Publius-Huldah's Blog

Understanding the Constitution

COS Project’s “Simulated Convention” Dog and Pony Show and What They Did There

By Publius Huldah

1. Foundational Knowledge

Our Constitution delegates only a handful of powers to the federal government. But 100 years ago, we started electing Progressives (Fabian socialists) to State and federal office. With the enthusiastic approval of the American People, the Progressives set up the socialist regulatory welfare governments (state and federal) we now have. It’s unconstitutional; but Americans didn’t care because they were being taken care of by the governments, and their children were getting “free” public school educations.

So for the past 100 years, the federal and state governments and the American People have ignored our Constitution.

Now that our socialist system is collapsing, along comes the “Convention of States” Project (COSP), blames all our problems on the federal government, and claims we can fix the federal government’s violations of our Constitution by amending the Constitution. 1

And they say amendments which will “rein in the abuse of power by the federal government” when it “violate[s] its constitutional limitations”, 2 can be obtained only at a convention called by Congress pursuant to Article V of our Constitution.

Article V provides that if two thirds of the States apply for it, Congress shall call a convention for proposing amendments to the Constitution. 3 However, Delegates would have the right, as recognized in the 2nd paragraph of our Declaration of Independence, to throw off the Constitution we have and write a new Constitution which creates a new government. This has happened before!

Our first Constitution was the Articles of Confederation. It had defects, so on February 21, 1787, the Continental Congress called a convention to be held in Philadelphia “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”. But instead of proposing amendments, the Delegates wrote a new Constitution, with an easier mode of ratification, 4 which created a new government. In Federalist No. 40 (15th para), James Madison invoked the Delegates’ right to abolish our form of government, as recognized in the Declaration of Independence, to justify ignoring their instructions and drafting a new Constitution which created a new government.

So! Ever since the federal convention of 1787, it has been known that any convention called to address our Constitution under Article V provides the opportunity to impose a new Constitution. 5 That’s why the enemies of our Constitution periodically push for an Article V convention. 6

In response to the current push, constitutionalists are warning Americans that if Congress calls an Article V convention, a new constitution with a new mode of ratification is likely to be imposed – probably a new constitution which moves us into the North American Union.

2. COSP’s “simulated” Article V convention

So during September 2016, COSP held an “invitation only” “simulated convention” in Williamsburg, Virginia attended by State Legislators handpicked by COSP, 7 to show us that Delegates to a real Article V convention called by Congress will do nothing more than propose amendments.

And lo! At the “simulated convention”, all the handpicked invitees did was propose six amendments to our Constitution – they didn’t “run away” and propose a new Constitution with a new mode of ratification!

COSP would like us to believe that their “simulated convention” proves that a real Article V convention called by Congress also won’t run away when, in fact, it proves nothing except that handpicked COSP invitees fall in line with the COSP agenda.

Now let’s look at the proposed amendments: COSP posted them HERE; an archived copy is HERE.

3. COSP’s six amendments

Like Newspeak in George Orwell’s “1984, the amendments would do the opposite of what COSP claims.

 

Fiscal Restraints Proposal 1”:

“SECTION 1. The public debt shall not be increased except upon a recorded vote of two-thirds of each house of Congress, and only for a period not to exceed one year.

SECTION 2. No state or any subdivision thereof shall be compelled or coerced by Congress or the President to appropriate money.

* * *”

So! Congress can’t increase the debt unless they decide to increase the debt. Wow. This is “fiscal restraints”?

If you read through the Constitution and highlight the powers delegated to the federal government, you will get a list of the objects on which Congress is authorized to spend money.

The reason we have a huge debt is because for 100 years, Congress has been spending on objects which aren’t on the list of delegated powers. The States go along with it because they get federal funds for implementing unconstitutional federal programs in their States. 31.9% of the States’ annual revenues is from federal funds. All this federal money is borrowed and added to the public debt!

To say that State Legislators display hypocrisy when they decry “out of control federal spending” when they have their hand out for all the federal money they can get, is an understatement. The amendment authorizes such spending to continue for as long as Congress continues to approve increases in the debt! The amendment legalizes – makes constitutional – all such spending and debt increases!

Section 2 gives us nothing. Our existing Constitution doesn’t permit the federal government to require States or local governments to spend money.

 

Federal Legislative & Executive Jurisdiction Proposal 1:

“SECTION 1. The power of Congress to regulate commerce among the several states shall be limited to the regulation of the sale, shipment, transportation, or other movement of goods, articles or persons. Congress may not regulate activity solely because it affects commerce among the several states. [boldface added]

SECTION 2. The power of Congress to make all laws that are necessary and proper to regulate commerce among the several states, or with foreign nations, shall not be construed to include the power to regulate or prohibit any activity that is confined within a single state regardless of its effects outside the state, whether it employs instrumentalities therefrom, or whether its regulation or prohibition is part of a comprehensive regulatory scheme; but Congress shall have power to define and provide for punishment of offenses constituting acts of war or violent insurrection against the United States. [boldface added]

SECTION 3. The Legislatures of the States shall have standing to file any claim alleging violation of this article. Nothing in this article shall be construed to limit standing that may otherwise exist for a person.

* * *”

Section 1: The original intent of the interstate commerce clause (Art. I, §3) is to prohibit the States from imposing tolls & tariffs on merchandize as it is transported through the States for purposes of buying & selling; and to permit the federal government to impose duties on imports & exports, both inland & abroad. 8

With Roosevelt’s “New Deal”, the federal government began to pervert the original intent so as to exert power over whatever they wanted to regulate.

The amendment legalizes the perversions! It delegates to the federal government powers it has already usurped to regulate the sale, shipment, transportation, or other movement of goods and articles.

Furthermore: the amendment delegates to the federal government a sweeping new power over the movement or transportation of persons across state lines! It would, e.g., authorize the federal government to prohibit use of privately owned vehicles to cross state lines, and to require prior written permission to cross state lines. I saw in communist East Europe & the Soviet Union a system where governments control movement of persons. Will “Papers, please” be heard at checkpoints in America? This malignant amendment would be constitutional authority to impose such a system here. 9

Section 2: The federal government has no existing constitutional authority to regulate intra state commerce, so the first clause of this section adds nothing our Constitution doesn’t already prohibit.

But the second clause delegates to the federal government another significant new power over persons: it comes verbatim from Randy Barnett’s so-called “bill of federalism”: 10

“…Congress shall have power to define and provide for punishment of offenses constituting acts of war or violent insurrection against the United States.”

Why does Barnett, who attended the “simulated convention” as “Committee Advisor”, want the federal government to have this new power? What’s an “act of war against the United States” – doing what the Bundys and their supporters did? The amendment delegates to Congress the power to define “acts of war against the United States” – and to re-define it from time to time – to encompass whatever they want!

We need to understand the implications of delegating such power to Congress. As with “treason” under the Tudors in England, anyone can be accused of “acts of war against the United States”. Does Randy Barnett, law professor, understand the implications? James Madison understood them and thus said that “treason” must be defined in the Constitution; 11 obviously, no one of Madison’s caliber was at the “simulated convention”.

Section 3: Our Framers didn’t advise the States to file lawsuits against the federal government when it violates the Constitution! Our Framers told the States to nullify such violations. 12

 

Federal Term Limits & Judicial Jurisdiction Proposal 1”:

“No person shall be elected to more than six full terms in the House of Representatives. No person shall be elected to more than two full terms in the Senate. These limits shall include the time served prior to the enactment of this Article.”

This amendment is a feel-good palliative which caters to Americans’ pervasive desire for a quick “fix” which permits them to avoid dealing with the real causes of their problems. See Term Limits: A Palliative not a Cure.

 

Federal Legislative & Executive Jurisdiction Proposal 2”:

“SECTION 1. The Legislatures of the States shall have authority to abrogate any provision of federal law issued by the Congress, President, or Administrative Agencies of the United States, whether in the form of a statute, decree, order, regulation, rule, opinion, decision, or other form. [boldface added]

SECTION 2. Such abrogation shall be effective when the Legislatures of three-fifths of the States approve a resolution declaring the same provision or provisions of federal law to be abrogated. This abrogation authority may also be applied to provisions of federal law existing at the time this amendment is ratified.

* * *”

Section 1: Article I, §1, US Constitution, provides that all legislative powers granted by the Constitution shall be vested in Congress. Only Congress may make laws [and laws are restricted to the powers granted in the Constitution].

Accordingly, executive orders and federal agency rules and orders are not “law”.

The amendment would supersede Art. I, §1. It would elevate to the status of “federal law” every order or regulation burped out by bureaucrats in the executive branch; every executive order signed by every President; and every order barked out by jack-booted thugs working for federal agencies. And unless three fifths of States agree that you don’t have to obey – you must obey or bear the consequences of violating what would be – thanks to this amendment – “federal law”.

Section 2: James Madison, Father of our Constitution, showed how individual States or several States could carry out resistance to the federal government’s unconstitutional encroachments. But the amendment would require 30 States to agree before any one State or person could defend itself!

 

Fiscal Restraints Proposal 2:

SECTION 1. Congress shall not impose taxes or other exactions upon incomes, gifts, or estates.

SECTION 2. Congress shall not impose or increase any tax, duty, impost or excise without the approval of three-fifths of the House of Representatives and three-fifths of the Senate, and shall separately present such to the President. [boldface added]

SECTION 3. This Article shall be effective five years from the date of its ratification, at which time the Sixteenth Article of amendment is repealed.”

This amendment doesn’t impose “fiscal restraints” – it authorizes Congress to impose new and different taxes on us!

The words in boldface authorize Congress to impose “any tax” if three fifths of both Houses agree. “Any tax” includes a national sales tax and a national value added tax (VAT). Statists love the VAT because it raises a “gusher of revenue for spendthrift governments”. This is what will replace the income, gift, and estate tax.

 

Federal Legislative & Executive Jurisdiction Proposal 3”:

“Whenever one quarter of the members of the United States House of Representatives or the United States Senate transmits to the President their written declaration of opposition to any proposed or existing federal administrative regulation, in whole or in part, it shall require a majority vote of the House of Representatives and Senate to adopt or affirm that regulation. Upon the transmittal of opposition, if Congress shall fail to vote within 180 days, such regulation shall be vacated. No proposed regulation challenged under the terms of this Article shall go into effect without the approval of Congress. Congressional approval or rejection of a rule or regulation is not subject to Presidential veto under Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution.”

As shown in The “Regulation Freedom” Amendment and Daniel Webster, rulemaking by federal agencies is unconstitutional as in violation of Art. I, §1 of our Constitution.

The proposed amendment would supersede Art. I, §1 and legalize such rulemaking! And the existing Code of Federal Regulations and the rulemaking process itself – which now violate the Constitution – would be made constitutional!

The solution to the burden created by unconstitutional federal agencies is to do away with the agencies! Downsize the federal government to its enumerated powers!

4. Conclusion

The “simulated convention” was a dog and pony show put on to produce amendments to con us into believing that a real Article V convention called by Congress won’t “run away”.

But it’s impossible to fix federal usurpations of non-delegated powers with amendments, because amendments can’t take away powers the Constitution didn’t delegate in the first place. Thus, the amendments the hand-picked attendees approved legalize powers already usurped or delegate sweeping new powers to the federal government over States and individual persons!

Statecraft is serious business which requires systematic study to master. The “simulated convention” shows we live in a time of constitutional illiteracy where people of good intent can be misled by persons of “insidious views”. Heed the words of Daniel Webster in his 4th of July Oration, 1802:

“The politician that undertakes to improve a Constitution with as little thought as a farmer sets about mending his plow, is no master of his trade. If that Constitution be a systematic one, if it be a free one, its parts are so necessarily connected that an alteration in one will work an alteration in all; and this cobbler, however pure and honest his intentions, will, in the end, find that what came to his hands a fair and lovely fabric goes from them a miserable piece of patchwork.”

Endnotes:

1 If your spouse commits adultery, will your marriage be saved if you amend the vows to permit adultery? When People violate the Ten Commandments, will morality be restored if we amend the Ten Commandments to permit sin?

2 Michael Farris’ words in “Answering the John Birch Society Questions about Article V” or HERE.

3 None of the Delegates to the convention of 1787 said the purpose of amendments is to rein in the fed. gov’t when it usurps power. They said the purpose is to fix defects in the Constitution. See The George Mason Fabrication at subheading 4.

4 Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation (AOC) required Amendments to the AOC to be ratified by the Continental Congress and all of the then 13 States. But Article VII of the new Constitution (the one we now have) provided that it would be ratified by 9 States.

5 The enemies of our Constitution knew from day one that they could get rid of our Constitution at an Art. V convention! Our present Constitution was ratified by the 9th State on June 21, 1788. In Federalist No. 85 (mid-August 1788), Hamilton addressed the arguments of the anti-federalists who were agitating for another convention in order to get rid of our new Constitution.

On Oct. 27, 1788, anti-federalist Patrick Henry introduced into the Virginia Assembly a Resolution asking Congress to call an Art. V convention. In Madison’s letter to Randolph of Nov 2, 1788 (pages 294-297), he speaks of Henry’s “enmity” “agst [against] the whole system” [the new Constitution]; and “the destruction of the whole system I take to be still the secret wish of his heart, and the real object of his pursuit.”

6 New Constitutions are already prepared or being drafted: e.g., the Constitution for the Newstates of America is ratified by a national referendum (Art. XII, §1). Globalists [e.g., the Council on Foreign Relations] who want to move us into the North American Union (NAU) need a new Constitution to transform us from a sovereign nation to a member state in the NAU.

7 COSP’s page is archived HERE. See “who attended the simulation” in right column. [Archived list of attendees is HERE or HERE.]

8 Proof of the original intent of the interstate commerce clause & how it was abused is HERE.

9 Yet, Legislators from 44 of the States at the “simulated convention” approved this!

10 See Barnett’s Amendment 2 – Limits of Commerce Power”. It’s archived HERE.

11 “Treason” is defined at Art. III, §3. In Federalist No. 43 (at 3.) Madison warns that the definition must be locked into the Constitution. Otherwise, malignant people fabricate definitions as needed in order to condemn their enemies.

Compare Art. I, §8, cl. 10 which delegates to Congress the power “To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations”. In Federalist No. 42 (1st & 4th paras), Madison points out that this class of powers is among those which “regulate the intercourse with foreign nations” and so must be handled by the general [fed.] gov’t. And since everyone’s definition of the terms is different, the fed gov’t should define them. This class of powers wouldn’t affect private Citizens. For more on the limited criminal jurisdiction of the fed gov’t over private Citizens, see What Criminal Laws are Congress Authorized To Make?

12 See Nullification made Easy. And remember: State officials are required by the Oath at Art. VI to “support” the federal Constitution – not to obey the federal government!

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January 14, 2018 Posted by | Article V Convention, Code of Federal Regulations, Commerce clause, commerce clause, Convention of States project, Daniel Webster, dog and pony show, Fabian socialism, fabian socialists, James Madison, Michael Farris, Newspeak, Randy Barnett, simulated convention, Term Limits Amendment | , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

James Madison Rebukes Nullification Deniers

By Publius Huldah

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

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

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

  Nullification is literally impossible;

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

James Madison, Father of Our Constitution, opposed nullification.

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

What are the Two Conditions Precedent for Nullification?

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Nullification” is merely one form of interposition.

Here are three highly relevant illustrations:

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

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

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

Our Founding Principles in a Nutshell

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

1.  Rights come from God;

2.  People create governments;

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

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

Let us look briefly at these Principles:

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

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

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

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which … concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” [boldface mine]

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

These enumerated powers concern:

Military defense, international commerce & relations;

Control of immigration and naturalization of new citizens;

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

With some of the Amendments, protect certain civil rights.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is to secure our property rights by:

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

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

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

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

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

It is to secure our right to liberty by:

Laws against slavery (13th Amendment);

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

Obeying the Constitution!

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

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

Thomas Jefferson said:

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

James Madison commented on the above:

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

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

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

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

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

Do you see?

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

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

False Assertion 1:

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

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

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

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

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

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

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

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

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

Do you see how they pervert Our Constitution?

False Assertion 2:

That Nullification is literally impossible.

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

The act of the federal government must be unconstitutional, and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

False Assertion 3:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The federal government imposed by the Progressives is evil:

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

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

And thus today, the federal government:

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

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

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

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

 

So!  What do We do?  What can We do?

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

But think: Who created the federal government?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

False Assertion 4:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus, the Tariff Act of 1828 was constitutional! 11

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

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

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

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

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

The federal government has delegated authority to impose import tariffs;

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

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

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

  Nullification is not a “constitutional right”;

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

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

Madison then says:

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

Do you see?  Madison is saying that:

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

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

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

Application Today

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

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

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

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

To sum this up:

Nullification is a natural right of self-defense.

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Post script added October 2, 2013:

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

Endnotes:

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

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

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

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

Federalist No. 62 (5th para):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798,8th Resolution.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 31, 2013; revised October 23, 2013

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January 31, 2013 Posted by | 10th Amendment, alien and sedition acts, Allen C. Guelzo, David Barton, Heritage Foundation, Interposition, Jarrett Stepman, Jim Crow laws, Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Madison's Notes on Nullification (1834), Madison's Report on the Virginia Resolutions (1799-1800), Martin Luther King, Matthew Spalding, Nullification, nullification deniers, Progressives, Randy Barnett, Robert A. Levy Cato Institute, South Carolina nullification crisis, Sovereign States, States Retained Powers, Tariff of Abominations, Tarrif Act of 1828, Tenth Amendment, Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Resolutions of 1798 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 111 Comments

   

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