Saturday, July 13, 2019

Not Too Late for Constitution Association Event

We have a few empty seats.  Show up, pay $55 for your ticket, and take a seat for the West Coast's premier constitution event of the year.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Non-Citizen's Right to Education

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

A reader of Political Pistachio received an email with disturbing language in it about one's "right to an education regardless of citizenship status."

-----Original Message-----
From: "L"
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2019 3:20pm
To: "Douglas V. Gibbs"
Subject: Fw: News from OMSD Superintendent Dr. James Q. Hammond
This gentleman mentions about the U.S. Constitution ....................... "Rights on all persons , regardless of citizenship status" How should I answer that? I will make an attempt to attend a school board meeting. I'll check and do my homework as well.
I hope to hear from you.


News from Superintendent Dr. James Q. Hammond
Important Community Message
As stated in the Ontario-Montclair School District’s (OMSD) 5 Year Action Plan, our District“is committed to providing a world-class education to our students in safe, respectful, and welcoming school environments.”
OMSD continues to support and embrace our families who come from diverse backgrounds and is home to students from 45 countries of origin who speak 28 languages/dialects. We proudly recognize diversity as one of our greatest strengths. The District stands together in doing everything possible to ensure students, families, and staff feel safe and secure when they come to school. As Superintendent, I continually encourage all parents to send their children to school every day.
Additionally, it is well established that the United States Constitution confers rights upon all persons living in the United States, regardless of their citizenship status.* Furthermore, the United States Supreme Court declared almost 40 years ago that all children in the United States have the right to attend public elementary and secondary schools regardless of their actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status, or the immigration status of their parents, including those who are undocumented.**
Daily attendance is critical to every child’s academic success. As we prepare to start the new school year this August, I urge parents, families, and community members to remain committed to prioritizing school attendance.
As previously communicated in past newsletters, I want to remind all OMSD stakeholders that all children have the right to attend public schools free from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, citizenship, and immigration status, including those in our community who are undocumented. Any such discrimination at OMSD will not be tolerated.
Our commitment to the well-being of every student in OMSD remains unwavering. We continue to build school communities where all students, families, and staff are honored and engaged. We expect everyone to be treated respectfully, without fear of bullying or intimidation.

---------------------

My response:

L,

Good to hear from you.  While we all have natural rights, we also live under the rule of law.  The word "right" does not mean we have a right to do whatever we want regardless of the law.  I can say I have a right to travel, therefore I should be able to drive without a drivers' license.  Reality is, while I may have a right to travel, there is a law in place that requires a license to drive a motor vehicle.  One's rights in this country also are subject to the law, and to access certain rights, we must be citizens.  Also, let's remember how our rights are listed in the Declaration of Independence.  Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  The last three words are key.  We don't have a right to be happy, we have a right to pursue it.  We don't have a right to do whatever we want, but we do have a right to pursue some of those things, based on the rule of law.  We don't have a right to an education, but we have a right to pursue it.  We don't have a right to health care, we have a right to pursue it.  We don't have a right to have a cake baked the way we want, but we do have a right to pursue it.  We don't have a right to welfare services, but if we qualify (citizenship status applies) we have a right to pursue it.  They can claim they have a right to vote, but the rule of law says you must be a citizen.  In fact, four times in the Constitution it directly states you must be a citizen to vote (Amendment 15, 19, 24, 26) and in Article IV. of the Constitution it states you must be a citizen to enjoy the privileges and immunities of each of the States (which I also place voting ... I don't believe voting to be a right, but instead it is a privilege of citizenship).  Education, while one must not necessarily be a citizen to be entitled to public education (there are non-citizens who have legally entered the country but currently maintain a "residency" status), it does require that the persons are here legally.  The very fact that illegal aliens have broken the first law they encountered, immigration law, places them at odds with the rule of law, therefore what they consider to be rights does not apply.  They have, in a way, disqualified themselves by refusing to follow the process.  Besides, how can someone who is not a citizen here claim to have rights in this country?  Do I have rights in Mexico?  Can I claim that regardless of my citizenship status Mexico, France, Britain, and other countries must provide for me benefits that I demand should I break into their country?  Must they educate my children even though I've paid no taxes in their country and I am currently breaking a series of laws by being in the country without going through the proper processes?

Another argument I use when it comes to achieving a legal status is I ask if the person I am talking to locked the door of their home when they left to come to wherever they are.  "Did you lock your door today?  Do you normally lock your door when you are not home?  Why?  Do you hate everyone on the outside?  What if they need to enter your home while you are gone to raid the fridge?  You lock the doors of your home not because you hate everyone on the outside, but because you love everyone on the inside.  You recognize that among the general population are those who will abuse your belongings, and steal from you or harm your family.  Even when you are home and somebody knocks you don't just throw open the door and proclaim that they help themselves to everything.  You peek through the spy-hole, or you peek around the door as you slowly open it, and you don't let the person into your house unless you are convinced they are a friend, family member, or someone you can trust to come inside.  You don't have those requirements because you are a racist, but because you wish to protect your home, and its occupants."

As for defining the Constitution based on judicial rulings, the courts do not have the authority to define the Constitution.  It says what it says, and there is nothing in the Constitution that says someone is entitled to "rights in the United States regardless of immigration status".  In fact, going back to Article IV., it says you must be a citizen to have access to the privileges and immunities of the several states.  Would not education fall under that?

I hope this helps.

Blessings,

Douglas V. Gibbs
Fellow, American Freedom Alliance
President, Constitution Association
Secretary, Birth Choice Centers, Inc.
Sentinel, Heritage Foundation
Senate District 28 Director, California Republican Assembly
Radio Host, KMET 1490-AM
Author

Thursday, July 11, 2019

See Me Speak in Banning Tonight ...


Where I stand.

Opinion by Allan McNew

I understand that upon reading my submissions some ask as to whether I am a Democrat or Republican. The fact is I think for myself and call out BS wherever I see it. I’m equal opportunity in that regard.

The aristocracies of both the Democrat and Republican parties have nothing but contempt for the middle and lower classes, the only use they have for us is as stepping stones or useful tools.

The election of Donald Trump was a middle finger shoved in the face of the self serving political establishment. On the other hand it seems to me, unconsciously, Trump regards himself as CEO of the United States and the citizens therein as his stockholders for whom he works.

There is not an effective nickle’s worth of difference between the results of the hierarchies of both parties. Democrats take money from the rich and big corporations while denouncing both, Republicans take money from the rich and and big corporations while championing both. Democrats keep the poor down while blaming poverty on Republicans, to Republicans the poor are either invisible or bring poverty on themselves. As well, way too many politicians of modest means on both sides become inexplicably, positively wealthy in a relative short period of time after entering Congress. That reeks of bipartisan corruption.

Democrats tax the middle class out of existence, Republicans ship middle class job overseas in bulk.

All the talk about “creating jobs” is worthless without discussing the quality of jobs “created.” Part time, low pay burger flipping and leaf raking doesn’t cut it. On the other hand I’ve seen too much of things like government grants to big box companies to hire teenagers for summer help, ostensibly to give them work experience. In reality, the companies take the “free money” and fire single mothers who need a job while the temporary hires who replace them live and eat at their parent’s house. Then there’s the 30 hour cutoff for employer obligations to provide certain government benefits. All that does is create a class of part time workers who may work more than full time at multiple part time jobs without the benefits of working over 30 hours at a single employer.

Republican politicians had best to take a page out of the Trump playbook concerning the middle and lower classes or or they will be buried under the falsity of “free stuff” shoveled out by the Democrats.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Temecula Constitution Class: Legislative Prohibitions

Temecula Constitution Class, Wednesdays 6:00 pm
28120 Jefferson Avenue, Temecula, CA
Riverside County Republican Party Headquarters

Constitution Class Handout
Instructor: Douglas V. Gibbs
 
 
 
Lesson 04
 
Legislative Prohibitions
 
Prohibitions to the Federal Government, and the States
 
 
- Prohibitions to the Federal Government
 
The Slave Trade and Immigration
 
The common misconception is that Article I, Section 9, Clause 1 is obsolete. The abolition of slavery in the United States made the clause obsolete, we are told. In reality, only a part of the clause is not longer in force. The clause addressed the Atlantic slave trade, and the migration of people into the United States. Slavery was abolished by Amendment 13 so the part of Article I, Section 9, Clause 1 that addresses slavery is obsolete. But is the part about migration still in force?
 
One could say that the "migration" portion of the clause is still in force because the 13th Amendment only addresses slavery. The standard belief among historians is that the entire clause is no longer in force.
 
The ramifications of this clause may indeed reach into today's issue regarding illegal immigration.
 
Why would the Founding Fathers include a mention of migration in a clause that is essentially geared toward the abolition of the importation of slaves?
 
The word "importation" in this clause applies wholly to slaves.
 
The word, migration, then, would seem to apply wholly to non-slaves.
 
The intention was that since the Constitution, as the contract that created our federal government, is a document that grants powers to the federal government, and that all authorities not expressly delegated, are reserved to the States, it was expected that immigration would remain as an issue that would be addressed by the States.
 
Other national governments prohibited migration as they saw fit, so the Founding Fathers determined that the new United States Government must have that same authority.
 
According to the clause, however, from the year 1808 Congress would possess the power to stop the importation of slaves, as well as the migration of people the Congress felt must be prohibited from entering this country as immigrants, through the Congress' power of legislation.
 
The Constitution was written specifically in regards to the federal government. All powers originally belonged to the States. Some of those authorities were granted to the federal government for the purpose of protecting and preserving the union. Therefore, all authorities regarding immigration originally belonged to the States, and before 1808 the States had sole authority regarding all immigration issues.
 
In Article I, Section 9, the federal government was given the opportunity to regulate immigration, but not until 1808. The reason for delaying the power to prevent migration were, to be simply put, to give the States twenty years to attract as many people as possible without Congressional regulatory consideration. After all, at this time in history we had immense and almost immeasurable territory, peopled by not more than two and a half million inhabitants. Therefore, migration was encouraged, especially of the kind of people that would bring a benefit to the new nation. The immigration of able, skilful, and industrious Europeans was encouraged.
 
Note that this clause gives the federal government the authority to prohibit certain persons from migrating into the United States, but it does not give the federal government the authority to dictate to the States which persons the States must admit inside their borders.
 
Habeas Corpus
 
Article I, Section 9, Clause 2 states that "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."
 
Habeas corpus is a legal term that means quite literally in Latin: "you may have the body." In legal terms, Habeas corpus is a writ that releases a prisoner from unlawful detention. Habeas corpus comes from British common law, and has historically served as an important legal instrument safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary state action that includes detention without the due process of law.
 
A writ of habeas corpus is a summons with the force of a court order that demands a prisoner be taken before the court, and that the custodian present proof of authority, allowing the court to determine if the custodian has lawful authority to detain the person. If the custodian does not have authority to detain the prisoner, then the prisoner must be released from custody.
 
Habeas corpus is designed to protect citizens against any detention that is forbidden by law. The U.S. Constitution specifically includes the habeas procedure, and instructs the Congress not to suspend such unless the detainment is the result of a "Rebellion or Invasion," adding that "the public Safety may require it."
 
Normally, habeas corpus proceedings accompany questions of jurisdiction and authorities of the court that sentenced a defendant. The suspension of habeas corpus has recently become an issue regarding the detainment of terrorists, but one must ask if the public safety requires the suspension of habeas corpus in the case of terrorists, as prescribed in the Constitution. Secondly, one must consider that the Constitution applies to American citizens, so the question on whether or not Article I, Section 9, Clause 2 applies to captured combatants seems to be a moot point since it is obvious that the detained are not American Citizens, and therefore are not protected by Constitutional protections. Also, remember that Congress has the sole authority to make rules regarding captures on land and water as per Article I, Section 8, Clause 11.
 
Bills of Attainder
 
A Bill of Attainder is when the legislature declares the guilt of a person or group of persons, and punishes them without due process (the benefit of a trial).
 
In Britain, bills of attainder were used as a convenient way for the King to convict subjects of crimes and confiscate their property without the bother of a trial, and without the need for a conviction or indeed any evidence at all. Such actions were seen as tyrannical because often this power was used against political enemies, and the Founding Fathers did not wish to give the new federal government those same kinds of powers. Some states, prior to the Constitution, did use attainders against British loyalists, but the practice all but disappeared after the Constitution so specifically forbid the use of attainders by the U.S. Congress, and the States.
 
Prohibiting the use of bills of attainder serves a number of purposes. One purpose is that by disallowing the bills of attainder the separation of powers is reinforced. By disallowing bills of attainder, it literally forbids the legislature from performing a judicial function. Another purpose is in regard to the protection of the concept of due process, which was later reinforced by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.
 
The true danger of a bill of attainder is that such a legislative act inflicts punishment without a judicial trial, and takes away the life, liberty or property of the target.
 
Ex Post Facto law
 
Ex post facto Law is literally retroactive law, or a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences (or status) of actions committed or relationships that existed prior to the enactment of the law. Ex post facto law could criminalize actions that were legal when committed, or in the case of amnesty laws, decriminalize certain acts or alleviate possible punishments. Generally speaking, ex post facto laws are seen as a violation of the rule of law as it applies in a free and democratic society. Ex post facto laws are expressly forbidden by the United States Constitution.
 
Direct Taxation
 
The U.S. Constitution originally forbade direct taxation upon the people by the federal government. Taxation of the people by the federal government could only be laid in relation to population. When the idea for the income tax came to fruition, an amendment (16th) had to be passed to allow for the direct taxation of the people without dependence upon the enumeration of the population.
 
Article I, Section 9, Clause 4 states that in addition to direct taxation, the federal government was forbidden from using Capitation. Capitation is a head tax. A Poll Tax is a kind of head tax. In the context of the period, any tax that singles out groups both directly and indirectly regardless of possession of lands or personal property is Capitation. Since Article I, Section 9 is a prohibitory section, the specific call by the Founding Fathers in that clause was that there shall be No Capitation, which included No Poll Tax.
 
In early New England, in keeping with traditions from the homeland, capitation (caput, meaning head), or poll taxes, were common. These taxes were levied as a way to manipulate the people for the "good of the government."
 
Alexander Hamilton, though condemning capitation taxes in his Federalist Papers writings, was in favor of "head taxes" for emergency revenue reasons. He felt that since sources for revenue were so few, if the government needed to expand for any reason, the ability to lay head taxes, or direct taxation, needed to be an option. However, most of the Founding Fathers disagreed, not only because of their belief that taxation must be indirect and small, but also because of their opinion that the federal government must remain limited to the few authorities granted to it by the U.S. Constitution.
 
Article I, Section 9, Clause 4 forbids Congress to lay a tax upon individuals except uniformly, and in proportion to the census provided for in Article I, Section 2, Clause 3, where this subject is first brought up. In other words, direct taxation was forbidden. What the federal government did was tax the States, based on proportion to the census, or enumeration. The States then taxed the people in order to pay the tax to the federal government. The method of taxation by the States was left up to each individual State. The federal government, in this way, used indirect taxation to tax the people.
 
As we have learned, the U.S. Constitution is not designed to necessarily tell the federal government what it can't do as much as it is designed to tell the federal government what few authorities it has. But the Founders felt this to be so important that in addition to not giving direct taxation to the Federal Government as an authority, they felt they must also spell it out that the Federal Government cannot tax in this manner in any form. This clause restricts the Congress a lot more because it is prohibitive. Article 1, Section 8 provides a list of "enumerated powers," but knowing that politicians would bend and twist meanings to gain more power, Article 1, Section 9 was designed to spell out some very specific things the Congress is prohibited from doing (such as direct taxation and capitation taxes).
 
Preference in Commerce
 
Article I, Section 9, Clause 6 states that "No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another."
 
This proposal was placed before the Constitutional Convention by the delegates from Maryland, their fear being that congressional legislation might prefer Chesapeake Bay ports of Virginia to those of their State. Under the Articles of Confederation, each State was free to impose duties and make regulations to the disadvantage of others, and it was desired that equality in commerce be maintained in the future. This also gives us a clue to the intentions of the Commerce Clause in Article I, Section 8. The Founding Fathers did not wish to give the Federal Government control over commerce, only the ability to ensure that commerce was maintained in an equitable manner in regards to the several States.
 
U.S. Treasury
 
Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 reads: "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."
 
This clause was inspired by the lessons learned in regards to merry old England. The Founding Fathers did not believe it should be in the power of the Executive alone, or of the legislature alone, to raise or spend the money at will. Article I, Section 7, Clause 1 requires that all bills for raising money must originate in the House of Representatives; but they must then pass the Senate and be signed by the President. In 1842 Congress began to make appropriations by joint resolution; but as that also must be approved by both Houses, and signed by the President, there is no real difference. Also, in the interest of transparency to the people, the records of all monetary transactions both of receipts and expenditures must be made available for public scrutiny.
 
Divided Allegiance
 
Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 reads: "No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."
 
The Founding Fathers did not believe there should be any foreign influences in the affairs of our government.
 
This provision was taken from a provision in the first section of Article VI of the Articles of Confederation. It permitted persons holding office under a State to accept, with the consent of Congress, the objectionable gifts or distinctions; but the constitutions of at least two of the States at that time forbade them altogether. This republic, being a nation born as a result of the tyranny of a monarchy, should not grant titles of nobility, that much was easily understood. Nobility betrayed the trust and honor of the people through the use of prestige and favoritism. This was the kind of government that did not protect the liberties of the people.
 
Jefferson, as President, accepted from Alexander I of Russia a bust of that Emperor, which he said would be "one of the most valued ornaments of the retreat I am preparing for myself at my native home." He said that he had laid it down as a law of his official conduct not to accept anything but books, pamphlets, or other things of minor value; but his "particular esteem" from the Emperor "places his image in my mind above the scope of the law." However, without the consent of Congress, who was the final determining factor, he could not have accepted that gift.
 
In 1810 Congress proposed an amendment, the original Thirteenth amendment (some would call it the lost 13th Amendment because some records showed it was ratified, then suddenly disappeared - as explained below), to add a heavy penalty to this clause by this wording:
 
"If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain any title of nobility or honor, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding office of trust or profit under them, or either of them."
 
The people were told that the proposed amendment lacked the necessary ratifying votes. Ongoing research has shown that the proposed amendment was indeed properly ratified, the State Department WAS notified, and the amendment was on the books and records of the various States until at least 1876. From 1810 to 1812, twelve states ratified this amendment. The War of 1812 destroyed the library of Congress and these documents were thought destroyed, but in 1994 it was discovered they still exist after a chance discovery in Maine in 1983 made historians aware of the existence of the original 13th Amendment.
 
Terms:
 
Indirect Taxation: An indirect tax is contrasted with a direct tax which is collected directly by government from the people. An indirect tax, for example, may increase the price of a good so that consumers are actually paying the tax by paying more for the products. Another example of indirect taxation is for one entity to tax another entity, and then the second entity taxing the people to recoup the taxes it paid.
 
Joint Resolution: A joint resolution is a legislative measure requiring approval by the Senate and the House and then is presented to the President for approval or disapproval. There is generally no legal difference between a joint resolution and a bill. Laws enacted by virtue of a joint resolution are not distinguished from laws enacted by a bill. Constitutional amendments are passed by joint resolutions, which are instead presented to the States for ratification. Resolutions are often temporary in nature.
 
Questions for Discussion:
 
1. How was immigration regarded by the Founding Fathers?
 
2. Why is Habeas Corpus so important?
 
3. If the Founding Fathers disagreed with divided allegiance, what would they think of dual citizenship?
 
Resources:
 
Articles of Confederation, March 1, 1781; http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/artconf.asp
 
Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen, A Patriot's History of the United States; New York: Sentinel (2004).
 
Madison's Notes on the Constitutional Convention, Avalon Project, Yale University: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/debcont.asp
 
The Original 13th Article of Amendment; American Patriot Friend's Network:
http://www.apfn.org/apfn/13th.htm Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Hamilton's Curse; New York: Three Rivers Press (2008).
 
- Prohibitions to the States
 
The articles in the U.S. Constitution all apply to the federal government unless otherwise noted. Article I, Section 10, notes otherwise. Each clause begins with the words "No State shall," making Article I, Section 10 prohibitive to the States.
 
Article I, Section 10, Clause 1 begins by disallowing the States to enter into any treaty, alliance, or Confederation. The goal was to keep the union intact, have all dealings with foreign governments go through the federal government, and to ensure there was no divided loyalties among the States. Treaties and alliances are external issues.
 
The disallowance of the States entering into a confederation was the argument used against the Confederacy during the American Civil War. President Lincoln considered the southern states seceding and joining into a confederation to be unlawful, partly due to this clause in the Constitution. However, by seceding, the States no longer fell under the jurisdiction of the Constitution, making the Confederacy a legal arrangement.
 
No State could grant letters of Marque and Reprisal, or coin money. These authorities were granted to the federal government in Article I, Section 8. States were not allowed to coin money so that they would not use currency as a means to gain an unfair advantage over each other in relation to interstate commerce.
 
Article I, Section 10 prohibits the States from emitting bills of credit. Bills of credit take two forms. Bills of credit are receipts for currency, such as a treasury note, and bills of credit can be items of credit such as bonds. What this means is that the States could not issue paper money, nor could States issue instruments of debt. In other words, the States were not allowed to borrow money. Today, all but two States of the union are in debt. The State deficits are in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
 
The States were also disallowed from passing bills of attainder, ex post facto law, or passing any law that would impair the obligation of contracts. The States, as the federal government, could not issue any title of Nobility. Ex post facto law has become a large concern in recent politics. Ex post facto law is retroactive law. By disallowing the passage of ex post facto law, the States (just like the federal government) cannot constitutionally pass laws retroactively. A gun legal at the time of purchase cannot be made retroactively illegal. Immigrants who entered the State illegally cannot be made retroactively legal. A tax cannot be retroactively imposed, creating a sudden large balance of tax due.
 
States are allowed to tax imports or exports, but only with the consent of Congress. Because States are tasked with having their own inspection laws, any costs necessary for executing those inspection laws may be recouped through imposts or Duties without the consent of Congress.
 
"The net produce of all duties and imposts, laid by any State on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the Treasury of the United States." In other words, the States cannot over tax imports and exports. They are only to charge taxes necessary to cover their costs, such as "executing inspection laws." Any net produce, or what would be considered "profit" in the private sector, goes to the U.S. Treasury. All of the States inspection laws, or other laws regarding imports and exports, are also subject to revision and control by the Congress.
 
Having a military is also forbidden to the States in time of peace, except with the consent of Congress. However, if a State is invaded, or the State feels they are in imminent danger, they are allowed to form a military. Currently, 23 States have State Defense Forces, or "State Militias." In recent years, State Defense Forces have proven vital to homeland security and emergency response efforts.
 
 
 
Questions for Discussion:
 
1. What does the various prohibitions to the States have in common?
 
2. How do the prohibitions to the States relate to concepts like the Tenth Amendment?
 
Resources:
 
21st-Century Militia: State Defense Forces and Homeland Security, Heritage Foundation: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/10/The-21st-Century-Militia-State-Defense-Forces-and-Homeland-Security
 
Madison's Notes on the Constitutional Convention, Avalon Project, Yale University: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/debcont.asp
 
UNITED STATES v. COMSTOCK (No. 08-1224), Clarence Thomas Dissenting Opinion (State Sovereignty): http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-1224.ZD.html(2010)
 
 
Copyright: Douglas V. Gibbs, 2015

Hong Kong Protesters' Theme Song: Sing Hallelujah to the Lord

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host




-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Banning/Beaumont/Cherry Valley Tea Party: Take On the School Boards


Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Corona Constitution Class: Legislative Powers


Corona Constitution Class
Tuesdays, 6:00 pm
CARSTAR/ALLSTAR Collision
522 Railroad Street
Corona, CA

Constitution Class Handout
Instructor: Douglas V. Gibbs






Lesson 02

Legislative Powers

Establishing the Legislative Branch



Legislative Powers
Article I, Section 1: All Legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Article I establishes the Legislative Branch of the federal government.  Article I, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution establishes the two parts of Congress, and grants all legislative powers to the two Houses of the Congress of the United States.  When studying the language used in Article I, Section 1, the original intent by the Founding Fathers becomes clear.

The first word in the first section of Article I is the word “all.”  The definition of all is “the whole of a particular thing.”

The next words in Article I, Section 1 are legislative powers.  Legislative powers are the ability to make law, modify law, repeal law, and anything else that has to do with affecting law.

The next word in the clause is “herein.”  The primary definition of herein is “here in this document.”

After herein is the word granted.  Granted is defined as “to give,” “to allow,” or more specifically “to legally transfer.”  If powers are granted, then there must be a “grantor,” as well as a grantee.  As we learned in our discussion regarding The Preamble, the “grantor” of the authorities enumerated in the Constitution is the States.

“Shall be” is definitive.  The Constitution in its first clause reads, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be. . .,” shall be meaning “it is,” or “it will be.”

“Vested” is much like “granted.”  Vested is a legal transfer of something, or in this case, an allowance to have legislative powers at the federal level granted to Congress.

The Congress of the United States is the legislative branch of the federal government, and this clause indicates that not only will the Congress be granted all legislative powers given to the federal government, but that the branch of government consists of two houses; a Senate and House of Representatives.

All legislative powers, according to this clause, are granted to the Congress by the States for the purpose of making law, modifying law, or repealing law.  The powers are herein granted, which means that the laws must fall within the authorities granted by the text of the U.S. Constitution.  In other words, laws made must remain consistent with the “powers herein granted.”

Based on language used in the first clause of the United States Constitution, when members of the judiciary legislates from the bench, or the President issues an executive order to modify a law, such action is unconstitutional.  After all, “all legislative powers” were granted to the Congress, not to the judicial branch, or the executive branch.

Since all legislative powers belong to the Congress, that means any regulations by federal departments that are not in line with laws made by the Congress that are in line with the authorities granted by the Constitution are unconstitutional as well.  All legislative powers belong to the Congress, therefore any “legislative actions” by regulatory agencies, which are a part of the executive branch, are not in line with the original intent of the Constitution.

Powers the federal government has were “granted” by the States.  “We The People of the United States” granted those powers to the federal government through the Constitution.  Therefore, if the federal government acts in a manner that is not consistent with the contract between the States and the U.S. Government, the States have the option to ignore those unconstitutional actions by the federal government.  This action of ignoring unconstitutional law is the States’ way of being the final arbiters of the Constitution.  The term for this kind of action by a State is nullification.  Thomas Jefferson, in his draft of the Kentucky Resolutions, explained that any unconstitutional law is null and void, and as an illegal law, the States have the right to nullify it.

The concept that only Congress has legislative powers, only the executive branch has executive powers, and the judicial branch only has judicial powers, as described in the first sentence of each of the first three articles of the Constitution, is called Separation of Powers.  The purpose of this philosophy is to disallow different branches from abusing the powers not granted to that branch, as well as to protect against collusion.

The Separation of Powers also exists between the States, and the federal government.  Most authorities granted to the federal government are powers the States did not reserve to themselves.  Most authorities retained by the States are not authorized to be administered to by the federal government.  There are a few authorities that are concurrent, meaning that both the federal government, and the States, have some authority over the issue.  One issue that is concurrent is immigration, which will be addressed later in this book.  Sole authority over a particular power is called Exclusive Powers.

House of Representatives
Article I, Section 2 establishes, and defines, the House of Representatives.  The members of the House of Representatives are divided among the States proportionally.  As it is today, the House of Representatives was the voice of the people in the federal government.  Each Representative is chosen to serve for two years, which means every two years every Representative is up for re-election, if they choose to run.

The eligibility of a Representative as explained by Article I, Section 2 requires that the candidate must be at least twenty-five years of age, and been a citizen of the United States for at least seven years.  The age is lower than for Senators.  Representatives were not expected to be as politically savvy as the Senators, and tended to have less experience.  The age requirement simply reflected that.  Political knowledge and experience tends to come with age.

Divided allegiance was a serious concern to the Founding Fathers.  The requirement that Representatives have been citizens of the United States for at least seven years reflects that concern.  Seven years, for a Representative of the people, was assumed to have been long enough for the Representative to have thrown off any allegiances to other nations.

The third clause of Article I, Section 2, includes the 3/5s clause, which was changed by the 14th Amendment following the American Civil War. 

The Southern States used slaves for their agricultural economies.  The southern states were needed to ratify the new constitution.  As a condition for ratifying the Constitution, the southern states demanded that the slaves be counted as one whole person each.  The idea was that if the slaves were counted as whole persons, the apportionment would tip the scales in their favor through increased representation in the new United States House of Representatives. White populations in the southern states were lower in number when compared to the northern states, due to the rural nature of the Slave States to the south.

The Northern States, under the heavy influence of merchants, political elitists, and a group of abolitionists, wanted the slaves counted as "zero" in order to reduce the number of representatives the southern states would receive, which would give the majority to the northern states, thus giving the north more legislative power.  With this additional voting power in the House of Representatives, the northern states sought to have greater influence on the federal government through legislation.  The plan was to use their legislative power to tyrannically force the southern states into submission, and to eventually abandon slavery.

In the interest of compromise, to convince the southern states to ratify the constitution, while giving the northern states the satisfaction that the southern states did not get exactly what they wanted, the decision was made that slaves would be counted as 3/5 of a whole person for the sake of apportionment.  In other words, it was not a declaration that they believed blacks to be less than a person, but simply to affect the census in such a way that too much power through apportionment would not be given to either The North or The South, while also ensuring that the Constitution got ratified.

G.R. Mobley, author of We the People, Whose Constitution Is It Anyway?, believes the Founding Fathers missed a great opportunity to abolish slavery.  He supports the idea that the 3/5s Clause was an error in judgment by the Founders, and that the authors of the Constitution should have only allowed those States that rejected slavery to be members of the union under the Constitution.  By failing to ratify the Constitution the southern slave states would then have been on their own as a separate union.  Pressure from the Spanish in Florida, and the threat of invasion by Spanish forces, would have then encouraged the slave states to abolish slavery, so that they may rejoin the union, and enjoy the strength of the union of all thirteen States.

Historically, it is impossible to know if that is exactly how it would have played out.  Regardless of the opportunity, the Founders largely believed they had to compromise to ensure every State remained a member of the union, and ensure that they would receive the required nine ratifications of States in order to put the new federal government into motion.

Article I, Section 2, Clause 3, in addition to containing the 3/5s Clause, also establishes the census.  The census is a required a head count to be taken once every ten years in order to determine the enumeration for establishing the number of Representatives each State shall receive.  The clause also indicates that the number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand.  This means there cannot be more than one Representative for a district of thirty thousand.  However, it does not indicate there must be one Representative per thirty thousand.  If that was the case, we would have thousands of Representatives.

Article I, Section 2, Clause 4 states that whenever vacancies happen in the House of Representatives, it is the duty of the Executive Authority to issue Writs of Election to fill such vacancies.  What this means is that the Governors of the States have the duty to ensure there is a special election to fill any vacancies that may happen in the House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives chooses for itself its own Speaker of the House, and other officers.

According to Article I, Section 2, Clause 5, the House of Representatives has the sole power of impeachment.  To impeach is to charge with misconduct.  The formal process of impeachment may lead to removal of an official accused of unlawful activity or other offenses deemed to be impeachable offenses.  Impeachment is not defined as removal from office, though removal from office is often the result of impeachment proceedings.  In history, two presidents have been impeached, but neither were removed from office.  The presidents who faced impeachment were Andrew Johnson (serving as President of the United States from 1865 to 1869), and William Jefferson Clinton (1993-2001).  President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before impeachment proceedings began.

The United States Senate
Article I, Section 3 established, and defines, the United States Senate.  The representation of the States in the U.S. Senate is equal, two per State.  The Senators serve for six years, which means every two years an election is held for one-third of the Senate seats.  The required minimum age of a Senator is thirty years, five years older than that of a Representative.  The increased age requirement for Senators reveals the importance of longer life and political experience, as considered by the Founding Fathers.  Allegiance to the United States also remained important to the framers in the U.S. Senate, requiring that Senators need to be nine years a citizen of the United States, rather than the seven years as required of Representatives.

Article I, Section 3 originally required that Senators were chosen by the legislatures of the States, rather than voted into office directly by the voters.  The appointment of Senators by their State legislatures changed to the vote of the people in 1913 with the ratification of the 17th Amendment.  By the State legislatures appointing the Senators, it made the Senate the voice of the States, while the House of Representatives was the voice of the people.  By the Houses of Congress being different, it created a natural check and balance, which did not allow the representation of the people to accomplish anything without approval of the voice of the States, and vice versa.

Article I, Section 3, Clause 4 establishes the Vice President as the President of the Senate.  The Vice President, though a member of the executive branch, is also connected to the legislative branch.  The Vice President may preside over the sessions of the U.S. Senate, and even participate in the debates, but in the end, the Vice President has no vote in the U.S. Senate, except as the tie-breaking vote.

During the early days of our nation the Vice President attended a large number of sessions of the Senate.  He served as the voice of the executive branch in the Senate, ensuring the States’ representation in Congress had the opportunity to be exposed to the executive branch’s opinions regarding the issues that concerned the States, and the union as a whole.

As with the House of Representatives, the Senate chooses its own officers.  One of those officers is the President pro tempore, which is the President of the Senate when the Vice President is not present.

The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeachment.  Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 gives the U.S. Senate the authority to try all impeachments.  No conviction can be reached unless two-thirds of the U.S. Senate membership is present.  Impeachment cannot extend further than the removal of the impeached from office, and the disqualification to hold any office in the future.  However, a legal case can still be brought against the convicted from other sources, according to the law.  Since the U.S. Senators were originally appointed by the legislatures of the individual States, this means that impeachment charges could be brought by the people (House of Representatives), but it took the States (Senate) to hear the case, and make the final determination after all evidence was provided.  During impeachment hearings, the Chief Justice presides over the hearing, as provided by Article I, Section 3.

The 17th Amendment changed the dynamics of our governmental system.  Note that many functions by the executive branch are subject to the advise and consent of the Senate.  The Senate ratifies treaties, holds hearings for any appointments the executive branch nominates, and the Senate holds the sole power for holding hearings on impeachments.  This is because actions by the federal government are subject to approval by the States.  The States granted the federal government its powers in the first place.

The House of Representatives, as the voice of the people, and the Senate, as the voice of the States, and the natural check and balance that is the result of that relationship between those two Houses of Congress, also enables both Houses together to be a valuable check against the executive branch.  One of the emanations of that correlation is the ability of Congress to override a veto with a 2/3 vote.  The authority to override vetoes was established to enable the People, and the States, when they are in full agreement regarding a proposed bill, to be able to ensure a law is put into place, and to constrain the executive together through the power of combined vote.

Elections and Assembly of Congress
Article I, Section 4 begins, “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.”  This clause establishes that each State may have its own methods for electing members of the Congress.  The same applies, as determined in Article II, to presidential elections.  If there is a discrepancy, or a question regarding the acceptance of ballots, it is not the job of the courts to make final determination.  Article I, Section 4 gives that authority to the State legislatures.

The same clause adds, after giving the State legislatures authority over federal elections, that “Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.”

Congress, as discussed earlier, is bicameral.  The two Houses of Congress are the House of Representatives, and the United States Senate.  The House of Representatives, at the time of the writing of the Constitution, was designed to be as it is now, the voice of the people.  Representatives have always been elected by a direct vote.  The United States Senate was the voice of the States, appointed by the State legislatures.  The appointment of the Senators by representatives of the people is an example of an indirect vote.

As the representation of the people, and the States, Congress was not seen as the greatest potential danger in the federal government.  Congress was the voice of the people and the States in the federal government; the eyes of the parents to ensure the central government did not grow beyond the authorities granted to it.  With Congress representing the oversight by the people, and the States, the oversight powers given to the federal legislature often led to other authorities that allowed Congress to act as a check and balance against potentially dangerous government activity.  Giving Congress oversight authorities was a way to ensure that Congress participated in the concept of a government “by the consent of the governed.”

Though elections were established with the State legislatures prescribing the times, places and manner of holding elections, as a check and balance against that authority, Congress may pass laws to “make or alter such regulations.”

At the end of the clause giving Congress the authority to act as an oversight regarding the manner in which elections are held, a qualifier is present, expressing, “except as to the Places of chusing Senators.”

A majority of delegates at the Federal Convention in 1787, by the conclusion of the assembly, were strong supporters of the sovereignty of the States, and the parental nature of the States in relation to the newly formed federal government, and the duty of the States as the final arbiters of the United States Constitution to ensure the new government functioned within the limitations granted to it.  A part of that function by the States included the very important fact that the States had a voice in Congress with appointed U.S. Senators.  The framers did not want that authority to be tinkered with, so they remind future generations at the end of this clause that though Congress has lawmaking authorities, and oversight authorities, manipulating the dynamics of government where the people, and the States, have a voice in the United States Congress is something not to be fiddled with.  A similar advisement also appears at the end of Article V., “and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”

Oversight powers by the States were seen by the framers as being a right of the States, and as with natural rights of the people, a right is not something that should be able to be taken, but if the holder of the right wishes to give it away, no law can prevent such a foolish action.

The second paragraph of Article I, Section 4 reads, “The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year.”  The first thought regarding this clause by the typical reader may be, “Of course.  How can they get anything done if Congress isn’t assembling?”

Another question may be, “Why did the framers feel it to be necessary to insert this clause into the Constitution?”

During the convention in 1787, there were some who felt this clause was “overburdensome.”  Government was not supposed to dominate their everyday lives.  The members of Congress were not professional politicians, nor did they care to be.  They had businesses to run, and lives to live.  Surely, the attitude of many of the Founding Fathers was, there is not enough business to compel Congress to meet every single year!

Those who supported the concept of an annual meeting reminded the others that Congress was the check the people and the States had available to them in the federal government.  It was the duty of Congress to serve as a check against the President, and the federal judiciary.  To be an effective check, Congress must meet at least once per year.  The clause, it was argued, was for the benefit of the people.

In present day politics, the opposite seems to be the norm.  Government is viewed as being broken if they do not act on an endless and constant flow of issues, committees, and crises.  Politicians view their position as their job, rather than a service they are providing.

Originally, the required meeting day was the first Monday in December.  That was later changed to noon on the third day of January by the 20th Amendment.

Congressional Procedure
Article I, Section 5 requires Congress to have a minimum number of members present in order to do business.  That majority constitutes a quorum, and if the Congress deems it necessary, the present members may set fines for members who do not show up. The Houses of Congress may remain in session, during which no formal business is conducted because the House does not have a quorum, so as to prevent executive actions that may be carried out during recess.  This kind of session is called a pro forma session.

In Article II, Section 2, the President is given the authority to make recess appointments, when Congress is not in session.  Normally, the United States Senate has advise and consent authority over appointments, which means that appointments of personnel to fill vacancies are possible for the President to grant, but such appointments requires the approval of the United States Senate (voice of the States).  If the Senate is not in session, and an appointment is necessary, the President may make appointments, but the terms of those appointments only last to the end of the Senate’s next session.  If the Senate is in a pro-forma session, the President may not make any appointments.  With Congress only in session when there is work to be done, and the Founders believing that would likely only be once a year, the ability of the President to make appointments when Congress is not in session was a valuable, and necessary, tool.  In today’s political environment, it seems like Congress is always in session, so recess appointments are not as common.

In early January of 2012, President Barack Obama used a recess appointment to name Richard Cordray the new Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  The CFPB is a powerful bureaucracy created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul legislation.  However, even though most of the members of Congress were on vacation, the United States Senate was still in session.  President Obama’s definition of recess, it turned out, was broader than the Constitution’s definition.  In reality, the U.S. Senate was in pro-forma session.  John Berlau, Director of CEI's Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs, called the nomination of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray "very troubling," criticizing both Obama's controversial use of a recess appointment, and the selection of Cordray itself.  Berlau later asked, “What's next, appointing nominees when the Senate takes a bathroom break?”

Article I, Section 5 also allows each House of Congress to determine its own rules, keep a journal to record proceedings and votes, and that neither house may adjourn without the permission of the other.  Section 5 also establishes that if a member of a house does not follow the established rules, the house may punish its members for disorderly behavior, and by a two thirds vote may actually expel a member from Congress.

The establishment of rules, holding a hearing in regards to the breaking of those rules, and punishing a member for his behavior, as set forth by Article I, Section 5, was used when Charles Rangel broke the rules of the House of Representatives.  He faced a panel for his actions, and was punished by censure in December of 2010.  He later sued, spending about a third of his 2014 campaign cash on legal bills in a failed bid to overturn his fall from congressional grace.  On December 11, 2013, a federal judge in Washington dismissed the lawsuit, filed by Rangel in the previous April, to get the censure overturned.

The mandate to keep a journal to record proceedings and votes was included in this section because the Founders wanted government to be transparent, accessible, and accountable to the people.  Deals behind closed doors were not supposed to be a part of our political system.
Congressional Compensation, Privileges, Restrictions
When President George Washington took office, he refused to accept the constitutionally allowed compensation for holding the office.  He viewed his office as being a privilege, and an opportunity to once again serve the country he loved.  During the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin considered proposing that elected government officials not be paid for their service.  By the end of the debate, it was decided that government representatives should receive fixed stipends by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service.  It was also determined, however, that the compensation should not be so high that it would become the motive for seeking office.

Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution addresses compensation, and the rules regarding such.  Section 6 also establishes that members of Congress may not be detained while traveling to and from Congress, and that they cannot hold any other office in government while in Congress.

Protection from arrest while traveling to and from Congress was not only a privilege based on those enjoyed by their counterparts in the British Parliament, but also a protection from political enemies who may wish to keep certain members of Congress from voting.

This section also indicates that no member of Congress shall be appointed to a later office if while in Congress the office was created, or a raise in pay was enacted for that office.

To explain this clause, let’s visit a recent violation of it during the Obama administration.

After Barack Obama won the 2008 Presidential Election, he announced that Hillary Clinton would be his new Secretary of State.  The position of Secretary of State received a pay raise while Hillary Clinton was a member of the United States Senate.  Article I, Section 6 states that “No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall be been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time.  Since Clinton was a Senator at the time the position of Secretary of State was given a raise, technically she was not eligible for the position to which she was appointed.  To resolve this problem, and still allow Mrs. Clinton to accept the position, the Democrats applied the Saxbe Fix, meaning they undid the raise, and Hillary Clinton received the compensation that was in place before the vote she participated in while in the Senate. The Saxbe Fix, or a Salary rollback, is an unconstitutional action.  The clause in the Constitution is clear: “No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time.

The Saxbe Fix, or the rollback of the salary, does not change the fact that the emoluments increased during the time Hillary Clinton was in the U.S. Senate.

As a tool, the Saxbe fix was nothing new.  The salary rollback in the case of a violation of Article I, Section 6, a mechanism by which the President of the United States can avoid restrictions by the United States Constitution which prohibits the President from appointing a current or former member of Congress to a position that was created, or to an office position for which the pay and/or benefits were increased, during the term for which that member was elected until the term has expired, was first used in 1909.  The “Saxbe” name was applied to the political maneuver later in history.  The Saxbe Fix is named for William Saxbe, a Senator appointed Attorney General by President Richard Nixon in 1973.
Terms:

Adjourn: Suspend proceedings to a later time and/or place.

Censure: Procedure for publicly reprimanding a public official for inappropriate behavior. There are normally no legal consequences. Censure is not mentioned in the Constitution, but is a procedure devised by the legislature as a tool for formal condemnation of a member of the congressional body.

Congress of the United States: The legislative branch of the federal government which consists of two houses; a Senate and House of Representatives.  The Congress is the only part of the federal government granted the authority of legislative powers.

Granted: To confer, give, or bestow. A gift of legal rights or privileges, or a recognition of asserted rights, as in treaty.  To legally transfer.

Impeachment: To charge with misconduct.  Formal process that may lead to removal of an official accused of unlawful activity; impeachment does not mean the removal from office, though removal from office is often the result of impeachment proceedings.

Legislative Powers: The ability to make law, modify law, repeal law, and anything else that has to do with affecting law.

Nullification: State power to ignore unconstitutional federal law.

President pro tempore:  Second highest ranking official of the United States Senate. Vice President is President of the Senate and the highest-ranking official of the Senate despite not being a member of the body. During the Vice President's absence, the president pro tempore presides over its sessions or appoints another senator to do so. The president pro tempore is elected by the Senate and is customarily the most senior senator in the majority party.

Pro Forma Session: A session in either house of the United States Congress at which no formal business is expected to be conducted, so as to fulfill the obligation "that neither chamber can adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other."  Pro forma sessions are also used to prevent the President from pocket-vetoing bills, calling the Congress into a special session, and to prevent the President from making recess appointments.

Quorum: Minimum number of members of an assembly necessary to conduct the business of that group.

Saxby Fix: Salary rollback. A mechanism by which the President of the United States can avoid restrictions by the United States Constitution which prohibits the President from appointing a current or former member of Congress to a position that was created, or to an office position for which the pay and/or benefits were increased, during the term for which that member was elected until the term has expired. First used in 1909, the Saxbe Fix is named for William Saxbe, a Senator appointed to Attorney General by Nixon in 1973.

Questions for Discussion:

1.  If only Congress can make law, then why do some politicians believe that Executive Orders can modify law, or that regulatory agencies can create new regulations to enforce laws that were never passed by Congress?

2.  The word “granted” reminds us that all powers once belonged to the States, and some of those authorities were “granted” to the federal government for the purpose of carrying out the tasks necessary for the protection, preservation, and promotion of the union.  If the federal government was created by the States, then how can statists justify their belief that all federal laws trump all State laws?

3.  Why do you think the Congress has two legislative houses?

4.  Why do you think representatives are only elected for two years?

5.  Why is it significant that only the House can originate bills for raising revenue?

6.  Why is the power of impeachment belonging to the House so important?

7.  As President of the Senate, what kind of role should the Vice President play in the day to day activities of the United States Senate?

8.  Why do you think the House of Representatives has the sole power of impeachment, but the Senate has the task of hearing the case?

9.  How are the dynamics of our governmental system different in relation to how the Senators are appointed, or voted for?

10.  How was the Senate expected to check the House of Representatives, and work together with the House to check the Executive and Judiciary?

11.  Why do you think the authority for prescribing the times, places, and manner of holding elections was given to the State Legislatures?

12.  Why was Congress given the allowance to pass laws that may make or alter such regulations?

13.  Why was the federal government prohibited from influencing the places for choosing Senators?

14.  To conduct business, the houses of Congress need a quorum.  If they do not have a majority, they may remain in session through a rule established by Congress called pro forma.  What advantages does pro forma give the houses of Congress when it comes as serving as a check against the executive branch?

15.  Why do you think neither house can adjourn without the permission of the other?

16.  The houses of Congress establish their own rules of procedure.  If a member breaks any of these rules, Congress also has the authority to punish the rule breaker.  One type of punishment is called censure.  How is censure an adequate punishment?

17.  How has the concept of transparency changed over the last two hundred years?

Resources:

Edwin Mora, “Top Democrat Dodges Question on Constitutionality of Obama Appointments, Says Pro Forma Sessions Are ‘Games Being Played’,” CNSnews.com (January 6, 2012): http://cnsnews.com/news/article/top-democrat-dodges-question-constitutionality-obama-appointments-says-pro-forma


Joseph Andrews, A Guide for Learning and Teaching The Declaration of Independence and The U.S. Constitution - Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical Learning Methods of the Founders; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution (2010).

Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen, A Patriot’s History of the United States; New York: Sentinel (2004).

Madison’s Notes on the Constitutional Convention, Avalon Project, Yale University: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/debcont.asp

Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, The Founder’s Constitution - Volume Two - Preamble through Article I, Section 8, Clause 4; Indianapolis: Liberty Fund (1987).

Saxbe, William B. I've Seen the Elephant: An Autobiography. Kent State University Press (2000).



Copyright: Douglas V. Gibbs, 2014