Skip to comments.THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION: WHAT DOES IT REALLY SAY?
Posted on 01/07/2005 3:51:55 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
click here to read article
good post. thanks
Ping for future reading.
This reminds me of back when I was 19 years old, and I realized that I had never read the MOST IMPORTANT book in the world---the Bible.
I've since made up for lost time!
(And yes, the Constitution is important too....thanks for posting the article.)
When you read it and the debates and circumstances surrounding the creation and ratification, you find something out.
Who is "bound" to obey the Constitution? The people?
The Constitution amounts to rules and regulations for the government. It is in fact a type of job description.
Actually, the citizenry have a duty to enforce the Constitution. Many of the problems we face today are a consequence of people's persistent failure to do so.
The Constitution is an owners' manual for the United States, by which people can recognize when they should assist the government in battling criminals, or assist fellow citizens in resisting lawless government agents.
...a couple of wishes also come to mind. I want the average American to know that the Constitution is NOT a Living Document.Your rights do not change.
I want people to understand that the government does not grant me my rights,but rather that the constitution is a limiting document.The Constitution limits the government,that its power is granted in limited measure by the people only to do the peoples' business.The Government has no authority to teach me values, morals, ethics etc.
Good Post ....I hope many read and heed
I always wondered why there was a separate study arena in the field of law called 'constitutional law'. Don't all lawyers have to know constitutional law? I guess not.
The sad fact is that everyone in government gives lip service to the constitution, yet there are on the books and in active enforcement laws that violate virtually EVERY SINGLE PROVISION in the constitution.
There is nothing so depressing as reading the Federalist Papers with a copy of the constitution near at hand. Everything, EVERYTHING the federalists assured us could never happen under our constitution has already happened.
Its all well and good to celebrate the constitution, as long as you are not abused of the notion that it offers any REAL protection.
Your protection and your freedoms come from your vigialance and your willingness to stand up and scream.
Every now and then, I start reading the Constitution to see how long it takes me to hit a point where the way the government is run now clearly conflicts with either the letter or the spirit of what's written there.
There have been a number of USSC cases dealing with how and why people can be "conscripted" without violating the involuntary servitude clauses.
And enforcing the Constitution isn't one of them.
There was a show a few years back on PBS (I think) about the Revolutionary War and the development of the United States and they had actors reading quotes by various people of the day. What was really curious was the number of "If you do X, then Y will eventually happen" quotes that have since turned out to be quite true with respect to the Constitution.
Government, being a creation of man, is controlled by man made (positive) law.
Americans already had the laws contained in the 2nd table of the 10 Commandments (murder, theft, etc) called natural law.
The Constitution is a contractual agreement between the entities known as 'States' and the central government called the united States.
It is a living document because simply put 9 political appointees get to say what it says even if printed versions exist which say exactly the opposite. The Constitution protects you not at all against these scoundrels.
The Constitution is not a long piece of writing. Any Freeper who hasn't read it slowly, while thinking about what they're reading is a lazy and ignorant conservative.
But that's not what is going to get me in trouble. What will is the fact that nearly every phrase in the Constitution has been subjected to scrutiny by the US Supreme Court at some point in time. And an explanation of what those particular phrases has been made, or at least applied, to real fact situations.
In reality, there are a lot of footnotes to the Constitution which don't appear in the actual document and can only be learned by reviewing over 200 years of Supreme Court decisions.
Many people say, "It says what it says and that's the way it is." Fine, but two people can read the same thing and reach different conclusions. The 4th Amendment, for example, protects me from "unreasonable search and seizure". I can categorically tell you that any search of my house by the police is unreasonable, dammit, but if they think you're raping babies, knocking down your door in an effort to grab your computer is perfectly fine with me.
The long history of the Supreme Court in dealing with these matters provides the proper context for what the plain words of the Constitution seem to say, which is why it's an intensive and required course at every decent law school that I know of.
Reading the Constitution is mandatory, I think, for every citizen. But to fully understand how it governs this country today, you'll have to read much more than what is contained on those few pages.
Article III provides for the judicial branch of government with one Supreme Court and such inferior Courts as are established by Congress.Hearing Before The Subcommittee On The Constitution Of The Committee On The Judiciary
Testimony Of Martin H. Redish, Louis And Harriet Ancel Professor Of Law And Public Policy, Northwestern Law School, June 24, 2004
Professor Redish is a nationally renowned authority on the subject of Federal jurisdiction. He received his A.B. With honors, with highest honors, in political science from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. Magna cum laude from Harvard law school. He has been described in a review of his book, The Federal Courts in the Political Order, as quote, ''without a doubt the foremost scholar on issues of Federal court jurisdiction in this generation,'' unquote.Professor Redish is the author or coauthor of 70 articles and 13 books, including Federal Jurisdiction: Tensions in the Allocation of Federal Power. He was recently included on a list of the 100 most cited legal scholars of all time. Section 1.
The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.
The Constitution didn't require Congress to create the lower federal courts (Madisonian Compromise). There are absolutely no federal cases constitutionally excluded from state court jurisdictional authority. The State courts could provide an adequate forum to interpret and enforce Federal law, including the Federal Constitution. They are both empowered and obligated under article VI, clause 2, the supremacy clause, to interpret and enforce the Constitution. While this Congress did create the lower Federal courts immediately, it is well established in the case law that that power to, from time to time, ordain and establish the lower Federal courts includes the power to abolish the lower Federal courts, and the greater power to abolish the lower Federal courts logically subsumes within it the power to leave the courts in existence, but limit their jurisdictions. The Supreme Court has proceeded on the logical assumption that if Congress possessed discretion not to create lower federal courts in the first place, it also has the power to abolish the lower federal courts. See, e.g., Lockerty v. Phillips, 319 U.S. 182 (1943); Sheldon v. Sill, 49 U.S. (8 How.) 441 (1850). Since it has been assumed that Congress possesses the authority to abolish the lower federal courts completely, the Court has assumed that it has the logically lesser power to ''abolish'' them as to only certain cases by limiting their jurisdiction. Section 2.
The judicial Power 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;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;--between a State and Citizens of another State;--between Citizens of different States;--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
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. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
In Ex parte McCardle, 74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 506 (1868), the post-Civil War Supreme Court recognized the unlimited authority explicitly authorized in the text. There are no internal constitutional limits, no limits in article III on Congress' power. Its power is plenary. There are external constitutional limits on this power; the Due Process Clause, and the equal protection directive in the fifth amendment apply, but are satisfied by state courts which Congress can't affect. Congress can't adjucate a case, or dictatate a case, or enforce a decision, or overturn a decision according to the concept of separation of powers. The text, and internal logic of the Constitution allows Congress to combine its power over the article III lower courts and the Supreme Court under the exceptions clause, the end result is that it can completely exclude Federal judicial power over pretty much any issue, as long as the State courts remain available. The case law agrees with the Constitution in this respect.
The text and internal logic of the Constitution are the antidote for deceptive arguments claiming Congress hasn't the power which is explicitly stated, and which has been used with no objections of any U.S. Supreme Court.
Federalist No. 81
LET US now return to the partition of the judiciary authority between different courts, and their relations to each other, "The judicial power of the United States is'' (by the plan of the convention) "to be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish.''1
The arguments, or rather suggestions, upon which this charge is founded, are to this effect: "The authority of the proposed Supreme Court of the United States, which is to be a separate and independent body, will be superior to that of the legislature. The power of construing the laws according to the SPIRIT of the Constitution, will enable that court to mould them into whatever shape it may think proper; especially as its decisions will not be in any manner subject to the revision or correction of the legislative body.... But the errors and usurpations of the Supreme Court of the United States will be uncontrollable and remediless.'' This, upon examination, will be found to be made up altogether of false reasoning upon misconceived fact.
In the first place, there is not a syllable in the plan under consideration which DIRECTLY empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution, or which gives them any greater latitude in this respect than may be claimed by the courts of every State. I admit, however, that the Constitution ought to be the standard of construction for the laws, and that wherever there is an evident opposition, the laws ought to give place to the Constitution. But this doctrine is not deducible from any circumstance peculiar to the plan of the convention, but from the general theory of a limited Constitution; and as far as it is true, is equally applicable to most, if not to all the State governments. There can be no objection, therefore, on this account, to the federal judicature which will not lie against the local judicatures in general, and which will not serve to condemn every constitution that attempts to set bounds to legislative discretion.
To avoid all inconveniencies, it will be safest to declare generally, that the Supreme Court shall possess appellate jurisdiction both as to law and FACT, and that this jurisdiction shall be subject to such EXCEPTIONS and regulations as the national legislature may prescribe. This will enable the government to modify it in such a manner as will best answer the ends of public justice and security.
The amount of the observations hitherto made on the authority of the judicial department is this: that it has been carefully restricted to those causes which are manifestly proper for the cognizance of the national judicature; that in the partition of this authority a very small portion of original jurisdiction has been preserved to the Supreme Court, and the rest consigned to the subordinate tribunals; that the Supreme Court will possess an appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, in all the cases referred to them, both subject to any EXCEPTIONS and REGULATIONS which may be thought advisable; that this appellate jurisdiction does....
Federalist No 78 -
It proves incontestably, that the judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power 1 The celebrated Montesquieu, speaking of them, says: "Of the three powers above mentioned, the judiciary is next to nothing.'' "Montesquieu: The Spirit of Laws.'' vol. i., page 186. Federalist No 51 But it is not possible to give to each department an equal power of self-defense. In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates. Amendment IX - The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. Amendment X - The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
Those were "slippery slope" arguments which many people here on FR absolutely refuse to believe would happen to an issue they are advocating regardless of past history.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.