The US Government Has Limits. REALLY! It Does!!

Contrary to what many in Washington that say they represent us believe (on BOTH sides of the aisle) the US Government does, indeed, have limits on what it can and cannot do.  They’re not even really that hard to find, all one has to do is look in a copy of the United States Constitution.  It’s all in there.  So let’s take a few minutes and actually LOOK at it, READ it, and try to UNDERSTAND it, at least where it applies to how the founding fathers wanted to limit the power of the federal government.

The limits are really laid down in the amendments, particularly the first through eleventh.  The real killer to federal power are the ninth and tenth amendments and they were not placed there by chance or at random.  So we actually start with the text I’ll copy them here:

Amendment 9:  The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment 10:  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.

Pretty simple, isn’t it?  The Constitution is a document that was adopted to specifically limit the power of the federal government.  To understand where the founding fathers are coming from, they had just thrown aside the yoke of a repressive, dictatorial monarchy and had no desire to ever see their new nation fall under the same taskmasters.  The ninth amendment makes it quite clear that the purpose of the Constitution is NOT to limit the people or the states, except in some very specific circumstances, but rather to limit the power and scope of a federal government.  The wording of the ninth amendment is quite clear on that point.

The tenth amendment is also quite clear.  It says, very plainly, that if it doesn’t say in the Constitution that the federal government can do it, then it can’t do it.  If it doesn’t say that the States or the People can’t do it, then they can do it.  Simple.  Elegant.  To the point.

Prior to passage of the Bill of Rights James Madison wrote in the Federalist Paper No. 45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”  It’s important to note that Madison saw no need for the Tenth Amendment feeling the Constitution would take care of this on its own, however other founding fathers disagreed especially as they were considering the other amendments included in those first ten and insisted that the ninth and tenth be included to prevent the growth and excess of federal power.

Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist No.84, “[A Bill of Rights] would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?”  Clearly, Hamilton was concerned that some of the powers delegated in the Constitution and even the Bill of Rights could at a future date be perverted and twisted in a “catch-all” type of mentality empowering the federal government with rights it was never intended to have.

In 1883 Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story wrote, “The Constitution was, from its very origin, contemplated to be the frame of a national government, of special and enumerated powers, and not of general and unlimited powers”, echoing Hamilton’s sentiments.  In 1931 the Supreme Court found in “United States vs. Sprague” that “The Tenth Amendment was intended to confirm the understanding of the people at the time the Constitution was adopted, that powers not granted to the United States were reserved to the states or to the people. It added nothing to the instrument as originally ratified…” in the majority opinion written by Justice Owen Roberts.  This opinion reiterated that the tenth amendment was in place confirming that the Constitution was there to limit the power of the federal government and free the States and the citizens.

Somehow, later in the 20th century, the Supreme Court and the federal government lost sight of this primary, over-riding principle of our governing document.  Following the Great Depression and New Deal era, the federal government gained more power virtually year by year and our society, economy, and overall standard of living has been in decline because of that.

We have the road map of what works, it’s the US Constitution.  We simply have to abide by it and if the federal government won’t do it, then drastic change is certain to result.

-john stricker

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Published in: on June 7, 2010 at 11:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Man” is starting to arrive…….

Who’s the man?  Well, not you or me, most likely.  For the sake of this commentary, the man is coming to visit you from the US Dept. of Commerce and he/she will be wearing a badge identifying them as a US Census taker.  If you did not fill out your census, or filled it out incompletely, the actual people are beginning to come around and ask you personally.

The Census has taken a hit as being highly intrusive and asking many questions they don’t really have any reason for asking.  While in my opinion this is still the case to a certain extent it is much less intrusive than in past years.  Before you decide what you should and should not answer I’d like to cover what the census is for and how it’s authorized.  A census was authorized in the original US Constitution to apportion the number of representatives in the house.

The US Constitution in Article 1, Section 2 calls for a census every 10 years.  It was modified by the 14th Amendment after the Civil War and the slaves were freed.  So what does the Constitution say the Government needs to know?

First off, how many people live at that location.  Total number.

Second, and this may surprise you, but the age of those people.  Why?  Because even though the right to vote in the US begins at age 18, the Constitution still apportions representatives by the number of people over 21.

Third, gender.  Why?  Because according to the 14th amendment, the numbers of male citizens that are denied the right in federal elections to vote for a few reasons (mostly having committed a crime) means they need to reduce the number of people in proportion to the total number of males over 21 in the United States.  Interesting, though, that they do NOT ask if you are eligible to vote in a federal election.

Fourth, race.  Not for any discriminatory reason, but because “Indians” (native-americans for the PC crowd) that are NOT taxed are NOT counted.  Interesting again is that while they ask for race, they don’t ask if you’re an “Indian not taxed”

That’s it.  That’s all the Constitution requires they find out.  Over the years the government has used the census as an excuse to go on their own personal fact-finding missions.  In the past questions regarding how many flush toilets you had, what your heating system was, how big your house is, your income, etc., were included as well.  On the mail in forms this year there were only a few questions and most of them legitimate.

How many people lived at the location, their names, their age, their birth date, their race, and whether or not you owned your home and if you were paying a mortgage.  As you can see, some of these questions are not authorized by the Constitution.  Even though they weren’t authorized, they are still codified in law.  So what if you’re a strict Constitutionalist, as I am, and don’t want to answer them all?  My answer was I won’t answer them.

I provided the names and birth dates of the people living at my house.  In the box where they wanted the age I wrote “Are you all really that stupid you can’t figure it out? I already told you my birth date.”  For race, I wrote in “None of the Above – Not an Indian not taxed”.  In the area about my housing I wrote “None of your damn business”.

As I mentioned, by not answering completely I did violate the law.  It’s important to note, though, that I DID NOT LIE.  I did NOT misrepresent anything on the form.  But I did violate the law in a small act of civil disobedience.  By doing so I am well aware that I can be fined $100 per USC Title 13 Chapter 7.  If you lie, you can be fined $500.  There is no jail penalty for not filling out the form completely.  If they wish to charge me with a violation of the law, that’s fine.  I’ll go to Federal Court without a lawyer, plead guilty and explain my reasons, and pay the $100 fine.

To me it’s worth $100 to do a small part in limiting what the government can and can’t do.  For anyone else, you just have to make up your own mind.

-john

Published in: on May 6, 2010 at 5:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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