Monthly Archives: March 2012

Thank You Sir, May I Please Have Another

As we near the primary election in Maryland I wanted to share with you my thoughts on elections.

Every two years national elections are held where all seats are up for grabs in the House and one third of the Senate seats are up for grabs.  The crème de la crème is every four years when there is also a presidential election.  On the whole the voters mindset is a “just get my guy in mentality”.  I have a different view on that mindset. I call it the Animal House mindset.

If you recall the classic National Lampoon movie Animal House there is a scene near the beginning of the movie where pledges are being accepted into fraternities.  The scene is where Kevin Bacon is dressed in his underwear, bent over grabbing his ankles, and is being smacked on the rear end with a wooden paddle.  After each swat Kevin Bacon says, “thank you sir, may I please have another”.

Well this is the mindset of the American voter when it comes to national elections, especially presidential elections.  Every two years the voter endures another “swat” if you will and comes back two years later for more abuse.  Bent over, hands firmly grasping their ankles, American voters say “thank you sir, may I please have another” as they cast their vote for this cycle’s savior du jour.

Many voters follow the party line.  They vote for their party’s nominee.  Blind faith to party politics and ideology covers 60 to 80 percent of all votes cast.  Some voters are single issue voters.   Others vote according to race, gender, or some other random characteristic that has absolutely nothing to do with a candidate’s qualifications.  Yet others vote based on how much government handouts and freebies they believe they’ll receive.

What troubles me is this same scene repeats itself every two years.  The country is on the wrong path.  The country needs to be turned around.  This person or that party is the savior du jour.  It is platitudes not principles that win the day.   Lies and deceptions routinely triumph over truth and honesty.   Too many see themselves as rulers and not leaders.  Too many see the people as subjects and not as citizens.   And, election cycle after election cycle voters fall for the same old dog and pony show.

Mind-numbingly, voters make their way to polling places.  Stand in front on an electronic voting machine and vote for most electable, or the most polished and charismatic, or the chap with the largest bank roll.  What the voter really gets out of this is another good smack on their bottom.  To which they say, “thank you sir, may I please have another”.

This begs the question, what precisely are you voting for?  Are you voting for people?  Are you voting for personalities?  Are you voting for party?  In my opinion, voters should be voting for principles.

Which begs the question, what principles?  Which freebies will government provide us?  Will the person continue the entitlement Ponzi schemes known as Social Security and Medicare?   Will the person support legislation like the Patriot Act or the National Defense Authorization Bill under the auspices that they are keeping me safe?

No, the principles I’m referring too are our founding principles.  A just government derives its powers from the consent of the governed.   We have certain unalienable rights endowed upon us by our Creator.  Government is instituted to better secure our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.  Whenever government is destructive to those ends, it is the right, the duty, to alter or abolish the government and institute a new government.  Our rights of conscience, speech, assembly, self-defense, and to contract are to be exercised freely without government coercion and dominion.   Simply to live free from tyranny and despotism reigned down upon us by the very government instituted to preserve these ideals.  The union was founded upon these immutable and transcendent principles.  The Constitution embraces these principles through federalism and constitutionally limited government.

This year, when you are casting your vote, are you voting for principles or something else?  Are you voting for people that will obey and uphold the Constitution or for people that still violate the Constitution but happen to be more palatable to your particular tastes?

Ultimately it is your decision.  I suspect many of you will return two years later murmuring to yourselves “thank you sir, may I please have another”.

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Understanding the Privileges and Immunities Clause

The 14th amendment is one of the most, if not the most, misunderstood and misconstrued amendments to the Constitution.  Derek Howell from the Institute on the Constitution is this week’s guest on The Forgotten Men program.  Derek is writing a book exclusively on the 14th amendment.

As a primer to our discussion this week it is important to understand the Privileges and Immunities Clause.  The clause is also referred to as the Comity clause.  The privileges and immunities clause appears in the Constitution under Article IV Section 2 and says:

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

One of the more common misconceptions about the clause is that it included natural rights.  The founders considered natural rights to be very different from privileges and immunities.  They were not one in the same.  Natural rights, to the extent their exercise did not harm others, were inalienable.  Natural rights were also considered negative rights.  But local law determined who enjoyed which privileges and immunities.  After independence, natural rights and liberties were inherent in one’s humanity, but privileges and immunities were still bestowed.  Privileges and immunities were considered positive law as it required an act of government to bestow an entitlement on a person.

When interpreting the Constitution the order of progression starts with the original understanding; which is the ratifier’s understanding (the states).  Next, if there is insufficient evidence to recover that understanding, then you move to original public meaning.  There is substantial evidence available to recover the original public meaning of the words privileges and immunities.

In 18th century jurisprudence the word “privilege” and the word “immunity” were commonplace, elucidated by a large body of Anglo-American case law and commentary.  According to Jacobs New Law Dictionary of 1762 a privilege is:

  • A benefit or advantage
  • Conferred by positive law
  • On a person or place
  • Contrary to what the rule would be in absence of the privilege

Likewise immunity was understood to mean to be free from certain burdens (i.e. immunity from tolls).  Because immunity was a special benefit, otherwise contrary to law, given to a person or place by special grant, it was a privilege.

In the period from 1776 to 1789 Americans had in mind a certain understanding of privileges and immunities which fell principally into six general categories.

1)   Powers or exemptions for governments or government officials

2)   Advantages bestowed on aristocrats, nobles, and similar groups

3)   Benefits granted through the acts and customs of international law

4)   The franchise of suffrage and the resulting political representation

5)   Preferences bestowed by law on some, but not all, persons and entities pursuant to government regulation of internal affairs

6)   Benefits bestowed by positive law on all citizens as an incident of citizenship.

Both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution protected only the last category.

The key here is incident of citizenship.  During the confederation the states determined who qualified as citizen and the scope of any privileges attending naturalization.  During the convention some control was given to Congress since Congress would be able to qualify persons as citizens under federal naturalization laws.  During ratification debates the issue was raised that combing naturalization and the Comity Clause would give Congress power to absorb all those powers of the state.  The constitution splits these powers and each state retained the power to decide what privileges and immunities attached to citizenship within their jurisdiction.

So, the clause requires that each state protect the same benefit for visitors.  So, a Marylander goes to Virginia, they are extended the same privileges and immunities as a Virginia citizen.

Now, there were some privileges incident to citizenship that were so important to personal freedom that some people informally called them rights.  For instance, the writ of habeus corpus which was recognized everywhere in America and denominated a “privilege” at the Federal Convention, in state ratifying conventions, and by the Constitution.

This was typical of the classification of other standard judicial procedures such as trials by jury, jury challenges, appeal processes, etc.

Another aspect is the difference between the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.  The Articles had two comity clauses and used the term “free inhabitants”.  Whereas, the Constitution has one comity clause and uses the term citizen.  The reasons are:

1)   The Articles dealt with privileges and immunities in one clause (which was about government power over a state’s internal affairs) and free trade in another; since the United States in Congress Assembled had no authority over trade (what they called inter-jurisdictional commerce).

2)   Under the Constitution, Congress was granted the power to regulate commerce thus only one comity clause.

3)   Slaveholding states insisted the term citizen be used.  This was to ensure that slaves that escaped to other states did not receive certain rights of citizenship.

This is why the term “citizens of the United States” has a very definitive and limited meaning.  It is extremely important to know this meaning before tackling the 14th amendment.

Under the original meaning if a state bestowed a benefit on its citizens as an incident of citizenship, then that state was required to extend the same benefits to American citizens visiting from other states.  Voting was not considered a privilege incident to citizenship therefore citizens of Maryland couldn’t go to Virginia and vote in their elections.  The clause protected citizens, including women and minors, but it would NOT protect aliens or slaves.

Privileges and Immunities, as well as the rest of Article IV, was meant to address some of the technical points of federalism.  It was not concerned with broad issues of freedom.

In summary we can ascertain these known facts about the privileges and immunities clause:

1)   Natural rights are not privileges and immunities.  Natural rights are inalienable and are referred to as negative rights.

2)   Privileges and immunities were positive acts of law to bestow a privilege upon or grant immunity from a particular act.

3)   Privileges and immunities are incidents of citizenship.  The clause extended the privileges and immunities in one state to citizens from other states.

4)   Some privileges and immunities were so important they were called out separately in the Constitution.

5)   The privileges and immunities clause did NOT apply to aliens, foreigners, or slaves as none of these groups of people were citizens of a state.

6)  Privileges and immunities varied from state to state.  A privilege bestowed in one state may not be a privilege at all in another state.  Likewise, a certain immunity bestowed upon a person or place in one state may not be bestowed in another state.

7)   Privileges and immunities did not include elective suffrage.  That is, the right to vote was not a privilege and immunity granted to all citizens.  Each state determined the laws and qualifications to vote.  Women and children who were citizens were not allowed to vote.  Some states had property requirements.  Even today, few would believe a citizen from the state of Virginia could legally vote in elections held in Ohio.

I would like to give full attribution to Rob Natelson as I relied upon and used much of his work from his book titled “The Original Constitution”.

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Happy Birthday To

A few weeks ago Professor Kevin Gutzman was the guest on The Forgotten Men radio program to discuss his book James Madison and The Making of America.  I mention this because today March 16, 1751 — 261 years ago — James Madison was born.   This week’s article is dedicated to James Madison and his life’s work.  By no means am I a biographer or a historian nor do I purport this is a complete representation of Madison.  There are many books on Madison if you wish to learn more about him and his contributions to the founding of our great union.  Of course, I would strongly recommend you start with Professor Gutzman’s book.

Madison was born in 1751 in Port Conway, King George Virginia and made Montpelier Virginia his lifelong home.  Madison was educated at the College of New Jersey (now called Princeton).  He is most remembered as “the father of the constitution” because Madison drafted the initial proposed constitution presented at the constitutional convention of 1787.  Madison’s plan was rejected by the convention but the label is affixed to his legacy.

Throughout his life Madison was involved in politics.  The timeline shows Madison’s forty plus years in state and federal politics.

  • Member of Virginia Constitutional Convention, 1776
  • Member of Continental Congress, 1780-1783
  • Member of Virginia Legislature, 1784-1786
  • Member of Constitutional Convention, 1787
  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1789-1797
  • Secretary of State under Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
  • President of the United States, 1809 – 1917

There are three specific things about Madison that stand out to me.  First, he was instrumental in ensuring religious liberty and freedom.  Madison was an opponent of state declared religions but clearly recognized the unalienable right to freedom of conscience.  In 1786 Madison gave a speech on the floor of the Virginia General Assembly called A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments.  What follows are excerpts from the speech.

“The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate.  The right is in its nature an unalienable right… We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance…  Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body.  The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former… The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants.  The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves… 

The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents.  They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle… If “all men are by nature equally free and independent,” all men are to be considered as entering into Society on equal conditions; as relinquishing no more, and therefore retaining no less, one than another, of their natural rights.  Above all are they to be considered as retaining an “equal title to the free exercise of Religion according to the dictates of Conscience.”

The second thing that stands out to me is Madison authoring the Virginia Resolution of 1798.   Jefferson had anonymously drafted the Kentucky Resolution of 1798 and together they are referred to as the “Principles of 98”.  While it is beyond the scope of this article to thoroughly review the Principles of 98 there are a few salient points I’d like to cover.  Also, I highly recommend you read the book Reclaiming the American Revolution by William J. Watkins, Jr. to learn more about the subject.  The points are from the book and attribution is given to Mr. Watkins.

  • The most prominent school of political philosophy held that all government was a compact, which – should it degrade into tyranny – could be dissolved or disregarded by the governed.
  • The several states composing the United States of America, are not united on the principles of unlimited submission to the General Government
  • No theoretical checks, no form of government can render us secure.  To suppose any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without virtue in the people is a chimerical idea.
  • The Kentucky and Virginia Resolution should remind us that the American Revolution left sovereignty in our hands and that should the federal government exceed its constituted authority, trample on our Bill of Rights, or allow a “monied interest” to corrupt our laws that We the People of the United States provide the ultimate check against it.
  • Statutory acts not made in pursuance to delegated constitutional powers are NOT supreme law of the land and are merely acts of usurpation and are to be treated as such.
  • Lastly, directly from the Virginia Resolution, Madison said, in case of deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the States who are parties thereto, have the right and are duty bound, to interpose for arresting the purpose of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.

The third thing that stands out to me is Madison’s fair and equitable treatment of the proposed Constitution, his representations at the state ratification conventions, his agreement to propose amendments to the first Congress under the Constitution, and his lifelong commitment to the Constitution as understood by the states at their respective ratification conventions.  Even though Madison’s plan was firmly rejected at the constitutional convention he fairly represented what it meant to the states at the ratification conventions.  Though he may not have agreed with the final Constitution he acted honorably by fairly representing it to the states.

Moreover, though all thirteen states eventually ratified the Constitution, over 200 amendments were submitted by the states with the understanding that a Bill of Rights would be submitted to the states for their consideration.  Madison consolidated the 200 amendments into 20 amendments which he proposed to Congress.  Congress approved 12 amendments which were sent to the state legislatures for ratification.  Of the twelve, only ten were ratified and became the Bill of Rights.  Note, nearly 200 years later one of the other two amendments was ratified and is now the 27th amendment to the Constitution.

So, today, reflect upon a man who dedicated much of his life to the principles of federalism and constitutionally limited government.

Happy Birthday James.

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Conflating Constitutional Authority with Moral and Value Judgments

Policy and program debates are argued generally on one of three planes; constitutional authority, moral and value judgments, or economics.  Constitutional and economic issues are rarely discussed on their merits.  Instead, arguments degrade into a morals or values debate.  To some degree or another, the topic may be germane across all three planes but it’s important to recognize on which plane an issue is debated.

Trouble arises because much of the ruling class’s arguments rely upon moral and value judgments.  Obviously, moral and value judgments vary from person to person.  Moreover, they are based upon abstractions on fair and unfair, moral and immoral, good and bad, or good and evil.   For instance, the rhetoric from President Obama about the so-called rich paying their fair tax share illustrates how moral and value judgments are used to distract citizens and distort truths.  Any impartial, objective person would concede that the majority of all federal income taxes are paid by those in the top ten percent while nearly fifty percent of tax filers have no income tax liability whatsoever.

When debates arise on whether the federal government has the constitutional authority to act it presents a dilemma to the ruling class.  Republicans and conservatives fail miserably when arguing policy issues on the constitutional plane.  I acknowledge elected officials from both parties know little about the Constitution.  However, when the right argues against the left on a constitutional basis they typically lose.  First, the right doesn’t typically present their case properly.  Secondly, and more importantly, the left as well as the sycophants in the main stream media frame the debate around moral and value judgments and ignore constitutional arguments.  The right simply fails repeatedly to not only argue policy issues from a moral and values perspective but they fail or do not even attempt to make the proper constitutional argument.  The left, abetted by the main stream media, pummel the right on a moral basis while ignoring the Constitution.

Likewise, the right also uses moral and value arguments to further an agenda.  National security is used to convince citizens that going to war, intervening in some foreign country, or passing legislation like the Patriot Act or the National Defense Authorization Act is necessary to keep us safe.  Sadly, most citizens have taken the “we are doing it to keep you safe” lie and swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.  First, government wasn’t instituted to keep us safe.  Government was instituted to keep us free and protect our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and property.  As Frederic Bastiat wrote in The Law:

It is not because men have made laws, that personality, liberty and property exists.  On the contrary, it is because personality, liberty, and property exist beforehand, that men make laws.

Secondly, nowhere in the Constitution were powers delegated to the federal government to execute an offensive war or attack on a foreign country without a congressional declaration of war.  Undoubtedly, when the federal government enacts legislation that violates the personal liberties protected under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the government acts without authority and uses the force of law not to protect life, liberty, and property but to assault the very liberties government was instituted to protect.  Bastiat aptly characterized this as legal plunder.  Personally, I have absolutely no fear of terrorists violating my life, liberty, or property.  But, I do live in constant fear of the government assaulting my rights or my wallet, and in many cases both.

The crux of the problem is citizens, the ruling class, and the media conflate constitutional authority with moral and value judgments.  In other words, if something is deemed good, moral, necessary, proper, easy, convenient, or is used to further personal or party ideology then the Constitution is ignored.  Instead, the entire debate focuses solely on the moral or value aspects of the issue.  Let me illustrate the absurdity.  I give full credit and attribution to the Tenth Amendment Center’s Executive Director Michael Boldin for this illustration.

Imagine you go to a restaurant for lunch and you have a fabulous meal.  The meal was simply one of the best you’ve ever had.  The server approaches and you say, “Wow! That was totally constitutional”.  Shortly thereafter you head over to the post office to take care of some errands.  You are in line for forty minutes, the person working treats you rudely and afterwards you turn to another patron and say “that was totally unconstitutional”.

The meal was fantastic and something that appealed to you.  It’s reasonable to say it was a good meal.  But the meal has nothing to do with the constitution.  Likewise, your experience at the post office was terrible and perhaps a private company would be more efficient, competitive, and provide better customer service than the United States Postal Service.  But, the postal service is constitutional and has nothing to do with good or bad service.  The ruling class purposely and knowingly conflates constitutional authority with moral and value judgments.  Many generations have fallen for this tactic.

Arguments posited by the ruling class are generally won or lost on moral or value judgments by the citizens.  Long ago, the ruling class learned that appealing to the masses through public programs, promises of subsidizes or special treatment, and the use of the law to enforce distributive or social justice equates to votes.  The constitution be damned!  The ruling class is concerned first and foremost with retaining power.  This is true of both parties.  Too many citizens simply buy into the lies perpetrated by the ruling class — with major assistance from the main stream media — to vote for a person based on moral and value judgments rather than their fidelity to the Constitution.

Furthermore, both citizens and private enterprises understand they can use government to enforce their own personal desires and will upon others.  Private enterprises can use government for special tax benefits or to impose tax penalties on competitors, to erect obstacles to competition ensuring their product or service is successful, or in concert with political parties to achieve the desired ends.

Fair or unfair, good or bad, moral or immoral, and good or evil are distractions.  Government is an entity not a person.  Government is incapable of compassion or kindness.   Moral and value determinations rely upon an ends justify the means approach.  If the outcome is good, fair, or moral then the means to institute laws are valid, just, and necessary.  Imagine a parent playing a game with a child and teaching them that winning is more important than following the rules of the game.  Why do the very same parents that teach their children about playing by the rules vote for people that violate the very rules established by the Constitution?  After all the Constitution is the rulebook that governs government.

Constitutional authority is all about the means and has little to do with the ends.  That is, the federal government has been delegated the powers to act within very specific areas.  Regardless of whether the outcome appeals to your moral senses it is of the utmost importance that government always act within the powers delegated under the Constitution.

Otherwise, we have a nation based on the rule of men rather than a union based on the rule of law.

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Do Free Elections Result in Freedom

Civil society is premised upon the individual right of citizens to choose their representatives at all levels of government.  The contract between the people and their elected representatives is; those elected to office will represent the needs of their constituents, secure their unalienable rights to life, liberty, and property, and constrain themselves by working within the legitimate framework of the federal or state Constitution.

It begs the question do free elections equate to freedom?

Conceptually, the framework established around free elections and a representative government creates a political system where the governed freely elect their representatives; where those elected have a fiduciary and legal responsibility to act within a specific set of parameters and constraints.  The social contract established by free elections requires both parties to the contract to fulfill their obligations.  Therefore, elected representatives are legally and morally bound by the social contract instituted as free people.  That social contract is known as the Constitution.

Elections do not provide representatives authority to arbitrarily determine the legitimate role of government; therefore representatives cannot modify the social contract established between themselves and the citizens.  The Constitution established the legitimate role of government, therefore to faithfully execute the social contract representatives are bound to honor it.  Just as the Supreme Court may rule on the constitutionality of an issue, the Supreme Court cannot amend or change the states original understanding of the Constitution.  Only an amendment ratified by 3/4ths of the states can modify the Constitution.

Precedence, by legislative fiat or judicial ruling, cannot alter the Constitution nor legally bound the citizen to adhere to it if the object acted upon is not within the parameters and constraints of the social contract; in other words not within the legitimate role of government.  However, what recourse does the citizen have when elected representatives act outside the parameters and constraints established by the social contract.  Is the social contract null and void when elected officials collectively enact legislation violating the social contract with those that elected them?  Indeed, if citizens expect their representatives to be bound by the enumerated powers delegated by the states to the federal government, have the representatives violated the basic premise of the social contract?

Contrast the social contract with a contract between a citizen and a lending institution.  The citizen wants to borrow money to purchase a house.  The terms and conditions of the contract between the lender and the citizen is written, read by all parties, and finally agreed to by all parties.  There are terms and conditions that the lender and the citizen must fulfill.  The contract establishes the amount of money to borrow, the structure of the loan, the terms for repayment, and the interest rate the citizen will pay to the lender.  Years after the contract is signed, the funds are borrowed and the house is purchased, the lender arbitrarily decides to change the interest rate from 5.5% to 8%.  Clearly, this violates the original terms of the contract.  In its most basic form this is lawlessness on the lenders behalf.  The borrower’s recourse is to not pay the additional interest, seek legal remedies, or wait for the lender to enforce the interest rate change by legal remedy.

Likewise, when elected representatives violate the terms of the social contract between themselves and the citizens, what recourse does the citizen have at that point?  Generally, representatives cannot be recalled.  Representatives can be voted out of office in the next election cycle, however, in between now and then legislative fiat may result in loss of private property, individual rights, or liberties guaranteed to be protected under the Constitution.  In its most basic form it too is lawlessness.  And, lawlessness begets lawlessness.  Representatives acting outside constraints of the Constitution, where power was not delegated by the states creates a dominion of one body over another body.  In this case Congress is the body exercising dominion over the body of citizens.  Those representing the citizens are now masters over their electors.

The people of the each independent severed state ratified the Constitution, not the people as one mass across all thirteen colonies. The terms and conditions of ratification were those in place when the Constitution was originally written and ratified.  The understanding of the states as to the terms and conditions of their contractual obligation as well as those of the federal government were firm and resolute as of 1789.  The Constitution established the terms and conditions of the social contract accordingly, and those terms and conditions could not be modified; by legislative fiat, legal precedence, or any other means except for an amendment.  The Constitution did not delegate powers to the federal government to be the final or exclusive arbitrator.  If these powers were delegated to the federal government, then the government has the discretion to interpret the Constitution however they want and, furthermore, they remove the constraints placed upon them by the Constitution rendering the federal government essentially one with unlimited powers creating the fertile ground for abuse, despotism, and tyranny.

I contend we do not have freedom if free elections result in representatives acting without authority delegated by the States to the federal government as originally intended in the Constitution.  Our freedoms, rights, liberty, and property are restricted or confiscated by acts of Congress.  Our judicial system does not enforce the Constitution according to original understanding by the states at the time of ratification, nor does the judicial system retain the power to negate state laws as that power was never delegated by the states in the Constitution.   States and the people do not defend their powers and rights as established by the ninth and tenth amendments.

Our election process has eroded into a process that places representatives in a position of dominion over the citizens.  Representatives ignore the people, bribe other representatives with the peoples’ money, and redistribute property as they deem appropriate.  Congress and the judiciary are entities created by the social contract, constraints placed upon those serving in either branch, and does not authorize representatives or judges to define or modify those constraints.  Congress acting beyond their legitimate role is an illegitimate government.  Congress acting without constraint creates an atmosphere rife with immoral behavior, essentially allowing representatives to pursue their ambition and fulfill their avarice licentiously.

Two remedies exist to restrain a Congress acting illegitimately.  First, an amendment can be passed and ratified to further restrict the Congress, however that may be difficult or time consuming to implement.  Secondly, the states can declare the law null and void. States created and ratified the Constitution.  The states are sovereign and can declare federal acts null and void if they encroach upon state powers.  The tenth amendment clearly states that those powers delegated to the federal government are limited according to Article I Section 8, and those powers prohibited to the states are those according to Article I, Section 10, and all other powers are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

We are free to cast votes in elections, however citizens are not truly free as those elected to Congress violate their Constitutional oath whenever the Congress acts outside the constraints of the enumerated powers; thus they erode our liberties, violate our individual rights, and/or confiscate our property.

It begs the question, is the entire social contract null and void under these conditions?

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