Skip to comments.The Owner's Manual (Part 10)--The Remaining Amendments
Posted on 08/01/2008 2:38:14 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob
(Tenth in a series of ten. For other articles in this series, click on View all articles by John Armor--and "Blogs by this author.")
The remaining amendments are a mixed bag. Some make essential changes, some housekeeping. The Eleventh solved a minor problem, precluding federal court jurisdiction in cases against any state by citizens of another state, or foreigners. The first important amendment was number Twelve, caused by the election of 1800.
Perhaps the greatest lie uttered by anyone seeking the presidency was made by Aaron Burr. He agreed to be vice president under Thomas Jefferson in 1800. The ticket of Jefferson and Burr won. But Article II then provided that the leading vote-getter in the Electoral College would be president, the runner-up, vice president.
Since Burr and Jefferson tied, Burr claimed the presidency, and sought to steal it through the House of Representatives, which under the Constitution had to decide. Fortunately for history, the House chose Jefferson. Promptly thereafter, the Twelfth Amendment provided that the president and vice president would be separately balloted.
Amendments Thirteen, Fourteen and Fifteen are the Civil War Amendments. The first abolished slavery. The second has numerous applications today, of greater or lesser validity.
For instance, Fourteen guarantees due process and equal protection of the laws to all citizens of every state. Who are citizens? The language is all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to its jurisdiction. Section Five of the Fourteenth Amendment appears in many others. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
So, the problem of pregnant aliens struggling through the deserts of Arizona to have a baby in the United States, who would be a birth-right citizen and help the whole family get into the United States, is easily solved. Congress can BY LAW define such children as not subject to the jurisdiction, just as it has historically for foreign embassy personnel in D.C. That would solve this problem.
This is just one of many examples why the people should read the Owners Manual, then demand that the press read it, then demand that members of Congress read it, so public policies can be correctly handled.
Amendment Fifteen provided that no citizens should be denied the right to vote because of race. Other voting Amendments are Nineteen, enfranchising women; Twenty-four, barring poll taxes; and Twenty-six, lowering the voting age to 18.
Amendment Sixteen, thought to be a good idea at the time, has had major, unintended consequences. During the Civil War, Congress established an income tax to provide more money for the war. The Supreme Court struck down the tax as unconstitutional, because the Constitution barred any direct Tax except in proportion to population. This Amendment, therefore, is the basis of the income tax.
Congressional opponents of the tax had the votes to cap it at 10%. They rejected this, because they thought it might encourage the government to increase taxes to that level. (Now theres a quaint idea.) Many changes in the Constitution and in court decisions have led to the current federal government which is large, intrusive, expensive, and debt-ridden. None are more important than the 16th Amendment.
The other amendment causing a radical change in American government was the Seventeenth. This ended the original design where senators were elected by the state legislatures, to having them elected by popular vote. Senators then became national figures, reporting to national constituencies and favoring national fund-raising, rather than being the voices of the states in the federal government.
The Eighteenth Amendment, which created Prohibition, and the Twenty-first, which ended it, are further proof that Jefferson was right. Even when the people make a mistake, as with Prohibition, the only proper source of sovereignty is in the people.
The Twentieth Amendment shortened the lame duck period for Congress and the president, moving the swearing in from March to January. It also allowed Congress to deal with untimely death of the president before swearing-in. The Twenty-second Amendment limited president and vice president to two terms. (Many states have term limits on officials, creating what the framers called rotation in office.)
Amendment Twenty-three gave the District of Columbia three Electoral College votes. Amendment Twenty-five covers replacement of the president in the event of death or disability.
The amendments altogether make a general point: Every change made legitimately, through Article V with ratification, respects the Constitution and popular sovereignty. Every amendment which is made surreptitiously, by the Congress, the court or the president without ratification, disrespects the Constitution and the people.
No one said this more clearly or more elegantly than Thomas Jefferson in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798:
In questions of powers, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.
John / Billybob
An easier solution, from the standpoint of future litigation, would be to ban the use of such anchor babies to allow the parents and other family members to remain in the US. Just deport the parents regardless of the presence of such an anchor baby or anchor babies. Let them decide whether to take the kid(s) home with them or not.
That would probably be achievable by Executive order, but at the most it would also require a change in the law. But it would be a law much less subject to challenge on Constitutional grounds.
I tend to disagree that a mere law can redefine the terms used in the Constitution. That's a very dangerous path to go down.
This power is, as I say, right there in the text of the 14th Amendment.
John / Billybob
They're two sides of the same coin. Each is essential for there to be Big Government. In order for Big Government to end, both must die. This would take a Constitutional Convention, because there's no way the Congress will ever vote to repeal the Congressional Omnipotence Amendments.
Hey! I didn’t know you were doing this!
I have a lot of catching up to do!
Thanks for the work!
In case others want to grab the whole group, they are all listed at:
The Owner's Manual -- The US Constitution
According to Senator Obama's presumptuous analysis of Justice Thomas's "legal mind" and abilities on Saturday, one can assume he would not think much of Thomas Jefferson either. Such "binding" would preclude Far Left judges from the kind of "mischief" Obama's kind of judges love.
As I posted on another thread, some conservative group or individual needs to publish some of Justice Thomas's well-reasoned dissenting opinions, such as that in the Kelo case. Such an undertaking might enlighten voters who never see the dissenting opinions.
The final paragraph of that opinion demonstrates clearly why Senator Obama and the far left in America fear a Supreme Court justice who looks to the "intent" or "meaning" of the Founders for guidance in decisions like Kelo. After all, that's what Thomas Jefferson advised, when he said: "On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it conform to the probable one in which it was passed." (1823)
Here is the final paragraph of Justice Thomas's opinion:
"The Court relies almost exclusively on this Courts prior cases to derive todays far-reaching, and dangerous, result. See ante, at 812. But the principles this Court should employ to dispose of this case are found in the Public Use Clause itself, not in Justice Peckhams high opinion of reclamation laws, see supra, at 11. When faced with a clash of constitutional principle and a line of unreasoned cases wholly divorced from the text, history, and structure of our founding document, we should not hesitate to resolve the tension in favor of the Constitutions original meaning. For the reasons I have given, and for the reasons given in Justice OConnors dissent, the conflict of principle raised by this boundless use of the eminent domain power should be resolved in petitioners favor. I would reverse the judgment of the Connecticut Supreme Court." - Justice Clarence Thomas (Source: Cornell University web site)
To use a phrase the Left often employs, "most Americans," I believe, would find Justice Thomas's "legal mind" to be in accord with that of the genius Jefferson--not with that of the liberal justices and Senator Obama!
Keep up the good work--especially between now and November.
Yes, I know my work has a shameless lack of sex and violence. LOL.
Can we nominate you to be the next Supreme Court Justice - PLEASE?
John / Billybob