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Monday, December 30, 2019

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Constitution Radio: Open War on the Rule of Law

Constitution Radio with Douglas V. Gibbs

1-3 pm on Saturday Afternoon
archived podcast at 

  • Russel Brand's Constitutionalism
  • Colleges go China Communism on its students
  • Buttigieg: Reinstate Obamacare Individual Mandate
  • Judge Halts North Carolina Voter ID Law
  • California's Economic Death During Countrywide Prosperity
  • Pelosi uses Constitution to defend her impeachment actions
    • Mitch McConnell accused of favoring loyalty to Trump over U.S. Constitution
    • Trump's Impeachment Letter
  • Constitution protected against foreign influence

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Interfering with local elections.

Opinion by Allan McNew

Whenever a city goes from at large to district elections, my first thought that is that an activist organization agitated for the change in order to set up "ringers," who have move into town and establish residency for the specific reason to run for elected office in less affluent neighborhoods which rarely vote in order to take over a city government and promote and agitate for their outside agenda. Sometimes it's the case, others not.

A recent development is for big money to come in for the election of District Attornies around the country to further an agenda that somehow benefits by not prosecuting criminals.

I have mixed feelings concerning the office of District Attorney. On one hand we need enforcement and and the type of justice that is something more than a prostituted buzzword. On the other I have had dealings with the office of a former District Attorney who's motto was "anyone can convict the guilty, but it takes a great prosecutor to convict the innocent." The man wouldn't let anything unwinnable go until he either forced a plea bargain or forced the defense to prepare for trial then withdraw the case on the first day of trial. He managed to subornidate civil cases and other legal proceedings to his agenda of wielding the prosecutorial hammer without reasonable regard. He clogged up the court system with his Les Miserables approach to prosecution.

"Tough on crime" rhetoric politically sells. The District Attorney's office is an elected office and an incumbent is unfortunately is in part re-elected by an inflated conviction count dangled in front of the voters rather than what a "reasonable" yard stick of "justice" may be. This can turn prosecution and conviction from a dispensation of justice to an institutional form of human trafficking.

When the sheriff's department does a sweep which nets several dozen individuals and the crime rate is zero until they bail out or are otherwise released we should have a pretty good idea where the majority of our criminal problems lie. But when equal allegations should provide for equal scrutiny and equal treatment, it sometime seems that those who have a job and a mortgage are reserved for prosecution or other legal process while bottom rung dirtbags are turned loose. This suggests two things: there is either money to be milked out of those who have it while it costs money to deal with those who don't work or there is some sort of "social justice" agenda at work here. Maybe both.

The first assumption goes hand in hand with the sure fact that if everyone fought their traffic tickets the court system would collapse, the latter is the case for outside funds to elect District Attorneys who won't apply the law - that everyone in the lower class or (name your choice of identity politics) is an oppressed victim to middle and upper class privilige (or insert any identity politics boogy man).

 When anyone running for political office of any sort accepts outside campaign donations it should be publicly and frequently disclosed and readily visible in the large print of the candidate's campaign literature, advertisements and campaign rallies as to where it came from and how much they collected.

No more pimping out justice to agendas, personal or otherwise.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Constitution Radio: Killing Liberty and the Rule of Law

Constitution Radio with Douglas V. Gibbs

1-3 pm on Saturday Afternoon
archived podcast at 

  • Merry Christmas
  • New Year, New Contract
  • Constitution Study by Douglas V. Gibbs coming to television
  • Impeachment 
    • Constitution Does not give Pelosi authority to change impeachment rules
    • Founding Principles: The Importance of Due Process
    • Congresswoman Val Demings: Trump should be impeached regardless of Quid Pro Quo
    • Pelosi: Impeachment necessary to stop voters from "dangerous" action of reelecting Trump
  • Martin v. City of Boise: Illegal to criminalize homeless behaviors
    • Cruel and Unusual Punishment, 8th Amendment
    • U.S. Supreme Court rejects the case
  • Iowa man sentenced to 15 years in prison for burning LGBTQ flag
    • Is Justice truly blind?
    • In drive for equality, why are differing political views being criminalized?
    • What would have been the penalty for burning an American Flag?  How about burning a Confederate Flag?
  • Louisiana Purchase Anniversary
  • How California aided in Virginia's flip to blue
    • Virginia another example of the dangers of democracy, and the reality that we are losing the republic
    • Virginia willing to use National Guard to enforce new gun laws
      • Why are gun laws not being challenged on the basis of constitutional prohibition of ex post facto laws?

Constitution Television Program Negotiated

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

For those of you who follow my journey as a constitutionalist, I have been a force for Constitution Education on the West Coast for many years.  This blog launched in 2006.  Political Pistachio Radio on BlogTalkRadio began in 2007.  The Constitution Classes emerged in Temecula in 2008, and in Corona in 2014.  The radio program moved to AM Radio in 2011, and it has been over the last few years that I began making constitution-centric videos on YouTube.

Teaching the U.S. Constitution has long been a ministry to me.  Even as a child, I was interested in history, and the founding of this country.  In 2007, however, it was my mentor, Tim "Loki" Kerlin, who really brought me out of my shell and into the community of constitutionalists full throttle.  As a result I have the endeavors listed above, plus I have written seven books (working on the eighth right now), and I have become a popular force on the public speaking front.  The ultimate, however, along this journey would be television.

I have appeared on television a number of times.  I have graced the airwaves on Fox News five times, One America News twice, and various other networks and local channels a number of times during intense news cycles in which I found myself in the middle of as an activist.  But, those were all simply instances where Doug was protesting in the right place at the right time.

A few years ago a friend of mine toyed with the idea of purchasing a local television station, and using me as one of the centerpieces of the new channel.  But, he never pulled the trigger, and to this point, the station remains available to any buyer willing to take a chance.

During these last few years I have also expanded my network of people I know.  I do a lot of shaking hands, and handing out business cards, and one of those people I've gotten to know is Dr. Chanh Huu "Tony" Nguyen.  He's a hero of the "Government of Free Vietnam" Vietnamese people who fought against the communists in both Vietnam and Cambodia.  He has been captured by the enemy, and escaped.  

In California, Tony has become an important part of the Vietnamese community, and he has built an interesting media empire that includes a non-profit organization, television, and other Vietnamese media and community outlets.

The television show I will be hosting on VietNews will launch some time in January.  We are in the preliminary planning stages, and have come to an agreement that it will be a one hour program, once per week.  I will receive a stipend for my efforts.  Sponsorships are available if you would like to be involved.  Contact me at constitutionspeaker at yahoo dot com if you are interested.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

When Drugs Ruled the World

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

In American History, allegations of the CIA using drug trafficking to help fund some of its operations have emerged often.  One wonders if the Democrats moved the War on Terror from Iraq to Afghanistan to protect their own opium trade.  Donald Trump's border wall would do more than help with curbing the flow of illegal aliens.  It will also reduce the flow of drugs across the border.  One wonders if that could be one of the reasons the Democrats are so against it.

But, what about looking at this thing about drugs on the other hand.  Could drug warfare be something that is being committed against the United States by a foreign power?

The latest drug epidemic in America is the opioid epidemic.  The production and trafficking of fentanyl has been at the forefront of this problem, killing more than 32,000 Americans in 2018, alone.

An interesting note is that China is the largest source of illicit fentanyl in the United States according to a November 2018 report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The source also notes that since its 2017 report, they have found no “substantive curtailment” of fentanyl flows from China to the United States.

While the U.S. Government has recognized the problem, and has put into place an increase in its crackdown on fentanyl, the reality is that the problem remains and is increasing.  Since the primary source is China, one wonders if the flood of fentanyl into the United States may also accompany a political aim built on a Chinese strategy to undermine and sicken the U.S. population?

For China, it serves as a money-maker, a way to launder money, a way to have something on anybody who helps them (blackmail?), and of course a way to corrupt and even sicken the American public.  It's the perfect chemical warfare.

It also allows the Chinese to influence political operations, encouraging the U.S. Government to pour federal money on the problem while creating an issue that places the political parties at odds with each other.

That all said, China denies that most of the illicit fentanyl entering the United States originates in China.

While fentanyl is nothing new, the recent surge in usage and overdose deaths is.  According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the number of deaths have increased by the thousands.  Many of the recent cases are linked to “illegally made fentanyl,” the CDC has said.  One thing is for sure, its potency is amazingly high.  Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.

The Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention legislation was signed in 2018 by President Trump, and it is designed to curb the flow of opioids sent through the mail while increasing coordination between the USPS and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

CBP Enforcement Statistics reveal that fiscal year seizures of illicit fentanyl spiked from about one kilogram (2.2 pounds) in 2013 to nearly 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) in 2018. The number of law enforcement fentanyl seizures in the United States also vaulted from about 1,000 in 2013 to more than 59,000 in 2017.

In August, the Mexican navy found 52,000 pounds of fentanyl powder in a container from a Danish ship that was coming from Shanghai.

“There is clear evidence that fentanyl or fentanyl precursors, chemicals used to make fentanyl, is coming from China,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, told The Epoch Times.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

What the Deconstructionists Miss

Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host
History has become what the hard left deconstructionists wish you to believe it is/was.  Post-modernism aims at destroying what is (by telling you that it depends on what the definition of is is) so that the leftist establishment may inject its own culture and society.  The goals are hardly unknown, and have been around for all of history.

As we approach Christmas, the story of Scrooge comes to mind.  Charles Dickens' tale of a horrible man who works his employees to the bones of their fingers, and of a man who rejects charity, hope, or the joy of giving associated with Christmas, is a timeless classic.  Ultimately, its about a man who learns how to "share the wealth", or as today's progressive would put it, "pay his fair share."

While I am not at all opposed to persons being charitable, and in fact conservatives are the most charitable persons on the planet, the goodness of such a thing has been poisoned and misrepresented by those who seek government intrusion into our lives with various programs of entitlement and beyond (and then somehow compares such government interference into our lives with charity).  Everything, in their vision of bigger government, becomes a Marxist utopia where we all just share and share alike, nobody becomes better off than anyone else, and if you are rich you are expected to give and give and give until your wealth has dwindled away.  I guess it's a part of their "peace, love, dope" agenda.

Would it be reasonable to argue against Scrooge's transformation into a giving person who simply wishes to "share the wealth"?

Sometimes the thing that we see on the surface is not the problem.  Sometimes the intentions are not the sin.  But, sometimes the well hidden and deep down motives of communalism make it nearly impossible to recognize what is truly meant to be simply an act of charity, and what is intended to be a factor in the leftward nudge of America toward socialism.

Moving America towards a false-utopia based on equity is not enough, however.  As Cloward and Piven explained, to replace a successful system that the people may not be eager to part with, it may be necessary to overload it, and destroy it, so that a new system can be produced in its place.  A part of that destruction requires that the population loses faith in the native culture.  It is expected that the people must desire revolution of the sort that not only dismantles the current societal structure, but does so in such a way that no remnants of it remains.  Any memory of the dying system, after all, may entice the foolish populace to yearn for it again, and that just can't be allowed.

To deconstruct a system it must be taught to the people that the system is flawed, and must be detested; that everything wrong in the world is due to what America has been, and if we eliminate what America is, in the future these horrible things will not happen again.  And, once all that America was is detested, and ultimately forgotten, the people will not only fail to yearn for it, they will be happy to dismantle every part of the system, themselves.  They will see their hate for it as being a good thing, and their religiosity of hating the old system can then become so intense that they will honestly believe that anyone defending the old system hates them right back, and in the new society of "peace, love, dope", such hatred for the new progressive America on the horizon cannot be tolerated.

We have been taught that the Mexican-American War was a war of expansionism, rather than a war of liberation from the blood-thirsty dictator, Santa Anna.  Therefore, we are told, white people hate Mexicans, and we stole the American Southwest by swindling them out of their land.  Never mind that at that time there were only three Mexican settlements north of today's border between Mexico and the United States; Santa Fe, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

We have been convinced, also, that since slavery was a part of the American landscape at one point, all white people are racist, and yearn for a return to the days of slavery.  When Republican candidates emerge on the scene, and they are too conservative for the taste of the Progressive Democrats, statements along the line of "they want to put blacks back into shackles" are made.  Recently, for example, Democrat U.S. House of Representatives member Al Green said the impeachment of Donald Trump is needed “to deal with slavery.”

The implication is that anything that calls for America first, or champions any of the country's founding principles or values, is racist and that the very foundation of this country was for the purpose of slavery, and perpetuating slavery as brutally as possible.  Of course all of this is silliness, but a large number of people believe it.

The Marxist cultural revolution has been effective and thorough.

And from their point of view, the fundamental transformation of America into something the Framers of the U.S. Constitution never intended is almost complete.

The infiltration has permeated nearly every avenue of American life.  Education, media, entertainment, and even the churches.  We are bombarded with the Marxist agenda so much that sometimes we don't even realize it.  Some of it has become accepted truths, and we simply obey without questioning why.  We believe in the power of the courts.  We have been convinced it is rude to talk about religion and politics.  Our pastors have adopted the strategy of avoiding politics, claiming that it interferes with their ability to evangelize.  We have become sedated, rocked by the rigors of daily life, too busy to care about our liberty, or the laws of nature and of Nature's God.  Medicated by their drugs, informed by their minions, and wooed by their pleasures, we have become less American because they have convinced us to be.

The thing is, they miss a huge piece of the puzzle, and don't even realize it. 

America's history is much like the Old Testament of the Bible, and much like the journeys that each of us take through our lifetimes.  Character is not established when we exit the womb.  Mistakes are made, and that is how anyone learns.  Triumphs are reached, and that also is how we learn.  We obey what's right, and sometimes we don't, and through it all our character is shaped, molded, and led to the place it will someday rest upon.

The growth curve is best when the opportunity to grow through good and bad choices is best left to take its own course.  In the end, we learn, we take lessons from our walk in our own shoes, and in the case of America, our greatness is largely because of our liberty, and the fact that America took the paths it took.  We triumphed, and sometimes we were a country that walked down not-so-good paths.  We grew, we learned, and as a result, America became the greatest country in the world ... partly because of our history, and largely because of our system of liberty.

The problem is not just that the deconstructionists wish to erase our history, our culture, and our American identity, but that they are working to erase our liberty.  And once liberty is gone, growth ceases, greatness vanishes, and incentive dies.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Constitution Radio: Fighting Communism

Constitution Radio with Douglas V. Gibbs

1-3 pm on Saturday Afternoon
archived podcast at 

  • Impeachment Circus
    • High Crimes and Misdemeanors
    • Bill O'Reilly: Soros Group Behind FBI Collusion Against Trump...
    • When Tyler was threatened by impeachment
  • Britain Rejects Commie Labour Party
  • Liberal Cities Failing
  • China agrees to new trade deal, Wall Street responds with upward climb
  • Virginia may use National Guard to enforce new gun laws

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Temecula Constitution Class: Reconstruction Amendments

Final Class of the Year!!!!! 

Temecula Constitution Class
Wednesdays 6:00 pm
GOP HQ
28120 Jefferson Ave.
Temecula, CA  

Constitution Class Handout
Instructor: Douglas V. Gibbs
 
 
 
Lesson 18
 
The Civil War Amendments 13, 14, and 15
 
The End of Slavery
Prior to the Civil War, any federal legislation related to slavery dealt with the importation of slaves. Aspects of slavery inside State lines were considered a State issue.
 
Article I, Section 9, Clause 1 abolished the Atlantic slave trade, and the United States Government intervened militarily to ensure the law prohibiting the importation of slaves was enforced. The Framers of the Constitution believed that in order to ensure the southern States did their part in ratifying the Constitution, while remaining consistent with the concept of the federal government only having authority over external issues, and disputes between the States, they could not abolish slavery nationally through the articles presented by the Constitution. A large number of delegates at the federal convention in 1787 desired the immediate abolition of slavery, but the fear was that the southern States would not only refuse to ratify the Constitution, but that they would refuse to remain a part of the union, eventually succumbing to attacks from Florida and absorbed into the Spanish Empire.
 
A proposed amendment to abolish slavery during the American Civil War finally passed the Senate on April 8, 1864, by a vote of 38 to 6, but the House did not approve it.
 
When the proposed amendment was reintroduced by Representative Ashley, President Lincoln took an active role in working for its passage through the House by ensuring the amendment was added to the Republican Party platform for the upcoming Presidential elections. Lincoln's efforts, combined with the result of the War Between the States, ensured the House passed the bill on January 31, 1865, by a vote of 119 to 56.
 
The 13th Amendment was ratified into law on December 6, 1865.
Terms:
Atlantic Slave Trade - Started by the Portuguese, but soon dominated by the English, the Atlantic Slave Trade was the sale and exploitation of African slaves by Europeans that occurred in and around the Atlantic Ocean from the 15th century to the 19th century.
 
War Between the States - The Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865 after Seven Southern slave States seceded from the United States, forming the Confederate States of America. The "Confederacy" grew to include eleven States. The war was fought between the States that did not declare secession, known as the "Union" or the "North", and the Confederate States. The war found its origin in the concept of State's Rights, but became largely regarding the issue of slavery after President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation. Over 600,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died, and much of the South's infrastructure was destroyed. After the War, Amendments 13, 14, and 15 were proposed and ratified to abolish slavery in the United States, and to begin the process of protecting the civil rights of the freed slaves.
 
Questions for Discussion:
 
1. Why wasn't slavery abolished at the founding of this nation?
 
2. Why did the House of Representatives not originally approve this amendment?
 
3. How has the abolition of slavery affected this nation since the ratification of the 13th Amendment?
 
Resources:
 
Congressional Proposals and Senate Passage Harper Weekly. The
Creation of the 13th Amendment. Retrieved Feb. 15, 2007
 
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).
 
Citizenship, Civil Rights, and Apportionment
            Citizenship Clause
 
The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution failed in 1866 after the southern States rejected the proposed amendment. After a second attempt to ratify the amendment, it was adopted on July 9, 1868. The ratification of the 14th Amendment occurred after the federal government began to govern the South through a system of military districts. Some historians question the validity of the ratification of the 14th Amendment because it is believed by these historians that the southern States ratified the amendment under duress, and pressure applied by the northern governorships in each of the southern States during the early part of the Reconstruction Period.
 
The first clause of the 14th Amendment is known as "The Citizenship Clause." The clause was intended to ensure the children of the emancipated slaves, as well as the newly freed slaves, would be considered citizens without any room for argument. The clause reads:
 
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
 
This clause has been misinterpreted to mean all persons born in the United States are automatically citizens, which is not the case. The defining term in this clause that enables the reader to recognize that citizenship needs more than just being born on American soil reads: "subject to the jurisdiction, thereof."
 
To understand the term jurisdiction, one may go to the debates on the congressional record of the 14th Amendment. In those debates, and in articles of that time period written to explain the intent of the language of the amendment, one finds that "full jurisdiction" was meant to mean "full allegiance to America." The intention was to protect the nation against persons with divided loyalties.
 
The writers of the 14th Amendment wished to follow the importance of "full loyalty" as portrayed by the Founding Fathers. As far as the founders were concerned, there could be no divided allegiances. They expected citizens to be fully American.
 
Despite the defeat of the Confederacy in the American Civil War, the emancipated slaves were not receiving the rights and privileges of American citizens as they should have been. The former slaves were present in the United States legally, and because they were here legally they were "subject to the jurisdiction thereof," but they were still not receiving any assurance of equal protection under the law.
 
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was created in the hopes of correcting the problem. Some of the language in the Civil Rights Act of 1866 states, "All persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States. ... All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other."
 
The definition of "persons within the jurisdiction of the United States" in that act was all persons at the time of its passage, born in the United States, including all slaves and their offspring, but not having any allegiances to any foreign government.
 
Michigan Senator Jacob Howard, one of two principal authors of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment (Citizenship Clause), noted that its provision, "subject to the jurisdiction thereof," excluded American Indians who had tribal nationalities, and "persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers."
 
Senator Howard's responses to questions regarding the language he used in the Citizenship Clause were recorded in The Congressional Globe, which are the recorded transcripts of the debates over the 14th Amendment by the 139th Congress:
 
Mr. HOWARD: "I now move to take up House joint resolution No. 127."
 
The motion was agreed to; and the Senate, as in Committee of the Whole, resumed the consideration of the joint resolution (H.R. No. 127) proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
 
"The 1st Amendment is to section one, declaring that all persons born in the United States and Subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside. I do not propose to say anything on that subject except that the question of citizenship has been fully discussed in this body as not to need any further elucidation, in my opinion. This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country."
 
Senator Howard even went out of his way to indicate that children born on American soil of foreign citizens are not included.
 
Clearly, the framers of the 14th Amendment had no intention of freely giving away American citizenship to just anyone simply because they may have been born on American soil.
 
The second author of the Citizenship Clause, Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull, added that "subject to the jurisdiction of the United States" meant "not owing allegiance to anybody else."
 
The full quote by Senator Trumbull:
 
"The provision is, that 'all persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.' That means 'subject to the complete jurisdiction thereof.' What do we mean by 'complete jurisdiction thereof?' Not owing allegiance to anybody else. That is what it means."
 
Trumbull continues, "Can you sue a Navajo Indian in court? Are they in any sense subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States? By no means. We make treaties with them, and therefore they are not subject to our jurisdiction. If they were, we wouldn't make treaties with them...It is only those persons who come completely within our jurisdiction, who are subject to our laws, that we think of making citizens; and there can be no objection to the proposition that such persons should be citizens."
 
Senator Howard concurred with what Mr. Trumbull had to say:
 
"I concur entirely with the honorable Senator from Illinois [Trumbull], in holding that the word 'jurisdiction,' as here employed, ought to be construed so as to imply a full and complete jurisdiction on the part of the United States, whether exercised by Congress, by the executive, or by the judicial department; that is to say, the same jurisdiction in extent and quality as applies to every citizen of the United States now."
 
Based on these explanations by the writers of the clause, then, it is understood that the intention was for those who are not born to American citizens to have no birthright to citizenship just because they simply were born inside the borders of this country.
 
The courts have interpreted the Citizenship Clause to mean other things, but we must remember that the Constitution cannot be changed by the courts. Changes to the Constitution can only be made by amendment (Article V.).
 
It was through the progressive actions of the Lincoln administration in the American Civil War, and the actions of the courts to incorporate the Bill of Rights to the States, that America ceased to be "The United States Are," and became a more nationalistic "The United States Is."
 
            Privileges and Immunities Clause
 
The next clause, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States," was expected to protect the newly emancipated slaves from local legislation that may treat them differently. This clause was a direct response to the Black Codes, laws passed in the States that were designed to limit the former slaves from obtaining all of the freedoms they thought they had been guaranteed.
 
The Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of the proper due process of law. The right to a fair trial was to be extended to all persons, including the emancipated slaves.
 
            Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause
 
The Due Process Clause, and the Equal Protection clause, have been the subject of debate since the language written by Congressman John Bingham, the principal author of the later part of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, was first penned. Bingham believed the federal government should use all national tools available to ensure the southern States behaved as instructed. Bingham repeatedly stated his belief that the Fourteenth Amendment would enforce the Bill of Rights against the States, but the majority of the members of Congress present did not concur with his muddled and inconsistent argument.
 
Author Raoul Berger, in his book Government by Judiciary, discussed whether the 14th Amendment should be construed to enforce the Bill of Rights against the States. Relying on the analysis of Professor Charles Fairman in his published article, Does the Fourteenth Amendment Incorporate the Bill of Rights?, Berger concluded that Bingham was a "muddled" thinker whose views should be discounted. Berger agreed with Fairman that the framers of the 14th Amendment did not intend it to enforce the Bill of Rights against the States. Berger rejected even selective incorporation, arguing that the Amendment's framers did not intend that any of the first eight amendments should be made applicable to the States through the 14th Amendment
 
Antislavery activists largely supported Bingham's conclusion that that Bill of Rights must be applied to the States, and such application must be enforced by the federal government. Though the Bill of Rights was originally intended by the Founding Fathers not to apply to the States, and with less than a centuryt since the American Revolution and the writing of the Constitution behind them, Bingham's supporters contended that local jurisdiction over cases regarding an individual's rights could no longer be allowed because the southern States could not be trusted to be fair to the newly emancipated slaves.
 
Bingham's call for an incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States established the concept that all people's rights are supposed to be protected by the federal government. The Founding Fathers did not apply the Bill of Rights to the States from the beginning because giving that kind of power to a potentially tyrannical federal government carries with it many pitfalls. As the quote by Gerald Ford goes, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." Nonetheless, despite the dangers of a central government dictating to the States regarding their laws regarding individual rights, because of the mistreatment of the former slaves by the Southern States, the Privileges and Immunities Clause, the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause, have been commonly interpreted to mean that the Bill of Rights is applicable to the States.
 
Since the Incorporation of the Bill of Rights did not take hold as a result of the 14th Amendment, as the statists that supported Bingham's position had desired, the federal courts stepped in and took pursuit. Pursuing a nationalist agenda, the courts disregarded the original intent of the Framers of the Constitution, as well as the conclusions of the Congress regarding the 14th Amendment, and began to selectively incorporate the Bill of Rights to the States, beginning with the Slaughterhouse Cases just five years after the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868. A five to four vote by the high court interpreted the Privileges and Immunities Clause as the authority to enforce The Bill of Rights against the States. Subsequent cases also used the 14th Amendment as an authority for incorporation.
 
The courts, through this process of incorporating The Bill of Rights to the States, have changed the Constitution through unconstitutional means, and against original intent. As originally intended, all provisions in the U.S. Constitution apply to the federal government, unless otherwise noted. The Bill of Rights was originally intended to apply only to the federal government, and if we are to remain in line with the original intent of the Founding Fathers, State sovereignty must remain protected by that original intent.
 
The attitude of the southern States, and their refusal to treat the former slaves fairly led to a perceived need for clarification and enforcement by the federal government, which led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and eventually to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
 
A separate but equal doctrine existed for more than fifty years, despite numerous attempts to ensure blacks enjoyed full rights and privileges of citizenship.
 
In modern politics, laws continue to test the limits of the Equal Protection Clause. While the clause was intended to make sure that everyone is treated equally under the law, politicians supporting the Affordable Care Act have handed out exemptions to members of Congress, and some individuals or corporations, allowing those that receive the exemptions to be treated differently under the law.
 
            Apportionment
 
Section 2 of the 14th Amendment altered the rules for the apportioning of Representatives in the Congress to the States. The enumeration was changed to include all residents, while also calling for a reduction of a State's apportionment if it wrongfully denies any adult male's right to vote.
 
For fear that the former slaves would support the Republicans, southern Democrats worked feverishly to dissuade blacks from voting. Section 2 addressed this problem by offering to the southern States the opportunity to enfranchise black voters, or lose congressional representation.
 
            Consequences of Insurrection
 
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment prohibits the election or appointment to any federal or state office of any person who had held any of certain offices and then engaged in insurrection, rebellion or treason. A two-thirds vote by each House of the Congress could override this limitation. The interest was to ban the service of any members of the Confederacy that refused to renounce their participation in the Confederacy.
 
            Public Debt as a Result of the War
 
Section 4 of the 14th Amendment confirmed the legitimacy of all United States public debt appropriated by Congress. The clause also indicated that neither the United States nor any State would pay for the loss of slaves or debts that had been incurred by the Confederacy. This clause was to ensure that all States recognized the validity of the debt appropriated by Congress as a result of the war, while bonds secured by the Confederacy in order to help finance the South's part of the war "went beyond congressional power."
 
Political battles over the debt ceiling in 2011 and 2013 encouraged some politicians to argue that the "validity of the public debt" clause outlawed a debt ceiling, because placing a limit on federal spending interferes with the duty of the government to pay interest on outstanding bonds and to make payments owed to pensioners (such as Social Security). The clause in the 14th Amendment addressing the validity of the public debt, however, was never intended to be a general clause to be used by future administrations, but a specific clause only addressing the debt accrued as a result of the American Civil War.
 
            Enforcement
 
The final clause of the 14th Amendment authorizes Congress to "enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article." Federal intrusion upon the States, however, has been a long-time fear by those that support the concept of State Sovereignty. The question regarding enforcement was addressed in the Civil Rights Cases of 1883, where the opinion of the Supreme Court interpreted Section 5 of the 14th Amendment to mean that "the legislation which Congress is authorized to adopt in this behalf is not general legislation upon the rights of the citizen, but corrective legislation".
 
In a more recent case, City of Boerne v. Flores, 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress's enforcement power according to the last clause of the 14th Amendment is limited to only enacting legislation as a response to a "congruence and proportionality" between the injury to a person's 14th Amendment rights and the means Congress adopted to prevent or remedy that injury.
 
Court interpretation of the Constitution can be a dangerous practice, and we must remember that any interpretation of the Constitution offered by the courts in a ruling are merely opinions. The final authority regarding the definitions of Constitutional law resides with the people, through their States. Any allowance of the courts to fully define the Constitution at the whims of the judges opens up the opportunity for the courts to change definitions for ideological purposes, resulting in a judicial oligarchy, rather than a constitutional republic driven by the consent of the governed, and the self-evident standards of Natural Law.
 
Terms:
Black Codes - Laws put in place in the United States after the Civil War with the effect of limiting the basic human rights and civil liberties of blacks.
 
Constitutional Republic - Government that adheres to the rule or authority of the principles of a constitution. A representative government that operates under the rule of law.
 
Equal Protection Under the Law - Laws must treat an individual resident or citizen in the same manner.
 
Incorporation of the Bill of Rights - The process through court rulings based on the interpretation of the 14th Amendment to apply the Bill of Rights to the States.
 
Jurisdiction - Full loyalty, a condition in which all foreign allegiances have been released; not owing allegiance to anybody else.
 
Military Districts - Districts created in the seceded states (not including Tennessee, which had ratified the 14th Amendment and was readmitted to the Union), headed by a military official empowered to appoint and remove state officials.
 
Nationalist - An advocate of Nationalism.
 
Natural Law - Unchanging moral principles regarded as a basis for all human conduct; observable law relating to natural existence; birthright law.
 
Original Intent - Original meaning of the United States Constitution as intended by the framers during the Federal Convention of 1787, and the subsequent State Ratification Conventions.
 
Public Debt - National debt; the financial obligations of a national government resulting from deficit spending.
 
Reconstruction Period - Period following the American Civil War during which the United States government began to rebuild the States that had seceded from the Union to form the Confederacy, lasting from 1865-1877. During Reconstruction, the federal government proposed a number of plans and committed large amount of resources, to the readmittance to the union, and the rebuilding, of the defeated Confederate States.
 
Separate But Equal - Various laws designed to undermine the 14th Amendment requirement that former slaves be treated equally under the law, contending that the requirement of equality could be met in a manner that kept the races separate. The result of these laws was a generally accepted doctrine of segregation throughout The South.
 
State Sovereignty - The individual autonomy of the several states; strong local government was considered the key to freedom; a limited government is the essence of liberty.
 
United States are - These States that are united; a group of sovereign member States in America voluntarily united into a republic.
 
United States is - Nation of the United States containing a number of States similar to provinces ruled over by a centralized federal government.
 
Questions for Discussion:
 
1. How might have the governors of the military districts influenced the ratification of the 14th Amendment?
 
2. Does the Citizenship Clause have anything to do with Natural Born Citizenship? Why?
 
3. Why was Congress concerned with the threat of divided allegiance?
 
4. Did the 14th Amendment eliminate laws like the Black Codes, as intended?
 
5. How is it that despite the original intent of those that voted for the 14th Amendment that the Bill of Rights not be applied to the States most of the first ten amendments have been applied to the States anyway?
 
6. What pieces of legislation since the ratification of this amendment have been passed in order to ensure that the Equal Protection Clause is properly enforced?
 
Resources:
Congressional Globe, 39th Congress (1866) pg. 2890: Senator Jacob
Howard States the Intent of the Fourteenth Amendment Published in the Congressional Record, May 30, 1866.
 
Civil Rights Act, The - April 9, 1866,
http://www.tedhayes.us/CVR_civil_rights_act_of_1866.htm
 
Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of
Abraham Lincoln; New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks (2005)
 
Frank J. Williams, Judging Lincoln; Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press (2002)
 
John F. Marszalek, Sherman: A Soldier's Passion for Order; New York:
Vintage Civil War Library (1993)
 
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).
 
Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham
Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War; Roseville, California: Prima Publishing, a division of Random House (2002)
 
William S. NcFeely, Grant; New York: W.W. Norton & Company
(1981)
 
Voting Rights
The 15th Amendment was designed to protect the voting rights of all citizens, regardless of race, color, or if the voter had previously been a slave or indentured servant. As stated in the amendment, this article applies to both the federal government, and the States.
 
As the third reconstruction amendment, the 15th Amendment faced another challenge that was unexpected. In some States the requirements were that all voters and candidates must be Christians. As originally written, the amendment would require these States to change their rules regarding the manner of elections. Realizing the ratification of the amendment may depend on the support of the States with Christianity requirements regarding elections, the amendment was revised in a conference committee to remove any reference to holding office or religion and only prohibited discrimination based on race, color or previous condition of servitude.
 
Democrat Party created militias, like the Ku Klux Klan, continued to try and intimidate black voters and white Republicans. The federal government promised support, assuring that black and Republican voters could both vote, and serve, in confidence. When an all-white mob in the Battle of Liberty Place attempted to take over the interracial government of New Orleans, President Ulysses S. Grant sent in federal troops to restore the elected mayor.
 
President Rutherford B. Hayes narrowly won the election in 1876. To appease the South after his close election, in the hopes of gaining their support and soothing angry Democrats, President Hayes agreed to withdraw the federal troops who had been occupying the South since the end of the Civil War. The hope was that the southern States were ready to handle their own affairs without a need for any interference from the North.
 
In the process, President Hayes also overlooked rampant fraud and electoral violence in the Deep South, despite several attempts by Republicans to pass laws protecting the rights of black voters and to punish intimidation. Without the restrictions, voting place violence against blacks and Republicans increased, including instances of murder.
 
By the 1890s many of the southern States had enacted voter eligibility laws that included literacy tests and poll taxes. Since the black population was normally steeped in poverty, the inability to afford the poll tax kept them from voting in elections.
 
It took nearly a century for the promise of the Fifteenth Amendment to finally take hold. The ratification of the 24th Amendment in 1964, which eliminated poll taxes, and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, served to ensure that blacks in the South were able to freely register to vote, and vote without any obstacles.
Terms:
Poll Tax - A tax levied on people rather than on property, often as a requirement for voting.
 
Questions for Discussion:
 
1. Why was the wording of the Fifteenth Amendment changed to not include discrimination based on religion?
 
2. Why do you think the Democrat Party played a part in forming the Ku Klux Klan?
 
3. Why did President Hayes withdraw federal protections against racial discrimination in the South?
 
4. How did poll taxes enable the Southern Democrats from keeping Blacks from being able to vote without violating the Constitution?
 
5. Why do you think it took nearly a century for the promise of the Fifteenth Amendment to be realized?
 
Resources:
 
Congressional Globe, 40th Cong., 3d Sess (1869) pg. 1318
 
Foner, Eric, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished
Revolution, 1863-1877; New York: Harper Perennial Modern
Classics (2002)
 
Gillette, William, The Right to Vote: Politics and the Passage of the
Fifteenth Amendment; Baltimore: John Hopkins Press (1969)
 
 
Copyright 2015 Douglas V. Gibbs

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Corona Constitution Class: Judicial Branch

Last Class of the Year!!!!!  See you tonight.

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

Constitution Class Handout
Instructor: Douglas V. Gibbs

 
 
 
Lesson 08
 
Judicial Branch
 
Establish Justice
 
The United States Constitution was written to establish a federal government for the United States of America. Article III establishes the federal court system. Article I, Section 8 gives the Congress the power to "constitute tribunals inferior to the supreme Court." Given the power to establish these courts, Congress also has the authority to do away with any of these inferior courts. This power of Congress is repeated in Article III, Section 1 during the first sentence.
 
When reading Article III, one must keep in mind the fact that the article was specifically written to affect the federal court system, not the state courts. The authorities contained within this article, and the restrictions thereof, are to be applied to the federal courts, not the state courts. One must also bear in mind, as one reads this article, the additional limits placed on the federal courts by the 11th Amendment. No case against a state by citizens of another state, or by the citizens or subjects of a foreign state, shall be heard by a federal court.
 
In other words if citizens of a State sues a State, or foreign government sues a State, the case can't go to the federal courts. The highest that case can go is the State Supreme Court. These limitations placed upon the court system by the 11th Amendment were proposed by the people (House of Representatives) and the States (Senate), and finally ratified by the States, in order to better control a federal court system that was attempting to compromise State Sovereignty. Judges, the lesson of the 11th Amendment shows us, are not the wielders of the rule of law. They are not the powerful men of honor when it comes to the law. The guardians of the rule of law are the people, and the States. The courts had proven that they can become an enemy of the law, proclaiming that their rulings are the rule of law, but as the 11th Amendment reminds us, the judges are merely men, and their system is the rule of man attempting to manipulate the law through their rulings. For their bad behavior, the people and the States judged them, and further limited them with a new constitutional amendment.
 
 
Good Behavior
 
The conventional understanding of the terms of federal judges is that they receive lifetime appointments because no time restriction is placed upon them in the Constitution. The only limitation on term placed upon the judges can be found in Article III, Section 1 where the Constitution states that judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, "shall hold their offices during good behavior." Conventional wisdom dictates that bad behavior is defined as unlawful activities.
 
The definition of bad behavior is not limited to only illegal activities. Judges take an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the United States Constitution, which is the Law of the Land. Bad behavior, then, from the point of view of the Founding Fathers, may also include unconstitutional actions, or failure to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.
 
Impeachment by Congress may be used if a judge acts in bad behavior. If a judge refuses to attend the hearing at the behest of the United States Senate, the federal marshall may be used to retrieve the judge, and compel them to stand before Congress to answer for their bad behavior. Congress is the check and balance against the courts, not the other way around.
 
 
 
 
 
Limits
 
The powers of the federal courts "shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority."
 
The federal courts, in other words, may hear all cases that fall within their authority. These cases are regarding those in which the federal government has authority, be it by laws passed within the authorities granted to the federal government by the Constitution, or regarding issues related to treaties made that have been signed by the President and ratified by the U.S. Senate. The courts may not hear cases that are regarding issues not within the authorities of the federal government.
 
A recent example would be the flurry of federal court rulings against State laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman. In California, the State's attempt to protect the government definition of marriage was with Proposition 8. The proposition changed the State Constitution to read that marriage is between a man and a woman. Marriage is not an issue that falls under the authorities of the federal government as expressly granted by the Constitution, nor is the issue of marriage prohibited to the States. Therefore, as per the authorities granted, and not granted, in line with the 10th Amendment, the government authority over marriage is reserved to the States. Since the issue of marriage is a State issue, the case should not have gone beyond the State Supreme Court. The federal courts hearing the case regarding Proposition 8, or any of the State laws regarding marriage, are acting unconstitutionally. The governors of these States, whose marriage laws were overturned by an activist federal court system, have the right to disregard all rulings by the federal courts on this issue. The action of ignoring the rulings is a type of nullification, and States have the right to nullify unconstitutional laws or actions by the federal government..
 
Other limitations have been placed upon the federal courts as well. The 11th Amendment changed the intent of Article III. As limited as the courts were supposed to be, the Founding Fathers realized the courts weren't limited enough, and as a result, the 11th Amendment wound up being ratified in 1795. The 11th Amendment was encouraged by a federal case called Chisolm v. Georgia (1793).
 
 
Chisolm v. Georgia (1793)
 
An increasing problem with federal intrusion on the States via the federal court system culminated in the case of Chisholm v. Georgia in 1793, which eventually led to the proposal, and ratification, of the 11th Amendment. A citizen of South Carolina sued the State of Georgia for the value of clothing supplied by a merchant during the Revolutionary War. After Georgia refused to appear, claiming immunity as a sovereign state, as per the Constitution (Article III, Section 2) the federal courts took the case. The judges in the court system tended to embrace a nationalist view of the federal government, and their nationalist point of view encouraged the judges to deem that in the Chisolm v. Georgia case, Georgia was not a sovereign state, therefore the Supreme Court entered a default judgment against Georgia. What ensued was a conflict between federal jurisdiction and state sovereignty that reminded the anti-federalists of their fears of a centralized federal government consolidating the states, and destroying their right to individual sovereignty.
 
Realizing that the clause in Article III gave the federal courts too much power over state sovereignty, Congress immediately proposed the 11th Amendment in order to take away federal court jurisdiction in suits commenced against a State by citizens of another State or of a foreign state. This is the first instance in which a Supreme Court decision was superseded by a constitutional amendment, and evidence that the founders saw the legislative branch, and the States, as being a more powerful part of government over the federal judiciary.
 
Authorities
 
The 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, or prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. The federal courts are included in that, as being a part of the United States federal government. As a result of the nature of how federal authorities are granted, the federal court system can only hear cases that fall within the constitutional authorities for the federal government.
 
When one understands the importance of protecting state sovereignty, and that the courts are supposed to be very limited in their scope and power, Article III becomes much simpler to understand.
 
As stated earlier in this section, the first sentence of Article III, Section 2, reads: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States (which are only supposed to be passed if they are within the authorities granted by the Constitution), and Treaties made . . .
 
Notice the phrase, "arising under this Constitution." If the case is not involving the federal government as one of the parties, or is not regarding an issue that falls under the authorities of the U.S. Constitution, the federal courts can simply not take the case. The State Supreme Court, in those cases, is the highest court the case can go to.
 
 
Judicial Review
 
Federal judges maintain that the federal courts have the power of judicial review, or the power to determine the constitutionality of laws. In response to the judicial urgings for the powers to judge the extent of the federal government's powers, in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison warned us that giving the federal government through its courts the power of judicial review would be a power that would continue to grow, regardless of elections, putting at risk the all important concept of the separation of powers, and other much-touted limits on power. The final arbiters of the Constitution are not the courts, argued the Founding Fathers who supported the foundation of limiting principles of the U.S. Constitution. The power of the federal government must be checked by State governments, and the people. The States and the People are the enforcers and protectors of the U.S. Constitution.
 
In today's society it is commonly accepted that one of the roles of the federal court system is to interpret the Constitution, and issue rulings determining the constitutionality of laws. The Constitution does not grant this authority. The power of Judicial Review was given to the courts by themselves.
 
The first attempt to establish "Judicial Review" as an authority to the federal court system was through the Judiciary act of 1789, but the authority allowing the United States federal courts to hear a civil case because the plaintiff has alleged a violation of the United States Constitution, federal law, or a treaty to which the United States is a party, was limited to only the United States Supreme Court. The lower federal courts, at this point, were not allowed hear cases questioning the federal government's "federal question jurisdiction." Anti-federalists, and Jefferson Republicans immediately railed against the legislation, arguing that legislation cannot determine authorities granted.
 
The Federalists, in an attempt to allow the lower courts to wield the power of judicial review, briefly created such jurisdiction in the Judiciary Act of 1801, but it was repealed the following year. Unable to establish the federal court system as the final arbiters of the United States Constitution through legislative means, the Federalists turned to the courts themselves to drive into place the controversial authority.
 
During John Adams' final moments in the presidency, he appointed a whole host of "midnight judges" (appointing 16 Federalist circuit judges and 42 Federalist justices of the peace to offices created by the Judiciary Act of 1801) in the hopes of retaining federalist control of the courts as Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans gained control of the Congress, and Jefferson himself accepted the presidency.
 
Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans were appalled by the appointment of the Midnight Judges, recognizing the stacking of the courts as a desperate attempt by the Federalists to try and continue Federalist influence despite their election loss. In Jefferson's view, the Federalists "retired into the judiciary as a stronghold . . . and from that battery all the works of Republicanism are to be beaten down and destroyed."
 
While Adams was still in office, most of the commissions for these newly appointed judges were delivered. However, unable to deliver all of them before Adams' term expired, some of them were left to be delivered by the incoming Secretary of State, James Madison. Jefferson ordered them not to be delivered, and without the commissions delivered, the remaining new appointees were unable to assume the offices and duties to which they had been appointed to by Adams. In Jefferson's opinion, the undelivered commissions were void.
 
One of those appointed judges was a man named William Marbury. He sued, and the case worked its way up to the Supreme Court. After all of the dust settled, on February 24, 1803, the Court rendered a unanimous (4-0) decision that Marbury had the right to his commission, but the court did not have the power to force Madison to deliver the commission. Chief Justice Marshall wrote the opinion of the court, and in that opinion he wrote that the federal court system has the power of judicial review. Rather than simply applying the law to the cases, Marshall decided, based on case law and precedent, that the courts have the authority to determine the validity of the law as well. This opinion, however, went against all of the limitations placed on the courts by the Constitution.
 
One of the most obvious fundamental principles of the Constitution is the limitations it places on the federal government. The Constitution is designed not to tell the federal government what it can't do, but to offer enumerated powers to which the authorities of the federal government are limited to. The powers are granted by the States, and any additional authorities must also be approved by the States through the ratification of any proposed amendments. It takes 3/4 of the States to ratify an amendment. The congressional proposal of an amendment, with the ratification of that amendment, in the simplest terms, is the federal government asking the States for permission to a particular authority.
 
The power of Judicial Review, or the authority to determine if laws are constitutional, was not granted to the courts by the States in the Constitution. The courts took that power upon themselves through Justice Marshall's opinion of Marbury v. Madison.
 
The federal courts are a part of the federal government. The Constitution was designed to limit the authorities of the federal government by granting only a limited number of powers. Judicial Review enables the federal government, through the courts, to determine if the laws that the federal government made are constitutional. In other words, the federal government, through Judicial Review, can determine for itself what its own authorities are.
 
The idea that the federal court system has the authority to interpret the Constitution, and can decide if a law is constitutional or not, is unconstitutional, and is simply an attempt by those that believe in big government to gain power, and work towards a more centralized big federal governmental system.
 
 
Original Jurisdiction
 
In Article III, Section 2, Clause 2 the Constitution reads: "In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction."
 
What this means is that in all of those above listed cases, the federal appellate courts cannot take the case. Such cases must bypass the federal appellate system, and go straight to the Supreme Court. Since one of those stipulations is in regards to cases "in which a State shall be a Party," that means that the case "U.S. v. Arizona" where the federal government sued Arizona to block the State's immigration law, was unconstitutional. It was unconstitutional for the inferior federal courts to hear the case. The Supreme Court had original jurisdiction. Therefore, when the district court ruled in July of 2010 on the case, and struck down parts of the Arizona immigration law, not only did that court not have jurisdiction to hear the case in the first place, but the very act of striking down portions of the law was unconstitutional. After all, Article I, Section 1 grants the legislative branch all legislative powers, and those powers would include the ability to strike down law. The courts were not vested with any legislative powers, and therefore cannot strike down laws, or portions of laws.
 
 
Trial by Jury
 
Article III, Section II, Clause 3 sets up the right to a trial by jury, except in the cases of impeachment.
 
This clause also requires that a trial must be held in the state where the crime was committed. If the crime was not committed in any particular state, then the trial is held in such a place as set forth by the Congress.
 
 
 
Treason
 
Article III, Section 3 defines treason, as well as the granting of the power by the Congress to declare the punishment. When the Constitution says that "no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attained," it means that the punishment cannot be inherited or passed down (corruption of blood), nor shall the person be denied due process (attainder).
 
Corruption of blood also means that all inheritable qualities are destroyed, and the Founding Fathers did not believe this English practice should be an American one.
 
No forfeiture meant that despite treason, the properties of the person could not be forfeited to the government. The property would remain as property of the individual, or remain with family. Even when it came to the despicable act of treason, the founders believed that the individual should be able to retain certain rights.
 
 
Terms:
 
Corruption of Blood: Punishment inherited or passed down, all inheritable qualities are destroyed.
 
Judicial Review: The unconstitutional authority of the federal courts to review law, interpret the Constitution regarding laws, and then determine the constitutionality of laws.
 
Original Jurisdiction: In the Constitution the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction on some cases, which means the case must proceed directly to the Supreme Court, and the high court must make a determination on whether or not to accept the case.
 
Treason:Levying war against the States, or adhering to the enemies of the States, giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
 
Questions for Discussion:
 
1. How would life in the United States be different if there was no federal court system?
 
2. Why did the Founding Fathers limit the authorities of the federal courts?
 
3. How has Judicial Review changed our system of government?
 
4. Why do you think the Supreme Court has Original Jurisdiction over some cases?
 
5. In what ways is the presence of a Judicial Branch important?
 
Resources:
 
Draft of the Kentucky Resolutions (Jefferson's Draft), Avalon Project, Yale University: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/jeffken.asp
 
Madison's Notes Constitutional Convention, Avalon Project, Yale University: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/debcont.asp
 
Virginia Resolution - Alien and Sedition Acts, Avalon Project, Yale University:
Copyright: Douglas V. Gibbs, 2015