April 2, 2010
We are hearing more and more these days of state sovereignty, Tenth Amendment Resolutions, enumerated powers of Congress, and separation of powers; but what really do those in Congress, who make federal law, really know and understand about this topic?
I think many of you know, and I have written in the past, that this nation was founded on the principle of not amassing too much power in any one branch of the government. History of the constitutional convention and ratifying speeches, on the other hand, show many examples of states being the primary government entity when it came to the people.
In a 2008 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report (RL30315) dated February 1 entitled “Federalism, State Sovereignty, and the Constitution: Basis and Limits of Congressional Power” answered many questions I have had concerning why the government does what it does (assuming power it may not have) as well as reinforcing the fact that they know that what they are doing is absolutely unconstitutional and have opted to take an extralegal position to support passing their agenda.
In the opening paragraph of the summary they state a position, which is not presented in the report, about exercising federal powers even when it is not constitutionally permissible. It states:
“The report does not, however, address the larger policy issue of when it is appropriate – as opposed to constitutionally permissible – to exercise federal powers.”
A statement like this is exactly why we are in the trouble we are in, politically and legally, in America today. The ONLY appropriate exercises of federal powers are those constitutionally permissible otherwise they would be Unconstitutional. The mere admission that the federal government would deem any action as appropriate that is not a federal power granted to them within the Constitution is an admission that they do not deem the Constitution to be a limiting document upon the federal government.
On page 4 of the CRS report we find the statement: “This ‘police power’ does not arise from the Constitution, but is an inherent attribute of the states’ territorial sovereignty.” The idea that the federal government would connect ANY power of the states to the federal Constitution shows a total lack of understanding with exception to the powers delegated by the states to the federal and police power of the states is not mentioned in the Constitution.
Now we find the CRS reaching the crux of the federal government’s powers and their understanding of that power. Page 5, first paragraph, states: “The powers of the federal government, while limited to those enumerated in the Constitution, have been interpreted broadly, so as to create a large potential overlap with state authority.” By definition, and admission of the writers of the CRS report, the powers were limited to only those enumerated.
Evidence of limited vice broadly interpreted powers is in the wording of Article 1, §1 that states: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” Even in the grant of legislative power it is stated for ONLY the purposes granted which means no others regardless of how you want to interpret it.
But where we went astray, in my opinion, was based on Chief Justice Marshalls opinion in McCulloch V. Maryland (1819) in which he stated: “Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, are constitutional.” From this point on many politicians have gleaned onto Justice Marshall’s declaration that those things which are not prohibited and therefore constitutional.
But what so many “legislators” and supporters alike fail to embrace is the very next statement “but consists with the letter and spirit of the Constitution.” This brings us immediately back to the only powers granted to the federal where ONLY those enumerated that is the letter of the law and for the intent of chaining down the government with the constitution that is the spirit in which the Constitution was written.
Remember from history the oppressions and abuses under King George that forced us away from that government. Our founder wanted to ensure that the new central government would not become large and overbearing and so they devised a limited government with predefined powers and non else; and to secure that position they added the Tenth Amendment which grated all other powers to the states or to the people. In order for them to assume any other power for the central government they can only do so by usurpation.
But as history has shown as power grows the desire for more power also grows and any nexus that can be made to support an expanse of power will be used even if that source is invalid. This is evident in the federal government’s position in taxation and borrowing of money. The CRS report makes the statement that “The purposes for which Congress may tax and spend are very broad and are not limited by the scope of other enumerated powers under which Congress many regulate.” This flies in the face of logic and the letter and spirit of the Constitution. First of all – all spending (appropriations) comes from legislation in Congress originating in the House. The Constitution states specifically “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” If the Congress cannot legislate beyond the enumerated powers vested in the Constitution and appropriations are derived by legislation then ALL appropriations must be in conformance with the enumerated powers of Congress; all else is usurpation.
The next grant of power that the federal government has used to expand power beyond that granted is the commerce clause. The CRS report states that “The Commerce Clause… is one of the most far-reaching grants of power to Congress.” Obviously they did not read the ratification speeches that clearly denoted a limited power to ensure equal movement of goods throughout the states; where regulation of commerce was deemed to mean to make regular, the basis of our free market system of trade.
However today the federal government uses the Commerce Clause to pass laws that impact manufacturing, production, agriculture, and every other part of the economy usurping power at every turn.
For most of us when we hear the word commerce we may think business, trade, economy, manufacturing, or the entire system as a whole; but that would be inaccurate. Commerce means literally “The exchange of goods and services, especially on a large scale involving transportation between cities, states, and nations.” (Blacks Law Dictionary 7th Edition) As you can see there is no mention of manufacturing so why do we have the federal government telling us how we can and cannot build something? Commerce simply is bringing goods to market; meaning once I produce the product I sell the federal government is to ensure that neighboring states cannot stop me from traversing their states to transport my product to market. To make commerce regular! For more on this topic please read my article on Interstate Commerce or in my book.
The CRS report also discusses the assumed power of the federal government to purchase land; they base it upon the clause in the constitution that states: “The Congress shall have power… To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever… over all places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazine, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful Buildings.” (Article IV, §3)
Notice how all items enumerated above are in support of the enumerated powers of Congress? Federal buildings would fall into this category, perfectly acceptable, Forts and Bases throughout the United States as part of our nation’s defense, perfectly acceptable, Post Offices and post roads, perfectly acceptable. All things aligned with the enumerated powers granted to Congress; but what about taking millions of acres of state land for purposes NOT given to the federal government? Would that be acceptable?
Glenn Beck, for all his showmanship, does bring to light some very good facts; one such fact was an alignment of natural resources of oil, oil shale, and natural gas that resides in massive abundance within the western states and Alaska. Want to take a guess at what areas massive land grabs of the federal government have taken place? You got it right on top of those mineral deposits! However, when you read the legislation that steals the land from the people of those states no mention of the resources below ground are made (deception) they are told it is to preserve the natural beauty of the land. They place this land under the National Parks service with armed Park Rangers who have police powers. And do you know which enumerated power allows them to take land for no enumerated power? There is none; this is theft of the citizens of the states where these “parks” are located. It is theft of the resources of the people of those states and by extension theft of all the people of this nation.
The single greatest land owner in the nation is the federal government yet the enumerated power in the Constitution only grants them a Capital (10 square miles), forts, magazines (places for stuff that goes boom), arsenals (equipment that uses the stuff that goes boom), dock-Yards (Navy stuff), and other useful buildings (post offices, federal buildings, and such) that is it, they have not additional power to take any land.
Now proponents of the federal governments “eminent domain” power say that the federal government has the right to take any property for public use based on the Fifth Amendment which states “…Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Again this goes right back the ability to legislate is based upon enumerated powers – the enumerated powers are not changed because Congress wants to legislate something not enumerated. Can the federal government use emanate domain to place a Fort or a post office at a specific site? Absolutely! Can the federal government use emanate domain to take land for a military installation? Absolutely! Can the federal government use emanate domain to take 1.5 million acres for wilderness preservation? Absolutely NOT! Why? Because the federal government has not been granted that power under the Constitution and without that enumerated, specific grant of power then the lawful use of that power is void and it is done solely on the basis of power and not lawful right.
of the preceding information and the lack of historical evidence of states
holding the federal government to the bounds of the Constitution as well
as the massive expansion of usurped and unconstitutional power assumed
by the federal government – is state sovereignty dead?
My answer would have to be a reserved no but it appears to be dormant,
in a very long hibernating cycle.
So what can be done?
As we have seen, at least in our lifetime, changing of the guards in Washington DC has done absolutely nothing to resolve the problem. In most instances the only difference between the two major parties, at least on the big issues, is not where we are going but only bickering on how to get there. In my opinion the only place this will be resolved will be within the states of the Union; but for this to happen we need a small handful of states to grow a spine and intestinal fortitude by standing up to the federal and say enough is enough.
This is called State Nullification – Each state has the power to stop the federal government in its tracks but it will take effort and sacrifice. Each state must:
1. Declare that they will no longer accept federal funds or the requirements that come with those funds to support unconstitutional programs.
2. That all lands owned by the federal government within the state that are not held for the direct enumerated powers of the government (parks, monuments, etc) will revert back to the states and the people.
3. All federal incorporation charters to and within the states are revoked and only state charters will be recognized.
4. Federal direct taxation of labor (personal income tax) will cease and all withholding from paychecks will cease and be deemed unlawful taking and infractions will be prosecuted under state law.
5. Federal taxation must once again become apportioned, based on the census, for each state based upon a count of citizens excluding illegal immigrants.
6. The state must refuse to provide tax funding for any unconstitutional federal bureaus, organizations, and programs.
g. All federal laws that operate directly on the Citizens of the state that are not part of the constitutional powers of the federal government will be found null and void.
8. Any federal agent that abuses the previous item will be immediately arrested and held in violation of that law.
9. Any action by any federal authority within the boundaries of the state MUST be enacted through the state authority with subject jurisdiction and any violation of this law is an arrest-able offense.
10. And any other action that the state deems unconstitutional.
With the constant attack by this, and prior administrations, toward expansive government and socialistic philosophies that endanger the very fabric of our society the time is at hand for our states to make a stand. We as individuals do not stand a chance at stopping the tsunami of Marxist big government that has invaded our shores but we do still have a chance to recoup our freedoms through our states.
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But we must act now by becoming engaged with our local communities, and our state legislatures to move them to stand up to leviathan before it does become too late.
© 2010 Michael LeMieux - All Rights Reserved
LeMieux was born in Midwest City, Oklahoma in 1956 and graduated from
Weber State University in Utah with a degree in Computer Science. He served
in both the US Navy and US Army (Active duty and National Guard) and trained
in multiple intelligence disciplines and was a qualified paratrooper.
He served with the 19th Special Forces Group, while in the National Guard,
as a Special Forces tactical intelligence team member. He served tours
to Kuwait and Afghanistan where he received the Purple Heart for injuries
received in combat.
Mr. LeMieux left military duty at the end of 2005 after being medically discharged with over 19 years of combined military experience. He currently works as an intelligence contractor to the US government.
Michael is a strict constitutionalist who believes in interpreting the constitution by the original intent of the founding fathers. His research has led him to the conclusion that the republic founded by the Constitution is no longer honored by our government. That those who rule America today are doing so with the interest of the federal government in mind and not the Citizens. Michael believes that all three branches of government have strayed far from the checks and balances built into the Constitution and they have failed the American people. A clear example is the Second Amendment, which the Supreme Court and the founders have all said was an individual right and could not be "infringed" upon, now has more than 20,000 state and federal laws regulating every aspect of the individuals right, a definite infringement. He has traveled around the world living in 14 States of the Union including Hawaii, and visited (for various lengths of time) in Spain, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Korea, Scotland, Pakistan, Mauritius, Somalia, Diego Garcia, Australia, Philippines, England, Italy, Germany, and Puerto Rico.
Michael now lives in Nebraska with his wife, two of his three children, Mother-in-Law and grandchild. His hobbies include shooting, wood-working, writing, amateur inventor and scuba diving when he can find the time.
Contact Michael through his Website: www.constitutiondenied.com