By Publius Huldah
The BBA Made Simple
Say you want your Butler to buy some groceries; so you give him your credit card. You can:
1. Give him an ENUMERATED LIST of what you want him to buy: 1 chicken, 5# of apples, two heads of cabbage, a 2# sack of brown rice, and a dozen eggs. Whatever amount he spends for these enumerated items will be charged to you.
2. Tell him he may spend on whatever he wants, and ask him to please don’t spend more than 18% of your weekly income. But whatever amount he decides to spend (on pork and other things) will be charged to you.
The first illustrates how our Constitution is written: The items on which Congress is authorized to spend money are listed – enumerated – in the Constitution. To see the list, go HERE.
The second illustrates how a balanced budget amendment (BBA) works: It creates a completely new constitutional authority to spend on whatever the federal government wants to spend money on. And there is no enforceable limit on the amount of spending.
Our Constitution Limits Spending to the Enumerated Powers
Our Constitution doesn’t permit the federal government to spend money on whatever they want. If Congress obeyed our Constitution, they would limit spending to the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution. Since the Constitution delegates to Congress only limited and narrowly defined authority to spend money, excessive federal spending is not the result of a defective Constitution, but of disregarding the existing constitutional limitations on federal spending.
Because everyone has ignored these existing limitations for so long, we now have a national debt of some $20 trillion plus a hundred or so trillion in unfunded liabilities. 1
Various factions are now telling conservatives that the only way to stop out of control federal spending is with a BBA.
Obviously, that is not true. The constitutional answer is to downsize the federal government to its enumerated powers. Eliminate federal departments (Education, Energy, Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, etc., etc., etc.), for which there is no constitutional authority. 2
Since our Constitution delegates only a handful of powers to the federal government, most of what they’ve spent money on since the early 1900s is unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers delegated.
Yet our Constitution is still legally in place; and can be dusted off, read, and enforced by a Repentant People. They can shrink the federal government to the size established by the Constitution which created it. 3
Using the Federal “Budget” to Snap the Trap on an Unsuspecting People
Our Constitution doesn’t provide for a budget.
Spending is to be limited by the enumerated powers. Pursuant to Art. I, §9, clause 7, the Treasury is to publish periodic Statements and Accounts of the Receipts and Expenditures. Since the list of objects on which Congress is authorized to spend money is so short, it would be a simple matter to monitor federal spending and receipts.
But since the unconstitutional Budget & Accounting Act of 1921, Presidents and Congress have been putting into the “budget” whatever they want to spend money on.
Do you see that if the federal government is given constitutional authority (via a BBA) to spend money on whatever they want, they are ipso facto granted constitutional authority to exert power over whatever they want?
Oh, Americans! False friends lead you astray and confuse the path you should take. Under the pretext of imposing “fiscal responsibility” with a BBA, they would legalize the totalitarian dictatorship which has been developing in this Country for 100 years.
Creating the all-powerful federal government by Amendment
A BBA changes the standard for spending from whether the object is an enumerated power to whatever the federal government wants to spend money on. 4
So a BBA would transform the federal government created by our Constitution from one of enumerated powers only, to one of general and unlimited powers because it would authorize Congress to appropriate funds for – and hence have power over – whatever they or the President decide to put in the budget!
A BBA Doesn’t Reduce Federal Spending
A BBA wouldn’t reduce federal spending because:
· all versions permit spending limits to be waived when Congress votes to waive them; and
· Congress can always “balance the budget” with tax increases. Compact for America’s “balanced budget amendment” delegates massive new taxing authority to Congress: it authorizes Congress to impose a national sales tax and a national value added tax (VAT) in addition to keeping the income tax.
Americans think, “I have to balance my budget; so the federal government should have to balance theirs.”
They overlook the profound distinctions between the economies of their own family unit and that of the national government of a Federation of States. Our federal Constitution sets up a system where Congress is to appropriate funds only to carry out the enumerated powers; and the bills are to be paid with receipts from excise taxes and import tariffs, with any shortfall being made up by a direct assessment on the States apportioned according to population (Art. I, §2, clause 3).
Americans also think that since States have balanced budget amendments, the federal government should have one. They overlook the profound distinction between the federal Constitution and State Constitutions: 5
· The federal government doesn’t need a budget because Congress’ spending is limited by the enumerated powers. Congress is to appropriate funds to carry out the handful of enumerated powers, and then it is to pay the bills with receipts from taxes.
· But State Constitutions created State governments of general and almost unlimited powers. Accordingly, State governments may lawfully spend money on just about anything. So State governments need budgets to limit their spending to receipts.
A BBA would have the opposite effect of what you have been told. Instead of limiting the federal government, it legalizes spending which is now unconstitutional as outside the scope of the enumerated powers; transforms the federal government into one which has power over whatever they decide to spend money on; and does nothing to reduce federal spending.
Twenty-eight States have already passed applications for a BBA. Go HERE to check the status of your State. Warn your friends and State Legislators. For a model your State can use to rescind its previous applications, go HERE and look under “Take Action” column, or contact me. Do not let the malignant elite complete their revolution by replacing our Constitution.
1 State governments are voracious consumers of federal funds. THIS shows what percentage of your State’s revenue is from federal funds. Contrary to what RINO State Legislators say, they don’t want federal spending reduced: They want to keep those federal dollars flooding in.
2 George Washington’s Cabinet had 4 members: Secretary of War, Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of State, and Attorney General.
3 Our federal Constitution is short and easy to understand. The only way you can avoid being misled is to find out for yourself what it says. Be a Berean (Acts 17:10-12).
4 Amendments change all language to the contrary in the existing Constitution. Eg., the 13th Amendment changed Art. I, §2, clause 3 & Art. IV, §2, clause 3 because they were inconsistent with the 13th Amendment.
5 In Federalist No. 45 (3rd para from end), James Madison said:
“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.”
How a Balanced Budget Amendment Would Give the Federal Government Lawful Power Over Whatever They Want
By Publius Huldah
Does our existing Constitution permit the federal government to spend money on whatever they want?
No! It contains precise limits on federal spending.
Federal spending is limited by the enumerated powers delegated to the federal government. If you go through the Constitution and highlight all the powers delegated to Congress and the President, you will get a complete list of the objects on which Congress is permitted to spend money. Here’s the list:
♦ The Census (Art. I, §2, cl. 3)
♦ Publishing the Journals of the House and Senate (Art. I, §5, cl. 3)
♦ Salaries of Senators and Representatives (Art. I, § 6, cl. 1)
♦ Salaries of civil officers of the United States (Art. I, §6, cl. 2 & Art. II, §1, cl. 7)
♦ Pay the Debts (Art. I, §8, cl. 1 & Art. VI, cl.1)
♦ Pay tax collectors (Art. I, §8, cl.1)
♦ Regulate commerce with foreign Nations, among the several States, and with Indian Tribes (Art. I, §8, cl.3)
♦ Immigration office (Art. I, §8, cl.4)
♦ The mint (Art. I, §8, cl. 5)
♦ Attorney General to handle the small amount of authorized federal litigation involving the national government (e.g., Art. I, §8, cls. 6 & 10)
♦ Post offices & post roads (Art. I, §8, cl. 7)
♦ Patent & copyright office (Art. I, §8, cl. 8)
♦ Federal courts (Art. I, §8, cl. 9 & Art. III, §1)
♦ Military and Militia (Art. I, §8, cls. 11-16)
♦ Since Congress has general legislative authority over the federal enclaves listed in Art. I, §8, next to last clause, Congress has broad spending authority over the tiny geographical areas listed in this clause.
♦ The President’s entertainment expenses for foreign dignitaries (Art. II, §3); and
♦ Since Congress had general legislative authority over the Western Territory before it was broken up into States, Congress could appropriate funds for the US Marshals, federal judges, and the like for that Territory (Art. IV, §3, cl. 2).
That’s what Congress is authorized by our Constitution to spend money on. Did I leave anything out? Take a few minutes and, armed with a highlighter, read carefully through the Constitution and see for yourself.
Congress is to appropriate funds to carry out this handful of delegated powers; and it is to pay the bills with receipts from taxes. 1
Pursuant to Article I, §9, clause 7, the federal government is to periodically publish a Statement and Account of Receipts and Expenditures. Citizens could use this Statement and Account – which would be so short that everyone would have time to read it – to monitor the spending of their public servants.
So that’s how our existing Constitution limits federal spending:
♦ If it’s on the list of enumerated powers, Congress may lawfully spend money on it.
♦ But if it’s not on the list, Congress usurps powers not delegated when it appropriates money for it.
It was unconstitutional spending and unconstitutional promises (Social Security, Medicare, etc., etc., etc.) which got us a national debt of $19 trillion, plus a hundred trillion or so in unfunded liabilities.
Since the Constitution delegates to Congress only limited and narrowly defined authority to spend money; the Constitution doesn’t provide for a budget.
We never had a federal budget until Congress passed the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921. By this time, the Progressives controlled both political parties and the federal government.
The Progressives wanted a federal budget because they wanted to spend money on objects which were not on the list of delegated powers.
A balanced budget amendment (BBA) would substitute a budget for the enumerated powers, and thus would legalize the current practice where Congress spends money on whatever they or the President put in the budget.
The result of a BBA is to change the constitutional standard for spending from whether the object is on the list of enumerated powers to a limit on the total amount of spending.
♦And to add insult to injury, the limits on spending are fictitious because they can be waived whenever Congress 2 votes to waive them.
And because a BBA would permit Congress to lawfully spend money on whatever is put in the budget, the powers of the federal government would be lawfully increased to include whatever THEY decide to put in the budget.
So a BBA would fundamentally transform our Constitution from one of enumerated powers only to one of general and unlimited powers – because the federal government would then be authorized by the Constitution to exercise power over ANY object they decide to put into the budget!
You must read proposed amendments and understand how they change our Constitution before you support them.
All federal and State officials take an oath to support the federal Constitution (Art. VI, clause 3). When people in Congress appropriate funds for objects not listed in the Constitution; and when State officials accept federal funds for objects not listed, they violate their oath to support the Constitution. According to the PEW Report, federal funds provided an average of 30% of the States’ revenue for FY 2013. Look up your State HERE. Were those federal funds used to implement unconstitutional federal programs in your State?
Power over education, medical care, agriculture, state and local law enforcement, environment, etc., is not delegated to the federal government: those powers are reserved by the States or the People. Congress spends on objects for which it has no constitutional authority; and bribes States with federal funds to induce them to implement unconstitutional federal programs. It was the unconstitutional spending which gave us this crushing $19 Trillion debt.
How do we go about downsizing the federal government to its constitutional limits?
We stop the unconstitutional and frivolous spending one can read about all over the internet.
We begin the shutdown of unconstitutional federal departments and agencies by selecting for immediate closure those which serve no useful purpose or cause actual harm such as the Departments of Energy, Education, Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency. 3
Other unconstitutional federal departments and agencies must be dismantled and their functions returned to the States or The People.
An orderly phase-out is required of those unconstitutional federal programs in which Citizens were forced to participate – such as social security and Medicare – so that the rug is not pulled out from American Citizens who became dependent.
The federal government is obligated (Art. I, §8, cl. 11-16) to provide for service related injuries suffered by our Veterans.
The Constitution delegates to Congress the power to appropriate funds for “post Roads” (Art. I, §8, cl. 7). While there may be room for argument as to what is included within the term, “post Road”; clearly, some federal involvement in road building is authorized by our Constitution. State dependence on federal highway funds might be reduced by eliminating or reducing federal fuel taxes, and the substitution of fuel taxes collected by individual States. And there is nothing immoral about toll roads.
Since our Constitution was written to delegate to the federal government only the few and defined powers enumerated in the Constitution, we don’t have to change the Constitution to rein in federal spending. The Constitution isn’t the problem – ignoring it is the problem. Let us begin to enforce the Constitution we have.
1 Our original Constitution authorized only excise taxes & tariffs on imports (Art. I, §8, clause 1), with any shortfall being made up by an apportioned assessment on the States based on population (Art. I, §2, clause 3).
2 Compact for America’s (CFA) version of a BBA permits spending limits to be waived whenever Congress and 26 States agree. CFA’s version also authorizes Congress to impose a national sales tax and a national value added tax in addition to keeping the income tax! See THIS Paper.
3 George Washington’s Cabinet had four members: Secretary of State, Secretary of War, Secretary of Treasury, and Attorney General.
Feb 2, 2016
By Publius Huldah
A devilish plot is afoot to impose new national taxes on the American People. It is a masterful piece of trickery because the authorization for the new national taxes is buried within Compact for America’s version of a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution.
Furthermore, the balanced budget amendment does nothing to control federal spending; and transforms our Constitution from one of limited and defined powers to one of general and unlimited powers. 1
Let’s look at Sections 1-6 of Compact for America’s balanced budget amendment:
It does Nothing to Control Federal Spending
Section 1 allows Congress to spend as much as they take from us in taxes and add to the national debt. That’s a good idea?
Sections 2 and 3 permit Congress to raise the debt whenever 26 States agree. States are addicted to federal funds. Will 25 States agree not to take more federal funds?
Section 4 is a joke: Who believes Congress will impeach a President for refusing to “impound” an appropriation made by Congress? Congress won’t even impeach a President for Treason.
How Authorization for the New Taxes is Hidden
Section 5 says:
“No bill that provides for a new or increased general revenue tax shall become law unless approved by a two-thirds roll call vote of the whole number of each House of Congress….” [italics mine]
What is a “general revenue tax”? Section 6 defines it:
“…’general revenue tax’ means any income tax, sales tax, or value-added tax levied by the government of the United States…” [italics mine]
Now go back to Section 5 and substitute the definition of “general revenue tax” for that term:
“No bill that provides for a new or increased income tax, sales tax, or value-added tax levied by the government of the United States shall become law unless approved by a two-thirds roll call vote of the whole number of each House of Congress….”
There it is: All that’s needed is approval of two-thirds of the members of each House and a new national sales tax and/or value added tax is imposed on us. And they can increase it, along with increasing the income tax, whenever they get two-thirds of the members to vote for it.
Section 5 also permits Congress to make laws to impose a new “end user sales tax” 4 which would replace the income tax – this “end user sales tax” is passed by a simple majority of both houses.
So! Compact for America’s balanced budget amendment provides two options to Congress:
· Two-thirds of the members of both Houses can impose a new sales tax and/or value-added tax in addition to the income tax; or
· A simple majority of both Houses can impose “a new end user sales tax” which replaces the income tax.
Which option will Congress choose?
Our Constitution Doesn’t Now Authorize a National Sales Tax or Value-added Tax
Article I, §8, clause 1 says:
“The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises…”
Principles of Compact for America say this clause already authorizes a national sales tax or value added tax. Board Vice-President Chip DeMoss said on Feb. 12, 2014:
“a national sales tax would be an “impost” (defined as a tax or similar compulsory payment) that is authorized under Article I, Section 8, Clause 1…” [see comments and scroll down after comment 19 till you see Chip DeMoss’ name].
We may not properly use DeMoss’ redefinition of “impost”!
We must use the definition of “impost” our Framers used: The Federalist Papers say an “impost” is a tax or duty on imports. Type imposts in the search box [at the link] and the Papers discussing imposts will come up. See for yourself that an “impost” is a tax or duty on imports.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “impost” as:
“…Any tax or tribute imposed by authority; particularly, a duty or tax laid by government on goods imported, and paid or secured by the importer at the time of importation. Imposts are also called customs.”
Do you see?
National sales taxes and value-added taxes are also not “excise” taxes. Excise taxes are a tax on a unit of goods – such as the infamous whiskey excise tax of 1791 which led to the Whiskey Rebellion. 5 It imposed a flat tax per gallon. The tax was payable for domestic whiskey at the distillery (§17 of the Act) and the casks were numbered and marked to show the tax had been paid (§19 of the Act).
“Taxes” at Art. I, §8, clause 1 refers to the apportioned direct tax provided for at Art. I, §2, clause 3 of our Constitution.
Our Framers were specific about the kinds of taxes Congress is permitted to impose. Congress does not have the power to impose any kind of tax it wants. Our Framers limited Congress’ taxing power to:
· the apportioned direct taxes at Art. I, §2, clause 3;
· the duties or imposts on imports at Art. I, §8, clause 1; and
· the excises at Art. I, §8, clause 1.
A sales tax is none of the above. A sales tax is a percentage of the retail price of goods. A value-added tax is a “turbo-charged national sales tax on goods and services that is applied at each stage of production, not merely on retail transactions” and raises a “gusher of revenue for spendthrift governments worldwide”.
We have never had a national sales tax or value added tax in this Country. Why? Because they are not authorized by the Constitution.
We were manipulated into supporting the 16th Amendment. We were told the income tax would “soak the rich” – and the envious drooled at the prospect.
And so again today, statists are seeking to trick us into supporting a national sales tax or a value added tax: first, by concealing it within the verbiage of the bill; 6 and then, once the trickery was exposed, by claiming the Constitution already authorizes these new types of taxes.
There is a Better Way: Downsize the Federal Government!
Our Constitution limits federal spending to the enumerated powers. The list of objects on which Congress may lawfully spend money is a short list. See the list HERE.
Most of what the federal government does today is unconstitutional as outside the scope of the powers delegated by the Constitution. Let’s cut federal spending by downsizing the federal government to its enumerated powers and constitutional limits.
1 Congress’ spending is limited by the enumerated powers: If an object is on the list of enumerated powers (e.g., the patent & copyright office authorized by Art. I, §8, cl. 8), Congress may lawfully spend money on it. That’s how our Constitution already controls federal spending.
All versions of a balanced budget amendment change the constitutional standard for spending FROM whether an object is on the list of enumerated powers TO a limit on total spending where Congress may spend money on whatever they or the President put in the budget. This is what transforms our Constitution FROM one of enumerated powers only TO one of general and unlimited powers. And that is the true purpose of a balanced budget amendment. It has nothing to do with limiting federal spending – the pretended spending limits are fictitious since they may be waived whenever the feds [and 26 of the States] want to waive them.
3 Matthew Burns’ article about the hearing on HB 366 before N. Carolina’s House Judiciary Committee (which passed HB 366) doesn’t mention the new national taxes. Burns quotes the Bill’s sponsor, Rep. Chris Millis, as saying the problem is “Washington is unwilling or unable to limit itself.” So the solution is to massively increase Congress’ taxing powers?
4 “End user sales tax” is not defined in the balanced budget amendment.
5 Apparently, the practice of tarring & feathering “revenuers” began with the Whiskey Excise Tax.
6 The trickery was exposed over a year ago HERE. Since then, Compact for America has claimed the Constitution already authorizes the new taxes. Are we too gullible to be free? PH
August 26, 2015
I will speak on the deadly danger of an Article V convention, and of the two remedies our Framers actually told us to use when the national government usurps power, at the following events:
Date: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in Auburn, Indiana
Host: DeKalb County 9/12 Group
Location: St. Andrew Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 320 W. 4th Street, Auburn, Indiana 46706 Time: 5:30 p.m. for food; 6:30 p.m. for meeting, EDT.
See Face Book page HERE
Date: Thursday, May 14, 2015 in Elkhart, Indiana
Host: TEA-MAC with Constitutional Sheriff Brad Rogers.
Location: Trinity United Methodist Church, 2715 E. Jackson Blvd., Elkhart, Indiana 46516
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT
By Publius Huldah
This speech was presented to Campaign For Liberty – Memphis on March 24, 2014. It exposes some of the false claims made by those pushing for the so-called “convention of states”. 1
Below are hyperlinks to the exhibits referred to in the speech. Additional resources are also included.
The one page Chart which illustrates our Declaration, Constitution, and federal system is HERE.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report 2 cited in the speech was dated March 7, 2014. CRS’s revised Report, dated April 11, 2014, is HERE. The Report exposes as false the assurances that the States would be in control of a convention. The Report says:
“First, Article V delegates important and exclusive authority over the amendment process to Congress…” (page 4)
“Second . . . Congress has traditionally laid claim to broad responsibilities in connection with a convention, including . . . (4) determining the number and selection process for its delegates; (5) setting internal convention procedures, including formulae for allocation of votes among the states; . . .” (page 4) 3
“. . . [In previous bills filed in Congress] [a]pportionment of convention delegates among the states was generally set at the formula provided for the electoral college, with each state assigned a number equal to its combined Senate and House delegations. Some bills included the District of Columbia, assigning it three delegates, but others did not include the federal district. . .” (page 37; see also page 41)
“. . . A related question concerns vote allocation in an Article V Convention. Would delegates vote per capita, or would each state cast a single vote, during the convention’s deliberations, and on the final question of proposing amendments?. . .” [then follows a discussion of different views on this undecided issue] (page 41)
“Article V itself is silent on membership in an Article V Convention, so it is arguable that Congress, in summoning a convention to consider amendments, might choose to include the District of Columbia and U.S. territories as either full members at a convention, or possibly as observers. As noted previously, some versions of the Article V Convention procedures bills introduced in the late 20th century did provide for delegates representing the District of Columbia, although not for U.S. territories . . .” (page 42)
Page 40 of the Report shows there doesn’t seem to be any:
“. . . constitutional prohibition against [U.S.] Senators and Representatives serving as delegates to an Article V Convention. . . “
So! As the CRS Report states on page 27:
“In the final analysis, the question what sort of convention?” is not likely to be resolved unless or until the 34-state threshold has been crossed and a convention assembles.”
Do you see? But by then, it will be too late to stop it. HERE is former US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger’s letter confirming this. 4
The text of the “parental rights” amendment is HERE. For two papers showing how Michael Farris’ proposed amendment delegates power over children to the federal and State governments, go HERE and, for the follow up paper, HERE.
To see how six of Mark Levin’s so-called “liberty amendments” do the opposite of what he claims, go HERE.
To see – on one page – proof of the original intents of the “interstate commerce”, “general welfare”, and “necessary and proper” clauses, go HERE.
The proponents of a convention portray the States as victims of federal tyranny. But the Truth is that the States voluntarily surrendered their retained powers, and the natural rights of The People, TO the federal government. And they did it for federal funds. Today, States get from 20% (Alaska) to 45.3% (Mississippi) of their State budgets from the federal government. State governments don’t want to rein in the feds! The people who run your State will do anything to keep their federal funds. HERE is the Pew Report.
Our Framers – those who actually signed the Constitution – NEVER said the purpose of amendments is to rein in the feds if they usurp powers. What they actually said is:
- amendments remedy defects in the Constitution (Hamilton at the federal convention on Sep. 10, 1787);
- useful amendments would address the “organization of the government, not … the mass of its powers” (Federalist No. 85, 13th para); and
- “amendment of errors” & “useful alterations” would be suggested by experience (Federalist No. 43 at 8.)
HERE are the Articles of Confederation. Note that Art. XIII required approval of amendments by every State.
HERE is the Resolution, made by the Continental Congress on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74), to call a convention to be held at Philadelphia:
“…for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”.
HERE is James Madison’s letter of Nov. 2, 1788 to Turberville. Copy it to word processing, make paragraph breaks, & highlight it. Madison NEVER supported the convention method of amending our Constitution.
HERE is Joe Wolverton’s article about the Socialists’ involvement in the push for a convention.
HERE is the Constitution for the Newstates of America. Article XII addresses ratification by a referendum called by the President. Read HERE about the proposed Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. Read them and see what is being planned for you by people you think are on your side.
HERE is the screen shot of Jordan Sillars’ comment re re-writing the Constitution.
For Q’s & A’s on this issue, go HERE.
1 There is no such thing as a “convention of states” to propose amendments. The term is a marketing gimmick used by proponents of an Article V convention to manipulate people into believing that the States would control an Article V convention – from start to finish.
Article V, US Constitution, provides two methods for proposing amendments to the Constitution:
1. Congress proposes amendments and submits them to the States for ratification [the method we used for our existing 27 Amendments]; or
2. Congress calls a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments [for good reason, we have never used this method].
2 Even though we have never had an Article V convention; Congress has examined procedures for “calling” a convention so as to be ready if the need arises. The CRS Report proves that Congress has historically viewed its powers respecting “calling” a convention as exclusive and extensive. I thank Robert Brown for bringing the CRS Report to my attention.
3 The position Congress has historically taken in this regard is totally consistent with Article I, Sec. 8, last clause, which delegates to Congress power to make all laws “necessary and proper” to carry out the power vested in Congress at Art. V to “call” the convention.
4 Folks! For the sake of your Posterity, you must understand this: After a convention is convened, the delegates can do whatever they want – including coming up with an entirely new Constitution with its own new method of ratification. Chief Justice Burger wrote in his June 22, 1988 letter to Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly:
“… there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey. After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don’t like its agenda. The meeting in 1787 ignored the limit placed by the Confederation Congress “for the sole and express purpose. . .”
The federal convention of 1787, which was called by the Continental Congress “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”, should serve as a warning: The delegates to the 1787 convention ignored their instructions from the Continental Congress [and from their States]; ignored Art. XIII of the Articles of Confederation which required the States to obey Congress on matters covered by the Articles, and wrote an entirely NEW Constitution with a NEW method of ratification which required only 9 of the 13 States for ratification.
Credits: Many thanks to Devvy Kidd, Blue Tail Gadfly, and M. Craig Elachie, from whom I lifted the very best lines in the speech. PH
Posted October 11, 2014.
By Publius Huldah
Q: Doesn’t our Constitution already provide for controlling federal spending?
A: Yes. It lists the purposes for which Congress may spend money. Spending is limited by the “enumerated powers” listed in the Constitution:
- If it’s on the list of powers delegated to Congress or the President, Congress may lawfully appropriate funds for it. Read the Constitution and highlight the delegated powers – then you will know what Congress may lawfully spend money on.
- If it’s not listed, Congress may not lawfully spend money on it.
Q: What is the connection between the Oath of office (Art. VI, cl. 3) and federal spending?
A: All federal and State officials take an Oath to support the federal Constitution. The Constitution lists what Congress may lawfully spend money on. When people in Congress spend money on objects not listed in the Constitution; and when State officials accept federal funds for objects not listed (race to the top, common core, etc.) they violate their Oath to support the Constitution.
Q: Are the federal departments of Education, Agriculture, Labor, Energy, Housing & Urban Development, Health & Human Services, DHS, etc., etc., constitutional?
- Power over education, agriculture, labor relations, energy, etc., etc., was NOWHERE in the Constitution delegated to the federal government. Those powers were reserved by the States or the People.
- DHS – a national police force under the President’s control – is becoming our version of the East German STASI. Yet the States colluded with the feds in nationalizing law enforcement because they wanted the federal funds and military equipment.
Q: How did we get a national debt of over $17 trillion, plus trillions more in unfunded liabilities?
A: Congress spent on objects for which it has no constitutional authority, such as teaching Chinese prostitutes how to drink responsibly, bailouts of private businesses, welfare handouts, farming programs, education schemes, and grants paid to States to bribe them into implementing unconstitutional federal programs. It was the unconstitutional spending which gave us this crushing debt.
Q: The 10th Amendment says all powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution are reserved to the States or to the People. What happened to these reserved powers?
A: The States sold them to the federal government. The States have become administrative subdivisions of the federal government, and their aim is to siphon as much money as possible from the federal government.
Q: What should we do about the unconstitutional spending?
A: We must eliminate pork. We must systematically dismantle unconstitutional federal departments & agencies. Except that the Department of Education should be shut down, and its bureaucrats sent home, by this Friday at 5:00 p.m. All these functions must be restored to The States or The People.
Why BBAs Are Destructive
Q: Why won’t a BBA fix our debt problem?
A: They don’t address the cause of the problem: Congress spends where they have no constitutional authority to spend. The BBAs don’t eliminate the unconstitutional spending; and they place no limits on the amount of the unconstitutional spending.
Q: Is a BBA harmful?
A: Yes. All versions of the BBA legalize spending which is now illegal and unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers delegated to Congress or the President.
Q: Would a BBA fundamentally transform our Constitution?
A: Yes. All versions of the BBA amend out the enumerated powers limitations on the federal government and transform the federal government into one of general & unlimited powers where the feds may spend money on whatever they want as long as they don’t exceed the spending limits “imposed” by the BBA.
Q: So a BBA changes the constitutional criterion for spending?
A: Yes! All versions of the BBA change the criterion from:
- WHAT Congress spends money on (it must be an enumerated power), to
- A LIMIT on total spending where Congress can spend money on whatever they want.
Q: How are spending limits in the various versions of the BBA set?
- by the amount they take from us in taxes, or
- by a certain percentage of the GDP, or
- by the additional amounts they borrow to finance their spending.
Q: Can these limits on spending be raised?
A: Yes! In all versions of the BBA, Congress can vote to raise the spending limit (just as they vote every few months to raise the debt limit). In the version of the BBA by Nick Dranias and Compact for America, Congress and at least 26 States can vote at any time to raise the spending limit.
Not only do the BBAs fail to address the cause of the problem (Congress spends on unconstitutional objects); none of them limit the amount of Congress’ spending because the spending limits can be raised whenever they want to raise them.
So! Just as Congress votes every few months to raise the debt ceiling; they can vote whenever they want to raise the spending limit.
Q: What about Mark Levin’s amendment “to limit federal spending” (page 73 of his book)?
A: Levin’s amendment makes lawful the spending which is now unconstitutional. And his amendment does nothing to control spending:
- Levin substitutes a “budget” [which permits spending on whatever people in the federal government want] 1 for the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution; and,
- While it pretends to limit spending to income, it actually permits Congress to suspend the spending limit and to continue to raise the national debt limit.
So! Like all other BBAs, Levin’s legalizes the present unconstitutional spending and does nothing to curb spending. It legalizes the status quo. And it guts our Constitution by erasing the enumerated powers limitations on spending.
Q: What about Randy Barnett’s version of a BBA? [See Barnett’s 8th amendment here.]
A: Randy Barnett, law professor, redefines “unbalanced budget” to mean a budget where the national debt is greater than it was the previous year. [Yes, you read that right.]
Barnett’s amendment doesn’t address the unconstitutional spending which caused the massive debt.
And it delegates sweeping new powers to the President to stop funding anything he doesn’t want funded. E.g., it permits him to ban appropriations authorized by the Constitution, such as all funding for our military (which is authorized by Art. I, Sec. 8, clauses 11-14).
Q: What is the real purpose of all versions of the BBA?
A: The sole purpose is to remove the enumerated powers limitations on the federal government and give it general & unlimited powers.
Folks! You must read the texts of the proposed BBAs and see what they actually say. Do not stop with the name and just read in your own understanding of what it means to “balance a budget”.
For more information on various versions of the BBA see:
1 The federal government didn’t have a budget until the Budget Act of 1921, which purported to grant budget making power (taxes & appropriations) to the President.
The Budget Act is unconstitutional. Article I, Sec. 8, cl. 1, delegates to Congress Power to lay and collect Taxes; and Art. I, Sec. 9, next to last clause, delegates to Congress Power to make appropriations:
“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”
Before the Budget Act of 1921, Congress made appropriations for items listed in the Constitution as the need arose; determined the taxes, and kept records of both. PH
The “Convention of States” Scam, the War over the Constitution, and how the States Sold the Reserved Powers to the Feds.
By Publius Huldah
Our Constitution is a glorious document. This one page chart depicts the Structure of the federal government we created when we ratified our Constitution; and lists the “limited & enumerated powers” we delegated to the federal government over the Country at Large.
In a nutshell, our Constitution authorizes the federal government to handle the following objects for the Country at Large:
- Military defense, international commerce & relations;
- Control immigration & naturalization of new citizens;
- Domestically, to create 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, secure certain civil rights.
Basically, that’s it. As stated in the 10th Amendment, all others powers are reserved by the States or The People.
But for 100 years, almost everyone in our Country has ignored our Constitution. Thus, instead of restricting spending to the enumerated objects of its powers, the people WE send to Congress spend money on what anybody wants – and so gave us a debt of $17 trillion. Instead of restricting lawmaking to the enumerated objects of its powers, the people WE send to Congress make laws on whatever they like. The President WE elected tramples all over the Constitution; and due to the connivance, cowardice, and ignorance of Congress, the supreme Court, State governments, and the American People, is seizing totalitarian power.
WE are in terrible trouble.
And it is the phony right wing which is seducing the American People into taking the final jump off the cliff.
“We all know that our government is way off track. The debt is astronomical and is going to cripple not only our own freedom and our own economy, but our children and our grandchildren are going to be effectively slaves, paying for all the things that we’re spending money on today.”
That part of his video is true.
But the purpose of their spiels is to make you believe they are on your side. You must look behind the spiels and think carefully about what they are proposing as “solutions”. Much is at stake:
THIS IS THE WAR over our Constitution and Country. And here are the two sides:
Learn & Enforce our Existing Constitution!
One side proposes that we learn & enforce our existing Constitution of limited & enumerated powers. We show that our Framers advised us to enforce our Constitution by (1) electing better representatives to annul the acts of the usurpers, 2 or by (2) nullification of unconstitutional acts.
To illustrate: What would our Country’s financial condition be if WE THE PEOPLE had enforced the enumerated powers on Congress?
It is the enumerated powers which list the objects on which Congress may appropriate funds:
- immigration office (Art. I, §8, cl.4)
- mint (Art. I, §8, cl. 5)
- Attorney General (Art. I, §8, cl. 6)
- post offices & post roads (Art. I, §8, cl. 7)
- patent & copyright office (Art. I, §8, cl. 8)
- federal courts (Art. I, §8, cl. 9)
- military (Art. I, §8, cls. 11-16)
- the civil list (Art. I, §6, cl.1)
- [and other objects listed in various other articles, sections, &clauses]
Do you get the idea? The Constitution itemizes what Congress is permitted to spend money on. See also the two geographical areas over which Congress was delegated “general legislative powers”: Art. I, §8, next to last clause, & Art. IV, §3, cl. 2.
The reason we have a debt of $17 trillion is because everyone ignored the Constitution; so Congress spent money on objects outside the scope of its enumerated powers.
Amend Away our Existing Constitution?
But the Randy Barnett 3/ Rob Natelson/ Michael Farris/ Mark Levin camp want a “convention” so they can gut our existing Constitution by amending out the limited & enumerated powers with new amendments which grant general powers to the federal government; or they seek to re-write the Constitution altogether.
Here are illustrations of how the limited & enumerated powers can be amended out of our Constitution:
It has already been shown how the so-called balanced budget amendment would transform our Constitution from one of enumerated spending powers to one of general spending powers, where spending would be limited only by the amount of revenue the federal government generates or a certain percentage of the GDP. 4 But under our existing Constitution, the federal government’s expenditures are limited by the constitutional grants of authority – the enumerated powers. The problem is everyone ignores the enumerated powers – they never even bothered to learn what they are!
Here is another illustration: Michael Farris, the grand master of The Spiel, has managed to convince many parents that the only way to protect their parental rights is an amendment to the Constitution which delegates to the federal and State governments constitutional power over their children!
And Mark Levin’s suggested amendments would gut our Constitution. Most increase the powers of the federal government by making constitutional what is now unconstitutional because it is not an enumerated power. The amendments pertaining to “overrides” undermine the Constitution as the objective standard of what is lawful and what is not – and substitute majority vote therefor. These “overrides” would erase the Constitution and replace it with majority (mob) rule.
Or is “re-writing the Constitution” their actual goal?
Farris says in the video:
“…sometimes what you need is not a change of personnel, you need a change of structure. The Founders understood the importance of structure…”
Does that give you cold chills?
How does Farris seek to change the structure?
Please – all of you – look at this one page chart which depicts The Structure of the federal government our Framers gave us: What needs changing? Isn’t enforcement what we need?
Jordan Sillars, Communications Director for Farris’ Convention of States Project, let the cat out of the bag:
On September 15, 2013, a discussion on my Face Book page was started about Mark Levin’s clamoring for a “convention of states”.
On or before September 19, Jordon Sillars posted a comment wherein he said:
“… 3. I think the majority of Americans are too lazy to elect honest politicians. But I think some men and women could be found who are morally and intellectually capable of re-writing the Constitution…” [boldface mine].
On September 19 at 1:20 p.m., I responded:
“So, this really is about “re-writing the Constitution”, isn’t it?
And could you name these individuals who are “morally and intellectually capable of re-writing the Constitution”?”
Sillars thereafter deleted his comments, but not before I obtained a screen shot of his quoted comment which you can see here.
Why did he delete his comments?
Now let’s look more at what Farris says in his video:
The False Statements & Silly Arguments of the Proponents of a “convention of States”
1. After his introduction about the $17 trillion debt, Farris goes on to say:
“The States have the power under Article V to call a convention of the States for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution…”
His statement is false.
The Truth is the States have no authority to call the convention. That power is delegated to Congress. Article V says:
“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments…” [emphasis mine]
Congress calls it. Not the States.
Furthermore, Dr. Edwin Vieira has pointed out:
‘The language “shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments” sets out a constitution duty in Congress. It embraces a constitutional power as well. That brings into play Article I, Section 8, Clause 18, which delegates to Congress the power “[t]o make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers [that is, in Article I, Section 8, Clauses 1 through 17], and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof”. The power to “call a Convention for proposing Amendments” is one of those “all other Powers”. Therefore, pursuant to that power, Congress may enact whatever “Law[ ] which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the * * * Power [to call a Convention]’.
So! Since Article V vests in Congress the power to call the convention; and since Article I, §8, last clause, vests in Congress the power to make all laws necessary & proper to execute its delegated powers; 5 Congress would be within its constitutional authority to organize the Convention anyway it wants, and to appoint whomsoever it wishes as delegates. 6
Now look at this: The chart on Article V shows that James Madison, Father of our Constitution, remarked on the vagueness of the term, “call a Convention for the purpose”:
“How was a Convention to be formed? – by what rule decide? – what the force of its acts?” (Sep. 10); and “difficulties might arise as to the form, the quorum, &c., which in constitutional regulations ought to be as much as possible avoided” (Sep. 15, 1787).
Phyllis Schlafly also raised Twenty Questions about a Constitutional Convention.
Congress, pursuant to Article V and Article I, §8, last clause, has the constitutional power to answer all these questions by means of a law.
Folks! The Farris/Natelson/ Levin camp is not telling you the truth when they say the States decide these issues!
2. Farris then says in his video:
“…in Article V of the Constitution [the Founding Fathers] gave us the solution…”
“…they gave the power to the States to create a new set of rules when the federal government overstepped its boundaries. We can recalibrate the rules to take power away from Washington D.C. and give it back to the people and to the States.”
His statements are both false and silly.
Here is the false part of what he said:
It was not the consensus at the Federal Convention of 1787 that the purpose of Article V was so States could make amendments to the Constitution in order to take power away from a federal government which had usurped power by violating the Constitution.
This chart shows what happened at the Federal Convention of 1787 re development of Article V.
Two delegates (Randolph & Mason, who didn’t sign the Constitution) supported the notion that amendments might be used if the national government should become oppressive. And they didn’t want Congress to have any power over amendment procedures. Their view was the minority view.
Other delegates (Gov. Morris, Hamilton & Madison) thought Congress ought to be able to propose amendments. One delegate (Mr. Gerry) worried about States obtaining a convention and binding the Union to innovations which subverted State Constitutions. Hamilton spoke of amendments to correct defects which would probably appear in the Constitution.
So the final version of Article V provides two methods of proposing amendments to the Constitution. Congress either:
- Proposes the amendments; or
- “Calls” a convention when the Legislatures of 2/3 of the States apply for it. [Now see Art. I, §8, last clause.]
Now for the silly parts of what Farris said (and there are two silly parts):
3. Farris tells us the solution to a federal government which “overstep[s] its boundaries” [violates the Constitution] is to amend the Constitution.
He proposes “to take power away from Washington D.C.” [power the federal government has usurped] by “recalibrate[ing] the rules”.
In other words, the solution to a federal government which violates the Constitution is to amend the Constitution.
Do you see how silly this is?
4. Farris and his camp also imply that the States are victims of federal tyranny, and are the virtuous & wise ones who can fix our Country if they can just get a convention to propose amendments.
But the States are the ones who sold you out to the federal government in the first place! I’ll show you:
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”.
What happened to these reserved powers?
The States sold them to the federal government.
Let’s use education as an illustration of how the States sold to the federal government your reserved power to educate your own children in the way you see fit.
The Creator God who, as recognized by our Declaration of Independence, endowed us with unalienable rights; assigned to parents the responsibility to provide for the education & moral instruction of their children: Proverbs 1:8-9, 6:20-21, 13:1, 22:6 & 23:19-22; Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 4:9-10 & 6:1-7; Ephesians 6:1-4; 2 Timothy 1:5 & 3:15-17.
Is “education” one of the enumerated powers delegated to the federal government for the Country at large? No. So the federal government has no constitutional authority to get involved. Accordingly, all acts of Congress pertaining to education for the Country at Large, the federal Department of Education, and all their rules & programs are unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers delegated to the federal government.
So why does the federal government dictate all things respecting education?
Because your States sold your God-given responsibility to educate your own children – and your reserved power to do so – to the federal government. This has been going on for a long time; but most recently your State sold you out for federal grants with the federal government’s “race to the top” and “common core” schemes. 7
You have to be ignorant, unthinking, & gullible – a greenhorn – to believe that The States are the men in the white hats who can fix all this with a convention to propose amendments.
The federal government is not the problem – it is the result of our own ignorance, pride and folly.
WE THE PEOPLE, who are “the natural guardians of the Constitution” (Federalist No. 16, next to last para) didn’t trouble ourselves to learn the enumerated powers of Congress and the President. Do you know them?
I ask my Readers who have been supporting the “convention of States” scheme: Have you studied our Founding Principles set forth in The Declaration of Independence? Have you studied the text of the Constitution so that you know what it says?
If not, how are you qualified to know how to “fix” a Constitution you never learned?
Are you willing to stake your lives & liberties, and those of your progeny, on whether those in the Barnett/Natelson/Farris/ Levin camp (1) know what they are talking about, and (2) are telling the truth?
Why? Because you like them? Because they provide a scapegoat which permits you to blame-shift? And you think you can “get even”?
Wise voices in this Country are warning you about the scam. Foremost among them is Phyllis Schlafly, who has been warning of this danger for decades. Yet, such is the ignorant conceit of the greenhorns that they sneer at those who are warning them.
I trust you now see the connection between the moral corruption of a People and tyranny.
1 Use your own head! Do not be manipulated by other peoples’ choice of words. Rob Natelson formerly referred to what he wants as a “constitutional convention”. Now, he calls it a “Convention of the States” – that is the term his cohorts & minions now use. Why did they change what they called it?
2 But our elections are no longer honest. The States took federal grant money to buy voting machines which can be rigged.
3 Randy Barnett’s “Bill of Federalism” is ten proposed amendments which would transform our Constitution from one of enumerated powers to one of general & unlimited powers. Mark Levin’s proposed amendments are similar to Barnett’s.
4 The GDP is computed by an agency in the Executive Branch. So under the BBA, spending would be limited by numbers under the control of the federal government: By how much they tax you; or by a number (GDP) the Executive Branch computes. You think that is a fine idea?
5 The Federalist Papers tell us what the “necessary & proper” clause (Art. I, §8, last clause) means: The clause delegates to Congress power to pass all laws necessary & 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 & proper for the execution of that power (Federalist No. 33, 4th 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” (Federalist No. 33, 2nd para); and thus the clause is “perfectly harmless”, a tautology or redundancy. (Federalist No. 33, 4th para). See also Federalist No. 44, 10th -17th paras. In other words, the clause permits the execution of powers already declared and granted.
Do not be misled by Rob Natelson’s post on the “necessary & proper” clause! Why did Natelson ignore what The Federalist Papers say about this clause? Why did he fabricate the song & dance set forth in his post?
6 Think this through also: Even if Congress, as a matter of grace, permitted the States to appoint delegates, how would delegates from your State be chosen? Who controls your State? Would the powers in your State choose you? Or do you believe Michael Farris would choose the leaders?
7 This happened in your State because The People in your State elected to State government people who sold you out. See this website on federal grants: http://www.ffis.org/database You think your State Legislators, who have been gobbling up all the federal grant money they can get, will fix our Country at a “convention” to propose amendments? PH.
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 Barnett, David 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.
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 Well: Randy 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 Well: Madison 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.
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.
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.
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”.
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
By Publius Huldah.
Bill O’Reilly (Fox News) made our Framers proud when, on March 26, 2012, he correctly explained [probably for the first time ever on TV] the genuine meaning of the interstate commerce clause. O’Reilly’s guest was Big Government Progressive Caroline Fredrickson, Esq., of the inaptly named “American Constitution Society”. In trying to defend obamacare, she said that our Framers intended to grant to Congress extensive powers over the “national economy”:
“When the Founding Fathers adopted the Constitution, they put in the commerce clause ah specifically so that Congress could actually regulate interstate commerce. They envisioned a national economy, and we really have one now, and to the tune of over two trillion dollars, health care makes up a big big part of that and so it’s completely within the power of ah Congress to pass this legislation [obamacare] and to attempt to provide some reasonable regulation…”
But what she said is not true! Accordingly, O’Reilly responded:
“The interstate commerce clause was put in so individual States could not charge tariffs [for] going from one state to another. So, for example, Pennsylvania would say to New Jersey, ‘Hey, you can’t bring in anything here from New Jersey unless you pay us 2% on it.’ ”
Bravo, O’Reilly! That is precisely the purpose of the interstate commerce clause. James Madison, Father of our Constitution, wrote in Federalist No. 42 (9th para):
“… A very material object of this power [to regulate interstate commerce] was the relief of the States which import and export through other States, from the improper contributions levied on them by the latter. Were these at liberty to regulate the trade between State and State … ways would be found out to load the articles of import and export, during the passage through their jurisdiction, with duties which would fall on the makers of the latter and the consumers of the former…”
And Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 22 (4th para):
“…’ The commerce of the German empire … is in continual trammels from the multiplicity of … duties which the several princes and states exact upon the merchandises passing through their territories, by means of which the … navigable rivers [of] … Germany … are rendered almost useless.’ Though the … people of this country might never permit this … to be … applicable to us, yet we may … expect, from the … conflicts of State regulations, that the citizens of each would … come to be … treated by the others in no better light …”
So! What our Framers said was that the purpose of the interstate commerce clause is to authorize Congress to prevent the States from imposing tolls and tariffs on articles of import and export – merchandize – as they are transported through the States for purposes of buying and selling.1
But Fredrickson apparently has no idea what our Framers said. She dug deeper:
“Actually this was a major issue at stake in the adoption of the Constitution was the ability of our national government to deal with national issues and, let’s look a little bit at what’s happened in the 20th century…”
What? Our Framers made a “major issue” of their determination to grant to Congress power over whatever it might in the future deem to be a “national issue”?
Rubbish! What Fredrickson said is demonstrably false. Our Framers said the exact opposite of what she represented. In Federalist No. 45 (9th para), Madison identified the “national issues” Congress would be dealing with:
“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; … 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….” [boldface mine]
In Federalist No. 39 (3rd para from end):
“…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.” [boldface mine]
and in 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.…” [boldface mine]
Do you see? Our Framers drafted a Constitution which established a Federation of Sovereign States united only for the limited purposes enumerated in the Constitution. The powers of each of the three branches of the federal government are carefully limited and defined. See: Congress’ enumerated powers, the President’s enumerated powers, and the Judicial Branch’s enumerated powers. Our Constitution does not delegate general legislative powers over the Country at large to Congress! Ours is a Constitution of enumerated powers only. And nothing – nothing – in the Constitution authorizes the federal government to control the provision – or denial – of medical care to The People. Thus, obamacare is altogether unconstitutional as outside the scope of the legislative powers delegated to Congress by Our Constitution.
Folks! Do not believe what you hear people saying about Our Constitution on TV or the Radio. Most of them don’t know what they are talking about, or they are lying. Only rarely does anyone get it right as O’Reilly did. So you must check things out for yourself. And always demand Proof! PH
1 For a more definitive explanation of the genuine meaning of the interstate commerce clause, and more irrefutable proof from primary sources, see: Does The Interstate Commerce Clause Authorize Congress To Force Us To Buy Health Insurance? Progressives! Read it and rebut it, if you can. PH
April 17, 2012