Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Playing Fast and Loose with History

The September 13th edition of the Summerville Journal Scene (Local Newsprint) carried a Letter to the Editor by a local opponent of the Convention of States Project. The author of this LTE happens to be the co-chair of The Summervlle 9-12 Project, which bills itself as a "public education group founded upon nine principles and 12 values of America’s founding".

As a Constitutional historian, I'm staggered by the quantity of historical error in this article and lack of basic understanding of historical facts. It's one thing to be opposed to something and have an opinion. It's an entirely different matter to write an article strong on emotion and devoid of Constitutional and historical accuracy in almost every respect. Should we not hold those that claim to be Constitutionalists to the same standard that we hold the left? To do otherwise is utter hypocrisy. And the group this author co chairs bills itself as a "public education group". The Irony.

To be clear, I have no problem with the authors opposition to the Convention of States Project. I disagree with her, but she is free to opine on her opposition. What I take issue with is playing fast and loose with Constitutional history and facts. When someone is specifically referencing Constitutional history as part of their argument, and claims to be a Constitutionalist, they have a responsibility to exercise care to use the historical record rather than simply to emote and throw spaghetti on the wall so to speak with baseless charges about Constitutional history. I will deal with the issues raised or implied by the author concerning the Constitution that are totally inaccurate.

First, I want to address the authors assertion that somehow the Constitution that was produced at the Philadelphia Convention was illegitimate. The author states “Our own Founding Fathers threw out the Articles of Confederation at their Constitutional Convention. They also reduced the number of states needed to ratify. Yes. America’s first Convention of States was a run-away convention.”

This is worth spending time explaining because the “runaway convention” argument is at the core of most opposition to an Article V Convention today. Before I even address that statement, honest readers would have to ask wouldn’t this assertion then make the document we revere today illegal? If those men did disobey their charge at Philadelphia, wouldn’t that make them less than honorable? The author doesn’t explain those inconsistencies because the “runaway convention” myth of 1787 is nothing more than the biggest historical lie ever told in our nation’s history. The truth of the matter for anyone wanting to do just a little historical research is that those men completely OBEYED their charge and amended the Articles of Confederation to meet what they called the “exigencies” of the union (their word), or the emergency in the union to use modern day vernacular. I cannot tell you how many times I have had someone tell me that “they were just supposed to amend the Articles of Confederation”. Then I ask them where they got that from…and they tell me someone else told them that.

Honest historians and Constitutionalists do not have to wonder what the framers were charged to do at Philadelphia with the Articles of Confederation in 1787. James Madison dedicated an entire essay (known today as Federalist #40) to explaining in painstaking detail what happened at that convention. In Federalist #40 the primary source writer of the Constitution tells us exactly what the commissioners to Philadelphia were charged to do. They were charged to “devise such further provisions as shall appear to them necessary to render the Constitution [Articles of Confederation] of the federal government adequate to the exigencies of the Union”. The fact of the matter is that they were given broad latitude to save a young nation that was in grave danger do to the failure of the Articles of Confederation. And by the way, logic tells us that if you make one amendment or 500 amendments, you still amended the document.

This is probably the root of most of the error in understanding about an Article V Convention. This erroneous viewpoint has absolutely zero basis in fact when the actual historical record is looked at. And to be honest, it is a sad state of affairs for someone that claims to be a Constitutionalist to be that ill informed. The historical record on what occurred at Philadelphia and even at Annapolis the year before is voluminous. It baffles me how anyone can spend time defending the Constitution and the 10th Amendment, but then at the same time absolutely disparage the work of the framers in Philadelphia. If the framers went “rogue” at Philadelphia as asserted, then we have a completely illegal document today. You cannot have it both ways, you cannot purport to love and defend a document….and at the same time declare it to be illegal. Saying that the author is disparaging the framers is not overstated, the position that the framers “threw out the Articles” reveals that the author has either not been introduced to Federalist 40, or believes Mr. James Madison to be a liar. Both are bad options by the way for someone writing and opining about Constitutional history. In Federalist 40 Madison point by point explains every step of the Philadelphia Convention beginning with the call from the previous meeting in Annapolis. There is so much misinformation out there about this, it is truly sad, we live in an age where accurate historical data is available literally at our fingertips.

The Philadelphia Convention was given the solemn charge from the Annapolis Convention to “render the federal Constitution ADEQUATE TO THE EXIGENCIES OF GOVERNMENT AND THE PRESERVATION OF THE UNION.” In other words, there was an emergency in the Union. History of the period after the ratification of the Articles and post-Revolutionary war reveals to any person wanting to look at the record that the failure of the Articles to address things like Commerce had reduced the 13 States to economic warfare and the union was coming apart at the seams. The British were eying their former colonies from across the Atlantic ready to retake them. Hence the word “exegencies” and “preservation” in the call. The framers were given the charge to basically do whatever it took to preserve the union. However, this did not mean that they just did whatever they wanted. They took steps to insure that the Articles were followed, even down to the ratification process.

The authors statement about the framers going rogue and reducing the amount of states to ratify is also not only misleading but flat out false. The author fails to mention after that slanderous charge either unknowingly or intentionally that the exact language in Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation require that the any changes be “confirmed by the legislatures of every State”. This provision was absolutely followed to the letter. When the draft Constitution was sent out to the 13 states under the new ratification procedure outlined in Article VII of the Constitution, it was sent to every single state. Article VII of the Constitution states that “The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the same. While it is true that there was a process change between the Articles of Confederation and the United States Constitution, a look at the historical record clearly reveals that the process was followed to the letter. Since the process changed from “13 legislatures” to “9 conventions”….every state had to approve of the change in order to get sent into convention. All 13 states approved as evidenced by the fact that all 13 sent the Constitution into state conventions. Even Rhode Island and North Carolina, who initially held off on ratification….approved of the change as evidenced by the fact that their legislature sent it into Convention. At any step of way, there were any number of ways for the states to reject the process change….but all complied. None of them refused to send it to Convention. If the states or the Continental Congress had felt that the process was violated, the record would show that…there is no such record of any state or the Continental Congress doing that.

It is ok for people today to fear the Article V process; honest people can disagree on its use. But it is not ok to make up or revise history to support that fear.

Don’t take my word for any of this, research it for yourself. Don’t only read Madison’s Federalist #40, read Madison’s letter to Edward Everett dated August 28, 1830 where he details the fact that the Article V process is THE way for the states to defend the Constitution. He clearly explains that the ultimate way for the states to protect their 10th Amendment rights is to come together in convention and reset the language that has been perverted.

The author goes on to state: "Advocates for an Article V Convention merely switched words. What was an Article V Constitutional Convention, they now label a “Convention of States.”

This is another statement devoid of truth and historical perspective either through lack of knowledge of history, lazyness to conduct adequate research, or an attempt to smear the proponents of the Convention of States Project by implying that the terminology "Convention of States" is somehow a newly made up phrase to mask some nefarious agenda.

Again, just a smidgen of scholarly research would reveal that "Convention of States is the historically accurate terminology for a state led amendment proposing convention. The very first application under the new Article V of the newly ratified United States Constitution was filed by the state of Virginia in May of 1789 to propose a Bill of Rights. Madison being true to his word and promise conversely proposed those amendments in the 1st Congress in June of 1789 and an amendments convention became unnecessary. Virginia not waiting for this filed the very first application for the states to do it in May...and in that application, the very first application under Article V they specifically referred to such a convention as a "Convention of the States, they never used the term "Constitutional Convention because everyone at that time knew the difference.

It is interesting to discover that the root of the “runaway convention” actually has its genesis with the far left in the early 60’s.

The author of the article also states: “Unfortunately, the Left and the Right have been working together for an Article V convention for the first time in history.”

She has been saying this for almost 4 years. When we started this effort, that was akin to throwing the proverbial spaghetti against a wall to see If something would stick. Today, four years after the Convention of States Project was founded, the actual proof Is exactly the opposite. Just last week Hillary Clinton was railing against the “far right” initiating an Article V convention and railing against it. About 5 months ago, 230 Soros backed groups led by the heavily Soros funded group “Common Cause” signed a statement vehemently opposing an Article V Convention. Here in South Carolina, when the COS resolution came before the full SC Senate Judiciary for a vote in 2015, every single Republican voted for it and every single Democrat voted against it. If the left wants a Convention of States, they have a strange way of achieving it.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

September 15th and The 230 Year Old Message From Col. George Mason

A very important day in United States Constitutional history. The delegates to the Philadelphia Convention (today referred to as the Constitutional Convention) had been going over every section of every article in the final months of the Convention in 1787. 230 years ago, on a Saturday, just two days before the Convention in Philadelphia completed its work, we find a gem in the notes of James Madison, who took extensive notes just about every day of the convention. This item that I refer to as a “gem” is little known and hardly talked about today. On September 15, 1787, George Mason of Virginia (referred to in Madison’s notes as Col Mason), was alarmed that in the text of Article V (the provision for making Amendments to the Constitution), Congress would have sole power to propose amendments; Mason insisted, as he did earlier in June, that the states have authority to call for conventions. Mason explained that an oppressive Congress would never agree to propose amendments necessary to restrain a rogue, tyrannical legislature.

"Col. Mason thought the plan of amending the Constitution exceptionable & dangerous. As the proposing of amendments is in both the modes to depend, in the first immediately, in the second, ultimately, on Congress, no amendments of the proper kind would ever be obtained by the people, if the Government should become oppressive, as he verily believed would be the case.” (See Madison’s notes 15 Sep 1787).

To make sense of that, you must understand that earlier in the summer when the issue of even having an Amendment process was first brought up as a provision in the Constitution, many of the delegates thought it unnecessary. Madison’s notes record the following on June 11th: “Col. MASON urged the necessity of such a provision [Amendments]. The plan now to be formed will certainly be defective, as the Confederation has been found on trial to be. Amendments therefore will be necessary, and it will be better to provide for them, in an easy, regular and Constitutional way than to trust to chance and violence. It would be improper to require the consent of the Natl. Legislature, because they may abuse their power, and refuse their consent on that very account…”.

Then by the time the convention reached its final days in mid September, the Amendment provision had been added as Article V, and the provision had two methods; the national legislature (Congress) could propose Amendments and the states could request that Congress propose specific amendments. However, both methods were left in the hands (power) of the national legislature, that’s what Mason meant when he referred in the first quote above as “both the modes to depend, in the first immediately, in the second, ultimately, on Congress”. Mason had objected to this back in June and now as the convention drew to a close, he rose to his feet to forcefully object with his reasons stated above (“It would be improper to require the consent of the Natl. Legislature, because they may abuse their power, and refuse their consent on that very account”). Madison’s notes of 15 Sept tell us that Mason’s motion was accepted and the language was changed in order to require [mandate] Congress to call a convention upon application of 2/3 of the states.

It is noteworthy to point out that this process does not call for a Constitutional Convention; the language specifies calling a convention for the purpose of “proposing amendments”…to the existing Constitution…it would still require 3/4ths of the states (38) to ratify any amendment proposed in this convention.

We owe George Mason and the other framers a huge debt for this...they had the foresight to understand first of all, that we needed an orderly process in which to amend our Constitution (“regular and Constitutional way than to trust to chance and violence” – Mason 11 June). Secondly we owe them a huge debt for recognizing and understanding the depravity of man and the extremely intoxicating effects of years of power in the hands of the same people (hence a need for term limits) and that these power intoxicated occupants of the United States Congress would “abuse their power, and refuse their consent” (Mason 11 June) to any amendments that would “injure” themselves and return powers never intended for the national legislature or any of the other branches for that matter, they would never take steps to return that power on their own to the rightful owner, the states/people (“no amendments of the proper kind would ever be obtained by the people, if the Government should become oppressive” – Mason 15 Sep).

The least we can do as citizens of this great nation today, citizens that do not seem to want to be bothered with taking the time to understand the underpinnings of their liberty, the least we can do is take the time to understand what the framers of this amazing document did for us. When the framers agreed on September 15th, 1787 to change the text in Article V, they in effect were telegraphing a message to us in 2017, a message to us showing us the way back inside the fence of the Constitution, a way back to what Thomas Jefferson called the “chains of the Constitution”.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Limited Government under The Rule of Law and "Common Sense"?

You can get a good picture of someone's understanding of Constitutional Originalism by listening closely to what they want to do with constitutional powers.

Something is not Constitutional simply because you want it or like it. Conversely, something is not unconstitutional simply because you don't want it or don't like it.

Constitutionality or unconstitutionality is based solely in the text of the Constitution, its enumerated powers for each branch (Art I, II, and III), it's structural and process mechanisms, etc...).

I see so many folks just simply throw "constitutional" or "unconstitutional" into their positions simply because they like or don't like something. If the Constitution is silent on an issue that means the 10th amendment is controlling and therefore your state, city, municipality is free to do it whether you like it or not. If you have an issue with what your state is doing, make sure you understand that your recourse (redress) is in your state legislature.
When you hear someone say "the Constitution does not authorize X, but does not forbid it either", that is huge red flag to a completely erroneous view of the framers intent for the Rule of Law that they created when they carved out powers to create the national government.

The Constitution was not designed with prohibitions in mind, "prohibitions" are implied once one understands the the primary design. It was designed to create and LIMIT the federal government. This fact is abundantly clear to any novice reading of the framers and their debates during the Philadelphia convention of 1787. To take a position that something is not "prohibited" in the federal Constitution and therefore permissible is to follow the liberal interpretational view of a "Living Constitution". The Constitution is not open for doing what is "not prohibited". Logically this would mean a blank check. Madison explained this clearly in his Federalist #41 expose of the General Welfare clause in Article I, Sect 8. The essence of  the starting point for any look at enumerated powers is this most basic understanding of the purpose and intent of the text of the Constitution.

This kind of thinking, the idea that we get to do things that are not enumerated just because one thinks they know what's best for any given situation is PRECISELY what has gotten us into the morass of debt spending that we see today.

Our constitution was not designed to be interpreted to expand powers by using our "common sense. It is to be interpreted as it is written, a document creating a central government of limited powers. Period. Although the idea of using "common sense" to expand powers sounds good to some...the logical question that honest people have to ask is who's "common sense"? The progressives would tell you that they are using their "common sense". Who then is the arbiter of "common sense"? The answer is no ones because that opens the document up to the whims of men and completely eviscerates the intent for limited powers under a rule of law.

If someone thinks they have the lock on "common sense" when it comes to interpreting powers under the Constitution let them use the rigorous process created to address deficiencies in those powers....the constitutional amendment process. They don't get to do it on their own.

For those that take the Romans 13 command to "obey the governing authority" seriously (which should be all who claim Christ). Realize that the Romans 13 governing authority in our nation is the United States Constitution. It is the highest law of the land. Also realize the folly of taking matters into one's own hands when someone determines that they know better and that "common sense" tells you that we can do something that is not enumerated as a power under that governing authority. Any action outside of enumerated powers simply because one thinks that it's "common sense" violates this bedrock constitutional principle.

Lastly, this ought to also cause the Christ claimer to recoil because of the warning given in Judges 21:25 where "everyone did what was right in his own eyes." The incredible design of our founding document reveals that it was intentionally designed to prevent "everyone doing what is right in their own eyes". This is another one of the evidences of why the Biblical Worldview leads us to an originalist interpretational viewpoint of the United States Constitution.

Reject any thinking from this perspective if you claim to be a Constitutionalist and if you claim to respect the rule of law, the Romans 13 "governing authority", and the Biblical Worldview of limited civil government.

This is PRECISELY the kind of thinking that has us untethered and adrift from the United States Constitution.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Gospel Dispensation and the Unanimous Declaration

In his 4th of July speech in 1837, John Quincy Adams argued the following:
"Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon the earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?"
Adams asked a question that on the surface might seem almost heretical to the devout Christian. Adams linked the founding of the nation with the birth of Christ. He quickly answers the question with an explanation of explained his meaning. He posited that the birth of the nation is “indissolubly” linked to the birth of Christ.  Adams used the phrase “chain of human events” to refer to what Christians call the providential hand of God. He connected the Declaration with the idea of the Social Compact put forth years earlier by men such as John Locke in the mid-17th century. Social Compact theory suggests that in order to live together peacefully there must be a construct or pact that elevates agreement above the whims of men. The Mayflower Compact was such a construct. Before the English separatists would disembark from the Mayflower in 1620, they signed a basic agreement determining how they would live together in what they called the “civil body politick. Adams went on to assert that the founding of the United States of America forms a leading event in the “gospel dispensation.” The United States would become the largest liberty promoting nation in the history of the world. The liberty produced under this system propelled the nation into the largest exporter of Christian missionaries and Christian thought for the next two centuries, hence the “dispensation” of the gospel.

Excerpted from the section "The United States Constitution and Christianity" by Robert J. Menges and Dr. Peter Beck - The Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States

Saturday, April 8, 2017

What is The Score on The Supreme Court Now?

As a student of the Supreme Court, I'm thankful that Gorsuch is on the court. We won't actually know for sure if he's the real deal (originalist)...until we see his rulings and written opinions.

Remember....everyone was fooled by John Roberts... including myself....but he (Gorsuch) appears to be a good addition to Thomas and Alito. His answers to the libs questions during confirmation hearings were designed to get through the lib gauntlet...and were somewhat disturbing to me. His past rulings and writings provide probably the most accurate glimpse of his jurisprudence....we shall see. I'm not "all in" until I see some of his rulings and written opinions. Was sucked in by Roberts....not doing that anymore.

That said, if you think that his addition to the court makes it a "conservative" court....you simply have not been paying attention to the courts rulings for the last 10 years and who "lands" in the Majority/Minority opinions of the court. The court currently has two proven originalists out of the now nine members. Gorsuch would be #3. Roberts is not an originalist and cannot be called a "conservative". If you think he is, you will have to explain his ruling and written unconstitutional garbage in the ruling over ZeroCare....the largest and most egregious "living constitution" ruling since Roe.

Anthony Kennedy is certainly no originalist and definitely not a "conservative". Kennedy is the Justice on the court that most cites international law and European law as a basis for his decisions ...even more than Ginsburg does, and that's hard to do! Based on his past actions, Kennedy will most certainly move left on the court with the addition of Gorsuch. His rulings clearly show that he relishes being the so called "swing" vote...and will now lean left just to make sure that the new "conservative" perception of the court is undone.

If Gorsuch is truly an originalist...and I hope he is....the court will now have 3 originalists ouf of nine justices...those are the type justices that are needed for the major issues that will come before the court in the coming years.

The "living constitution nonsense" vs "originalist" score on the Supreme Court of the United States is now 6 to 3 in favor of the "living constitution".

The only way back to limited government under the Rule of Law is through the door of Article V and a Convention of States to propose amendments that target the heart of the Leviathans usurped powers.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Leviathan vs The People of The States

As I call "balls and strikes" on the President, something I do consistently no matter what party is in the White House....some of you ask me if I'd rather Hillary have won. I'm not sure what the purpose of that question is for reasoned thinkers...but I'll answer it. Of course anything is better than Hillary Clinton. However, that is not the measure to which I'm holding all those that told us that Mr. Trump would "drain the swamp".
It has become abundantly clear with the Presidents abandonment of his promise to lead the effort to repeal ZeroCare, his coalition with those in the House that not only broke their oft stated promise to repeal but now foist a replacement big government sandwich on us... and now his continual attack and all out war against the type House members of who he aligned himself with during his campaign....it has become crystal clear that the Leviathan who owns the swamp....has assimilated the new administration.
I write this today not to take issue again with those attacks against the House Freedom Caucus, I've written a couple posts about that in the last few days. I write today to remind those "conservatives" that have any ears left to hear....that there is but one way that the great swamp Leviathan will be defeated. The framers of our great Constitution predicted that this day would come. The not only predicted that this day would come, they had the foresight to insert a mechanism into the Constitution whereby the states themselves could do what the federal government of Washington D.C. would refuse to do...that is rein itself in.
Today, the federal government not only will not move to restrain it's decades of usurped powers, it simply CANNOT make any moves that would restrain or even contain it's power drunken self. The federal government of Washington D.C. that I refer to as "the "Leviathan" is not incentivized today to roll back accumulated usurped power much less rein those powers in. To the contrary, it is de-incentivized to make any moves that threaten it's powers...again, what I call "usurped" powers because those are powers it was never intended to possess but has taken by what I call "amendment fiat"....meaning they simply amend the document through legislation that is rubber stamped by an out of control federal court system.
If you refer to yourself as a "conservative" today and you are opposed to the only constitutional method left to you and I....the "outsiders"....if you are opposed to the Convention of States process specifically placed into Article V to be used for the people to self govern themselves via their state assemblies...if you are opposed to that process....you simply do not understand that size and power of the Leviathan today.
The states have a lawful, peaceful, Constitutional process to change the power structure today. Yes, I said CHANGE THE POWER STRUCTURE....if you have noticed....the power structure between the federal government and the states has been radically altered. This did not happen overnight. It happened through decades of unconstitutional Article I legislative branch lawmaking, it happened through decades of unconstitutional Article II executive branch lawmaking via executive order, and those powers that have been usurped by those two branches have been codified into a "new" constitution by an out of control Article III federal judiciary court system.
The states possess a process given to them by the framers to change the power structure to correct the usurped and assumed powers back to their original constitutional distribution. This process is correctly and historically referred to as a "Convention of States". Unfortunately, far too many conservatives have bought into the utterly false narrative that somehow this is a "dangerous" process. It is not. The framers told us that this was supposed to be a "regular" process used to "check" the federal government EVERY TIME it attempted to exceed it's constitutional boundaries.
It's really time for conservatives to wake up to the truth and get over their fears of Article V. You who are in this camp of fear...you continue to perpetuate the powers of the Leviathan.
Please pass this on to your friends that claim "conservatism" and help educate them.