Tag Archives: James Madison

Bill Lockwood: Judicial Supremacy? 4 (1)

by Bill Lockwood

Thomas Jefferson warned us that the Supreme Court itself had the potential to distort the original intent of the Founders by using “Judicial Review.” He saw that the Court might begin creating law instead of merely interpreting the laws passed by the legislature and applying them in the cases that came before it. Late in life he wrote:

It has long, however, been my opinion, and I have never shrunk from its expression … that the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal judiciary; an irresponsible body, (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow) working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States, and the government of all be consolidated into one. To this I am opposed; because, when all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.

While there are certainly other factors involved in America’s decline from its original constitutional model, Jefferson’s admonition strikes at the heart of the issues involved today.

With the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and President Trump’s constitutional role in filling that vacancy, the war that is shaping up in Washington, D.C. is ominous. Showing complete disdain for our Constitution, the frenzied left is promising such outlandish measures as bringing impeachment charges against our president solely for the purpose of hindering him from doing his Constitutional duty.

Let’s look, however, behind the mayhem to see the foundational issues involved.

Constitutional Nonsense

One rude and reckless blogger posted this on Facebook. “With justice Ginsberg passing today, all my female and minority friends better vote like your life depends upon it … these … Republicans are going to have you barefoot and in the kitchen with zero rights over your genitals and put minorities ‘back in their place’ in society …!!”

It is difficult to imagine a more frantic and ignorant statement than this. But it does highlight some major erroneous thought processes that live on the socialist left. Before noting them it is worth mentioning that the comment above focuses upon the issue of abortion. That is noteworthy because it is the lefties and socialists in America who like to say, “You conservatives are a ONE ISSUE group of people—always mentioning abortion!” In point of fact, that is inaccurate—however, surrounding the war pertaining to Ginsberg’s replacement, just who is riveting attention to one single issue? The Liberal Left.

Judicial Supremacy

Judicial Supremacy is a “radical over-extension”, indeed, perversion – “of the legitimate doctrines of ‘judicial review and stare decisis (‘to stand by matters that have been settled’). In brief, the modern doctrine of “judicial supremacy” is as follows: (1) That the Supreme Court has the authority to construe the Constitution in issues that come before the Court and that that meaning of the Constitution, instead of applying only against the parties that come before the Court, applies against everyone in the country situated in similar circumstances.

(2) That an opinion of the Supreme Court can only be modified or cancelled by a later opinion of the Supreme Court or by a formal amendment to the Constitution.

(3) Nothing can be done to any justice of the Court as a consequence of any opinion handed down, no matter how fraudulent or willfully false it may be.

(4) Most importantly: Judicial Supremacy assumes that the meaning of the Constitution’s provisions are: (i) largely unknown and even unknowable, unless that provision becomes illuminated by the Supreme Court itself; (ii) politically plastic, in that the meaning of those provisions can, and even should, change from time to time as the Supreme Court deems advisable.

What Shall We Say to These Things?

Like liberal views of the Bible, so these views of the Constitution and of the role of the Supreme Court land us in nothing less than an oligarchy whereby we are ruled by a board of nine judges—not the Constitution itself. And in case of a 5-4 decision by the Court, the fate of the nation can be decided by only one single judge. Little wonder therefore, that the Political War of 2020 is heightening.

First, the Constitution had a Definite Meaning Before the Supreme Court was Formed. The Constitution and all of its provisions were well known by the people much before the Supreme Court was formed. The Constitution was ratified in 1788 and the Bill of Rights in 1791. However, the Supreme Court was not formed until 1789 and the first cases reached it in August of 1791. In other words, the Supreme Court did not even exist when the Constitution was ratified. Are we to believe that it was passed and ratified by “We the People” but that they had no idea as to its meaning until nine black-robed justices began handing down decisions?

Further, public officeholders have been “bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support the Constitution” and the president to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”—no person could honestly have taken this oath before the formation and decisions of the Supreme Court if “Judicial Supremacy” be true.

Second, Judicial Supremacy is Self-Contradictory. Article 3 of the Constitution covers the Judicial Branch. “The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” Section 2 describes the cases that come before the Supreme Court. Those who favor the modern doctrine of “Judicial Supremacy” point to this Section to establish it. But that presupposes that we are able to comprehend the meaning of its provisions without Supreme Court clarification.

This is the same fundamental contradiction made by the Roman Church when seeking to establish papal supremacy. Catholic defenders run to Matthew 16:16-18 in an effort to establish the doctrine in the minds of doubters. However, this maneuver assumes that one may read and understand the text without papal assistance. In point of fact, the text actually teaches no such thing as papal supremacy any more than Article 3 gives foundation for Judicial Supremacy.

Third, the Constitution is Self-Defining. One is able to read and understand the meaning of the text without assistance from an “inspired” Court of Nine. If there are challenges to interpretation, one need only read The Federalist Papers, the commentary composed by those who actually wrote the Constitution, to determine its meaning. As a matter of fact, it was upon this basis, by the notes put together in articles by John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton, that the colonies learned and accepted the Constitution to begin with.

There is a frenzy of activity surrounding the replacement of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, but the real reason the Democrat/Socialists of America are waging war is found in the following statement from the Tenth Amendment Center. “Progressives want a living, breathing Constitution because they want to mold society into their own image. They crave power. Originalism restrains power.” Without rule of law, government becomes arbitrary and despotic. Exactly where the Socialists will take us.

 

 

 

Bill Lockwood: America a Christian Nation 4 (1)

by Bill Lockwood

When our Founding Fathers referred to this nation, as “Christian Nation,” as did John Jay, one of authors of Federalist Papers, they did not intend that this be understood in the sense that an official church had been established, or that a “Theocracy” was in place, but rather that the principles upon which our republic rests were Christian in origin. Benjamin Morris, a second-generation American, in surveying the mass of material on this topic, summarized:

“Christianity is the principle and all-pervading element, the deepest and most solid foundation, of all our civil institutions. It is the religion of the people—the national religion; but we have neither an established church nor an established religion.”

Some of founders even referred to America as a “Christian Republic.” That generation demonstrated this by the fact that they Morris adorned public buildings with biblical symbols such as Moses crossing Red Sea; or Moses holding tablets of stone carved on the building of the Supreme Court; or the even state papers of the Continental Congress that are filled with Christianity.

One of the formative laws of the United States is the Declaration of Independence, which reads more like a theological statement to the secularists of today. Our republic posited that rights come from God and that the single role of government is to protect what God gave us, inclusive of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Republic itself is an outgrowth of Christian principles.

Roger Sherman, from Connecticut, one of the most influential of the founders, having signed not only the Declaration of Independence, but the Articles of Confederation as well as the
Constitution. He wrote to Samuel Baldwin in 1790 that “his faith in the new republic was largely because he felt it was founded on Christianity as he understood it.”

Joseph Story, a jurist who served on the Supreme Court during the founding era and wrote the first lengthy Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, commented as follows:

Probably at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the amendment to it now under consideration, the general, if not the universal sentiment was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.

The Supreme Court in numerous cases has referred to this as “A Christian Nation.” Most notable is the 1892 case entitled The Church of the Holy Trinity v. The United States. Here the Court packed its decision with a litany of precedents from American history to establish “this is a religious people, … this is a Christian Nation.”

Now it is Different

When speaking of the Bible, one denominational church manual reads, “Now it is different.” Sadly, so it is in the teaching of the founding of America, the Constitution itself, and American civics in general.

Modern Americans have become so ill-educated and misinformed on the subject at hand that even universities and professorships, endowed with tax dollars, argue vehemently against America being conceived as a “Christian nation.” They trumpet loudly that this is a “secular state” and has been from the beginning.

In 2009, for example, the church of Christ where I preach hosted a “Christianity and the Constitution” public seminar, featuring various speakers, establishing that America was designed as a “Christian nation.” Objections by letters to the editor appeared in the local paper, The Times Record News of Wichita Falls. One woman wrote:

…the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution were clearly written as secular documents, with not a single mention of Jesus or the word Christian … [I]t is a fact that the major players in the production of the federal documents were steeped in the Enlightenment: deists, humanists, Masons, and skeptics … [emp. added]

She went on to say that we had “presented discredited information” and “tortured” history to establish the claim that America was a Christian nation.

In answer to that letter, I included the following:

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (cited in the US Supreme Court case [of 1892, mentioned above] said that “Christianity is and always has been a part of the common law.” … The Supreme Court of 1844 (Vidal) said, “It is unnecessary for us, … to consider the establishment of a school for college for the propagation of Judaism or Deism or any other form of infidelity. Such a case is not to be presumed to exist in a Christian country.”

It was also noted in response that Noah Webster, who helped ratify our Constitution, wrote that the source of our republican principles “is the Bible, particularly the New Testament or Christian religion.”

Concluding, I added that regarding to “deists” by whom our nation was supposedly founded, that at the time of the Constitutional Convention deists were not even allowed to hold public office! An actual listing of the religious preferences of the delegates to the Constitutional convention of 1787 shows that 55 declared themselves Christians while only 3 called themselves deists. That is about 5%.

Nathan Jun of MSU

After the above exchange in the paper, Dr. Nathan Jun of Midwestern State University came in to help out the secular cause. He wrote:

In response to Bill Lockwood’s April 21 letter: The First Amendment of the Constitution states that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion …’ Both conventional approaches to interpreting the ‘establishment clause’ – the first as well as the more conservative accommodationist approach—strictly preclude any implicit or explicit religious preferences on the part of the Constitution or Congress.

The United States of America is most certainly not a ‘Christian’ nation, and this is a basic and uncontroversial principle of constitutional law. Whether or not a preponderance of the founders of this country were Christians, moreover, is wholly irrelevant. The government they founded is and has been secular in principle, if not always in spirit. The antiquated, anti-Semitic Supreme Court decision that Mr. Lockwood cited (instead of, say, the Constitution) says nothing about the fundamental character of our system of government. It does, however, say an awful lot about Mr. Lockwood and, perhaps, about his particular brand of Christianity—at least to this non-Christian.

The errors in Dr. Jun’s statement are so numerous that it is only possible to note the highlights, which I did in a following letter to the editor.

Dr. Jun: sir, your philosophy is woefully misinformed. The 1st Amendment, according to James Madison, merely forbids the federal government from establishing a ‘national church.’ No one then, nor do I, wish to have an official state church. However, that is far different from speaking of our Christian nation in the sense of recognizing Christian principles being imbedded within its framework and forming the underpinning of our society. As Patrick Henry put it, this nation ‘was founded upon the gospel of Jesus Christ.’ Joseph Story, appointed by Madison to the Supreme Court, said, ‘we do not attribute this prohibition of a national religious establishment to an indifference to religion in general, and especially to Christianity … an attempt to level all religions and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference would have created universal disapprobation …’

I suppose that these men are too antiquated to know what they are talking about land need modernists from Universities to straighten them out. Not a Christian nation? ‘Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege … of our Christian nation to select Christians as their rulers’ (John Jay, 1st chief justice of the Supreme Court).

Next, I only mentioned that the Founders were Christians in answer to another letter which opined that this country was founded by a bunch of deists and secular humanists—not as proof of a Christian nation. You missed that point as well.

Third, to cavalierly dismiss as ‘anti-Semitic’ the 1892 Supreme Court decision which identified us as a Christian nation bespeaks of dep-seated prejudice by Dr. Jun and a fundamental lack of understanding about the roots of America. It is extremely sad that our tax dollars support this type of radical expression.

In truth, the fact that this was established as a Christian nation infuriates the secularists in our country. Perhaps they ought to be thankful that the only “accommodation” that America made was to the irreligious, allowing them to live freely in a Christian nation without forcing them to support a state-sponsored church.

I am certain that if these professors, of which Dr. Nathan Jun is only one, who personally publishes an “Abolish the Police” signature on his Facebook page, were to live in a Muslim country, they might have a different perspective.

After the above public exchange, I contacted Dr. Jun by email in an effort to engage in a public discussion on Christianity in general. But his contempt for Christianity apparently knows no bounds as he tartly replied, “do not ever contact me again.”

So much for a free society where ideas can be exchanged openly in gentlemanly fashion.

Bill Lockwood: The Evil of Socialism-Part Two 0 (0)

by Bill Lockwood

Dennis Prager, founder of the conservative PragerU, conservative talk show host, made an excellent observation regarding socialism while on Fox & Friends this past Tuesday. He was there to advertise the newest instalment of his 5-part popular commentary series on the Torah.

He noted that the founders were distrustful of human nature, and that therefore one’s personal liberty is best secured when as little control as possible is placed in the hands of leaders. Socialism, on the other hand, by definition, entrusts tremendous power over the lives of others in the hands of a very few. The contrast could not be more stark. Let’s explore it a little.

Distrust of Human Nature

The founders were optimistic about human nature, but they were realistic as well. Alexander Hamilton expressed the optimism, but at the same time the realistic view of human nature. “There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism” (The Famer Refuted, Feb. 23, 1775).

But it was James Madison, the father of the Constitution, that succinctly explained in Federalist No. 55 why limited government oversight was necessary:

As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form.

George Washington expressed the same sentiment in a letter to John Jay in 1786. “We must take human nature as we find it, perfection falls not to the share of mortals.”

Again, Madison outlined in Federalist No. 51 the importance of checks and balances in a government by viewing human nature.

Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man, must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections of human nature?

The sole theme of the Constitution is to protect people from the concentration of power in the hands of a few government officials.

Illustrative of this skepticism of human nature to aggrandize power in the hands of the few is Article II, sec. 2 which pertains to the Electoral Vote of the states. The states considered collectively are the Electoral College. “Each state shall appoint …a number of electors equal to the whole number of senators and representatives to which the state may be entitled.”

However, the founders added this caveat: “but no senator or representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.”

What is the meaning of this negative note? “All human history … has demonstrated that concentrated government power is the greatest threat to individual freedom and states rights.” (1)

“Protecting the electoral system from conquest and occupation by the agencies of the federal government was the purpose of this provision.”

In other words, the only manner in which mankind could achieve happiness and liberty was by self-government. And this can only be gained by maintaining a system of limited government. But limited government would be surrendered if those in power could manipulate the system in their favor.

Socialism—Social Justice

Consider the contrast with socialism, by which we mean redistribution of wealth in the pursuit of so-called “equality.” The National Association of Scholars (NAS) defines “social justice”—socialism in a new dress—as “Advocacy of more egalitarian access to income, through state-sponsored redistribution.”

But what does this demand? In order to accomplish any state-sponsored redistribution, the state must be invested with more control over the lives of its members. This demands massive government power—power at the top.

Max Eastman, an elitist American in Woodrow Wilson’s time who became infatuated with socialism and actually traveled to the Soviet Union to learn how to implement it, later recanted. Would that our modern-day socialists of the Democratic Party would be as honest as Eastman.

Eastman’s book, Lectures in the Failure of Socialism, contains this definition of socialism: “A state apparatus which plans and runs the business of the country must have the authority of a business executive. And that is the authority to tell all those active in the business where to go and what to do, and if they are insubordinate, put them out.” It is all about power. Continuity of control.


(1) W. Cleon Skousen, The Making of America, p. 526.


At the root level, it amounts to the relinquishing of our sacred rights into the hands of the few at the top whom we have entrusted with gigantic levers of authority over our lives. Senator Bernie Sanders, for example, presses for socialized healthcare. What is that? This is to say that he wants the entire healthcare industry to become a government-run monopoly financed entirely by taxes.

How opposite the founders! It all begins with a wrong view of human nature as modern progressives consistently hold. This is the legacy of the so-called Progressive Era—a skewed, unrealistic view of mankind. A refusal to recognize that man’s problem is sin, not lack of material possessions. (2)  This is the evil of socialism.

And to pretend that we have a “Constitutional Crisis” on hand because Attorney General William Barr refuses to break the law and hand over federally-protected testimony to raging Democrats in the House boggles the mind.

There is a Constitutional Crisis in America—has been for over 100 years. It is the complete disregarding of constitutional barriers that forbids the federal government from intruding into the private lives of citizens via the tax code, welfare, government housing, education, health care, and a thousand and one other items. The Democrats are simply trying to lock evil socialism into place by the healthcare proposals of “Medicaid for all.”


(2) The Bible is emphatic, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 6:23).“God saw that the wickedness of man was great … and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was on evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). This is why the founders did not trust their freedoms, liberties, and rights into the hands of a few elitists.


Birthright Citizenship, the Fourteenth Amendment and The Immigration Invasion 0 (0)

by Bill Lockwood

Some estimate the number of Central American citizens marching northward through Mexico to the United States to be upward of 14,000. Eighty percent of these immigrants are men younger than 35 years old. President Trump has issued a state of emergency and U.S. troops are being deployed to the Mexican border.

In the wake of this looming invasion of the sovereignty of the United States, several issues are being pushed to the forefront of national attention. The most notable is the meaning of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and its so-called Citizenship Clause. “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

Many cultural leaders and Constitutional commentators insist that these clauses mean that the children born of parents temporarily in the country as students, or children born of illegal aliens who are unlawfully residing within our geographical boundaries automatically become U.S. citizens. This is known as “Birthright citizenship.”

This, however, is not what the text of the Constitution says or means, in spite of the fact that many people think that it does. For example, a recent article in the Chicago Tribune argues for birthright citizenship.

Chicago Tribune

“Trump eyes order to end birthright citizenship. Legal experts say that would violate Constitution,” blares the  headline.

President Donald Trump is vowing to sign an executive order that would seek to end the right to U.S. citizenship for children born in the United States to non-citizens, a move most legal experts say runs afoul of the Constitution and that was dismissed Tuesday by the top House Republican.”

John Wagner, a writer for The Washington Post and author of the above lines, adds that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) dismissed the idea in a recent radio interview, explaining that Trump’s proposal is not consistent with the Constitution. Ryan explained that not only can Trump not end “birthright citizenship” with an executive order, but that Republicans did not like it when Barack Obama changed immigration policy by executive action.

At the risk of taking on the Establishment legal experts but having confidence in the fact that the Constitution was written for all to understand, these “legal experts”, including Paul Ryan, are flat wrong. As a matter of fact, one of the “choke points” designed to minimize the likelihood “that an arguably unconstitutional federal law would pass and take effect” is the plain supposition that the Constitution speaks “not merely to federal judges, but rather to all branches and ultimately to the people themselves” (Akhil Reed Amar, America’s Constitution: A Biography, p. 62-63).

The Civil War Amendments

The Fourteenth Amendment was the second of three amendments to the Constitution that was adopted in post-Civil War America. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery; the Fourteenth Amendment defined citizenship and guaranteed the rights of former slaves; and the Fifteenth Amendment granted the vote to African-American men.

The point of today’s conflict resides in the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment, which actually reads: “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” are citizens of the United States. Those who advocate birthright citizenship ignore the qualifying phrase.

What is the Meaning of the 14th Amendment?

First, consider Original Intent of the Constitution.  Thomas Jefferson pointed out the obvious, that “original intent” is the only legitimate interpretation.

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.

This canon of interpretation is obvious, but Jefferson knew there were and would be forces which twist the meaning of written laws to make the Constitution conform to their desires.

James Madison agreed.

I entirely concur in the propriety of resorting to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation. In that sense alone it is the legitimate Constitution … What a metamorphosis would be produced in the code of law if all its ancient phraseology were to be taken in its modern sense.

James Wilson wrote that “The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.” And modern-day Justice Clarence Thomas underscored the point. If we are not interested in the “original intent” the Constitution has no more value than the latest football scores.

All such interpretive methodologies that speak of “various contexts” of the clauses of the Constitution, or that the text actually morphs over time and clime partake is nothing less than existential nonsense designed to free persons from the constraints of law.

Second, consider the original meaning of the 14th Amendment, specifically the qualifying phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

The 13th Amendment which abolished slavery within all the territories of the United States. It was adopted in December, 1865, only months after the conclusion of the Civil War. However, the 13th Amendment was found not to be enough.

Former slaves were forbidden to appear in “the towns in any other character than menial servants” and were required to reside upon and cultivate the land “without the right to purchase or own it.” They were excluded from many occupations of gain and were “not permitted to give testimony in the courts where a white man was a party” (Thomas Norton, The Constitution of the United States: Its Sources and Its Application).

These and other similar circumstances brought about the 14th Amendment, which was adopted in July, 1868. The chief architect of the Amendment was Ohio politician John Bingham. However, it was Senator Jacob Howard who was the author of the Citizenship Clause in question.

During debate over the clause he assured his colleagues in the Senate that the language “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” was not intended to make Indians citizens of the United States because, although born in the geographical boundaries of our nation, were not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Instead, they owed allegiance to their tribes.

One of Howard’s colleagues, Senator Lyman Trumball, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, argued in exactly the same manner. He explained to the Senate that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” meant “not owing allegiance to anybody else and being subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States.”

“Not owing allegiance to anybody else.” That is as plain as it can be. Who can misread this? Illegal border crossers are not included in subject to the jurisdiction thereof.

It is for this reason the children of foreign diplomats do not automatically become citizens of the United States, although perhaps born on U.S. soil. There is no birthright citizenship.

Modern Constitutional writer Hons von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese Center, explains further:

The fact that a tourist or illegal alien is subject to our laws and our courts if they violate our laws does not place them within the political “jurisdiction” of the United States as that phrase was defined by the framers of the 14th Amendment.

Liberals prefer to believe that anyone present in the United States is “subject to the jurisdiction” of America. That is false, as a plain reading of the 14th Amendment shows, as well as the intention of its framers. Foreigners who jump our borders owe allegiance to other nations and are not only not citizens, neither are their children, though they may be born on this soil.

The above being the case, how did Americans, even lawmakers, come to adopt the position that “birthright citizenship” is the law of the land? Only by bureaucratic overstepping the boundaries of the Constitution. This is a perfect illustration of how governing authorities stretch the meaning of the Constitution to unlawful lengths, then assert their unauthorized position so frequently that the idea becomes settled as if it really is the law of the land.

Americans should be thankful for a president like Donald Trump who is bold enough to take on the establishment and its pretended authority to tell us what the Constitution means. The current crisis in immigration is caused solely by Big Government bureaucrats who have twisted the Constitution into their own mold and a complaisant citizenry which allows them to do so.

Tom DeWeese: Will Brett Kavanaugh Stand for Property Rights? 0 (0)

Will Brett Kavanaugh Stand for Property Rights?-“The homeowner came under greater pressure to sell.”

by Tom DeWeese

There’s lots of talk about where Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh stands on the Roe v Wade abortion decision and if he would vote to rescind it. There is another very controversial Supreme Court decision made just few years ago, supported by the Anthony Kennedy, the justice he seeks to replace. That is the Kelo decision that basically obliterated private property rights in America. So, where does Brett Kananaugh stand on protection of private property rights? With Kennedy or the Constitution?

In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down an opinion that shocked the nation. It was the case of Susette Kelo, et al. v City of New London, Connecticut, et al. The issue: “Does the government taking of property from one private owner to give to another private entity for economic development constitutes a permissible ‘public use’ under the Fifth Amendment?”

In 2000, the city of New London saw a chance to rake in big bucks through tax revenues for a new downtown development project that was to be anchored by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The company announced a plan to build a $270 million dollar global research facility in the city. The local government jumped at the chance to transform 90 acres of an area right next to the proposed research facility. Their plans called for the creation of the Fort Trumbull development project which would provide hotels, housing and shopping areas for the expected influx of Pfizer employees. There were going to be jobs and revenues A-Go-Go in New London. Just one obstacle stood in the way of these grand plans. There were private homes in that space.

No muss – no fuss. The city fathers had a valuable tool in their favor. They would just issue an edict that they were taking the land by eminent domain. The city created a private development corporation to lead the project. First priority for the new corporation was to obtain the needed property.

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In July, 1997, Susette Kelo bought a nice little pink house in a quiet fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London. Little did she imagine that warm, comfy place would soon become the center of a firestorm.

She had no intention of selling. She’d spent a considerable amount of money and time fixing up her little pink house, a home with a beautiful view of the waterfront that she could afford. She planted flowers in the yard, braided her own rugs for the floors, filled the rooms with antiques and created the home she wanted.

Less than a year later, the trouble started. A real estate broker suddenly showed up at her door representing an unknown client. Susette said she wasn’t interested in selling. The realtor’s demeanor then changed, warning that the property was going to be condemned by the city. One year later, on the day before Thanksgiving, the sheriff taped a letter to Kelo’s door, stating that her home had been condemned by the City of New London.

Then the pressure began. A notice came in the mail telling her that the city intended to take her land. An offer of compensation was made, but it was below the market price. The explanation given was that, since the government was going to take the land, it was no longer worth the old market price, therefore the lower price was “just compensation,” as called for in the Fifth Amendment. It was a “fair price,” Kelo and the homeowners were told over and over.

Some neighbors quickly gave up, took the money and moved away. With the loss of each one, the pressure mounted. Visits from government agents became routine. They knocked on the door at all hours, demanding she sell. Newspaper articles depicted her as unreasonably holding up community progress. They called her greedy. Finally, the bulldozers moved in on the properties already sold. As they crushed down the houses, the neighborhood became unlivable. It looked like a war zone.

In Susette Kelo’s neighborhood, the imposing bulldozer was sadistically parked in front of a house, waiting. The homeowner came under greater pressure to sell. More phone calls, threatening letters, visits by city officials at all hours demanding they sign the contract to sell. It just didn’t stop. Finally the intimidation began to break down the most dedicated homeowners’ resolve. In tears, they gave in and sold. Amazingly, once they sold, the homeowners were then classified as “willing sellers!”

Immediately, as each house was bulldozed, the monster machine was moved to the next house, sitting there like a huffing, puffing dragon, ready to strike.

Finally Susette’s little pink house stood nearly alone in the middle of a destruction site. Over 80 homes were gone: seven remained. As if under attack by a conquering army, she was finally surrounded, with no place to run but to the courts. Under any circumstances the actions of the New London government and its sham development corporation should have been considered criminal behavior. It used to be. If city officials were caught padding their own pockets, or those of their friends, it was considered graft. That’s why RICO laws were created.

The United States was built on the very premise of the protection of private property rights. How could a government possibly be allowed to take anyone’s home for private gain? Surely justice would finally prevail.

The city was backed in its appeal by the National League of Cities, one of the largest proponents of eminent domain use, saying the policy was critical to spurring urban renewal with development projects. However, the Supreme Court had always stood with the founders of the nation on the vital importance of private property. There was precedent after precedent to back up the optimism that they would do so again.

Finally, her case was heard by the highest court in the land. It was such an obvious case of government overreach against private property owners that no one considered there was a chance of New London winning. That’s why it was a shock to nearly everyone involved that private property rights sustained a near-death blow that day.

This time, five black robes named Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Kennedy, and Breyer shocked the nation by ruling that officials who had behaved like Tony Soprano were in the right and Susette Kelo had no ground to stand on, literally or figuratively.

These four men and one woman ruled that the United States Constitution is meaningless as a tool to protect individuals against the wants and desires of government. Their ruling in the Kelo case declared that Americans own nothing. After deciding that any property is subject to the whim of a government official, it was just a short trip to declaring that government could now confiscate anything we own, anything we create, anything we’ve worked for – in the name of an undefined common good.

Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, who opposed the Court’s decision, vigorously rebutted the Majority’s argument, as she wrote in dissent of the majority opinion, “The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the state from replacing a Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory.”

Justice Clarence Thomas issued his own rebuttal to the decision, specifically attacking the argument that this was a case about “public use.” He accused the Majority of replacing the Fifth Amendment’s “Public Use” clause with a very different “Public Purpose” test. Said Justice Thomas “This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a public use.

Astonishingly the members of the Supreme Court have no other job but to protect the Constitution and defend it from bad legislation. They sit in their lofty ivory tower, with their lifetime appointments, never actually having to worry about job security or the need to answer to political pressure. Yet, these five black robes obviously missed finding a single copy of the Federalist Papers, which were written by many of the Founders to explain to the American people how they envisioned the new government was to work. In addition, they apparently missed the collected writings of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and George Washington, just to mention a very few. It’s obvious because otherwise, there is simply no way they could have reached this decision.

So, in a five to four vote, the Supreme Court said that it was okay for a community to use eminent domain to take land, shut down a business, or destroy and reorganize an entire neighborhood, if it benefited the community in a positive way. Specifically, “positive” meant unquestioned government control and more tax dollars.

The Institute for Justice, the group that defended Susette Kelo before the Supreme Court, reported that it found 10,000 cases in which condemnation was used or threatened for the benefit of private developers. These cases were all within a five-year period after the Kelo decision. Today, that figure is dwarfed as there is seemingly no limit on government takings of private property.

The Kelo decision changed the rules. The precedent was set. Land can now be taken anytime at the whim of a power elite. So again, the question must be asked: if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, will he stand to protect private property rights against massive overreach by local, state, and federal governments? Will he support an effort to overturn the Kelo Decision?

APC: https://americanpolicy.org/2018/07/17/will-brett-kavanaugh-stand-for-property-rights/

Read Tom Deweese’s Biography

American Division, Class Struggle and the Progressive Income Tax 0 (0)

American Division, Class Struggle and the Progressive Income Tax – “What has happened to us? Why has partisan animosity replaced thoughtful discussion and debate?”

by Bill Lockwood

America is arguably more divided now than ever in its history. Cleavages exist between races; whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, American Indians; between political parties, Democrat versus Republican; between classes rich and poor, middle class supporting the welfare class.  We are daily fed a diet of radical divides between the police and minority communities; even variances between Californians, some of which are ready to splinter off and form their own state and others who are prepared to join Mexico again. Multiculturalists in the universities commonly celebrate foreign cultures while denigrating Americanism. The states are becoming even more balkanized than during the Civil War in which north and south soldiers still respected each other on the battlefield.

What has happened to us? Why has partisan animosity replaced thoughtful discussion and debate? Why is it that everyone who differs from me becomes either a xenophobe, homophobe, Islamaphobe, or some other phobe? Besides the obvious fact that our culture has retreated from God–which lies at the heart of our division–is the “class struggle” sponsored by Marxist philosophy. Deep wedges are being driven into our once-peaceful culture.

Anti-communist researcher James D. Bales wrote, “Class struggle is such an essential part of the Marxian philosophy that one cannot abandon it without abandoning Marxism.” A summary of Karl Marx’s views indicates that a class is made up of a group of individuals who sustain the same relationship to the ownership or the non-ownership of the means of production. The two basic classes are those who own the means of production and distribution (the bourgeois) and those who do not (proletariat).

Friedrich Engels, Marx’s partner in crime, explained that the great lever to effect social change is to divide society along “political, religious, philosophical or some other ideological” class. In this way, by driving these wedges, Marx produced the collision in society necessary for socialism. It is without argument that Marx’s class struggle has become tremendously successful in America. But how did these wedges get a foothold among our once united people?

The Income Tax

Granted, many divisions are natural, such as between races. But the primary method of exacerbating these natural divides and creating more class division is the Income Tax. Karl Marx knew this, therefore, after the abolition of private property, Marx’s second plank is: a “heavy, progressive income tax.”

Our founding fathers knew the dangers of progressive taxation as well. They warned against it, even writing into the Constitution: “All duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States” (Art. 1.8). But the so-called “Progressives” (read, socialists), taking their cues from Karl Marx instead of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, inaugurated the Progressive Income Tax in 1913. America has been in the throes of class struggle ever since.

Some History

Twenty years prior to the infamous Income Tax of 1913, as Progressivism began to take hold, Congress had experimented with another income tax (1894) that was designed to tax only the top 2% of wealth holders. The Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional (Burton Fulsom, Founders on Taxation).

Stephen Field, a veteran of 30 years on the Court, was outraged that Congress would pass a bill to tax a small voting bloc and exempt the larger group of voter. At age 77, Field not only repudiated Congress’s actions he also penned a prophecy. A small progressive tax, he predicted, ‘will be but a stepping stone to others, larger and more sweeping, till our political contests will become a war of the poor against the rich.’

This is exactly what occurred. Under the influence of the Progressives at the turn of the last century liberal Republicans and Democrats both crafted bills in Congress designed to “soak the rich.” Conservatives who blocked the unconstitutional idea were labeled as favoring “the part of the rich.”

Class warfare had begun in earnest. Uniform taxation was a thing of the past and along with it equal protection under the law. The government, by nature, now became the aggressor to shake down the little man. By the time of Franklin Roosevelt votes were being bought and sold by means of the IRS code while on the flip side Roosevelt’s opponents were subjected to IRS investigations and continual government harassment.

Elliot Roosevelt, the president’s son, stated in 1975 that “my father may have been the originator of the concept of employing the IRS as a weapon of political retribution.” As Burton Fulsom points out, Elliot added, “each of his successors followed his lead.”

What is the point of this history? Barack Obama’s employment of the IRS to target conservatives while Lois Lerner headed the Exempt Organizations Unit is nothing new. Obama was featured on a major magazine as Roosevelt himself. Now other government agencies, including the entire Justice Department, is being revealed as a partisan player in power politics. Witness the disgrace of James Comey and the leadership of the FBI.

James Madison was right all along. “The spirit of party and faction” would prevail entirely in the United States if Congress could tax one group of citizens and confer benefits on another group. Our social unrest will continue until the Income Tax is repealed.

God, Not Gun Control 0 (0)

God, Not Gun Control “Is there no virtue among us?

by Bill Lockwood

The liberal secular world consistently misses the prime causes of our cultural disarray. Once again this lack of understanding is displayed in the aftermath of the Stephen Paddock mass shooting in Las Vegas, NV. Democrat leaders around the country did not let the blood dry from that massacre before they were calling for more fixes from Washington, D.C. They refuse the real issue.

Leading in this willful ignorance is Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. “The reason we don’t have gun safety measures in the United States today is because of the [National Rifle Association]. And we will defeat them.” That which blocks Sen. Murphy is not the NRA, but the 2d Amendment of the Constitution itself. Will you defeat it, Sen. Murphy?

Greatly exaggerating his power he continued: “We have it in our power to curb gun violence and save lives. It is that simple. Congress is complicit each day it fails to act.” He added that gun violence is a “uniquely American problem.”

Curtailing citizen gun ownership has always been on the Democrat/Socialist agenda. This is the reason that before investigations are even conducted into motives or causes they fly to assault the 2d Amendment.

Erasing God

To put a more accurate point on the liberal agenda, gun violence is not a uniquely “American” problem, but a uniquely modern American problem. Early America experienced no such acts of horrific senseless violence. Citizens were not mowing each other down in the town squares. Yet, from the 17th century through the colonial period not only did every male member of the community own a firearm, but they were expected to be a part of the regular militia!

Laws in Virginia in 1623 forbade its colonists to travel unless they were armed. In 1631 the same colony required the citizens to engage in target practice on Sunday and “to bring their pieces to church.” Target practice would be after Sunday dinner. In 1673 the laws of Virginia provided that a citizen who claimed he was too poor to purchase a firearm would have one purchased for him by the government.

In Massachusetts, the first session of the legislature ordered not only freemen, but also indentured servants to own firearms and imposed a fine upon those who were not armed. Examples from other colonies could be added (W. Cleon Skousen, The Making of America, 696).

What a difference two centuries make! But be careful to note that the difference is not between America and other nations, as Democrats are wanton to do; but between modern America and our historical roots. What exactly has changed?

Our nation has spent the better part of a century eliminating God from the public square, the classroom, and public discourse. Entertainment has virtually mocked and blasphemed God. Families are dysfunctional and the number of fatherless homes has dramatically increased since the 1960’s. Humanistic evolution and its valueless world order has replaced the Bible and we today are eating the fruit of those choices. In the wake of family and societal breakdown an increasing number of sociopaths and psychopaths wander our secular society. A predictable result.

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Gordon Wood, in The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, stated, “The eighteenth century mind was thoroughly convinced that a popularly based government ‘cannot be supported without virtue.’”

James Madison added,

Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical [fantasy] idea.

And George Washington, the Father of our Country, warned us,

And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education … reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

Again, in his Farewell Address Washington advised that our freedom depends upon two “indispensable supports”—religion and morality. He, of course, referred to the Christian religion.

Until God is once again acknowledged by our culture-including the public school classroom– no amount of laws, no number of legislative fixes will make a people safe whose manners have become immoral, corrupt and vicious.

Is it Time for Divorce? 0 (0)

Is it Time for Divorce?- “How Deep is the Divide?”

by Bill Lockwood

With all of the political rancor boiling out of the Left against President Donald Trump, perhaps it is time to ask the question if the time has come for American states to consider an amicable divorce? Political separation. The chasm that divides right from left in our nation is wider than can be bridged by mere bi-partisanship. America is in the midst of a brewing civil war. The community organizers and Deep State devotees continue to foment rebellion behind the scenes while their street goose-steppers violently rampage with impunity.

What is the cause of all of this? What is the real issue? It is not about, as shallow thinkers suggest, Trump’s tweets. It is instead the same issue that has been festering beneath the surface for over a century and is just now coming to an ugly head. Will we have a limited government whereby the individual can enjoy his or her God-given liberties?; or, will we have total government control which dispenses or retracts these “freedoms” as central-planners see fit?

This is the only explanation for the intensified vicious hatred flung at President Trump. He is doing exactly what he said he would do — rolling back the gargantuan total state that has been created after the socialist will. But the heart of the left will always be about imposing their ungodly agendas on others by totalitarian-style edicts of the New World Order.

Witness some of these edicts. They range from population-control schemes; mandating the activity of each person on earth as is clearly enunciated by Agenda 21 UN goals; over-riding national sovereignty by international law; the complete destruction of capitalism; militant sexual LGBT worldviews; absolute federal and international control of our children’s education; the forced funding of the welfare state; complete domination of unconstitutionally-held land; complete control of our money supply and wealth by which slavery is promoted in the form of debt; and a thousand other similar well-established practices.

Therefore, perhaps the time has come to consider an amicable divorce. States that wish total government, go your own way. Those that eschew despotism, go another. Irreconcilable differences.

How Deep is the Divide?

To consider how deeply we are divided, ponder James Madison’s statement pertaining to government power. “The powers delegated [by the people] 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. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce… The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives and liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State.”

Those enumerated powers of which Madison spoke equal about twenty specifics (Art. 1, Sec. 8). So important was this basic concept of a limited government that the Founders added the 10th Amendment which was to serve as a lock on the the federal government.

Thomas Jefferson even wrote, “I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.’ To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.” (1791)

We are now on that “boundless sea” and the horizon does not look promising. We have completely lost the Constitution as the people writhe beneath a centralized state. In common with every breed of despotism, communism, Marxism, socialism, Nazism, or fascism—all of which are rooted in atheism—individual rights and liberties are almost non-existent in our nation. This is exactly what the left wants. Therefore, whether one reads the U.N. Earth Charter or the Manifestos of the Humanists or the Democratic Party platform, they all cry for more government control and less freedom of the individual.

Deeper still is the principle that was observed by Alexis de Tocqueville in the 1830’s. He noted that that which united Americans, transcending political parties and religious differences, was a fundamental moral consensus in the heart of the people. This was so impressive to the French diplomat. Sadly, consensus does not any longer exist between the opposite sides of our divide which advocate two very different world views.

With a complete lack moral consensus today and cultural leaders of western civilization who love to have it so, it seems insufficient to even call for state conventions for the purpose of adding amendments to the constitution or even demanding the federal government retreat. Statist policies of government officials will continue unfettered and anarchy will escalate.

So, instead of middle America being forced to tolerate the near-Satanic-style assaults from the left, making it impossible for our elected president to govern, perhaps it is time for those addicted to government management of their lives to write their own constitution and go their own way.

Crucifying the Constitution 0 (0)

Crucifying the Constitution- “Do no give us any standard by which actions can be judged to be right or wrong.”

by Bill Lockwood

The Progressive Era, beginning at the turn of the last century, has brought us a constant assault upon the rule of law in America. Led by the Democratic Party, the Constitution of the United States has been ignored, trashed, vilified, tortured and shredded. Whether twisting the meaning of the Commerce Clause, or re-writing the Necessary and Proper Clause, to the re-molding of The First Amendment, our Constitution at this point is practically relegated to the dust-bin of historical oddities. Reading the Founding Fathers on their own Constitutional product is like reading opinions of foreigners unacquainted with modern methods of governing.

A case in point. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) plans to block an up-or-down vote on President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch is an “originalist” in his approach to the Constitution which means his interpretive principle in discerning the meaning of the Constitution is based upon the actual words of the document itself.

While there is some debate on the “originalist” principle—for instance, the modern meaning of words in the commerce clause can lead us astray from what the founders intended by that clause—Gorsuch basically allows the Constitution to speak for itself. * This will not do for Schumer and the Democratic Party which tells us that this approach to the Constitution is “out of the mainstream” of America.

What About Originalism?

First, the very reason for having a written document of settled law is to prevent what has been occurring in America under Schumer-style leadership. When the Constitution was drafted and ratified the Founders were exceedingly clear. They wanted to avoid the common pitfall of English history wherein there was no written law. England had been guided by the decisions of Parliament which, in absence of a written legal code, was a wide invitation to an open-ended metamorphosis of legal standards.

This, in turn, meant that the populace never enjoyed the obvious protections of their rights under law, but instead were at the mercy of Parliamentary changes or the powerful Crown that would ignore Parliament. In the end, it is the common people who suffer most.

One of the “chains of the Constitution” spoken of by Thomas Jefferson was that America would have a written code that would remain inflexible and never change, except by Amendment. It is this concept, a written document that encloses the actions of the leaders, that both Democrats and Republicans have disdained. Most of our departures from Constitutional Law, whether it be by means of the Federal Reserve System or the Environmental Protection Agency, or the liberal transmutation of the Second Amendment, can be explained on the basis of this sad truth. Many leaders do not wish to be contained.

Second, to say that America’s Constitution is a “living, breathing document” insinuates that one wishes to disregard the standard. When one conjures the notion of a “living, breathing” document, such as was recently done in a Cosmopolitan article (authored by Jill Filipovic), it involves an attack upon the standard itself. It is to say that the standard actually evolves over time. Democrat strategist Chris Hahn, a former campaign worker for Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), reflecting the same relativism in a 2011 comment, stated that our Constitution is “a living, breathing document that evolves over time.”

This same breed of hostility to any normative standard is seen in theological circles as well. Liberals are fond of citing a New Hermeneutic approach to the Bible which means that moderns wish to have a “relativistic” approach to God’s Word. This translates thusly: “Do no give us any standard by which actions can be judged to be right or wrong.” Mankind wishes to be free from the constraint of God’s Law.

Exactly so with Schumer and the Democrats in law-making. To interpret the Constitution according to its original intent is anathema to them because they hate the standard of Constitutional law to begin with. It is too restricting. Too restraining is the Constitutional standard against their impulses to dictate and control the lives of other Americans.

The Founders foresaw this lawless maneuver. James Madison, the father of the Constitution, pointed out that our Constitution is only “legitimate” if we “resort” to the “sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation.” James Wilson, Pennsylvania member of the Philadelphia Convention rightly insisted, “The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.”

Thomas Jefferson, who coined the phrase “Chains of the Constitution,” recognized that the guardian of our liberties was the Constitution itself—provided that we properly interpret it in its “originalist” intent. “On every question of construction let us 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 intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”

Chuck Schumer’s confrontational opposition to Neil Gorsuch has its roots in the lawlessness that has characterized many of our politicians for over a century. They brook no limit on their power over the citizen—least of all that old relic The Constitution of the United States. Gorsuch, by Schumer’s own admission, demonstrates no specific opinion of dangerous proportions. The New York Senator simply does not like what he calls his “ideology” of honoring the law of the land. That’s where we are.

*The Tenth Amendment Center’s recent article, “Nine Reasons the ‘Living, Breathing’ Constitution View is a Lie” discusses the difference between being an “originalist”—seeking the original intent of the Founders’ words—from a “textualist”—where it is claimed Neil Gorsuch actually is.

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