority to federal judges to nullify unconstitutional laws! Furthermore, the Oaths of Office at Art. VI, cl. 3 & Art. II, Sec. 1, last clause, impose on all who take them an obligation to uphold the Constitution against usurpations by the federal government.  Thus, nullification is both a Power retained by the States & The People as well as an Obligation imposed by Oath. 

And REMEMBER!  Our Rights pre-date & pre-exist The Constitution. Thus, nullification of usurped powers is a natural right – it is the remedy against insupportable oppression by the federal government. 7

4. In Our American System, WE Do Not Take Oaths To Obey Persons, Institutions, Or Judges.

I have proved elsewhere that nullification of unconstitutional laws, executive orders, supreme Court opinions and treaties is required by the Constitutional Oaths of office. That Oath requires that all who take it swear or affirm that they will support the Constitution.  In our American system, we do not take Oaths to obey persons, institutions, or courts.   Here are two papers explaining the legal & moral imperatives of nullification: Why States Must Nullify Unconstitutional Acts of Congress: Instructions from Hamilton, Madison, & Jefferson   and  The Oath Of Office: The Check On Usurpations By Congress, The Executive Branch, & Federal Judges  8

Guelzo’s Statist Vision.

Guelzo’s vision is this:  Every law made by Congress [the Legislative Branch of the federal government] is “supreme”; and the Member States & WE THE PEOPLE must obey, unless & until five (5) judges on the supreme Court [the Judicial Branch of the federal government] say the law is unconstitutional. In other words, Guelzo holds that only the federal government may question the federal government.

His words are poisonUnder his vision, the federal government created by the Constitution is the exclusive and final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it; and the opinion of five judges, not the Constitution, is the sole measure of its powers.  It is an evil ideology. And, as I have proved herein, it is antithetical to our Founding Documents and Principles. 9 PH

Endnotes:

1 Celticreeler states that Guelzo’s original article appeared in the February 21, 2011 issue of National Review.  In response, she submitted a letter to the Editor, and Guelzo replied.  Celticreeler reprints Guelzo’s reply in her linked rebuttal.  Guelzo’s original article is available to subscribers only.

2 You can read Martin’s actual comments (March 19, 1788) here: Luther Martin’s Reply to the Landholder.1  

3  The Federalist Papers were written during 1787-88 to explain the proposed Constitution to The People and to induce them (through their States) to ratify it. For this reason, The Federalist Papers are authoritative on the genuine meaning of the Constitution. And at a meeting attended by Thomas Jefferson & James Madison of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia on March 4, 1825, the following resolution selecting texts for the Law school was passed:

…on the distinctive principles of the government of our own state, and of that of the US. the best guides are to be found in 1. the Declaration of Independance, as the fundamental act of union of these states. 2. the book known by the title of `The Federalist’, being an authority to which appeal is habitually made by all, and rarely declined or denied by any as evidence of the general opinion of those who framed, and of those who accepted the Constitution of the US. on questions as to it’s genuine meaning…. (page 83)  [emphasis added]

Someone!  Show Professor Guelzo the on-line edition of The Federalist Papers so he can learn the genuine meaning of the Constitution!  Salvage the minds of the young people who the administration of Gettysburg College places in Guelzo’s care.

4  Using The Federalist Papers as Proof, I explain the “Supremacy Clause” here: The Arizona Illegal Alien Law & The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Exclusive & Concurrent Jurisdiction Explained.  Guelzo mentions “preemption” [it does sounds "grand, doesn't it?]; but in this paper I  explain the interplay between constitutional federal & Reserved State powers.

5  It is impossible to understand The Constitution without acknowledging the Principle set forth in Our Declaration of  Independence that that our Rights are granted to us by The Creator God;  they thus pre-exist & pre-date The Constitution, and are unalienable by man. WE do not look to The Constitution for our Rights!  I explain our Rights here.

6  Here are Hamilton’s actual words:

If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify. (Federalist No. 33, 5th para) [emphasis added]

7  In his writings on Nullification, our beloved Thomas Jefferson distinguishes between [mere] “abuses of delegated powers” and the assumption of powers “which have not been delegated”:

…in cases of an abuse of the delegated powers, the members of the General [federal] Government, being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy; but, where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non foederis,) to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them:.. [boldface added]

I.e., if Congress merely abuses a delegated power [e.g., makes silly bankruptcy laws (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 4)], then the proper remedy is to vote the Representatives out of office and replace them with sensible ones who will repeal the silly bankruptcy laws.

But if Congress assumes a power which has not been delegated to it – e.g., control of the Peoples’ medical care – then each State has a natural right to nullify it within their own borders.  It is outside the compact the States made with each other – the States and the People never gave their “creature” (the federal government) power over their medical care!  Without Nullification, the States and the People would be under the absolute & unlimited control of the federal government.

8 Remember! We expect the lowest-ranking soldier to refuse to obey an unlawful order even when given by a commissioned officer. See “A Duty to Disobey: The Forgotten Lessons of My Lai“, by military lawyer Robert S. Rivkin. And do not forget the Nuremberg trials – defendants claimed they were “just following orders”.  The Court properly rejected that defense.

Do we ask less of ourselves and our State & federal officials than we do of 18 year-old soldiers when we are confronted with unconstitutional acts of the federal government?  The three branches of the federal government have connived against us – THE PEOPLE.  So smack them down!  Can we live up to our Framers’ expectations as set forth throughout The Federalist Papers?  See also, What Should States Do When the Federal Government Usurps Power? for advice from James Madison.

9  Does Professor Guelzo understands the poisonous import of his words?  Or did he uncritically accept, and does he unthinkingly recite, what he has been told?  What he says is the prevailing dogma of our time – most lawyers believe it because it is what they were told in law school. Theirs’ are minds which have never been trained to think, and they are ignorant of the concept of “objective meaning”. I address the problem of inability to think and our moral & intellectual corruption here: How Progressive Education & Bad Philosophy Corrupted The People & Undermined The U.S. Constitution  PH.

April 17, 2011

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April 17, 2011 Posted by | Allen C. Guelzo, Article VI, clause 2, Article VI, clause 3, Declaration of Independence, Nullification by States, Nullification of unconstitutional acts, Oath of Office, Reserved Powers, Resistance to tyranny, States Retained Powers, States Rights, Supremacy clause, Supreme Law of the Land, Usurpations of power | | 35 Comments

Why States Must Nullify Unconstitutional Acts of Congress: Instructions from Hamilton, Madison, & Jefferson.

Why Nullification is Legal.

By Publius Huldah.

During August 2010, the People of The State of Missouri approved Proposition C and nullified key parts of “obamacare”.  As a matter of constitutional principle, may the People of the States lawfully do this?  Or must they submit to every law made by Congress whether it is constitutional or not?  Are federal judges the final authority?

I will prove that the States have the Right and the Duty to nullify unconstitutional acts of  Congress.  The only real question is whether Americans have the Will to reclaim our Constitutional Republic & the Rule of Law, or whether they will submit to the rulership of men who “don’t care” what the Constitution says, and who see obamacare as a way “to control the people”.

Congress’ Powers are Enumerated

1. The U.S. Constitution, which created the federal government, permits Congress to make laws only on those few objects which are listed in the Constitution. The objects on which Congress has authority to make laws applicable throughout our Country are itemized at Art. I, Sec. 8, clauses 1-16 (and in a few of the Amendments).

Since the Federalist Papers are the most authoritative commentary on the true meaning of the Constitution, 1 let us see what those Papers say about the extent of Congress’ legislative powers.  In Federalist   No. 83 (7th para), Alexander Hamilton says:

The plan of the convention declares that the power of Congress …shall extend to certain enumerated cases. This specification of particulars evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd, as well as useless, if a general authority was intended. [boldface mine]

In Federalist No. 39 (3rd para from end), James Madison says:

the proposed government cannot be deemed a national one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignty over all other objects…[emphasis added]

Our Framers were emphatic that ours is a Constitution of enumerated powers only.  In Federalist No. 45 (9th para), Madison says:

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…[emphasis mine] 3

Do you see?  If the Constitution doesn’t delegate a power to Congress by listing it in the Constitution, Congress doesn’t have that power.  It is reserved by the States or the People.

Congress Usurps Power when it makes Laws outside its Enumerated Powers – and such pretended Laws are VOID & NOT VALID.

2. Our Framers understood that civil governments seek to expand power at the expense of the People. And when they do so, their acts are VOID and INVALID!  Thus, in Federalist No. 33 (next to last para), Hamilton says:

…But it will not follow …that acts of the large society [the federal government] which are NOT PURSUANT to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies [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… [caps are Hamilton's; other emphasis mine]

In the last paragraph of  No. 33,  Hamilton says a law made by Congress which is not authorized by the Constitution,

would not be the supreme law of the land, but a usurpation of power not granted by the Constitution… [emphasis mine]

In Federalist No. 78 (10th para),  Hamilton says:

…every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid. [emphasis mine]

Nothing in Art. I, Sec. 8, or elsewhere in the Constitution, authorizes Congress to pass obamacare!  “Medical care” is not an enumerated power.  Obamacare is unconstitutional as outside the scope of the legislative powers granted to Congress. 4

Furthermore, the Tenth Amendment forbids Congress to pass obamacare: When a power is not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution, that power is reserved to the States or to the People.  Only the States or the People have power over medical care!

So!  Congress passed obamacare without any constitutional authority to do so, and in violation of the Tenth Amendment.  Hence, as Hamilton shows us, obamacare is “void” and not “valid”. It is an act “of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such.”

Hamilton, Madison & Thomas Jefferson show us that Nullification is the Answer.

3. Hamilton shows in Federalist No. 28 (7th para) that if the federal government invades the rights of the People, they can use the State government as the instrument of redress:

…in a confederacy   the people … may be said to be … the masters of their own fate. Power being almost always the rival of power, the general [federal] government will … 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…. [emphasis added]

So!  When the People of the State of Missouri approved Proposition C nullifying obamacare, they properly made use of their State government as “the instrument of redress” against the usurpations of Congress & the Executive Branch.

And since State officials and many Citizens have taken the Oath to support the U.S. Constitution (Art. VI, clause 2), it is their SWORN DUTY to nullify – to refuse to obey – unconstitutional and pretended federal “laws”, such as obamacare.

Nullification by States of unconstitutional federal laws is not new.  Our beloved Thomas Jefferson (Author of the Declaration of Independence) & James Madison (Father of the U.S. Constitution) show us precisely what States are honor bound to do when Congress makes an unconstitutional law. During 1798, in response to Congress’ passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Kentucky and Virginia Legislatures passed Resolutions declaring those Acts unconstitutional as outside the enumerated powers granted to Congress, and as in violation of the Tenth Amendment.  In these Resolutions, Kentucky and Virginia resolved not to abide by the federal acts.  Jefferson wrote The Kentucky Resolutions, and Madison wrote The Virginia Resolution. 5

The Kentucky & Virginia Resolutions are masterpieces of constitutional analysis. Study them!  States may use them as models for their own Resolutions nullifying the myriad of unconstitutional “laws” which have spewed forth from Congress in recent decades.

The Framers did NOT say States should file Lawsuits and let Federal Judges decide!

4. Think: Why would the States, which formed a Federation for the limited purposes enumerated in Art. I, Sec. 8; ask one branch of the federal government (judiciary) to opine on whether a “law” approved by the two other branches (legislative & executive), exceeds the enumerated powers of Congress and encroaches on the reserved powers of the States and the People (10th Amendment)?  All three branches of the federal government have been unified against The Constitution, the States, and the People for a very long time!  Why would States put themselves in the position of supplicants to a Court which has already shown itself to be contemptuous of the Constitution, and of the States’ and The Peoples’ reserved powers?

And further:  Can we not see for ourselves that obamacare is outside the scope of the Legislative Powers granted to Congress in the Constitution, and that it violates the Tenth Amendment?  Our Framers certainly did not advocate running to federal judges to let them decide such issues!  No, our Framers were men who had guts & backbone and  understood the Constitution! So they nullified unconstitutional acts of Congress. 6

Will the American People pass the Test?

5. Will the States and the People surrender to the likes of former DNC Chairman Howard Dean who “doesn’t care” if the stuff passed by Congress is unconstitutional? To Democrat Congressman John Dingle who sees obamacare as a means “to control the people”?  Or will The People and the States man up and defend our Constitution?

We have instructions from the Author of the Declaration of Independence, the Father of the Constitution, and the Author of most of the Federalist Papers. They explain what our Constitution really means, and tell us what we need to do when the federal government usurps powers. Listen to them! They are the highest Authority on the true meaning of our Constitution.

And do not be swept away by rage and lust for revenge. Do not become the murderous, unthinking red-capped mob of the French Revolution.

Let us pray that our eyes be opened, that we listen to the words of wisdom from our Framers, that our spines be stiffened, and that we work for a peaceful political resolution of the dreadful problems facing us. PH

Endnotes:

1 At a meeting attended by Thomas Jefferson & James Madison of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia on March 4, 1825, the following resolution selecting texts for the Law school, was passed:

…on the distinctive principles of the government of our own state, and of that of the US. the best guides are to be found in 1. the Declaration of Independance, as the fundamental act of union of these states. 2. the book known by the title of `The Federalist’, being an authority to which appeal is habitually made by all, and rarely declined or denied by any as evidence of the general opinion of those who framed, and of those who accepted the Constitution of the US. on questions as to it’s genuine meaning…. (page 83)  [emphasis added]

2 See also Federalist No. 14 (8th para) “…the general [federal] government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects…”

Federalist No. 27 (last para) “…It merits particular attention in this place, that the laws of the Confederacy [the federal government], as to the ENUMERATED and LEGITIMATE objects of its jurisdiction, will become the SUPREME LAW of the land…Thus the legislatures, courts, and magistrates, of the respective members, will be incorporated into the operations of the national government AS FAR AS ITS JUST AND CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY EXTENDS…” [caps in original]

3 Medicare, Medicaid, social security, etc., are also unconstitutional as outside the scope of the legislative powers granted to Congress. And the programs can’t work!  As more & more people seek to live at other peoples’ expense, the system eventually collapses. That collapse is upon us.

4 Jefferson calls it “nullification”; Madison calls it “interposition”. In “interposition”, the State “interposes” – steps in between – an usurping federal government and The People. (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.)  The result is really the same.

5 Furthermore, the supreme Court is NOT the ultimate authority on the meaning of the Constitution!  Hamilton says federal judges may be impeached for usurpations (Federalist No. 81, 8th para); the People are “the natural guardians of the Constitution” as against federal judges “embarked in a conspiracy with the legislature”; and the People are to become “enlightened enough to distinguish between a legal exercise and an illegal usurpation of authority.”(Federalist No.16, next to last para).

The federal courts have refused to enforce the Constitution. Congress has failed to impeach & remove usurping federal judges – it has failed to be the “check” on the federal courts.  Therefore, WE must enforce the Constitution by means of nullification.  WE must be the final “check” on the courts.  Study & Learn so that you are qualified to do this. PH

January 24, 2011

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January 24, 2011 Posted by | Nullification by States, Nullification of unconstitutional acts, Resistance to tyranny, States Retained Powers, States Rights | 18 Comments

   

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