To Declare or Not to Declare, that Is the Question – Part VII

We now understand that the power to declare war (see To Declare or Not to Declare, that is the Question – Part VI) can mean either to formally recognize that we are in a state of war after an adversary has attacked the US, or to formally announce that we intend to commence hostilities against an adversary.  But against whom do we declare war?  Just who is an “adversary” against whom war can be declared?

The meaning of what it is to be “at war” has been muddied up over the past few decades.  We hear such phrases as “War on Poverty”, “War on Drugs”, the “Cold War”, and most recently, the “War on Terror.”  I think that the reason we have not been as successful in recent military conflicts in which we’ve engaged is because we have lost sight of what war is all about and what it truly is.

The object of a declaration of war, if it is to be understood and carried through to victory, must be specific.  In WWII, we declared war against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and the Empire of Japan.  It was easy for the citizens at that time to focus on and crystalize exactly who we were at war with and what it was going to take to win and return to a state of peace.  Yet the examples I gave above are nebulous to say the least.  Is it any wonder that we don’t seem to be making much headway?  We still have poverty after trillions of government spending/waste.  The drug epidemic is spreading like a prairie fire, we’re still at odds with Russia despite the dissolution of the old Soviet Union, and the so-called “War on Terror”?   Well……

I find all of these “wars” to be misnomers; an inaccurate use of the term and concept of “war.”  Consider the “War on Terror.”  Just who is the enemy?  Some might say it’s ISIS, Al Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc, but that is not the enemy we’ve tied to the use of the word “war.”  Terror is a means to an end, and therefore cannot be an enemy against which you declare war.  Winston Churchill did not declare war against Blitzkrieg when Poland was invaded.  No, he asked the British Parliament to declare war against Nazi Germany, the adversary who was utilizing the method of Blitzkrieg to attack a neighboring country.  So it must be with us today in how we approach this Muslim menace today.

President Trump should go to the Congress and ask for a declaration of war against the organizations who are perpetrating terror around the globe.   The declaration should state that we have been attacked by these adversaries over the years (the Marine Barracks in Lebanon, the USS Cole, the WTC buildings to name a few) and that we will take whatever means necessary to eradicate them.  By making this formal declaration it should also put other nations on notice that should they harbor, aide or abet these organizations they will also be considered to be adversarial to our safety and will be subject to incurring whatever damage and suffering might result when we attack these groups that are within their territory.  In effect, we are declaring to be at war with them in an indirect manner.  This way they are on notice and if they fail to take action themselves to root out those organizations, then the consequences will be on them, not on the US.

To fail to realize exactly who we are at war with and formally stating such will keep us in the condition we have been for the past almost three decades, namely mired down in politically correct battles with no clear victory or peace in sight.  Next week, a look at what war really is and how it should be waged.

-June 16, 2017

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To Declare or Not to Declare, that Is the Question – Part VI

Having examined (in the previous five installments of this series of essays) the background and the constitutional positing of the power to declare war in the hands of the legislature, we can now look at answering the question “What did the founders mean by the phrase ‘declare war’?”

There are two basic schools of thought on its meaning. One is to declare war is simply a formal announcement to the world that the US is in a state of war with xyz country(ies) – that is the war is already in existence. This would be the case with FDR’s call for Congress to declare war on the Empire of Japan after its attack on Pearl Harbor. The other interpretation is that Congress has the power to initiate war – to put a country(ies) on notice that the US considers itself to be on a war footing with them and will commence hostilities against them. The follow up question is then, which is it? Interpretation one, or two, or perhaps both?

In trying to define something it is many times helpful to look and see if the same concept has been expressed in other places using different words or phrases. If we take this approach it will help us to understand the founders’ frame of mind and in grasping what they intended when they wrote in the Constitution that “Congress shall have the power to…declare war.”

In the Articles of Confederation, written by many of the same men who later wrote the Constitution, three different phrases were used. In Article VI, the Congress was given the power to “engage in any war,” and to make “a declaration of war.” In Article IX it stated that congress “shall have the sole and exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war.”

In the original draft of the Constitution, in listing the enumerated powers of the legislature in Article VII, it had the simple phrase “to make war.” Going back to Madison’s essay of August 24, 1793, writing under the pseudonym “Helvidius” (see part III of this series, To Declare or Not to Declare – Part III), Madison used the terms “make war” and “declare war” interchangeably.

Putting this all together I think we can draw these conclusions: to “engage” in war doesn’t really tell us whether the engagement is preemptive or reactive. The same can be said of the idea of “determining” war. Both of those terms are rather ambiguous in clarifying the idea of “declaring” war. This leaves us with the term “make” war as an alternative to “declaring” war.

In that same part of Madison’s essay I referred to above, he related the act of making or declaring war to be the same as congress making law. So we ask, “What is implied by the phrase ‘making law’?” This simplifies the matter significantly as it is easily understood that to make something is to create that which before did not exist. There is no law until Congress legislates, creates or makes the law. Hence, the US cannot be in a state of war until Congress “makes” it so.

Thus, I believe that we can safely conclude that declaring war can be a determination that a state of war exists (such as after Pearl Harbor) and that Congress formally declares to the other nations such to be the case and authorizes the President to use our military forces to “engage” in armed conflict. Or it can also mean that Congress can declare war by making war, i.e., initiate hostilities with another nation where previously no open hostilities existed.

Hence, to “declare war” can be reactionary, i.e. a defensive statement after being attacked, or it can be an authorization to commence an act of war against another nation. Either way, however, as I’ve shown in this series of essays, that power rests solely with Congress and cannot, constitutionally, be consigned to the determination of one man/woman occupying the office of the President.

Next week, in what I expect will be the final installment in this series, we will examine who it is that Congress can declare war against and what should be done regarding this “war on terror.”

-June 9, 2017

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To Declare or Not to Declare, that Is the Question – Part V

Going to war is a serious business – deadly serious, which is why our founders in their great wisdom posited the authority to commence war in the hands of those who represented the citizens who would have to finance, fight and die in it.  As I mentioned in closing last week (http://frankkuchar.com/348-2/), going to war not only requires the legislature to declare it, but also the concurrence of the President as well.  This not only creates a separation of powers, but a second backstop against a headlong rush into an unwise war.

We have had many wars in our history of, which only five were congressionally-declared wars (six if you separate out our declaration of war against Romania in 1942 from the declaration in 1941 against the Axis powers with which Romania was allied), and only one of them was an actual declaration to go to war – the other four were in response to our having been attacked.  Until recently, all of these military engagements were viewed as “war”; now, however, they have been also referred to as “police action” or simply “conflict.”  However, to those who fought, bled and died in them, they were wars.  Two such wars that were called such were the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

In the aftermath of our disastrous war in Vietnam (which was an undeclared war), Congress passed the War Powers Resolution of 1973 in an effort to restrict the President’s ability to commit US forces into battle without first getting congressional approval.  It is an unnecessary, useless and dangerous act and cuts across the grain of the intent of the Constitution to vest war-making powers in the hands of the legislature.

The resolution gives “statutory authorization” for the President to commit US forces into a military engagement or if there is “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”  It requires him to notify Congress within 48 hours of his action and that those forces he has committed may only remain in the battlefield for 60 days (plus an additional 30 days for withdrawal) without securing additional congressional approval or formal declaration of war.

This resolution is foolish and dangerous on two grounds.  First, it cuts against the intent of the Constitution by allowing this broad, nebulous “statutory authorization” to in fact decide to go to war.  To declare war means there must be an enemy against whom this declaration is made – there cannot, constitutionally, be this vague, blanket “statutory authorization” for the President to use our military when and how he sees fit!  Second, once the President decides, without a formal congressional declaration of war, to let our military loose in some part of the world, his action could turn into a full-blown conflagration, and then Congress would have to declare a formal state of war, even if it didn’t want to.  In effect, this strips away the separation of powers our founders intended in this gravest of acts.

Furthermore, it is unnecessary in that the President fulfills the role of the Commander-in-Chief, meaning he calls the shots with the military when we are at war.  He cannot, constitutionally, unless we are attacked and immediate response is required for our defense, go off on his own and launch us into a military conflict (which, remember, for those fighting it is a war).  Since he is already limited by the Constitution in Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, there is no need for this resolution.

Those who are elected to the office of the Presidency need to be reminded of their limitations and Congress needs to step up and take back their authority as our founders intended.  If this was to occur, then perhaps much bloodshed and needless suffering and expense could be prevented.

-June 2, 2017

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To Declare or Not to Declare, that Is the Question – Part IV

In the previous installment in this series (To Declare or Not to Declare, that Is the Question – Part III), I established the fact that, based upon James Madison’s arguments in an essay dated August 24, 1793 under the pseudonym “Helvidius”, the constitutional authority to “declare war” was reserved to the legislature as this action was tantamount to the passage of a law.  Consequently, the president is not authorized to “declare war” on his own any more than he has the authority to enact any other piece of legislation.  His role, Madison argued, is strictly that of execution, and unless he is given something to execute (i.e., law), he has no authority.

This being the case, how then does Congress “declare war”?  The Constitution is silent on the procedure, but if we proceed from Madison’s supposition that declaring war is a legislative act, then we can safely assume it would follow the course of any other passage of legislation.

As I closed last week’s essay, I pointed out that to declare war requires the action of both houses of Congress, just like the passage of any other law.  However, unlike the requirement that all bills relating to raising revenue (i.e., taxes) must originate with the House of Representatives (Article I, Section 7, Clause 1), no mention is given concerning in which chamber such a declaration must originate.  This being so, we can assume that it can originate in either chamber.  An argument could be made, again extrapolating from Madison’s argument, that since the conclusion of a war via treaty requires action on the part of the Senate, meaning that war cannot be ended without Senate approval, we could say that a bill to commence war would then originate in the Senate, but I believe that might be stretching a little too far.  After all, the independence of the States might be at risk in the going to war, but it will be the citizens who will bleed and die, so an equally strong argument could be made that it should originate in the House.  However, the safest conclusion is that a bill to declare war can originate in either chamber of Congress.

Once a bill to declare war is passed according to the rules set forth in each chamber, to be official it would then, like any other act of legislation, require the signature of the President.  Once signed, then – and only then – would he, as the Commander-in-Chief, have the authority to lead the military forces of the country into war.

But, what if the President said that in his opinion, Congress was full of a bunch of hot-headed war hawks, and that to go to war would be foolish and dangerous and he refused to sign the bill or follow its directives?  Could he do this?  Would that become an act of treason and be an impeachable offense?  The answers are yes he could, and no it would not be an impeachable offense.  If the act of declaring war is just like any other piece of legislation, then he can veto it like any other bill, which would then require a 2/3 vote of both the House and the Senate to become law.  Once his veto was overridden, then yes, he would be obligated to follow through or be in violation of his oath of office.

Herein we see the wisdom of our founders in their ingenious insertion of checks-and-balances in our system of government.  One individual, the President, cannot put the country at risk by declaring war on his own, but neither can a foolish bunch of Senators and Representatives unless the one who will be in command of the battles agrees.  More on this next week.

-May 26, 2017

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To Declare or Not to Declare, that Is the Question – Part III

As I set forth last week (To Declare or Not to Declare, that Is the Question – Part II), free societies should only go to war when they have been attacked or there is the threat that their lives, liberties and property are in danger of being attacked and destroyed.  The follow up question for us then becomes, “Why is the power to ‘declare’ war vested by our Constitution in the Congress and not left up to the President as he is the ‘Commander-in-Chief’ of our military?”

To answer this question we need to return to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and understand the mindset of those who were framing our Constitution.  If you read Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence you will see where several of the charges levied against King George III was his absolute control of Britain’s military and his abuse of that power.  One of those charges was the fact the army was not under civil control.  Repeatedly throughout the debates in the convention n 1787 the delegates expressed deep concern over the danger of having a standing army.  They wisely did not want to vest in the hands of one individual the power to commit the country to war.  Instead they chose to vest it in the legislature.

Why the legislature?  In his essay of August 24, 1793, writing under the pseudonym “Helvidius”, James Madison made the case in this fashion:

“The natural province of the executive magistrate is to execute laws, s that of the legislature is to make laws.  All his acts therefore, properly executive, must pre-suppose the existence of the laws to be executed….Another important inference to be noted is that the powers of making war and treaty being substantially of a legislative, not an executive nature….There can e no relation worth examining between this power” [making war] “and the general power of making treaties.  And instead of being analogous to the power of declaring war, it affords a striking illustration of the incompatibility of the two powers in the same hands those who are to conduct a war cannot in the nature of tings, be proper or safe judges, whether a war ought to be commenced, continued, or concluded.  They are barred from the latter functions by a great principle in free government, analogous to that which separates the sword from the purse, or the power of executing from the power of enacting laws.” [“Helvidius” No 1]

Madison’s argument, summed up, is the President, as the chief executive, is charged only with executing that which has been authorized by the legislature.  Consequently, the President cannot, on his own, execute a condition of war – only when authorized to do so by the legislature.  He supports that argument by stating that since a treaty which would conclude a war cannot take effect unless ratified by the Senate (Article II, Section 2), then neither can the commencement of the war without consent of the legislature.

This raises one final question, namely, does “declaring” war, based upon the foregoing argument by Madison regarding the conclusion of a war by treaty, only require the consent of the Senate, or does it require the House’s consent as well?  Article I, Section 8 states that “The Congress shall have the power to…declare war.”   Since Article I, Section 1 defines Congress to “consist of a Senate and House of Representatives,” then yes, both houses must agree on a declaration of war.  But, why both?  The answer is simple:  if a war is engaged, it will be the people who will suffer the cost and pain of the war (not to mention their liberty and property being put at risk), and the sovereign states whose existence could be put in jeopardy, should have the decision-making power as to whether to put themselves in peril.  Since the House represents the people and the Senate originally was to represent the interest of the states, both must concur on such drastic action.

Having now answered the questions of “Why”, “When” and “Who” in respects to declaring war, we will next turn our attention to answering the questions “How” and “What” when war is “declared.”

-May 19, 2017

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To Declare or Not to Declare, that Is the Question – Part II

The basic function and reason individuals form societies and create governments is in a single word:  protection.  As free individuals, we momentarily set aside our natural right of self-protection and assign that to our government (until and unless the government fails or is incapable for any reason in protecting us, at which time we are at liberty to take that right back into our own hands).

In a free society, therefore, the role of declaring war must be relegated to this basic premise, namely, that it is necessary for the protection of our natural right to life, liberty and property.  It is only in totalitarian (or at the time of our founding, monarchial) systems in which war is viewed as a means to an end, e.g. conquest, enrichment, vengeance, etc.  For example, the United States entered WWII because we were attacked first and our natural rights were in danger of being destroyed.  Even then, when President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan following the attack on our forces in Pearl Harbor, he made careful use of the tenses of his verbs:

“Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger… I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.”

 On the other side of the coin, Japan and Germany went down the road to war for the examples I gave for totalitarian regimes.

In the draft of his farewell address, George Washington admonished the country “That we may be always prepared for War, but never unsheathe the sword except in self defence so long as Justice and our essential rights, and national respectability can be preserved without it.”

In his final version, these words were omitted, but if you read the version he delivered, he spent a great deal of it encouraging his fellow countrymen and those who were to follow to limit their political engagement and alliances with foreign nations unless necessary for defense.

Committing its citizens to a state of war is the gravest move that a government can make, for it places the lives, property and indeed its very existence on the line.  This gravity is even greater when that nation is a free people for then liberty itself is at stake.  Consequently, I believe that the wisdom spoken to us by Washington, even in draft form, behooves us to “declare” war only when such natural rights and our existence as a people is in danger.

Alas, in most of our history, very few instances fall into the category as described by President Roosevelt.  Since the adoption of our Constitution, there have only been five congressionally-declared wars, and only one of them was a declaration to go to war; the other four were like FDR’s request, merely an acknowledgement that a state of war was already in existence.  However, as all of us know, our past is littered with military conflicts, both on this continent and abroad, so we must ask what was the purpose for including this power of war within our Constitution?  We will continue delving into that question next week.

-May 12, 2017

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To Declare or Not to Declare, that Is the Question – Part I

In 1970 Edwin Starr raised the question in his hit song, “War, what is it good for?”, and with this sentiment George Washington concurred in his letter to David Humphreys on July 25, 1785:

“My first wish is, to see this plague” [i.e. war] “to Mankind banished from the Earth; & the Sons and daughters of this World employed in more pleasing & innocent amusements than in preparing implements, & exercising them for the destruction of the human race.”

 Alas, today we are far from realizing Washington’s wish as there are tensions and saber-rattling occurring in all corners of the globe.

I realize that it has been two weeks since I sent out my weekly essay, but because of the current situation in the world and the debate over who has the power to commit our country to war, i.e. the meaning of the constitutional power “to declare war”), I wanted to take time to go back and reread the writings/debates of our founders so as to share with you how they viewed this subject.

There are many questions to be answered before addressing the meaning of this phrase as they understood it, and I plan on addressing them in a series of essays over the next few weeks, basic questions such as “Who?”, “Why?” “When?”, “How?” and “What?”.

Answering these questions from the perspective of the founders and the history surrounding this issue will take more than one or even two 400-word essays, so I hope you’ll forgive my omission over the past two weeks and will look forward to this series.

-May 5, 2017

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Three “Fixes” to Restoring Freedom and Federalism – Part 2

“Daddy/Mommy – Why do we have a Senate in the Congress?”  If/when your child asks you this question, you will know that you have a very perceptive and intuitive child on your hands, for this is a question that gets to the heart of how we have lost an important bulwark against the intrusion of our national government into our lives.

In The Federalist Number 28, Alexander Hamilton asserted that the States were to be guardians against the national government encroaching upon the rights of the individual citizens:

“It may be safely be received as an axiom in our political system that the State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority.  Projects of usurpation cannot be masked under pretenses so likely to escape the penetration of select bodies of men, as of the people at large. The legislatures will have better means of information. They can discover the danger at a distance; and possessing all the organs of civil power, and the confidence of the people, they can at once adopt a regular plan of opposition, in which they can combine all the resources of the community. They can readily communicate with each other in the different States, and unite their common forces for the protection of their common liberty” (emphasis mine).

Yet how were the states to accomplish this?  Originally, according Article I, Section 3, Clause 1 of the Constitution, the state legislatures were to choose the two individuals who were to represent the interests of the states in the national legislature.  This concept was a fusion of the concepts of federalism and republicanism.  Just as the House was to be composed of individuals chosen by the people to represent their interests as individual citizens, the Senators were to be representatives of the states to safe guard the sovereignty and retained powers of the states.

However, the same progressives (Democrats led by Woodrow Wilson and Northeastern Republicans led by Teddy Roosevelt) who brought us the income tax via the 16th amendment (see part 1 of this series – Three Fixes to Restoring Freedom and Federalism – Part 1 ) also brought us the 17th amendment which changed the selection of Senators from the state legislatures to the direct election by the people as we see today.  In doing this, it destroyed the power of the states over the Senators and left them free to the influence of others outside of their respective states.

This also dealt a severe blow to state legislatures in that many people are not as knowledgeable of or interested in their state representatives and senators.  If these were the men and women who selected the national Senators, then there would be a greater interest in and attention paid to those we elect to our state legislatures.

Consider how different the outcome would have been when the Socialist Democrats under the direction of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi foisted the so-called Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) upon us.  Over 30 of the states sued to thwart this monstrosity of a law and lost.  If the Senators had been answerable to the State governments, then those states could have put pressure on those they had appointed to the Senate to vote against the bill and the ACA would never have seen the light of day.

A repeal of the 17th amendment would return us to this bicameral form of legislation in which the interests of individuals and states would both be represented in a balanced form.  As it is now, we have two “houses of representatives”, which makes the Senate duplicative and thereby unnecessary.  It is true that there could be corruption within the state legislators in appointing senators as there was prior to the passage of the 17th amendment, but now we know the dangers of the direct election of senators and will hopefully be more vigilant in who we elect to our state legislatures.

Next week, how an unnecessary amendment and its misapplication has wrought havoc on our immigration problem and devalued American citizenship.

-March 31, 2017

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Health Insurance, Obamacare and Government

Congress and our new President are pushing to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.  I wholeheartedly applaud the goal of repealing Obamacare.  However, the greater issue surrounds its passage to begin with and the follow up notion of “replacing”.

Obamacare is a clear violation of the statement laid down by James Madison in Federalist 45 that “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.”  Nowhere in the Constitution’s enumeration of the federal government’s powers is there any hint of a reference to its operation in the realm of health care.  Consequently, from this basic truth, Obamacare is unconstitutional and on that ground demands repeal.

However, that same principle also demands that Congress and President Trump not seek any kind of “replacement” by the federal government.  The proper role of the government in healthcare from the standpoint of the Constitution is no role at all.  If anything, it could be argued that the power of Congress to regulate commerce among the several states would authorize it to pass legislation which would allow insurance companies located in one state to “sell” its services in all other states.  This commerce clause in Article I Section 8 was inserted to prevent the states from charging tariffs on goods sent into them from other states, and in a sense insurance services could be likened unto an importation of a product from one state into another.  Hence, Congress legislating that all states allow insurance companies in one state to sell in another would be within its constitutional purview.  (It seems such action should be unnecessary as Congress didn’t have to pass legislation requiring states to allow Chevrolet or Ford to send their products from Michigan and other locations to all of the other states, so why should it be required to force states to allow insurance companies to “sell across state lines”?)

Those who oppose this move of repealing the so-called “Affordable” Care Act claim that access to health insurance is a “right”.  I have addressed this matter in previous essays in more detail, but simply put, a “right” is something that has always been and will always be – something neither created nor granted by man.  Obviously, a cursory examination of the history of health insurance indicates that it fails this basic premise of “rights.”  The concept of health insurance is less than 100 years old and has changed and been modified considerably since its introduction into our society.  Therefore, access to health insurance cannot be a right in the same vein as the right to life, liberty and property.  There is a reason why companies that provide health insurance coverage options to their employees style it as a “benefit”, administered by their “Benefit Department”.  Benefits are something that can be given and taken back, unlike rights which cannot be.

I would hope that Congress and President Trump will indeed repeal Obamacare in its entirety and then butt out and allow the free market to provide a variety and innovative options from which we can choose coverage that is both affordable and appropriate for our individual needs.

-January 27, 2017

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Article IV and the Antiquities Act of 1906

President Obama just used his “pen” again to nationalize large swaths of federal land in the western states, removing them from development, as well as hundreds of millions of acres of the ocean from exploration.  This action raises a number of constitutional issues.

First is the issue of just who has the constitutional right to these lands and seas?  Laws have been passed regarding federal authority over these areas, but the larger question remains, are they constitutional?  Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution lists the properties that the federal government has the authority to own, and all of these areas addressed by President Obama (and many presidents prior to him) are not included in that specific list.  So if the federal government has no right to these lands/seas, then it has no authority to dictate to the states how the land may or may not be used.  The lands belong to the states within whose boundaries they lie; to argue that they ceded ownership to the federal government and therefore legitimizes federal ownership does nothing to change the fact that the Constitution says nothing about such ownership rights.

When President Jefferson sought to acquire what came to be known as the Louisiana Purchase, he had such grave misgivings about the constitutionality of such an acquisition that he pushed for a constitutional amendment that would grant federal ownership to such properties.  In 1803 Jefferson wrote “The General Government has no powers but such as the Constitution gives it… it has not given it power of holding foreign territory, and still less of incorporating it into the Union. An amendment of the Constitution seems necessary for this.”  The land belongs to the states.  The ocean shore out to the international limit belongs to the states.  It is they who have the constitutional authority over those areas and not the federal government.

This brings us to Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution.  It states that “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.”  Furthermore, Article VI, clause 2 goes on to state that “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof;…shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”  Any law, therefore, which the enforcement of or granting of powers is in conflict with the Constitution is not “in Pursuance of” the Constitution, and must of necessity be null and void.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 was passed to preserve archeological sites on public lands from looters.  It gave the President absolute authority to single-handedly designate any federal public lands as national monuments, and thus protect it from looters.  This Act is the basis for President Obama’s actions, and yet this law clearly flies in the face of the Constitution’s granting to Congress and Congress only the “Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.”

The states should stand together and nullify this unconstitutional Act and take back those lands and seas that rightfully belong to them, with the exception of those few constitutionally authorized properties that Article I, Section 8 grants to the federal government.

-December 30, 2016

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