Category Archives: Supreme Court

The King Clause

Bravely,  Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and some folks back home gave the world a new and remarkable form of government:  A constitutional democratic republic.   The constitution replaced the King, and all that was required was a revolution and that the people of the United States honor their word.

Actually, this constitution took a lot of defending from threats on many levels.  There was the war of 1812, and the crash and panic 1792 and the collapse of the first United States Bank that Hamilton championed.  The panic of 1819 and the collapse of the second United States Bank.  The panic of 1857 and the civil war that followed within the decade, not to speak of political upheavals like the whisky rebellion and disenfranchisement of various political parties, parties you never learned about in your civics courses,  now long forgotten.   All these actions were to save us from the torture and executions that a King could order at will.   Kings of old would initiate wars or seize an enemies property, or execute a citizen on his own authority.    A constitution protected the people of the United States against such acts of whimsy.   At least till now.

Some say the Magna Carta saved English subjects from such whimsy.  Tell that to Henry the VIII.   Tell that to Chief Justice John Roberts; who orchestrated the People’s United decision that says money is speech and corporations are persons.

To note the watershed, the difference between kings ordering by fiat, and free men (and women) living under their own law, the framers inserted the king clause into the constitution which reads (Only)” Congress shall have the power…. to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, or make rules concerning captures on land and water.”

The King Clause of the constitution has three parts: authorizing war, authorizing private contractors to kill and seize, and controlling rules of military capture.

This clear language makes a significant break with the previous royal form of government.  The Congress (whose etymology means ‘stands upright’) not an individual, has the power to engage the country in a war.   The president is not a king, in fact the title is derived from the verb: “preside” meaning guidance and literally meaning to sit in front, sedere: sit;  pre, in front.  It was understood that war was not an informal thing, but needed a reason, and a demand….. thus it could be drawn to conclusion when the demand was met.    The founders had watched such inanities as the 30 years war, and the hundred years war because of such a lack of focus.   The United States has seen the same with its decadal wars in  Viet Nam and Afghanistan….  where no reason was given, and no demand proffered that the People of the United States stood behind.   With no goal, it is impossible to find the victory of achieving it.

This was the reason for the first part, the declaration of war has two functions a) to announce a clear set of demands, and b) to see that the American people are behind those demands.     It must be noted that whenever these conditions have been met, the United States has been victorious; and these conditions have not transpired in the last 65 years.

Actually war is still not an informal thing… people do not say to themselves: “Dang, I wonder who is dropping bombs on us today?”   As accustomed as we are to having murder brought into our living rooms nightly by the TV, and we are all conditioned to accept it a normal… the question “Who is shooting at me?” is not of the same emotional caliber as in watching a whodunit.

The second part of the King Clause makes Congress responsible for “granting letters of Marque and Reprisal,” or  what was considered at the time of writing: A pirate’s license.    A pirate was someone sailing a private vessel who seized property of a foreign vessel and likely killed people in so doing.   Once granted a letter of Marque  and Reprisal, the captain in possession of such could attack, seize and in the process, kill persons of the country or counties listed in the letter.   (Such a letter would not allow the killing of an American citizen.)  In short, such a letter was grant of limited power to violate the sovereignty of the nation listed within it.

The third portion of the King Clause, makes it clear that it is the American people that will subjugate any foreign people, and will themselves determine the conditions of that.   This was seen as a power so grave as not to be allowed to be deferred to a mere administrator.

It is worth pointing out that of the founders who created this ‘new’ form of government, many were familiar with the classics, and more than a few read Greek.   While the Greeks did have slaves, they brought their slaves to the theater, and indeed treated them well.  For the Greeks lived in a city-state environment, where there were periodic wars and border skirmishes, and while  your city  may have won this year,  the city next door may win the next, and who won took slaves.   Thus it was wise to treat the slaves with some respect,  for there was a live possibility that the next slave holder would be the very slave you had held, and you in turn would be in captivity.    This trained the populous in the evenhandedness that is such a requirement for democracy to flourish.     A point profoundly forgotten in today’s ‘winner take all’ politics.

Thus the King Clause was made part of the constitution to prohibit a King from whimsically taking rule, and killing whatever opposition arose.   It is the Law.

If only people could honor their own oath;  their word.

The Cheating Culture

The Cheating Culture is a website and book by David Callahan, and the following podcast outlays the depth of of the Kim Chee

download the Cheating Culture podcast

General Strip-Search, are you secure?

I encountered two young veterans last week, as hot about the current violation of national security as I am.  They too remember taking the oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States.  In all sobriety, I suggest the Supreme Court is forgetting that oath.   Last week’s news provides an example.

The Supreme Court rendered a judgement  in Florence v Burlington that it is OK to strip-search a person if they find themselves in prison, even if by mistake.   The Supreme Court decided that prison regulations trump the constitution in the above case, of a black man who was riding as a passenger in his wife’s BMW and the police  computer erroneously said he had a warrant out for his arrest, when he had already paid the traffic fine.

The judgement is pertinent in the context of the Occupy movement this spring  with many people seeking to assemble and petition their government for redress of grievances.   Those people are being intimidated by the law that they may be strip searched for engaging their first amendment rights.

The fourth amendment,  is explicit: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

It guarantees the right of someone, anyone, to be secure “in their person” from search unless served with a search warrant, signed by a judge naming whom is to be searched, and for what particular things, and stating the probable cause.  The founders included this to prohibit mass intimidation by any agency of law.   I pray you can get this very meaning from the words of the fourth amendment quoted above.  I hope you can commit those words to memory.  It could save you.

I believe that We the People can put these things together; we stand up to the Supreme Court and say:  “Black is not White!”    The people are not secure if they can be strip-searched for whimsy, or by mistake, and without probable cause.   The fourth amendment says as much!

I write this because I want people,  We the People, who give consent and tax money to be governed, to indeed be governed according to law of the land, the constitution as Article VI states.  (Not the law of some institution, be it the Burlington prison or the park service).  I write this so that we can know, and state our rights.   For if we do not stand up for them, they will go away…. as they seem to be doing, with judicial sanction before our eyes.

I refer you to the previous post if you have not read it.  It concerns the legal case, again before the Supreme Court in which President Obama wants a brand new power to be granted to the government, namely to compel people to make a purchase from a private company.    For one to read and understand the constitution, this seems an open and shut case, an argument I made.  But if we all sit back and expect the “experts” to decide, we are going the way of the Reichstag in the 1930’s.   The Germans are not, nor were they, a flippant people.  But by relinquishing their authority to the ‘experts’ they succumbed to a very dark leadership.

Hence, I ask that you write your paper, your Senator and mention to your friends the document that was begun with the words We,  is being countermanded by justices who took an oath to protect it.

Grieving ….

Fact 1.
Ted Glick will be charged in Washington DC with up to three years for displaying a banner in the US Senate building that said: ” Green Jobs Now” and “Get to Work”. He was petitioning the government for a redress of grievances, namely, its inattention to Global Warming.

Fact 2.
The US constitution states: Congress shall make no law …abridging the freedom … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (the full text of the First Amendment in which this is found in Exhibit A below)

Fact 3/
Most police work to enforce statutes, which are the laws that usher from the law of the land, the constitution. They are made by the legislature and in theory are in concert with it. Most lawyers argue statutes in court. Almost no one today refers to the constitution out of what some see as perverse custom, very different from the early days of our country. If you Know the constitution, and Know grammar well enough to abstract correctly what is written in Fact 2. above from the full text of the First Amendment below, and can state that to the police…. you have a very good case.

Question: Is the Constitution, which is written in clear English to be obeyed? If not, why not.

Exhibit A.
The full text of the first Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Liberty

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

– Emma Lazarus
New York City, 1883
(Inscribed on the Statue of Liberty)

Elena Kagan: the only thing that matters… is Congress’ intent

Oh, am I dismayed.   With Elena Kagan’s view of her mission: “only thing that matters in interpreting any statute — is Congress’ intent.” as she told Senator Franken.    I ask:  What about the Constitution!    For that document is rather explicit on the subject.    Article IV  Clause 2 states: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made,….. shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”   And in Clause 3 states:”..judicial Officers, (and legislators as well), shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution;”
Similarly Congress’ actions, if not their perception of mission is to obfuscate “the law” and make plenty work and money for lawyers. For example: the  “Money is not Speech” DISCLOSE Act took 94 pages, didn’t get the job done, and created more problems.   Who puts the intent of one person, one vote into force?    The “money is speech” fantasy cancels that very intent.
If the law is incomprehensible, who can obey it?   It makes work for lawyers, though.  I deeply understand the frustration of the Tea Party folks, who are really not that different in what Ralph Nader was saying in past years:   “None of the Above!, give me a choice other than tweedle dum and tweedle dummer, give me a choice other than the Democratic machine, or the Republican machine.”  Political parties, as you may recall, are not to be found in the US constitution, nor are the rules of the senate which currently require a 60% margin to win a vote.  When I was a boy, and throughout the successful part of American history, 50% plus one made for a majority.
I want Justice to protect myself, and my fellow citizens by using the Bill of Rights and the force of law.   Who is going to do that?    I spent my life believing that was the job of the Justices of the Supreme Court.  The textural identity of “supreme Law of the Land” and “Supreme Court” seems rather obvious to this carpenter.  I find all three branches… The Court, the Congress and the Executive to be mere partisans as though this is some sport.    It is not.    I am a veteran who served and who still feel bound by the Oath I took.   They have taken the same oath!   I feel forsaken.
I repeat:  Who will make the constitution real?  You know… speedy trial, jury of peers, the people shall be secure from unreasonable search and seizure, only the Congress declares war…. things like that.      What do we have?  Stare decisis, money is speech, corporations are persons and elections are now legal bribathons.
Why does no one quote the Constitution?  The language is crystal clear.  Millions of Americans took that oath.    Our constitution is  being forsaken.
Anyhow,    Happy Fourth of July,  your Senators are coming home to celebrate with you.      Have a good BBQ and give them a good grilling.
See you there.

Elena Kagan: the only thing that matters… is Congress' intent

Oh, am I dismayed.   With Elena Kagan’s view of her mission: “only thing that matters in interpreting any statute — is Congress’ intent.” as she told Senator Franken.    I ask:  What about the Constitution!    For that document is rather explicit on the subject.    Article IV  Clause 2 states: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made,….. shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”   And in Clause 3 states:”..judicial Officers, (and legislators as well), shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution;”
Similarly Congress’ actions, if not their perception of mission is to obfuscate “the law” and make plenty work and money for lawyers. For example: the  “Money is not Speech” DISCLOSE Act took 94 pages, didn’t get the job done, and created more problems.   Who puts the intent of one person, one vote into force?    The “money is speech” fantasy cancels that very intent.
If the law is incomprehensible, who can obey it?   It makes work for lawyers, though.  I deeply understand the frustration of the Tea Party folks, who are really not that different in what Ralph Nader was saying in past years:   “None of the Above!, give me a choice other than tweedle dum and tweedle dummer, give me a choice other than the Democratic machine, or the Republican machine.”  Political parties, as you may recall, are not to be found in the US constitution, nor are the rules of the senate which currently require a 60% margin to win a vote.  When I was a boy, and throughout the successful part of American history, 50% plus one made for a majority.
I want Justice to protect myself, and my fellow citizens by using the Bill of Rights and the force of law.   Who is going to do that?    I spent my life believing that was the job of the Justices of the Supreme Court.  The textural identity of “supreme Law of the Land” and “Supreme Court” seems rather obvious to this carpenter.  I find all three branches… The Court, the Congress and the Executive to be mere partisans as though this is some sport.    It is not.    I am a veteran who served and who still feel bound by the Oath I took.   They have taken the same oath!   I feel forsaken.
I repeat:  Who will make the constitution real?  You know… speedy trial, jury of peers, the people shall be secure from unreasonable search and seizure, only the Congress declares war…. things like that.      What do we have?  Stare decisis, money is speech, corporations are persons and elections are now legal bribathons.
Why does no one quote the Constitution?  The language is crystal clear.  Millions of Americans took that oath.    Our constitution is  being forsaken.
Anyhow,    Happy Fourth of July,  your Senators are coming home to celebrate with you.      Have a good BBQ and give them a good grilling.
See you there.