December 18, 2010
The federal government was not designed to be a bureaucracy that had, for the most part, any direct effect on the populace of the country. In fact, the only power granted by the Constitution to the federal government lay in ensuring that government did not trespass against the citizens. It was the responsibility of the individual states to deal with the needs of the people. Federal legislative control was designed only to have jurisdiction within the District of Columbia and the areas ceded by the states to the federal government for forts, (and other federal sites as needed) or to make laws dealing with interstate commerce or dealing with foreign nations. Since the federal government was created, it has slowly and methodically grown in size and scope until it has permeated every aspect of our lives. Thomas Jefferson stated: "Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have .... The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases." I believe the current federal position towards its citizens has proven this axiom to be all too true.
From the writings of the founding fathers, we know that the federal government’s powers, defined by the constitution, were to be limited and general and were not to be used against the citizens of the several states. James Madison, in Federalist 45 said, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined . . . to be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce." Notice that all of these items deal with generalities of government and with national and foreign issues, not individual issues.
One premise I want to point out is that no authority/power can be legally granted to any office of the federal government that cannot be tied directly to the U.S. Constitution. Any law, power, or authority that cannot be tied directly to the Constitution is automatically reserved to the states or to the people, and the federal government is prohibited to exercise outside of this restriction. Secondly, it is the responsibility of the states and the people to keep watch and to correct the government if it steps outside of its authority.
One example of admitted governmental overreach is United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995) in which Mr. Lopez was walking near a school in San Antonio, Texas. Lopez had in his position a concealed .38 caliber handgun and 5 cartridges. He was charged with violating the federal Gun Free School Zone Act of 1990, 18 U.S.C. 922(q). He argued that the federal government had no legal authority to act, and no jurisdiction, within the boundaries of the state.
The governments’ argument was that carrying a gun near schools leads to violent acts and has an adverse affect on the area, and it thereby negatively affects commerce. They also stated that having crimes in the vicinity of schools leads to poorer learning, due to fear of the guns, which leads to a weaker economy, and thereby, negatively affects commerce. With this kind of circular logic, any area in the United States could be placed under the jurisdiction of the Federal regime.
Correctly, the Supreme Court did not see it this way. The Court determined that the Commerce Clause did allow the Federal Government broad lawmaking powers, but they were not unlimited powers, and they did not apply to carrying handguns. (How many federal handgun laws are there?) They further specified that there was no evidence that carrying handguns affected the economy on a massive scale.
Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote the opinion of the court stating that Congress had the power to regulate only the channels of commerce, the instrumentalities of commerce, or persons or things in interstate commerce, even if the threat comes from intrastate activities, and action that substantially affects interstate commerce. He further commented that since the Constitution created enumerated powers by which Congress was bound, they could not have such broad reaching powers.
He concluded that:
“To uphold the Government's contentions here, we would have to pile inference upon inference in a manner that would bid fair to convert congressional authority under the Commerce Clause to a general police power of the sort retained by the States. Admittedly, some of our prior cases have taken long steps down that road, giving great deference to congressional action. The broad language in these opinions has suggested the possibility of additional expansion, but we decline here to proceed any further. To do so would require us to conclude that the Constitution's enumeration of powers does not presuppose something not enumerated, and that there never will be a distinction between what is truly national and what is truly local. This we are unwilling to do.
This is a great finding, which reiterates; that Congress must stay within the bounds set by the Constitution, and to do otherwise, would be to convert the Commerce Clause into a police power. The part I find troublesome is the courts unwillingness to make a distinction between what is national and local jurisdiction, as this will do nothing but embolden Congress to continue in its expansion of power and have only to worry about losing the occasional case. In fact the court fully admitted knowing the federal government had limited scope but had decided to allow “long steps… giving great deference to congressional action.” This action is tyrannical on its face and highlights the corruption that has infiltrated all levels of our central government.
The Constitution defines the areas of Federal jurisdiction and in fact a quote taken directly from the Department of Justice’s own web-site states: “When instances are reported to the United States Attorney of offenses committed on land or in buildings occupied by agencies of the Federal government -- unless the crime reported is a Federal offense regardless of where committed, such as assault on a Federal officer or possession of narcotics -- the United States has jurisdiction ONLY if the land or building is within the special territorial jurisdiction of the United States.” [Emphasis added]
Where, then, does the DOJ/DEA/executive branch get its’ constitutional authority to perform law enforcement within the states of the Union? According to many United States Code acts we find the common use of terms such as – “to maintain the health and general welfare of the American people,” or “A major portion of… flows through interstate and foreign commerce,” or items “distributed locally usually have been transported in interstate commerce,” etc.
I find it interesting how so much our federal government is doing that is tied directly to Interstate Commerce and General Welfare of Americans, however, the Federal Government does not have a constitutional mandate for the welfare of American citizens, only for the General Welfare of the United States, the country, as a whole.
Look again at where congress has jurisdictional/legislative power: Article I, Section 8, Clause 17, states;
“To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings...”. [Emphasis added]
Unless specifically prohibited to the state, all other places not enumerated were to be under the jurisdiction of the state.
Look at the phrase “interstate commerce,” which much of today’s legislation is purported to rely upon. The governments’ position is that if two or more states are involved, or if a business crosses a state boundary, or if a foreign entity is involved, then the federal government has jurisdiction over all aspects of the venture regardless of what it is. Let’s see if this position is constitutionally correct. The Constitution states in Article 1, Section 8: “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” What did the founders mean by regulating commerce? Madison wrote in Federalist 42 that the primary reason to regulate commerce was to ensure equitable treatment between all the states. He states specifically:
“A very material object of this power was the relief of the States which import and export through other States, from the improper contributions levied on them by the latter. Were these at liberty to regulate the trade between State and State, it must be foreseen that ways would be found out to load the articles of import and export, during the passage through their jurisdiction, with duties which would fall on the makers of the latter and the consumers of the former. We may be assured by past experience, that such a practice would be introduced by future contrivances; and both by that and a common knowledge of human affairs, that it would nourish unceasing animosities, and not improbably terminate in serious interruptions of the public tranquility.”
The states wanted to ensure that there would be a level playing field and that the only power the federal government would have was in ensuring no favoritism, penalty, or benefit would be allowed “between (among) the states” who were selling or transporting thru or in another state. It is totally beyond the scope for the federal government to be involved in all areas of manufacture and sale of goods. In fact, the belief was that the federal government had jurisdiction between the states; but the jurisdiction stopped at the state line.
In the Supreme Court case U.S. v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875), Chief Justice Waite’s ruling included the following statement:
“In the formation of a government, the people may confer upon it such powers as they choose. The government, when so formed, may, and when called upon should, exercise all the powers it has for the protection of the rights of its citizens and the people within its jurisdiction; but it can exercise no other. The duty of a government to afford protection is limited always by the power it possesses for that purpose.”
Justice Waite affirms the federal jurisdiction is a protection of citizen rights and the people, but it can exercise no other. Obviously this identifies that innate “limited” scope of government in America to be only what the people have given them, not what they can get away with. Because the government does something does not make that something legal or valid if it has not been granted that power and any action outside of that limited scope would be tyrannical.
Justice Waite continues stating:
“The government of the United States is one of delegated powers alone. Its authority is defined and limited by the Constitution. All powers not granted to it by that instrument are reserved to the States or the people. No rights can be acquired under the constitution or laws of the United States, except such as the government of the United States has the authority to grant or secure. All that cannot be so granted or secured are left under the protection of the States.” (Bold added)
These powers are delegated, limited, and defined. They are not to be expansive or broadly defined, but limited in scope and authority to only the defined powers within the Constitution.
Justice Waite also speaks on the jurisdiction and authority of the federal government in relation to the states, saying:
“The fourteenth amendment prohibits a State from denying to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws; but this provision does not, any more than the one which precedes it, and which we have just considered, add any thing [92 U.S. 542, 555] to the rights which one citizen has under the Constitution against another. The equality of the rights of citizens is a principle of republicanism. Every republican government is in duty bound to protect all its citizens in the enjoyment of this principle, if within its power. That duty was originally assumed by the States; and it still remains there. The only obligation resting upon the United States is to see that the States do not deny the right. This the amendment guarantees, but no more. The power of the national government is limited to the enforcement of this guaranty.” (Bold added)
The duty of government, in a republic, is the protection of the rights of its citizenry. The authority given to the central government is designed to give them the power they need to protect the nation from harm, ensure citizen’s rights are protected, and to ensure equitable trade between the states. To regulate interstate commerce has little to do with legislation and everything to do with open and free trade.
The federal government, over the years, has turned and twisted the meaning of “interstate commerce” and “general welfare” to fit their agenda and skirt around the Constitution to fit whatever agenda they desire. Nearly every federal NON-DOD agency has been created based upon the commerce and welfare clauses – FCC, DEA, FTC, DOE’s (Education and Energy), USDA, DOHHS, FDA, NIH, HUD, DOL, DOT (one of the few valid agencies), and many more.
The use of the welfare and interstate commerce sections of the Constitution is a fraud. Congress has lied to the American people, they have assumed power they were not granted, they refuse to honor their oaths of office, and they have stolen from the very same people they were supposed to represent. They must be stopped – work within your states to demand legislation that will add teeth to your 10th Amendment resolutions. Refuse to take any more federal funds for unconstitutional programs run by the federal government and refuse to enforce those unconstitutional laws within the state. Demand a sound money initiative be enacted in your state – look it up on line -- and push your legislatures to review it.
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Insist the Governor and Counties enact a state sponsored militia act that would put the country Sheriff in a position to utilize volunteers as Sheriff Posse’s and enact a Sheriff First act that would mandate that any police action be done by approval of the country Sheriff who has jurisdiction in that county and provide the Sheriff the power to arrest any police agent attempting to enforce actions within his jurisdiction without approval.
The states, with the people, must stand up to the Federal government and return balance to our Republic -- otherwise the only recourse remaining will be one that none of us want.
© 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