Federal Constitution Quotes

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Under the United States Constitution, the federal government has no authority to hold states "accountable" for their education performance...In the free society envisioned by the founders, schools are held accountable to parents, not federal bureaucrats.
Ron Paul
The powers delegated 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.
James Madison
I was once asked if I had any ideas for a really scary reality TV show. I have one reality show that would really make your hair stand on end: "C-Students from Yale." George W. Bush has gathered around him upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka Christians, and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or PPs, the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences. To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete's foot . . . PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose! . . . So many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick. They have taken charge of communications and the schools, so we might as well be Poland under occupation. They might have felt that taking our country into an endless war was simply something decisive to do. What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. They are going to do something every fuckin' day and they are not afraid. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reasons that they don't give a fuck what happens next. Simply can't. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody's telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass! There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (A Man Without a Country)
If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.
Alexander Hamilton (The Federalist Papers)
The U.S. Constitution provides for 3 Federal Offenses. Today there are over 4,500 and counting with every session. A new law is nothing more than our government revealing its lack of creativity.
T. Rafael Cimino (A Battle of Angels)
The consolidation of power at the federal level in the guise of public safety is a national trend and should be guarded against at all costs. This erosion of rights, however incremental, is the slow death of freedom. We have reached a point where the power of the federal government is such that they can essentially target anyone of their choosing. Recent allegations that government agencies may have targeted political opponents should alarm all Americans, regardless of party affiliation. Revisionist views of the Constitution by opportunistic politicians and unelected judges with agendas that reinterpret the Bill of Rights to take power away from the people and consolidate it at the federal level threaten the core principles of the Republic. As a free people, keeping federal power in check is something that should be of concern to us all. The fundamental value of freedom is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. We are citizens, not subjects, and we must stay ever vigilant that we remain so.
Jack Carr (The Terminal List (Terminal List, #1))
The Seventeenth Amendment serves not the public's interest but the interests of the governing masterminds and their disciples. Its early proponents advanced it not because they championed 'democracy' or the individual, but because they knew it would be one of several important mechanisms for empowering the federal government and unraveling constitutional republicanism.
Mark R. Levin (The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic)
Revealingly, the central function of the Constitution as law--the supreme law--was to impose limitations not on the behavior of ordinary citizens but on the federal government. The government, and those who ran it, were not placed outside the law, but expressly targeted by it. Indeed, the Bill of Rights is little more than a description of the lines that the most powerful political officials are barred from crossing, even if they have the power to do so and even when the majority of citizens might wish them to do so.
Glenn Greenwald (With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful)
The powers delegated 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.
James Madison
The War between the States... produced the foundation for the kind of government we have today: consolidated and absolute, based on the unrestrained will of the majority, with force, threats, and intimidation being the order of the day. Today's federal government is considerably at odds with that envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. ... [The War] also laid to rest the great principle enunciated in the Declaration of Independence that 'Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed'.
Walter E. Williams
It requires emphasis that the states established the American Republic and, through the Constitution, retained for themselves significant authority to ensure the republic's durability. This is not to say that the states are perfect governing institutions. Many are no more respectful of unalienable rights than is the federal government. But the issue is how best to preserve the civil society in a world of imperfect people and institutions. The answer, the Framers concluded, is to diversify authority with a combination of governing checks, balances, and divisions, intended to prevent the concentration of unbridled power in the hands of a relative few imperfect people.
Mark R. Levin (The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic)
In examining the division of powers, as established by the Federal Constitution, remarking on the one hand the portion of sovereignty which has been reserved to the several States, and on the other, the share of power which has been given to the Union, it is evident that the Federal legislators entertained very clear and accurate notions respecting the centralization of government. The United States form not only a republic, but a confederation; yet the national authority is more centralized there than it was in several of the absolute monarchies of Europe....
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
Strictly enforce the scale of "fixed responsibility." The first and foremost level of responsibility is with the individual himself; the second level is the family; then the church; next the community, finally the county, and, in a disaster or emergency, the state. Under no circumstances is the federal government to become involved in public welfare. The Founders felt it would corrupt the government and also the poor. No Constitutional authority exists for the federal government to participate in charity or welfare.
W. Cleon Skousen (The 5000 Year Leap)
Looking back now, success seems foreordained. It wasn't. No colonists in the history of the world had defeated their mother country on the battlefield to win their independence. Few republics had managed--or even attempted--to govern an area bigger than a city-state. Somehow, in defiance to all precedent, Washington, Hamilton, and the other founders pulled off both. Their deliriously unlikely success--first as soldiers, then as statesmen--tends to obscure the true lessons of the American Revolution. The past places no absolute limit on the future. Even the unlikeliest changes can occur. But change requires hope--in the case of both those unlikely victories, the hope that the American people could defy all expectation to overcome their differences and set each other free. in the summer of 1788, Alexander Hamilton carried this message to Poughkeepsie, where he pleaded with New York's leaders to trust in the possibilities of the union, and vote to ratify the new federal Constitution. Yes, he conceded, the 13 newborn states included many different kinds of people. But this did not mean that the government was bound to fail. It took an immigrant to fully understand the new nation, and to declare a fundamental hope of the American experiment: Under wise government, these diverse men and women "will be constantly assimilating, till they embrace each other, and assume the same complexion.
Jeremy McCarter (Hamilton: The Revolution)
Revisionist views of the Constitution by opportunistic politicians and unelected judges with agendas that reinterpret the Bill of Rights to take power away from the people and consolidate it at the federal level threaten the core principles of the Republic. As a free people, keeping federal power in check is something that should be of concern to us all. The fundamental value of freedom is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. We are citizens, not subjects, and we must stay ever vigilant that we remain so.
Jack Carr (The Terminal List (Terminal List, #1))
I only wish the NRA and its jellyfish, well-paid supporters in legislatures both State and Federal would be careful to recite the whole of it, and then tell us how a heavily armed man, woman, or child, recruited by no official, led by no official, given no goals by any official, motivated or restrained only by his or her personality and perceptions of what is going on, can be considered a member of a well-regulated militia.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Fates Worse Than Death: An Autobiographical Collage)
Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations.
James Madison (The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution as Recommen)
Many, if not most, of the difficulties we experience in dealing with government agencies arise from the agencies being part of a fragmented and open political system…The central feature of the American constitutional system—the separation of powers—exacerbates many of these problems. The governments of the US were not designed to be efficient or powerful, but to be tolerable and malleable. Those who designed these arrangements always assumed that the federal government would exercise few and limited powers.
James Q. Wilson
Our world isn’t about ideology anymore. It’s about complexity. We live in a complex bureaucratic state with complex laws and complex business practices, and the few organizations with the corporate willpower to master these complexities will inevitably own the political power. On the other hand, movements like the Tea Party more than anything else reflect a widespread longing for simpler times and simple solutions—just throw the U.S. Constitution at the whole mess and everything will be jake. For immigration, build a big fence. Abolish the Federal Reserve, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education. At times the overt longing for simple answers that you get from Tea Party leaders is so earnest and touching, it almost makes you forget how insane most of them are.
Matt Taibbi (Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America)
Either ‘the group’ is superior or the individual is superior. Marxism, socialism, fascism, and pure democracy are all forms that give power to ‘the group’ and then use violence to force individuals to obey the dictates of ‘the group’. The concept of liberty is one in which the individual - in the exercise of his unalienable rights - is superior to every and all powers. That is what the Founders intended. That is what we are supposed to have under the ‘contracts’ of the Declaration of Independence and the state and federal constitutions. That is what I am entitled to as an American. That is what I insist upon. And that is what I will kill for.
Dave Champion
Jefferson feared that Hamilton had plans radically at odds with the Constitution. As he saw it, Hamilton wanted to warp the federal government out of constitutional shape, converting it into a copy of the British government, built on debt, corruption, and influence. Hamilton's goal, Jefferson charged, was to ally the rich and well born with the government at the people's expense, creating a corrupt aristocracy leagued with the government against the people and destroying the virtue that was the basis of republican government. Only a republic could preserve liberty, Jefferson insisted, and only virtue among the people could preserve a republic.
R.B. Bernstein (Thomas Jefferson (Oxford Portraits))
Reparations amount to a societal obligation in a nation where our Constitution sanctioned slavery, Congress passed laws protecting it, and our federal government initiated, condoned, and practiced legal racial segregation and discrimination against Black Americans until half a century ago. And so it is the federal government that would pay [reparations].
Nikole Hannah-Jones (The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story)
Under the state constitutions, “every thing which is not reserved is given,” but under the federal Constitution “every thing which is not given, is reserved.
Pauline Maier (Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788)
On Rachel's show for November 7, 2012: We're not going to have a supreme court that will overturn Roe versus Wade. There will be no more Antonio Scalias and Samuel Aleatos added to this court. We're not going to repeal health reform. Nobody is going to kill medicare and make old people in this generation or any other generation fight it out on the open market to try to get health insurance. We are not going to do that. We are not going to give a 20% tax cut to millionaires and billionaires and expect programs like food stamps and kid's insurance to cover the cost of that tax cut. We'll not make you clear it with your boss if you want to get birth control under the insurance plan that you're on. We are not going to redefine rape. We are not going to amend the United States constitution to stop gay people from getting married. We are not going to double Guantanamo. We are not eliminating the Department of Energy or the Department of Education or Housing at the federal level. We are not going to spend $2 trillion on the military that the military does not want. We are not scaling back on student loans because the country's new plan is that you should borrow money from your parents. We are not vetoing the Dream Act. We are not self-deporting. We are not letting Detroit go bankrupt. We are not starting a trade war with China on Inauguration Day in January. We are not going to have, as a president, a man who once led a mob of friends to run down a scared, gay kid, to hold him down and forcibly cut his hair off with a pair of scissors while that kid cried and screamed for help and there was no apology, not ever. We are not going to have a Secretary of State John Bolton. We are not bringing Dick Cheney back. We are not going to have a foreign policy shop stocked with architects of the Iraq War. We are not going to do it. We had the chance to do that if we wanted to do that, as a country. and we said no, last night, loudly.
Rachel Maddow
2. As with most of the Bill of Rights, the free speech/press guarantee applies equally to federal and state governments, which includes local governments as well as all branches of each government.
Edwin Meese III (The Heritage Guide to the Constitution)
The character of such a government ought to secure, first, against foreign invasion; secondly, against dissensions between members of the Union, or seditions in particular States; thirdly, to procure to the several States various blessings of which an isolated situation was incapable; fourthly, it should be able to defend itself against encroachment; and fifthly, to be paramount to the State Constitutions.
James Madison (Journal of the Federal Convention: Volumes 1 & 2)
A world where the federal government couldn’t restrict the freedom of the press, but Georgia could, was something that people actually believed for a long time, and is a world that still exists on the margins today.
Elie Mystal (Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution)
The federal government makes, executes, and adjudicates the laws. It even determines the extent to which it will comply with the Constitution, which was established in the first place to prevent governmental arrogation.
Mark R. Levin (Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future)
In The Federalist No. 23, Hamilton argued, “These powers [of the federal government to provide for the common defense] ought to exist without limitation: because it is impossible to foresee or define the extent or variety of national exigencies, or the correspondent extent & variety of the means which may be necessary to satisfy them.
Edwin Meese III (The Heritage Guide to the Constitution)
I believe the only thing that will correct our downward trajectory is the rekindling of the enthusiasm for individual freedom and the reestablishment of the U.S. Constitution as the dominant document of governance. Unless the majority of Americans awaken from their complacency and recognize the threat to their fundamental individual liberties imposed by continued expansion of the federal government, nothing will save us from the fate of all pinnacle nations that have preceded us, those that tolerated political and moral corruption while ignoring fiscal irresponsibility.
Ben Carson (One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future)
Woodrow Wilson would write approvingly in his 1908 book, Constitutional Government in the United States, that “the War between the States established… this principle, that the federal government is, through its courts, the final judge of its own powers.” 26 This was the Jeffersonians’ greatest fear. Thanks to Lincoln's war, states’ rights would no longer perform its most important function: protecting the citizens of the states from federal judicial tyranny.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo (The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War)
Wilson had to explain why the Constitution did not, like several state constitutions, include a bill of rights. The reason, he said in one of his most influential arguments, lay in a critical difference between the constitutions of the states and the proposed federal Constitution. Through the state constitutions, the people gave their state governments “every right and authority which they did not in explicit terms reserve.” The federal Constitution, however, carefully defined and limited the powers of Congress, so that body’s authority came “not from tacit implication, but from the positive grant” of specific powers in the Constitution.
Pauline Maier (Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788)
Second, we need to protect our constitutional rights. Our founding charter has served us well for more than two centuries. It protects liberty by separating powers, limiting the authority of the federal government, and guaranteeing every American the freedom to speak your mind, pray to God, and protect yourself and your family by bearing arms in their defense. Every single one of those constitutional protections has come under assault from the Obama administration, which has usurped the power of Congress through executive amnesty, redefined the relationship between the federal government and the governed through Obamacare, and attempted to repeal and undermine the First and Second Amendments through abusive campaign finance regulations, coercions of religious consciences, and repeated attacks on the right to bear arms.
Ted Cruz (A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America)
The first grand federalist design...was that of the Bible, most particularly the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament... Biblical thought is federal (from the Latin foedus, covenant) from first to last--from God's covenant with Noah establishing the biblical equivalent of what philosophers were later to term Natural Law to the Jews' reaffirmation of the Sinai covenant under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, thereby adopting the Torah as the constitution of their second commonwealth. The covenant motif is central to the biblical world view, the basis of all relationships, the mechanism for defining and allocating authority, and the foundation of the biblical political teaching.
Daniel J. Elazar
An Odonian undertook monogamy just as he might undertake a joint enterprise in production, a ballet or a soap-works. Partnership was a voluntarily constituted federation like any other. So long as it worked, it worked, and if it didn't work it stopped being. It was not an institution but a function. It had no sanction but that of private conscience.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia)
You call for a constitutional amendment banning abortion? We call for federally-funded, partial-birth abortions at the drive-through at McDonald's.
Bill Maher
While there is still time, we must exercise what freedom we still have to vote every Democrat and every Republican out of our federal, state, and local governments.
Joseph Befumo (The Republicrat Junta: How Two Corrupt Parties, in Collusion with Corporate Criminals, have Subverted Democracy, Deceived the People, and Hijacked Our Constitutional Government)
As with the United States, so too in these other five countries federalism was not so much a free choice as a self-evident necessity imposed by history.
Robert A. Dahl (How Democratic Is the American Constitution? (Castle Lectures Series))
Whenever federal power is exercised, contrary to the spirit breathed by this introduction, it will be unconstitutionally exercised, and ought to be resisted by the
Brion T. McClanahan (The Founding Fathers' Guide to the Constitution)
Wilson argued further, as he had to, that the federal courts are not bound to the Constitution. “The weightiest import of the matter is seen only when it is remembered that the courts are the instruments of the nation’s growth, and that the way in which they serve that use will have much to do with the integrity of every national process. If they determine what powers are to be exercised under the Constitution, they by the same token determine also the adequacy of the Constitution in respect of the needs and interests of the nation; our conscience in matters of law and our opportunity in matters of politics are in their hands.”10 Moreover, the only legitimate opinions the federal courts can render are those that endorse and promote the expansion of federal power. “[T]hat if they had interpreted the Constitution in its strict letter, as some proposed, and not in its spirit, like the charter of a business corporation and not like the charter of a living government, the vehicle of a nation
Mark R. Levin (Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America)
Let's just make this easy. I'm in favor of a Constitutional amendment that would read something like this: 'Neither the federal government, nor any state or local government shall make any activity a crime unless said activity violates another person's right to life, liberty, or property, either through force or fraud.' Could you live with that? Could you live with the thought that anyone in your community could do pretty much what they wish, so long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else? Now there's a definition of freedom--and it's something I suspect most of you just couldn't go along with.
Neal Boortz (Somebody's Gotta Say It)
Alan Greenspan, who would later become the Federal Reserve chairman, wrote in 1966: [T]he earnings saved by the productive members of the society lose value in terms of goods. When the economy’s books are finally balanced, one finds that this loss in value represents the goods purchased by the government for welfare and other purposes. . . . In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. . . . This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists’ tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the “hidden” confiscation of wealth.24
Andrew P. Napolitano (Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom)
If any man at this day sincerely believes that a proper division of local from federal authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories, he is right to say so, and to enforce his position by all truthful evidence and fair argument which he can. But he has no right to mislead others, who have less access to history, and less leisure to study it, into the false belief that "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live" were of the same opinion - thus substituting falsehood and deception for truthful evidence and fair argument.
Abraham Lincoln
My dear, religion is a null area in the law. A church can do anything any organization can do—and has no restrictions. It pays no taxes, need not publish records, is effectively immune to search, inspection, or control—and a church is anything that calls itself a church. Attempts have been made to distinguish between ‘real’ religions entitled to immunities, and ‘cults.’ It can’t be done, short of establishing a state religion . . . a cure worse than the disease. Both under what’s left of the United States Constitution and under the Treaty of Federation, all churches are equally immune—especially if they swing a bloc of votes.
Robert A. Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land)
This early rejection of an advisory role established a lasting principle: that the federal courts have the constitutional power to decide only those questions that arise in the context of disputes between opposing parties.
Linda Greenhouse (The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions))
US Constitution is unconstitutional.” – Circuit Judges Alfred T. Goodwin and Stephen Reinhardt, Federal Appeals Court, San Francisco, 2002 (overturned) “US Constitution is unconstitutional.” – The United States Supreme Court, 2079
Austin Dragon (Thy Kingdom Fall (After Eden, #1))
One measure decreed that when ships docked at Charleston, any free black sailors on board must be jailed so they could not carry messages to black people onshore. When a Supreme Court justice found the imprisonments unconstitutional, South Carolina openly defied the ruling, saying that stopping “insubordination” was “paramount” to “all laws” and “all constitutions.” Baffled by this early example of a state nullifying federal law, national officials did nothing.
Steve Inskeep (Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab)
When we pay attention to this history,  a pattern emerges: first,  the Redeemers attacked voting rights. Then they attacked public education, labor, fair tax policies, and progressive leaders. Then they took over the state and federal courts, so they could be used to render rulings that would undermine the hope of a new America. This effort culminated in the landmark case Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, which upheld the constitutionality of state laws requiring segregation of public facilities under the doctrine "separate but equal." And then they made sure that certain elements had guns so that they could return the South back to the status quo ante, according to their deconstructive immoral philosophy.
William J. Barber II (The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement)
James Madison wrote, “each state … is considered as a sovereign body independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation then the new Constitution will … be a. federal and not a national constitution.
Jay Winik (April 1865: The Month That Saved America (P.S.))
Adams began his reply with a devastating comment on the preamble to the Constitution: “I confess,” he said, “as I enter the Building I stumble at the Threshold. I meet with a National Government, instead of a federal Union of Sovereign States.
Pauline Maier (Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788)
generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. [It] says what the states can’t do to you. [It] says what the federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.
Thom Hartmann (Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People"—and How You Can Fight Back)
Madison had been elected to the First Congress by only 336 votes. It was in that Congress that the Bill of Rights was passed, cementing the people’s confidence in the new federal government. And the Constitution was saved. All because of one election.
Chris DeRose (Founding Rivals: Madison vs. Monroe, The Bill of Rights, and The Election that Saved a Nation)
The President is at liberty, both in law and conscience, to be as big a man as he can. His capacity will set the limit; and if Congress be overborne by him, it will be no fault of the makers of the Constitution, – it will be from no lack of constitutional powers on its part, but only because the President has the nation behind him, and the Congress has not.” “The chief instrumentality by which the law of the Constitution has been extended to cover the facts of national development has of course been judicial interpretation, – the decisions of the courts. The process of formal amendment of the Constitution was made so difficult by provisions of the Constitution itself that it has seldom been feasible to use it; and the difficulty of formal amendment has undoubtedly made the courts more liberal, not to say lax, in their interpretation than they would otherwise have been. The whole business of adaptation has been theirs, and they have undertaken it with open minds, sometimes even with boldness and a touch of audacity...” “The old theory of the sovereignty of the States, which used so to engage our passions, has lost its vitality. The war between the States established at least this principle, that the federal government is, through its courts, the final judge of its own powers... We are impatient of state legislatures because they seem to us less representative of the thoughtful opinion of the country than Congress is. We know that our legislatures do not think alike, but we are not sure that our people do not think alike...
Woodrow Wilson (Constitutional Government in the United States (Library of Liberal Thought))
There is a twofold liberty, natural (I mean as our nature is now corrupt) and civil or federal. The first is common to man with beasts and other creatures. By this, man, as he stands in relation to man simply, hath liberty to do what he lists; it is a liberty to evil as well as to good. This liberty is incompatible and inconsistent with authority, and cannot endure the least restrain of the most just authority. The exercise and maintaining of this liberty makes men grow more evil, and in time to be worse than brute beasts: omnes sumus licentia deteriores. This is that great enemy of truth and peace, that wild beast, which all the ordinances of God are bent against, to restrain and subdue it. The other kind of liberty I call civil or federal; it may also be termed moral, in reference to the covenant between God and man, in the moral law, and the politic covenants and constitutions, among men themselves. This liberty is the proper end and object of authority, and cannot subsist without it; and it is a liberty to that only which is good, just, and honest. This liberty you are to stand for, with the hazard not only of your goods, but of your lives, if need be. Whatsoever crosseth this, is not authority, but a distemper thereof. This liberty is maintained and exercised in a way of subjection to authority; IT IS OF THE SAME KIND OF LIBERTY WHEREWITH CHRIST HATH MADE US FREE
Alexis de Tocqueville
the U.S. Supreme Court decides an issue—for example, interpreting the Constitution to determine a woman had the right in consultation with her doctor to terminate a pregnancy—that decision cannot be overturned or modified by any state or federal law, only by the U.S. Supreme Court itself.8
Stephanie A Jirard (Criminal Law and Procedure: A Courtroom Approach)
In framing a system which we wish to last for ages, we shd. not lose sight of the changes which ages will produce. [James Madison in the U.S. Constitutional Convention, June 26, 1787. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, ed. Max Farrand (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966), 1:422.]
James Madison
The Constitution names only three federal offenses: treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. Today there are over forty-five hundred federal crimes, and the number continues to grow as Congress gets tougher on crime and federal prosecutors become more creative in finding ways to apply all their new laws.
John Grisham (The Racketeer)
Progressives did not like the antiquated thinking that saw the Constitution as a barrier to government expansion. The "living Constitution" was born. That benign-sounding phrase (coined later) was conjured up to justify changing the Constitution, without formal amendment, from a limit on power to a blank check. What was impermissible to the federal government by an earlier interpretation became permissible once the Constitution was construed as a evolving document. But by that philosophy, the Constitution is no limit on government power at all. A constitutional government that defines its own powers is a contradiction in terms.
Sheldon Richman (Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax)
Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations; but, on a candid examination of history, we shall find that turbulence, violence, and abuse of power, by the majority trampling on the rights of the minority, have produced factions and commotions, which, in republics, have, more frequently than any other cause, produced despotism. If we go over the whole history of ancient and modern republics, we shall find their destruction to have generally resulted from those causes.
James Madison (The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution as Recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia in 1787)
Especially the call for a 28th Amendment. Alex had long been a proponent of changing the Constitution to ensure that every federal statute also applied equally to members of Congress. He’d hated how the legislative branch liked to exempt itself from laws imposed on everyone else, elevating Congress into some sort of ruling class.
Steve Berry (The Lost Order (Cotton Malone #12))
Even today, the contours of what is often referred to as the “Article III jurisdiction” of the federal courts remain contested. The important points here are simply these: that questions concerning the federal courts’ jurisdiction are anchored deeply in the nation’s constitutional origins, and that the Supreme Court itself has provided the answers.
Linda Greenhouse (The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions))
I KEEP TWO TOWERS OF DOCUMENTS IN MY SENATE OFFICE. THE first is only a few inches tall. A collection of all the legislation passed by Congress in 2013, it contains about eight hundred pages. The second tower, which is eleven feet tall, is a collection of regulations proposed and adopted by federal agencies in 2013. It contains about eighty thousand pages.
Mike Lee (Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America's Founding Document)
Absolutely nothing in the Constitution nor in the Bill of Rights states or even implies any such power leading to this interpretation. “Sovereign government” is nowhere to be found in either document. Only a limited and critically defined sovereignty was allowed the federal government; all other issues of sovereignty were reserved for the states or the people.
Thomas M. Humphrey (Gold, the Real Bills Doctrine, and the Fed: Sources of Monetary Disorder, 1922-1938)
Three circumstances seem to me to contribute more than all others to the maintenance of the democratic republic in the United States. The first is that federal form of government which the Americans have adopted, and which enables the Union to combine the power of a great republic with the security of a small one. The second consists in those township institutions which limit the despotism of the majority and at the same time impart to the people a taste for freedom and the art of being free. The third is to be found in the constitution of the judicial power. I have shown how the courts of justice serve to repress the excesses of democracy, and how they check and direct the impulses of the majority without stopping its activity.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
As Burbank points out, relations between the branches are governed as much by norms and customs as by formal structures. The Constitution permits Congress to impeach and remove federal judges, for example, but the norm is that impeachment is reserved for criminal behavior or serious ethical lapses, and not for judicial rulings with which members of Congress disagree.
Linda Greenhouse (The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions))
our federal government has repeatedly demonstrated that it will not hesitate to use its tactical ‘police’ forces to murder its opponents. Although the government euphemistically refers to these forces as ‘law enforcement’ personnel, by any honest, impartial appraisal, they are in fact a well-equipped standing army used to exterminate U.S. citizens who threaten federal hegemony.
Joseph Befumo (The Republicrat Junta: How Two Corrupt Parties, in Collusion with Corporate Criminals, have Subverted Democracy, Deceived the People, and Hijacked Our Constitutional Government)
Although the delegates appear to have assumed that the federal courts would exercise some form of judicial review over federal and state laws, Article III says nothing explicit on the subject. It states in broad terms that the federal courts’ judicial power “shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties.
Linda Greenhouse (The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions))
wrote Justice Wilson. Not surprisingly, the states were alarmed by this development, and a constitutional amendment to overrule the decision was introduced two days later. In 1798, the Eleventh Amendment received final ratification, providing that the jurisdiction of the federal courts “shall not be construed to extend” to cases brought by citizens of one state against another state.
Linda Greenhouse (The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions))
As of this writing, the state of California is locked in a legal fight with the United States of America, trying to defend its right to ignore federal law. Only they’re arguing from the opposite direction. Sure, they say, the federal government has jurisdiction over immigration, but in this case, we’re going to do everything we can to make it impossible for them to enforce it! News flash: The United States Constitution’s Supremacy Clause can’t be set aside because California—or Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, or the Queen of England—says it should be. That’s why it works. States do not get to make their own rules that fly in the face of our founding documents, so they can appease LIBERAL voters and ensure LIBERAL politicians stay in office for a few more terms.
Jeanine Pirro (Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy)
The Ledbetter episode came and went quickly. It is entirely predictable that other discrete disputes over the intent of Congress and the meaning of federal statutes will similarly come and go in the future. But there exists a more profound constitutionally-based struggle between the Court and Congress over the boundaries of congressional lawmaking authority, with origins deep in the country’s history.
Linda Greenhouse (The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions))
WE THE PEOPLE PULL THE CORD . . . there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. Romans 3:11 The Founding Fathers didn’t think too highly of human nature, so they created three branches of government to keep power-hungry officials in check. They also slipped another “check” on these politicians into the Constitution. Remember learning how the Constitution can be amended through Congress? Well, even better, there’s a lesser-known way to change it when necessary, without Congress or the president stopping “We the People.” Our Founders knew government could grow so drunk on its own power that it wouldn’t ever voluntarily restrict itself, so constitutionalist George Mason allowed for a “Convention of States” in Article V to give the power back to the people. My friend Mark Levin describes this: “By giving the state legislatures the ultimate say on major federal laws, on major federal regulations, on major Supreme Court decisions, should 3/5 of state legislatures act to override them within a two year period, it doesn’t much matter what Washington does or doesn’t do. It matters what you do . . . the goal is to limit the entrenchment of Washington’s ruling class.” Keep educating the people, Mark!
Sarah Palin (Sweet Freedom: A Devotional)
The trial, despite the subserviency of the court to the Nazi authorities, cast a great deal of suspicion on Goering and the Nazis, but it came too late to have any practical effect. For Hitler had lost no time in exploiting the Reichstag fire to the limit.   On the day following the fire, February 28, he prevailed on President Hindenburg to sign a decree “for the Protection of the People and the State” suspending the seven sections of the constitution which guaranteed individual and civil liberties. Described as a “defensive measure against Communist acts of violence endangering the state,” the decree laid down that:      Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications; and warrants for house searchers, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.   In addition, the decree authorized the Reich government to take over complete power in the federal states when necessary and imposed the death sentence for a number of crimes, including “serious disturbances of the peace” by armed persons.8   Thus with one stroke Hitler was able not only to legally gag his opponents and arrest them at his will but, by making the trumped-up Communist threat “official,” as it were, to throw millions of the middle class and the peasantry into a frenzy of fear that unless they voted for National Socialism at the elections a week hence, the Bolsheviks might take over.
William L. Shirer (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany)
The Tenth Amendment recognizes the States' jurisdiction in certain areas. States' Rights means that the States have a right to act or not to act, as they see fit, in the areas reserved to them. The States may have duties corresponding to these rights, but the duties are owed to the people of the States, not to the federal government. Therefore, the recourse lies not with the federal government, which is not sovereign, but with the people who are, and who have full power to take disciplinary action. If the people are unhappy with say, their State's disability insurance program, they can bring pressure to bear on their state officials and, if that fails, they can elect a new set of officials. And if, in the unhappy event they should wish to divest themselves of this responsibility, they can amend the Constitution.
Barry M. Goldwater (The Conscience of a Conservative)
The three terms of Federalist rule had been full of dazzling accomplishments that Republicans, with their extreme apprehension of federal power, could never have achieved. Under the tutelage of Washington, Adams, and Hamilton, the Federalists had bequeathed to American history a sound federal government with a central bank, a funded debt, a high credit rating, a tax system, a customs service, a coast guard, a navy, and many other institutions that would guarantee the strength to preserve liberty. They activated critical constitutional doctrines that gave the American charter flexibility, forged the bonds of nationhood, and lent an energetic tone to the executive branch in foreign and domestic policy. Hamilton, in particular, bound the nation through his fiscal programs in a way that no Republican could have matched. He helped to establish the rule of law and the culture of capitalism at a time when a revolutionary utopianism and a flirtation with the French Revolution still prevailed among too many Jeffersonians. With their reverence for states’ rights, abhorrence of central authority, and cramped interpretation of the Constitution, Republicans would have found it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve these historic feats. Hamilton
Ron Chernow (Alexander Hamilton)
I strongly support liquidating the corporation that is the Federal Reserve and returning to a monetary system based on a marketproduced precious metal, like gold, which is represented by a currency printed and managed by the U.S. Treasury Department as stipulated by our Constitution. The assets currently owned by the Fed should be liquidated and parceled out on a pro-rata basis to its creditors. All we need is the will.
Ziad K. Abdelnour (Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics)
Sometimes the transcript is not so hidden. Point Four of the 1948 platform of Strom Thurmond’s States’ Rights Democratic Party—the Dixiecrats—weaves together the public and private in a seamless and visible whole: “We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race; the constitutional right to choose one’s associates; to accept private employment without governmental interference, and to earn one’s living in any lawful way. We oppose the elimination of segregation, the repeal of miscegenation statutes, the control of private employment by Federal bureaucrats called for by the misnamed civil rights program. We favor home-rule, local self-government and a minimum interference with individual rights.” The Rise of Conservatism in America, 1945–2000: A Brief History with Documents, ed. Ronald Story and Bruce Laurie (Boston:
Corey Robin (The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin)
The Republicans have successfully persuaded much of the public that they are the party of Joe Sixpack and Democrats are the party of Jessica Yogamat. The result is that today certain swaths of the country are so thoroughly dominated by the radical Republican right that certain federal laws and even constitutional protections are, practically speaking, a dead letter there. If identity liberals were thinking politically, not pseudo-politically, they would concentrate on turning that around at the local level, not on organizing yet another march in Washington or preparing yet another federal court brief. The paradox of identity liberalism is that it paralyzes the capacity to think and act in a way that would actually accomplish the things it professes to want. It is mesmerized by symbols: achieving superficial diversity in organizations, retelling history to focus on marginal and often minuscule groups, concocting inoffensive euphemisms to describe social reality, protecting young ears and eyes already accustomed to slasher films from any disturbing encounter with alternative viewpoints. Identity liberalism has ceased being a political project and has morphed into an evangelical one. The difference is this: evangelism is about speaking truth to power. Politics is about seizing power to defend the truth.
Mark Lilla (The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics)
Another view of the Constitution was put forward early in the twentieth century by the historian Charles Beard (arousing anger and indignation, including a denunciatory editorial in the New York Times). He wrote in his book An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution: Inasmuch as the primary object of a government, beyond the mere repression of physical violence, is the making of the rules which determine the property relations of members of society, the dominant classes whose rights are thus to be determined must perforce obtain from the government such rules as are consonant with the larger interests necessary to the continuance of their economic processes, or they must themselves control the organs of government. In short, Beard said, the rich must, in their own interest, either control the government directly or control the laws by which government operates. Beard applied this general idea to the Constitution, by studying the economic backgrounds and political ideas of the fifty-five men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 to draw up the Constitution. He found that a majority of them were lawyers by profession, that most of them were men of wealth, in land, slaves, manufacturing, or shipping, that half of them had money loaned out at interest, and that forty of the fifty-five held government bonds, according to the records of the Treasury Department. Thus, Beard found that most of the makers of the Constitution had some direct economic interest in establishing a strong federal government: the manufacturers needed protective tariffs; the moneylenders wanted to stop the use of paper money to pay off debts; the land speculators wanted protection as they invaded Indian lands; slaveowners needed federal security against slave revolts and runaways; bondholders wanted a government able to raise money by nationwide taxation, to pay off those bonds. Four groups, Beard noted, were not represented in the Constitutional Convention: slaves, indentured servants, women, men without property. And so the Constitution did not reflect the interests of those groups. He wanted to make it clear that he did not think the Constitution was written merely to benefit the Founding Fathers personally, although one could not ignore the $150,000 fortune of Benjamin Franklin, the connections of Alexander Hamilton to wealthy interests through his father-in-law and brother-in-law, the great slave plantations of James Madison, the enormous landholdings of George Washington. Rather, it was to benefit the groups the Founders represented, the “economic interests they understood and felt in concrete, definite form through their own personal experience.
Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present)
IT BEGAN WITH A GUN. On September 1, 1939, the German army invaded Poland. Two days later, Britain and France declared war on Germany. In the October 1939 issue of Detective Comics, Batman killed a vampire by shooting silver bullets into his heart. In the next issue, Batman fired a gun at two evil henchmen. When Whitney Ellsworth, DC’s editorial director, got a first look at a draft of the next installment, Batman was shooting again. Ellsworth shook his head and said, Take the gun out.1 Batman had debuted in Detective Com-ics in May 1939, the same month that the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in United States v. Miller, a landmark gun-control case. It concerned the constitutionality of the 1934 National Firearms Act and the 1938 Federal Firearms Act, which effectively banned machine guns through prohibitive taxation, and regulated handgun ownership by introducing licensing, waiting period, and permit requirements. The National Rifle Association supported the legislation (at the time, the NRA was a sportsman’s organization). But gun manufacturers challenged it on the grounds that federal control of gun ownership violated the Second Amendment. FDR’s solicitor general said the Second Amendment had nothing to do with an individual right to own a gun; it had to do with the common defense. The court agreed, unanimously.2
Jill Lepore (The Secret History of Wonder Woman)
Federal gun control of the twentieth century has made machine guns unusual and uncommon, while the absence of serious restrictions on the availability of handguns has given people the opportunity to choose them for self-defense. The scope of the Second Amendment’s protections was not, in other words, defined by the original meaning of the Constitution. The protections were shaped instead by the marketplace choices of twentieth-century consumers, made within the confines of contemporary government regulation.
Adam Winkler (Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America)
HAMILTON To the People of the State of New York: AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficacy of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the UNION, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world. It has been frequently remarked that
Alexander Hamilton (The Federalist Papers (Illustrated))
India’s primordial nationalisms—whether expressed in language, religion, caste, or even commensality—would have pulled the country apart, as happened in several other postcolonial states, had it not been for the fact that India consciously gave itself a constitutional order that incorporated universal franchise and the rule of law; guaranteed individual rights and a federal system that promulgated separation of powers at the center and limits on the central government’s authority over the states; and established recurring elections that tested the strength of contending political parties and endowed them with the privilege of rule for limited periods of time. By adopting such a framework, India enshrined the twin components that mark all real democracies: contestation, or the peaceful struggle for power through an orderly process that confirms the preferences of the polity, and participation, or the right of all adult citizens, irrespective of wealth, gender, religion, or ethnicity, to vote for a government of their choice.
Bibek Debroy (Getting India Back on Track: An Action Agenda for Reform)
A second example of this abandonment of fundamental principles can be found in recent trends in the U.S. Supreme Court. Note what Lino A. Graglia, a professor of law at the University of Texas, has to say about this: 'Purporting merely to enforce the Constitution, the Supreme Court has for some thirty years usurped and exercised legislative powers that its predecessors could not have dreamed of, making itself the most powerful and important institution of government in regard to the nature and quality of life in our society.... 'It has literally decided issues of life and death, removing from the states the power to prevent or significantly restrain the practice of abortion, and, after effectively prohibiting capital punishment for two decades, now imposing such costly and time-consuming restrictions on its use as almost to amount to prohibition. 'In the area of morality and religion, the Court has removed from both the federal and state government nearly all power to prohibit the distribution and sale or exhibition of pornographic materials.... It has prohibited the states from providing for prayer or Bible-reading in the public schools. 'The Court has created for criminal defendants rights that do not exist under any other system of law-for example, the possibility of almost endless appeals with all costs paid by the state-and which have made the prosecution so complex and difficult as to make the attempt frequently seem not worthwhile. It has severely restricted the power of the states and cities to limit marches and other public demonstrations and otherwise maintain order in the streets and other public places.
Ezra Taft Benson (The Constitution: A Heavenly Banner)
THE NEW DEAL didn’t transform the Constitution only by institutionalizing nine unelected judges with lifetime tenure as a permanent constitutional convention, turning Woodrow Wilson’s theory into hard reality. It also allowed Congress to create, at the president’s request and with the blessing of the Court, an unprecedented regulatory state, made up of a constellation of administrative agencies—from the Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Communications Commission to the National Labor Relations Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission—that make rules, enforce them, and adjudicate transgressions of them.
Myron Magnet (Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution)
For a recent citation of John Marshall’s famous line about the Court’s “province and duty” to “say what the law is,” see the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in Boumediene v. Bush, invalidating an act of Congress that stripped the federal courts of jurisdiction to hear cases brought by detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy said that “[t]o hold the political branches have the power to switch the Constitution on or off at will… would permit a striking anomaly in our tripartite system of government, leading to a regime in which Congress and the President, not this Court, say ‘what the law is’” [citing Marbury].
Linda Greenhouse (The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions))
In theory, at least, the Union’s victory in the Civil War had reaffirmed the supremacy of the national government over the states. But of course the states of the former Confederacy had not come back willingly. They rejoined the union at gunpoint, and only after being forced to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment and rewrite their state constitutions to ensure equal rights for newly freed blacks. Even then, it took the constant presence of federal troops, who fanned out across the South, to fight off attempts by the newly formed Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists to intimidate, terrorize, or murder black citizens who dared try to cast a ballot.
Jesse Wegman (Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College)
In the United States, the Supreme Court blocked several attempts to levy a federal income tax in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and then blocked minimum wage legislation in the 1930s, while finding that slavery and, later, racial discrimination were perfectly compatible with basic constitutional rights for nearly two centuries. More recently, the French Constitutional Court has apparently come up with a theory of what maximum income tax rate is compatible with the Constitution: after a period of high-level legal deliberation known only to itself, the Court hesitated between 65 and 67 percent and wondered whether or not it should include the carbon tax.
Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty-First Century)
He’d ventured from the White House only to say goodbye to a former friend—Warren Davis of South Carolina, elected twice to Congress, once as an ally, a Jacksonian Democrat, the other as a Nullifier. His enemy, the former vice president John C. Calhoun, had concocted the Nullifier Party, its members actually believing that states could choose what federal laws they wanted to obey. The devil’s work was how he’d described such foolishness. There’d be no country if the Nullifiers had their way—which, he supposed, was their entire intent. Thankfully, the Constitution spoke of a unified government, not a loose league where everyone could do as they pleased. People, not states, were paramount.
Steve Berry (The Jefferson Key (Cotton Malone, #7))
Reconstruction prompted a vicious white backlash, which gained traction following the disputed election of 1876, when the Republican Rutherford B. Hayes pulled federal troops out of the South in return for the electoral votes of Florida, South Carolina, and Louisiana. Segregationist whites, known as Redeemers, regained power and quickly targeted black voters, first through violence and fraud and then via devices like literacy and good character tests, poll taxes, and stringent residency requirements. Mississippi became the first state to change its constitution to disenfranchise black voters in 1890. Every other southern state quickly followed. Black voters disappeared seemingly overnight.
Ari Berman (Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America)
With its federal government that can supersede state and local law, its dependence on rule by the majority rather than consensus, its bicameral legislature (members of one branch being elected at fixed intervals), and its denial of suffrage to women, slaves, and the unpropertied, the Constitution as originally enacted was sharply different from the Great Law. In addition, the Constitution’s emphasis on protecting private property runs contrary to Haudenosaunee traditions of communal ownership. But in a larger sense, it seems to me, the claim is correct. The Framers of the Constitution, like most North American colonists, lived at a time when Indians were large presences in their lives—ones that naturally influenced their ideas and actions.
Charles C. Mann (1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus)
See, for example, Humphreys to Washington, November 16, 1786, PGWCS IV: 373; Linda Grant De Pauw, The Eleventh Pillar: New York State and the Federal Convention (Ithaca, NY, 1966), 43, where she says the terms were used as “epithets as men discussed the [proposed federal] impost” but were not used to designate parties until September 1787, when “the Constitution became a subject of political controversy”; and also 170, where De Pauw suggests that the terms went back at least to 1785. Madison to Washington, New York, March 3, 1787, PGWCS V: 93, which refers to an “antifederal party” in New York; and also 103, where Humphreys, in a letter to Washington dated March 24, 1787, refers to “foederal” and “antifoederal” parties in Connecticut politics.
Pauline Maier (Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788)
Just how difficult this task turned out to be is demonstrated in a number of problems which have arisen in our own day. The failure to use the checks and balances effectively has allowed the judiciary to create new laws (called judicial legislation) by pretending to be merely interpreting old ones. Failure to use the checks and balances has also allowed the President to make thousands of new laws, instead of Congress, by issuing executive orders. It has allowed the federal government to invade the reserved rights of the states on a massive scale. It has allowed the legislature to impose taxes on the people never contemplated by the Founders or the Constitution. The whole spectrum of checks and balances needs to be more thoroughly studied and more vigorously enforced.
W. Cleon Skousen (The Five Thousand Year Leap)
What religious Americans might have been slow to realize is that the ACLU’s long march through the institutions of America has culminated at the door of Obama’s White House. Behind that door stands the one we have “been waiting for,” as liberals chanted about Obama in 2008. Obama is the fulfillment of the ACLU’s messianic secularist hopes. No president has done more to empty the public square of Christians than Barack Obama. To the delight of secularists, Obama has been stacking the federal courts with ACLU-style judges who read the First Amendment through an ahistorical and atheistic prism, or as they like to call it, the “living Constitution,” which is nothing more than a euphemism for whatever they think the Constitution should mean in our supposedly enlightened times.
Phyllis Schlafly (No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom)
Ultimately, a vigorous civil society and a well-functioning republic are only possible if the people are virtuous and will them. Therefore, what parents and the ruling generation owe their children and generations afar are the rebirth of a vibrant civil society and restoration of a vigorous constitutional republic, along with the essential and simultaneous diminution of the federal government’s sweeping and expanding scope of power and its subsequent containment. If the ruling generation fails this admittedly complicated but central task, which grows ever more difficult and urgent with the passage of time and the federal Leviathan’s hard-line entrenchment, then the very essence of the American experiment will not survive. As such, it can and will be rightly said that the ruling generation betrayed its posterity.
Mark R. Levin (Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future)
During the 1788 ratification debates, the fear that the federal government would disarm the people in order to impose rule through a standing army or select militia was pervasive in Antifederalist rhetoric. John Smilie, for example, worried not only that Congress’s “command of the militia” could be used to create a “select militia,” or to have “no militia at all,” but also, as a separate concern, that “[w]hen a select militia is formed; the people in general may be disarmed.” Federalists responded that because Congress was given no power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, such a force could never oppress the people. It was understood across the political spectrum that the right helped to secure the ideal of a citizen militia, which might be necessary to oppose an oppressive military force if the constitutional order broke down.
Antonin Scalia (Scalia's Court: A Legacy of Landmark Opinions and Dissents)
What may surprise many is that one of Lincoln’s greatest obstacles in preserving the Union was anti-war sentiment from folks not in the South, but in the North. Many Americans in the North saw no reason why States could not withdraw peacefully, if they wanted, from a political union freely entered into. These persons were called “Copperheads” by abolitionists and all others who supported Lincoln’s war policy. What is not well known is the fact that the four living former presidents of the time (Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan) all supported the Southern cause and disagreed with Lincoln’s aggressive policies. (John Brechinridge, Vice-President under Buchanan, 1856–1860, became a Confederate General in November of 1861.) They all recognized the Constitutional principle that the federal government does not have the authority to force a State to stay in the Union. Was
Adam S. Miller (The North & the South and Secession: An Examination of Cause and Right)
owned hundreds of human beings but profited from the Constitution’s least democratic features: the legality of slavery and the ability of southern states to count three-fifths of their captive populations in calculating their electoral votes. (Without this so-called federal ratio, John Adams would have defeated Thomas Jefferson in 1800.) The Constitution did more than just tolerate slavery: it actively rewarded it. Timothy Pickering was to inveigh against “Negro presidents and Negro congresses”—that is, presidents and congresses who owed their power to the three-fifths rule.55 This bias inflated southern power against the north and disfigured the democracy so proudly proclaimed by the Jeffersonians. Slaveholding presidents from the south occupied the presidency for approximately fifty of the seventy-two years following Washington’s first inauguration. Many of these slaveholding populists were celebrated by posterity
Ron Chernow (Alexander Hamilton)
One of the advantages of living in a constitutional federal republic is that we have the ability, if not the duty, as citizens to repair or replace those acts of legislation under which we have agreed to live. We must act when it has become evident that said legislation no longer serves us as a people or advances the principles upon which this nation was founded, one of these being “the pursuit of happiness,” which may only be secured through wealth creation. If it burdens the debt obligation of the government, it cannot be creating wealth. If it does not advance the cause of regaining American competitive dominance in the global marketplace, it is not creating wealth. If legislation and regulation were proposed that taught people how to fish instead of providing fish, then the unemployed would find a way to create jobs for each other. Wealth creation is mankind’s natural objective when given the opportunity and the tools.
Ziad K. Abdelnour (Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics)
Hamilton and Madison came to symbolize opposite ends of the political spectrum. At the time of the Federalist essays, however, they were so close in style and outlook that scholars find it hard to sort out their separate contributions. In general, Madison’s style was dense and professorial, Hamilton’s more graceful and flowing, yet they had a similar flair for startling epigrams and piercing insights. At this stage, Madison often sounded “Hamiltonian” and vice versa. Later identified as a “strict constructionist” of the Constitution, Madison set forth the doctrine of implied powers that Hamilton later used to expand the powers of the federal government. It was Madison who wrote in Federalist number 44, “No axiom is more clearly established in law or in reason than that wherever the end is required, the means are authorized.” At this juncture, they could make common cause on the need to fortify the federal government and curb rampant state abuses.
Ron Chernow (Alexander Hamilton)
To narrow natural rights to such neat slogans as "liberty, equality, fraternity" or "life, liberty, property," . . . was to ignore the complexity of public affairs and to leave out of consideration most moral relationships. . . . Burke appealed back beyond Locke to an idea of community far warmer and richer than Locke's or Hobbes's aggregation of individuals. The true compact of society, Burke told his countrymen, is eternal: it joins the dead, the living, and the unborn. We all participate in this spiritual and social partnership, because it is ordained of God. In defense of social harmony, Burke appealed to what Locke had ignored: the love of neighbor and the sense of duty. By the time of the French Revolution, Locke's argument in the Second Treatise already had become insufficient to sustain a social order. . . . The Constitution is not a theoretical document at all, and the influence of Locke upon it is negligible, although Locke's phrases, at least, crept into the Declaration of Independence, despite Jefferson's awkwardness about confessing the source of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." If we turn to the books read and quoted by American leaders near the end of the eighteenth century, we discover that Locke was but one philosopher and political advocate among the many writers whose influence they acknowledged. . . . Even Jefferson, though he had read Locke, cites in his Commonplace Book such juridical authorities as Coke and Kames much more frequently. As Gilbert Chinard puts it, "The Jeffersonian philosophy was born under the sign of Hengist and Horsa, not of the Goddess Reason"--that is, Jefferson was more strongly influenced by his understanding of British history, the Anglo-Saxon age particularly, than by the eighteenth-century rationalism of which Locke was a principal forerunner. . . . Adams treats Locke merely as one of several commendable English friends to liberty. . . . At bottom, the thinking Americans of the last quarter of the eighteenth century found their principles of order in no single political philosopher, but rather in their religion. When schooled Americans of that era approved a writer, commonly it was because his books confirmed their American experience and justified convictions they held already. So far as Locke served their needs, they employed Locke. But other men of ideas served them more immediately. At the Constitutional Convention, no man was quoted more frequently than Montesquieu. Montesquieu rejects Hobbes's compact formed out of fear; but also, if less explicitly, he rejects Locke's version of the social contract. . . . It is Montesquieu's conviction that . . . laws grow slowly out of people's experiences with one another, out of social customs and habits. "When a people have pure and regular manners, their laws become simple and natural," Montesquieu says. It was from Montesquieu, rather than from Locke, that the Framers obtained a theory of checks and balances and of the division of powers. . . . What Madison and other Americans found convincing in Hume was his freedom from mystification, vulgar error, and fanatic conviction: Hume's powerful practical intellect, which settled for politics as the art of the possible. . . . [I]n the Federalist, there occurs no mention of the name of John Locke. In Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention there is to be found but one reference to Locke, and that incidental. Do not these omissions seem significant to zealots for a "Lockean interpretation" of the Constitution? . . . John Locke did not make the Glorious Revolution of 1688 or foreordain the Constitution of the United States. . . . And the Constitution of the United States would have been framed by the same sort of men with the same sort of result, and defended by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, had Locke in 1689 lost the manuscripts of his Two Treatises of Civil Government while crossing the narrow seas with the Princess Mary.
Russell Kirk (Rights and Duties: Reflections on Our Conservative Constitution)
America was not a nation at all, but a league of thirteen separate nations—all of which had already standing Christian governments. For example the Constitution of Massachusetts required the Governor to “declare himself to be of the Christian religion” and gave the government the power to levy money “for the institution of the public worship of God and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality”—and the Federal Government would not impede upon the existing State-level Religious Laws and Institutions. Schools used to be both public and Protestant and filled with peace, but without Protestantism, schools have become public and filled with violent protesters. It is true that public Protestant schools were a little harsh and a lot successful, but the public secular schools today are extremely soft and not successful at all. These harsh and hard religious schools produced very tender men, whereas the soft public schools seem to produce more hardened criminals.
R. Primeau (The Law of Liberty: A Practical Look at the Judeo-Christian Tradition)
You find nothing like that among humans. Yes, human groups may have distinct social systems, but these are not genetically determined, and they seldom endure for more than a few centuries. Think of twentieth-century Germans, for example. In less than a hundred years the Germans organised themselves into six very different systems: the Hohenzollern Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the German Democratic Republic (aka communist East Germany), the Federal Republic of Germany (aka West Germany), and finally democratic reunited Germany. Of course the Germans kept their language and their love of beer and bratwurst. But is there some unique German essence that distinguishes them from all other nations, and that has remained unchanged from Wilhelm II to Angela Merkel? And if you do come up with something, was it also there 1,000 years ago, or 5,000 years ago? The (unratified) Preamble of the European Constitution begins by stating that it draws inspiration ‘from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which “have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, democracy, equality, freedom and the rule of law’.3 This may easily give one the impression that European civilisation is defined by the values of human rights, democracy, equality and freedom. Countless speeches and documents draw a direct line from ancient Athenian democracy to the present-day EU, celebrating 2,500 years of European freedom and democracy. This is reminiscent of the proverbial blind man who takes hold of an elephant’s tail and concludes that an elephant is a kind of brush. Yes, democratic ideas have been part of European culture for centuries, but they were never the whole. For all its glory and impact, Athenian democracy was a half-hearted experiment that survived for barely 200 years in a small corner of the Balkans. If European civilisation for the past twenty-five centuries has been defined by democracy and human rights, what are we to make of Sparta and Julius Caesar, of the Crusaders and the conquistadores, of the Inquisition and the slave trade, of Louis XIV and Napoleon, of Hitler and Stalin? Were they all intruders from some foreign civilisation?
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Lincoln eviscerated the U.S. Constitution. He illegally suspended the writ of habeas corpus; started the war without the consent of Congress; made mass arrests of tens of thousands of political dissenters (not spies) across the North without due process; declared martial law; confiscated private firearms; shut down hundreds of opposition newspapers; imprisoned their editors and owners; censored all telegraph communications; nationalized the railroads; invoked military conscription, yet another form of slavery; orchestrated the secession of West Virginia from Virginia without the consent of the latter, as required by the Constitution; denied the Southern states representative government while they were under federal occupation; ordered federal troops to interfere in elections in the Northern states; deported Democrat Clement L. Vallandigham, a congressional critic from Ohio, to the Confederacy; effectively nullified the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution; and more. All of this was supposedly justified by Lincoln’s novel theory that the Constitution had to be suspended, if not destroyed, in order to save it.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo (The Problem with Lincoln: The False Virtue of Abraham Lincoln)
I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan, as proposed by this bill, to indulge a benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds for that purpose. I can find no warrant for that kind of appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the Government, the Government should not support the people. The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.
Grover Cleveland
Pedigree was the centerpiece of Supreme Court chief justice Roger B. Taney’s majority opinion in the Dred Scott decision (1857). Though this case assessed whether a slave taken into a free state or federal territory should be set free, its conclusions were far more expansive. Addressing slavery in the territories, the proslavery Marylander dismissed Jefferson’s prohibition of slavery in the Northwest Ordinance as having no constitutional standing. He constructed his own version of the original social contract at the time of the Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitutional Convention: only the free white children of the founding generation were heirs to the original agreement; only pedigree could determine who inherited American citizenship and whose racial lineage warranted entitlement and the designation “freeman.” Taney’s opinion mattered because it literally made pedigree into a constitutional principle. In this controversial decision, Taney demonstrably rejected any notion of democracy and based the right of citizenship on bloodlines and racial stock. The chief justice ruled that the founders’ original intent was to classify members of society in terms of recognizable breeds.
Nancy Isenberg (White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America)
Here is another weird example of the privileging of religion. On 21 February 2006 the United States Supreme Court ruled, in accordance with the Constitution, that a church in New Mexico should be exempt from the law, which everybody else has to obey, against the taking of hallucinogenic drugs. Faithful members of Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal believe that they can understand God only by drinking dimethyltryptamine. Note that it is sufficient that they believe that the drug enhances their understanding. They do not have to produce evidence. Conversely, there is plenty of evidence that cannabis eases the nausea and discomfort of cancer sufferers undergoing chemotherapy. Yet, again in accordance with the Constitution, the Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that all patients who use cannabis for medicinal purposes are vulnerable to federal prosecution (even in the minority of states where such specialist use is legalized). Religion, as ever, is the trump card. Imagine members of an art appreciation society pleading in court they they 'believe' they need a hallucinogenic drug in order to enhance their understanding of Impressionist or Surrealist paintings. Yet, when a church claims an equivalent need, it is backed by the highest court in the land. Such is the power of religion as a talisman.
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
On 21 February 2006 the United States Supreme Court ruled, in accordance with the Constitution, that a church in New Mexico should be exempt from the law, which everybody else has to obey, against the taking of hallucinogenic drugs.8 Faithful members of the Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal believe that they can understand God only by drinking hoasca tea, which contains the illegal hallucinogenic drug dimethyltryptamine. Note that it is sufficient that they believe that the drug enhances their understanding. They do not have to produce evidence. Conversely, there is plenty of evidence that cannabis eases the nausea and discomfort of cancer sufferers undergoing chemotherapy. Yet, again in accordance with the Constitution, the Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that all patients who use cannabis for medicinal purposes are vulnerable to federal prosecution (even in the minority of states where such specialist use is legalized). Religion, as ever, is the trump card. Imagine members of an art appreciation society pleading in court that they ‘believe’ they need a hallucinogenic drug in order to enhance their understanding of Impressionist or Surrealist paintings. Yet, when a church claims an equivalent need, it is backed by the highest court in the land. Such is the power of religion as a talisman.
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
George Washington possessed the gift of inspired simplicity, a clarity and purity of vision that never failed him. Whatever petty partisan disputes swirled around him, he kept his eyes fixed on the transcendent goals that motivated his quest. As sensitive to criticism as any other man, he never allowed personal attacks or threats to distract him, following an inner compass that charted the way ahead. For a quarter century, he had stuck to an undeviating path that led straight to the creation of an independent republic, the enactment of the constitution and the formation of the federal government. History records few examples of a leader who so earnestly wanted to do the right thing, not just for himself but for his country. Avoiding moral shortcuts, he consistently upheld such high ethical standards that he seemed larger than any other figure on the political scene. Again and again, the American people had entrusted him with power, secure in the knowledge that he would exercise it fairly and ably and surrender it when his term of office was up. He had shown that the president and commander-in-chief of a republic could possess a grandeur surpassing that of all the crowned heads of Europe. He brought maturity, sobriety, judgement and integrity to a political experiment that could easily have grown giddy with its own vaunted success and he avoided the back biting envy and intrigue that detracted from the achievements of other founders. He had indeed been the indispensable man of the american revolution.
Ron Chernow (Washington: A Life)
But first Hitler, taken in by Mussolini’s mythmaking, attempted a “march” of his own. On November 8, 1923, during a nationalist rally in a Munich beer hall, the Bürgerbräukeller, Hitler attempted to kidnap the leaders of the Bavarian government and force them to support a coup d’état against the federal government in Berlin. He believed that if he took control of Munich and declared a new national government, the Bavarian civil and military leaders would be forced by public opinion to support him. He was equally convinced that the local army authorities would not oppose the Nazi coup because the World War I hero General Ludendorff was marching beside him. Hitler underestimated military fidelity to the chain of command. The conservative Bavarian minister-president Gustav von Kahr gave orders to stop Hitler’s coup, by force if necessary. The police fired on the Nazi marchers on November 9 as they approached a major square (possibly returning a first shot from Hitler’s side). Fourteen putschists and four policemen were killed. Hitler was arrested and imprisoned,8 along with other Nazis and their sympathizers. The august General Ludendorff was released on his own recognizance. Hitler’s “Beer Hall Putsch” was thus put down so ignominiously by the conservative rulers of Bavaria that he resolved never again to try to gain power through force. That meant remaining at least superficially within constitutional legality, though the Nazis never gave up the selective violence that was central to the party’s appeal, or hints about wider aims after power.
Robert O. Paxton (The Anatomy of Fascism)
A law, by the very meaning of the term, includes supremacy. It is a rule which those to whom it is prescribed are bound to observe. This results from every political association. If individuals enter into a state of society, the laws of that society must be the supreme regulator of their conduct. If a number of political societies enter into a larger political society, the laws which the latter may enact, pursuant to the powers intrusted to it by its constitution, must necessarily be supreme over those societies, and the individuals of whom they are composed. It would otherwise be a mere treaty, dependent on the good faith of the parties, and not a government, which is only another word for political power and supremacy. But it will not follow from this doctrine that acts of the large society which are not pursuant to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land. These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such. Hence we perceive that the clause which declares the supremacy of the laws of the Union, like the one we have just before considered, only declares a truth, which flows immediately and necessarily from the institution of a federal government. It will not, I presume, have escaped observation, that it expressly confines this supremacy to laws made pursuant to the constitution; which I mention merely as an instance of caution in the convention; since that limitation would have been to be understood, though it had not been expressed.
Alexander Hamilton (The Federalist Papers)
When Tocqueville accepted the language of his age and adopted the term individualisme for volume 2 of Democracy, he distinguished that sentiment from selfishness. Selfishness evinced an exaggerated self-love or narcissism- a misdirected instinct. In contrast, individualism represented a deliberate, openly professed conviction that society required nothing more from the individual than an assertion of private rights, and that it worked well enough by an appropriate interplay of private interests. Individualism, as distinct from either ego or individuality, reflected a wholly debased orientation to "self" that reflected an extreme sense of superiority and self-sufficiency.[...] Public institutions were designed to draw public engagement from what were essentially private concerns, but these arrangements were always vulnerable to a corrupting myopic view of individual right. Individualism embodied a philosophical orientation that not only influenced citizen's perceptions of self and society but also governed the sense of what constitutes a rational course of action. Under the ethos of individualism, dominance was portrayed as a matter of survival- thus, self-interest was only rational choice in many situations. In this way, individualism undermined the ideal uncoerced public virtue that underlay federal institutions. Federal arenas of contestation had required some sense of equity and conception of the common good for even the most minimal accomodations; a public philosophy that exalted individualism threatened the essence of liberty." (Barbara Allen, Tocqueville, Covenant, and the Democratic Revolution. pag.120)
Barbara Allen (Tocqueville, Covenant, and the Democratic Revolution: Harmonizing Earth with Heaven)
What the “geniuses [who] went to Philadelphia” wanted remains the subject of endless debate—a debate fueled by the real differences among them and the very real ambiguities of the compromises they forged. But James Madison did not go to Philadelphia seeking gridlock. Quite the opposite: The Virginian who played such a critical role in the nation’s founding led the charge for a powerful national government. He pushed for a new constitution specifically because its predecessor, the Articles of Confederation, adopted in 1777, had been a catastrophe—a decentralized arrangement too weak to hold the country together or confront pressing problems that needed collective solutions. Madison arrived at the convention with one firm conviction: Government needed the authority to govern.29 In the deliberations that followed, Madison stayed true to that cause. He argued tirelessly for the power of the federal government to be understood broadly and for it to be decisively superior to the states. He even supported an absolute federal veto over all state laws, likening it to “gravity” in the Newtonian framework of the new federal government.30 Most of the concessions to state governments in the final document were ones that Madison had opposed. He was a practical politician, and he ultimately defended these compromises in the public arena—the famed Federalist Papers Madison penned with his colleagues Alexander Hamilton and John Jay are an advertisement, not a blueprint—but he did so because he saw them as necessary, not because he saw them as ideal.31 Throughout, Madison kept his eyes on the prize: enactment of the more vital and resilient government he regarded as a national imperative.
Jacob S. Hacker (American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper)
The founders feared that the central government, once it had united the states, would become too powerful and would impose its will upon the people—or the individual states—without regard to their wishes. This “government knows best” model was one that they were quite familiar with from their extensive studies of other governmental models as well as from their personal experience with the British monarchy. They felt that their best defense against a tyrannical government was to divide the power three ways, with each branch of government having the power to check the other two. They also listed the powers that the federal government would have, being sure to leave the balance of power in the hands of the states and the people. They wisely concluded that the states would not be eager to give additional power to the federal government and limited its power accordingly. Unfortunately, the founders did not realize that the time would come when the federal government would approve a federal taxation system that could control the states by giving or withholding financial resources. Such an arrangement significantly upsets the balance of power between the states and the federal government. As a result, today there are numerous social issues, such as the legalization of marijuana, gay marriage, and welfare reform, that could probably be more efficiently handled at the state level but with which the federal government keeps interfering. The states, instead of standing up for their rights, comply with the interference because they want federal funds. It will require noble leaders at the federal level and courageous leaders at the state level to restore the balance of power, but it is essential that such balance be restored for the sake of the people.
Ben Carson (A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties)
The destruction of representative government and private capitalism of the old school was complete when Hitler came to power. He had contributed mightily to the final result by his ceaseless labors to create chaos. But when he stepped into the chancellery all the ingredients of national socialist dictatorship were there ready to his hand… The aim in which Bismarck had failed was accomplished almost at a stroke in the Weimar Constitution – the subordination of the individual states to the federal state. The old imperial state had to depend on the constituent states to provide it with a part of its funds. Now this was altered, and the central government of the republic became the great imposer and collector of taxes, paying to the states each a share. Slowly the central government absorbed the powers of the states. The problems of business groups and social groups were all brought to Berlin. The republican Reichstag, unlike its imperial predecessor, was now charged with the vast duty of managing almost every energy of the social and economic life of the republic. German states were always filled with bureaus, so that long before World War I travelers referred to the ‘bureaucratic tyrannies’ of the empire. But now the bureaus became great centralized organisms of the federal government dealing with the multitude of problems which the Reichstag as completely incapable of handling. Quickly, the actual function of governing leaked out of the parliament into the hands of the bureaucrats. The German republic became a paradise of bureaucracy on a scale which the old imperial government never knew. The state, with its powers enhanced by the acquisition of immense economic powers and those powers brought to the center of government and lodged in the executive, was slowly becoming, notwithstanding its republican appearance, a totalitarian state that was almost unlimited in its powers.
John T. Flynn (As We Go Marching: A Biting Indictment of the Coming of Domestic Fascism in America)
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them. Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why if all politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes? You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don’t have Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don’t write the tax code. Congress does. You and I don’t set fiscal policy. Congress does. You and I don’t control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does. One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices — 545 human beings out of 235 million — are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country. I excused the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered by private central bank. I exclude all of the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislators’ responsibility to determine how he votes. Don’t you see the con game that is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party. What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of Tip O’Neill, who stood up and criticized Ronald Reagan for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating appropriations and taxes. Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses — provided they have the gumption to manage their own employees.
Charley Reese
Benjamin Franklin wrote little about race, but had a sense of racial loyalty. “[T]he Number of purely white People in the World is proportionably [sic] very small,” he observed. “ . . . I could wish their Numbers were increased.” James Madison, like Jefferson, believed the only solution to the problem of racial friction was to free the slaves and send them away. He proposed that the federal government sell off public lands in order to raise the money to buy the entire slave population and transport it overseas. He favored a Constitutional amendment to establish a colonization society to be run by the President. After two terms in office, Madison served as chief executive of the American Colonization Society, to which he devoted much time and energy. At the inaugural meeting of the society in 1816, Henry Clay described its purpose: to “rid our country of a useless and pernicious, if not dangerous portion of the population.” The following prominent Americans were not merely members but served as officers of the society: Andrew Jackson, Daniel Webster, Stephen Douglas, William Seward, Francis Scott Key, Winfield Scott, and two Chief Justices of the Supreme Court, John Marshall and Roger Taney. All opposed the presence of blacks in the United States and thought expatriation was the only long-term solution. James Monroe was such an ardent champion of colonization that the capital of Liberia is named Monrovia in gratitude for his efforts. As for Roger Taney, as chief justice he wrote in the Dred Scott decision of 1857 what may be the harshest federal government pronouncement on blacks ever written: Negroes were “beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the White race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior that they have no rights which a White man is bound to respect.” Abraham Lincoln considered blacks to be—in his words—“a troublesome presence” in the United States. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates he expressed himself unambiguously: “I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.” His opponent, Stephen Douglas, was even more outspoken, and made his position clear in the very first debate: “For one, I am opposed to negro citizenship in any form. I believe that this government was made on the white basis. I believe it was made by white men for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever, and I am in favor of confining the citizenship to white men—men of European birth and European descent, instead of conferring it upon negroes and Indians, and other inferior races.
Jared Taylor (White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century)
Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a federal, and not a national constitution.
Alexander Hamilton (The Federalist Papers)
Stone was committed to campaigning at the state level; Anthony and Stanton wanted a federal constitutional amendment. Stone involved men in her organization; Anthony and Stanton favored an exclusively female membership. Stone sought to inspire change through speaking and meetings; Anthony and Stanton were more confrontational, with Anthony voting illegally and encouraging other women to follow suit. The suffragists who formed alliances with the temperance activists were more moderate in their methods, which helped the two groups find common ground. At the same time that women were organizing local WCTU clubs, Lucy Stone introduced suffrage clubs. Both groups had extensive histories with lobbying and publishing. They began to work together to lobby and speak in front of state legislatures, publish articles and distribute literature, and hold public suffrage meetings, rallies, and debates.* Together, suffragists and temperance activists persuaded several states to allow women to vote.
Adam M. Grant (Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World)
I spend some time talking to a guy who has a remarkably calm voice, considering he’s only a few feet away from the line of police shields. “I hope that today is kind of the ... the catalyst for the Trump supporters and the populist right to, to realize that the populist left, the Antifa and the BLM movement, we all have a very common enemy, and that’s the establishment politicians,” he says. Ah! How often did I dream that dream in my idealistic youth? Then he calls out the government for “giving us back six hundred dollars after they close all of our businesses and stuff.” He argues for a “peaceful divorce” between the states, in which the federal government still handles dealing with foreign countries and a few other important matters, but individual states were free to have vastly different laws that fit their own culture. So, Texas could have unrestricted gun access and California could have Medicare For All, they just couldn’t force other states to do things they didn’t want to do. Which, for the record, is pretty much the way America used to work, during the 70 years between the ratification of the Constitution and the outbreak of the Civil War. This guy has actual plans! He’s thought of solutions beyond signaling how angry he is and hoping everything takes care of itself after that! I don’t agree with all his ideas, but at least he has them. “But what I’m saying is,” he goes on, “All the people here today, and all the people who have been protesting throughout the year, for the BLM and Antifa and the populist left, all want the same thing.” He eyes the line of black body armor with a troubled look on his face and walks off. NOTE: Let’s just cut through the noise and dwell on that for a minute. Breathe. Stop and Think. What did he just say? Just when I think these people are all nuts, I meet that one. Who the hell was that guy? Why can’t there be more like him?
Ben Hamilton ("Sorry Guys, We Stormed the Capitol": The Preposterous, True Story of January 6th and the Mob That Chased Congress From the Capitol. Told in Their Own Words. (The Chasing History Project))
The four presidents who “tried to save” America took this perilous trail. That should be admired, not condemned. It also should be noted that none of the men who “tried to save her” were pushovers in office. They typically deferred to Congress when the Constitution required they do so, and they let Congress lead the legislative process—that was the proper course constitutionally. But Congress often characterized them as too strong and too willing to wield executive power. That should say something about the charge that they were executive lightweights. These four men exercised power not for political gain but to “defend the Constitution” from radical departures from its original intent. They defended their oath. If Americans believe in a federal Republic with limited powers, defined by a written constitution, with checks and balances—not only between the three branches of the general government but also between the general and state governments—then the four men who “tried to save” constitutional government in our Republic should be regarded as the greatest presidents in American history. They must be our standard. Our future executives should be more like Tyler than either Roosevelt in the use of executive powers and more like Cleveland or Coolidge than Obama in regard to character. The presidency is a potentially dangerous office that, regardless of which party controls it, should always be viewed with suspicion. A return to this type of vigilance would protect both individual liberty and the liberty of the community from executive abuse. As we enter another presidential election season, that should be our goal. A proper understanding of the president’s limited powers under our Constitution should guide the way all Americans vote. THE FOUNDERS’ EXECUTIVE The Founders left clues in the historical record, some of them more conspicuous than others, which defined their vision for the executive branch.
Brion T. McClanahan (9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America: And Four Who Tried to Save Her)
The proposed Constitution, therefore, is, in strictness, neither a national nor a federal Constitution, but a composition of both. In its foundation it is federal, not national; in the sources from which the ordinary powers of the government are drawn, it is partly federal and partly national; in the operation of these powers, it is national, not federal; in the extent of them, again, it is federal, not national; and, finally, in the authoritative mode of introducing amendments, it is neither wholly federal nor wholly national. PUBLIUS
Alexander Hamilton (The Federalist Papers)
This decision produced a scene that provides the most graphic and dramatic illustration of the two competing versions of what the American Revolution had come to mean in the 1790s. On one side stood the rebels, a defiant collection of aggrieved farmers emboldened by their conviction that the excise tax levied by Congress was every bit as illegitimate as the taxes levied by the British ministry. On the other side stood Washington and his federalized troops, an updated version of the Continental army, marching west to enforce the authority of the constitutionally elected government that claimed to represent all the American people. It was “the spirit of ’76” against “the spirit of ’87,” one historic embodiment of “the people” against another.
Joseph J. Ellis (His Excellency: George Washington)
The central bank is an institution of the most deadly hostility existing against the Principles and form of our Constitution. I am an Enemy to all banks discounting bills or notes for anything but Coin. If the American People allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the People of all their Property until their Children will wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered.” -Thomas Jefferson (this describes where we are at today under the Federal Reserve) “The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or be so dependent upon its favours that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests.” -The Rothschild brothers of London, writing to associates in New York, 1863.
J. Micha-el Thomas Hays (Rise of the New World Order: The Culling of Man)
we can look at James Madison’s 1787 pamphlet “Vices of the Political System of the United States.” First on his list is the “failure of the States to comply with the Constitutional requisitions”—to pull their weight in the confederacy. Second is the “encroachments of the States on the federal authority”; third is violations of the treaties entered into by Congress; and fourth is the “trespasses of the States on the rights of each other.” Not until the eleventh (“Injustice of the laws of States”) do we get anything suggesting a concern for individual rights.
Kermit Roosevelt III (The Nation That Never Was: Reconstructing America's Story)
The more intelligent adversaries of the new Constitution admit the force of this reasoning; but they qualify their admission by a distinction between what they call internal and external taxation. The former they would reserve to the State governments; the latter, which they explain into commercial imposts, or rather duties on imported articles, they declare themselves willing to concede to the federal head. This distinction, however, would violate the maxim of good sense and sound policy, which dictates that every power ought to be in proportion to its object; and would still leave the general government in a kind of tutelage to the State governments, inconsistent with every idea of vigor or efficiency.
Alexander Hamilton (The Federalist Papers)
THE THIRD charge against the House of Representatives is, that it will be taken from that class of citizens which will have least sympathy with the mass of the people, and be most likely to aim at an ambitious sacrifice of the many to the aggrandizement of the few. Of all the objections which have been framed against the federal Constitution, this is perhaps the most extraordinary.
Alexander Hamilton (The Federalist Papers)
Indeed, when people talk about how the Constitution is designed to implement the principles of the Declaration, they almost always point to the Fourteenth Amendment—sometimes without noticing that this means they are not talking about the Founders’ Constitution. In part due to Supreme Court decisions, however, the federal government ended up protecting individuals primarily from states and secondarily, if at all, from other individuals.
Kermit Roosevelt III (The Nation That Never Was: Reconstructing America's Story)
Entitled "Remarks on the Amendments to the Federal Constitutions," the Reverend Nicholas Collin of Philadelphia, writing under the pen name "A Foreign Spectator" (from Sweden), opposed any amendment. If the Constitution contained "a scrupulous enumeration of all the rights of the states and individuals, it would make a larger volume than the Bible . . . ."117 Further, an army was no danger "especially when I am well armed myself." "While the people have property, arms in their hands, and only a spark of noble spirit, the most corrupt Congress must be mad to form any project of tyranny.
Stephen P. Halbrook (The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms)
In the decades following the Revolution the northern states moved to destroy the institution, and by 1804 every northern state had committed itself to emancipation in one form or another. In many cases blacks themselves took the lead in using the Revolutionary language of liberty to attack slavery. By 1810 the number of free blacks in the northern states had grown from several hundred in 1770 to nearly 50,000. The Revolutionary vision of a society of independent freeholders led Congress in the 1780s specifically to forbid slavery in the newly organized Northwest Territory between the Appalachians and the Mississippi. The new federal Constitution promised, in 1808, an end to the international importation of slaves, which many hoped would cripple the institution. In fact, all of the Revolutionary leaders, including southerners like Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Henry Laurens, deplored the injustice of slavery and assumed that it would soon die away. This was perhaps the most illusory of the several illusions the Revolutionary leaders had about the future of America.
Gordon S. Wood (The American Revolution: A History (Modern Library Chronicles Series Book 9))
the term ‘Federation’ has nowhere been used in the Constitution. Article 1, on the other hand, describes India as a ‘Union of States’ which implies two things: one, Indian Federation is not the result of an agreement by the states; and two, no state has the right to secede from the federation.
M Laxmikanth (Indian Polity For Civil Services and Other State Examinations| 6th revised edition)
The guarantee of the North Carolina Constitution that "the People have a right to bear Arms for the Defence of the State"39 was understood as protecting the right of "a citizen"—a person, not a collective—"of keeping arms for his own defence." A chief objection to the Constitution in North Carolina was exemplified in a federalist's account of a sermon that mentioned the proposed federal capital: '"This, my friends,’ said the preacher, 'will be walled in or fortified. Here an army of 50,000, or perhaps 100,000 will be finally embodied, and will sally forth and enslave the people, who will be gradually disarmed.’ This absurd assumption set our blood in fermentation strongly excited already in party feeling.
Stephen P. Halbrook (The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms)
John Laurance of New York defined the militia as "every man in the states who is capable of performing military duty, though not actually enrolled in any particular body," noting that "when the constitution was framed, some states were as yet unprovided with militia laws." Accordingly, "the militia must mean all persons without exception, who are capable of bearing arms in defence of their country . . . ."48 He argued that if conscientious objectors were to be exempted, it must be by state law, not the federal enactment—the view that would prevail.
Stephen P. Halbrook (The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms)
The president claimed that using federal interventions to ensure black civil rights “violated ‘all our experience as a people’ and constituted a ‘stride towards centralization, and the concentration of all legislative power in the national Government.’ ” Johnson also made claims that interceding for black people actually discriminated against white people.
Jemar Tisby (The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism)
As a federal official sworn for four decades to uphold the Constitution, Dr. Fauci should have been the champion of free speech and vigorous debate during the pandemic. Instead, he worked hand in glove with Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and other Big Tech titans to censor criticism of his various mandates and suppress information about vaccine injuries, including discussions of pathogenic priming.16,17 Email traffic shows that Dr. Fauci colluded directly with Mark Zuckerberg and the social media platforms to censor doctors who reported vaccine failures, harms, and deaths, to deplatform public health advocates like myself, and to evict and muzzle patients who reported their own injuries.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health)
Webster responded on October 10 with An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, the first pro-Constitution pamphlet.45 He explained why the armed populace would remain sovereign under a constitution with an army but no bill of rights: Another source of power in government is a military force. But this, to be efficient, must be superior to any force that exists among the people, or which they can command; for otherwise this force would be annihilated, on the first exercise of acts of oppression. Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.
Stephen P. Halbrook (The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms)
Edward Carrington of Virginia wrote to Thomas Jefferson that "these Letters are the best of anything that has been written" against the Constitution.77 What was it about the "rights" in a bill of rights that was considered so indispensable? In his second "Letter," dated October 9, the "Federal Farmer" declared: "There are certain unalienable and fundamental rights, which in forming the social compact, ought to be explicitly ascertained and fixed—a free and enlightened people, in forming this compact, will not resign all their rights to those who govern, and they will fix limits to their legislators and rulers, which will soon be plainly seen by those who are governed, as well as by those who govern . . . ." Contrary to the Constitution's proponents, "I still believe a complete federal bill of rights to be very practicable.
Stephen P. Halbrook (The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms)
In 1860 Rhett “joined a drive to either rule or ruin the 1860 Democratic convention scheduled for Charleston.”97 He succeeded and devised a strategy to destroy the Union by destroying the Democratic Party. In January 1860 he wrote that “the destruction of the Union must . . . begin with the demolition of the party. So long as the Democratic Party, as a ‘National’ organization exists in power in the South . . . our public men will trim their sails.”98 Rhett drafted South Carolina’s Seces sion Ordinance, which claimed that South Carolina was not “perpetrating a treasonous revolution, but . . . simply taking back . . . the same powers it had temporarily surrendered . . . when South Carolina ratified the federal Constitution.
Steven Dundas
There was an original purpose to the Second Amendment, but it wasn’t to keep people safe. It was to preserve white supremacy and slavery. The Second Amendment is in the Constitution because Patrick Henry (Virginia’s governor at the time that the Constitution was being debated) and George Mason (the intellectual leader of the movement against the Constitution, the “anti-federalists”) won a debate against James Madison (the guy who wrote most of the Constitution and its original ten amendments). Henry and Mason wanted the Second Amendment in there to guard against slave revolts. Although, overall, white Southerners outnumbered their enslaved populations, that numerical advantage did not hold in every region. In parts of Virginia, for instance, enslaved Black people outnumbered whites. Predictably, whites were worried about slave revolts because, you know, holding people in bondage against their will is not all that easy to do without numerical and military superiority. The principal way of quelling slave revolts was (wait for it): armed militias of white people. Gangs of white people roving around, imposing white supremacy, is nothing new. But the slavers worried that the new Constitution put the power of raising militias with the federal government and not with the individual states. That would mean that the federal government, dominated by Northerners, could choose to not help the South should their population of oppressed humans demand freedom. In a May 2018 New York Times article, Professor Carl Bogus of Roger Williams University School of Law explained the argument like this: During the debate in Richmond, Mason and Henry suggested that the new Constitution gave Congress the power to subvert the slave system by disarming the militias. “Slavery is detested,” Henry reminded the audience. “The majority of Congress is to the North, and the slaves are to the South.” Henry and Mason argued that because the Constitution gave the federal government the power to arm the militias, only the federal government could do so: “If they neglect or refuse to discipline or arm our militia, they will be useless: the states can do neither—this power being exclusively given to Congress.” Why would the federal government “neglect” a Southern militia? Henry and Mason feared the Northerners who “detested” slavery would refuse to help the South in the event of a slave uprising. Madison eventually gave in to the forces of slavery and included the Second Amendment, along with his larger Bill of Rights.
Elie Mystal (Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution)
Rescue dogs are trained to perform such responses on command, often in repulsive situations, such as fires, that they would normally avoid unless the entrapped individuals are familiar. Training is accomplished with the usual carrot-and stick method. One might think, therefore, that the dogs perform like Skinnerian rats, doing what has been reinforced in the past, partly out of instinct, partly out of a desire for tidbits. If they save human lives, one could argue, they do so for purely selfish reasons. The image of the rescue dog as a well-behaved robot is hard to maintain, however, in the face of their attitude under trying circumstances with few survivors, such as in the aftermath of the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. When rescue dogs encounter too many dead people, they lose interest in their job regardless of how much praise and goodies they get. This was discovered by Caroline Hebard, the U.S. pioneer of canine search and rescue, during the Mexico City earthquake of 1985. Hebard recounts how her German shepherd, Aly, reacted to finding corpse after corpse and few survivors. Aly would be all excited and joyful if he detected human life in the rubble, but became depressed by all the death. In Hebard's words, Aly regarded humans as his friends, and he could not stand to be surrounded by so many dead friends: "Aly fervently wanted his stick reward, and equally wanted to please Caroline, but as long as he was uncertain about whether he had found someone alive, he would not even reward himself. Here in this gray area, rules of logic no longer applied." The logic referred to is that a reward is just a reward: there is no reason for a trained dog to care about the victim's condition. Yet, all dogs on the team became depressed. They required longer and longer resting periods, and their eagerness for the job dropped off dramatically. After a couple of days, Aly clearly had had enough. His big brown eyes were mournful, and he hid behind the bed when Hehard wanted to take him out again. He also refused to eat. All other dogs on the team had lost their appetites as well. The solution to this motivational problem says a lot about what the dogs wanted. A Mexican veterinarian was invited to act as stand-in survivor. The rescuers hid the volunteer somewhere in a wreckage and let the dogs find him. One after another the dogs were sent in, picked up the man's scent, and happily alerted, thus "saving" his life. Refreshed by this exercise, the dogs were ready to work again. What this means is that trained dogs rescue people only partly for approval and food rewards. Instead of performing a cheap circus trick, they are emotionally invested. They relish the opportunity to find and save a live person. Doing so also constitutes some sort of reward, but one more in line with what Adam Smith, the Scottish philosopher and father of economics, thought to underlie human sympathy: all that we derive from sympathy, he said, is the pleasure of seeing someone else's fortune. Perhaps this doesn't seem like much, but it means a lot to many people, and apparently also to some bighearted canines.
Frans de Waal (The Ape and the Sushi Master: Reflections of a Primatologist)
Thus, Beard found that most of the makers of the Constitution had some direct economic interest in establishing a strong federal government: the manufacturers needed protective tariffs; the moneylenders wanted to stop the use of paper money to pay off debts; the land speculators wanted protection as they invaded Indian lands; slaveowners needed federal security against slave revolts and runaways; bondholders wanted a government able to raise money by nationwide taxation, to pay off those bonds.
Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States)
THE MENACING GROWTH ON HIS THIGH and his mother’s death slowed Washington down only slightly as he forged the office of the presidency, which immediately involved him in a thicket of constitutional issues. Could the Supreme Court give advisory opinions to the legislative and executive branches? Would the executive branch supervise American foreign policy, subject to congressional approval, or vice versa? Numberless questions about the basic nature of the federal government would be decided during Washington’s presidency, often in the throes of heated controversy. Although Washington had not been an architect of the system of checks and balances or separation of powers, he gave sharp definition to them by helping to draw the boundaries of the three branches of government in a series of critical test cases.
Ron Chernow (Washington: A Life)
if a state supreme court explicitly says that it is relying on state constitutional law for its decision, and there is no federal issue, the Supreme Court cannot review the state court’s ruling at all.
Erwin Chemerinsky (Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights)
suspects.85 What legislative reforms of policing are crucial? Five are especially important: (1) expand the liability standards for police officers and the departments that employ them; (2) outlaw particularly dangerous police practices; (3) authorize suits against federal law enforcement officials who violate the Constitution; (4) mandate data collection about policing; and (5) increase transparency as to policing
Erwin Chemerinsky (Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights)
legislation was passed to afford a federal right in federal courts because, by reason of prejudice, passion, neglect, intolerance, or otherwise,” states were likely to violate constitutional rights, and hence a federal forum was needed to enforce the Constitution.4
Erwin Chemerinsky (Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights)
Federalism should not provide state and local governments with the power to ignore the Constitution in any area, least of all in policing. Rizzo v. Goode, followed a short time later by City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, eliminated the power of federal courts to remedy proven patterns of racist, unconstitutional policing.
Erwin Chemerinsky (Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights)
Such lawsuits, known as “Bivens suits,” are an essential way to enforce the Constitution and hold federal officers liable, especially since the U.S. government has sovereign immunity and generally cannot be sued for monetary damages.
Erwin Chemerinsky (Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights)
Elected federal officials take an oath to uphold the Constitution. When they aren’t held strictly to that oath, we have that anarchy we see metastasizing around us.
David Mamet (Recessional: The Death of Free Speech and the Cost of a Free Lunch)
A civil right is a right that is asserted and is therefore protected by some valid law. It may be asserted by the common law, or by local or federal statutes, or by the Constitution; but unless a right is incorporated in the law, it is not a civil right and is not enforceable by the instruments of the civil law. There may be some rights - "natural," "human," or otherwise - that should also be civil rights. But if we desire to give such rights the protection of the law, our resource is to a legislature or to the amendment procedures of the Constitution. We must not look to politicians, or sociologists - or the courts - to correct the deficiency.
Barry Goldwater
In 2000, 41 percent of all borrowers with subprime loans would have qualified for conventional financing with lower rates, a figure that increased to 61 percent in 2006. By then, African American mortgage recipients had subprime loans at three times the rate of white borrowers. Higher-income African Americans had subprime mortgages at four times the rate of higher-income whites. Even though it’s own survey in 2005 revealed a similar racial discrepancy, the Federal Reserve did not take action. By failing to curb discrimination that its own data disclosed, the Federal Reserve violated African Americans’ legal and constitutional rights.
Richard Rothstein (The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America)
Most federal entities and employees are neither necessary nor proper to carry out the legitimate federal functions prescribed by the Constitution. Why does the Federal Government need 2.1 million civilian employees?324 This figure does not include uniformed military members or the U.S. Postal Service. Why is this cloud of locusts four times larger than the U.S. Army, when the Tenth Amendment reserves most government functions to the States? These federal organizations are reminiscent of the American colonists’ complaint, in the Declaration of Independence, that King George III had “erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
Scott Winston Dragland (Let My People Go: Why Texas Must Regain Its Independence)
Sorrowing over the failure of this, her blessed though unsuccessful attempt to preserve the Union of the Constitution, she was not permitted to mourn as a neutral, but was required by the United States Government to choose between furnishing troops to subjugate her Southern sisters or the reclamation of the grants she had made to the Federal Government when she became a member of the Union. The first was a violation of the letter and the spirit of the Constitution; the second was a reserved right. The voice of Henry called to her from the ground; the spirits of Washington and Jefferson moved among her people.
Jefferson Davis (The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government)
The consolidation of power at the federal level in the guise of public safety is a national trend and should be guarded against at all costs. This erosion of rights, however incremental, is the slow death of freedom. We have reached a point where the power of the federal government is such that they can essentially target anyone of their choosing. Recent allegations that government agencies may have targeted political opponents should alarm all Americans, regardless of party affiliation. Revisionist views of the Constitution by opportunistic politicians and unelected judges with agendas that reinterpret the Bill of Rights to take power away from the people and consolidate it at the federal level threaten the core principles of the Republic. As a free people, keeping federal power in check is something that should be of concern to us all. The fundamental value of freedom is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. We are citizens, not subjects, and we must stay ever vigilant that we remain so. Jack Carr August 6, 2017
Jack Carr (The Terminal List (Terminal List, #1))
The Supreme Court justices gave the aura of being “strict constitutionalists” whose job was not to interpret or create but merely to distinguish between the rights the federal government enforced and those controlled by the states.99 But the supposedly legally neutral interpretations had profound effects. And the court, just like Johnson, demonstrated an uncanny ability to ignore inconsistencies and to twist rules, beliefs, and values to undermine the solid progress in black people’s rights that the Radical Republicans had finally managed to put in place. The court declared that the Reconstruction amendments had illegally placed the full scope of civil rights, which had once been the domain of states, under federal authority. That usurpation of power was unconstitutional because it put state governments under Washington’s control, disrupted the distribution of power in the federal system, and radically altered the framework of American government.100 The justices consistently held to this supposedly strict reading of the Constitution when it came to African Americans’ rights.
Carol Anderson (White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide)
The Supreme Court justices gave the aura of being “strict constitutionalists” whose job was not to interpret or create but merely to distinguish between the rights the federal government enforced and those controlled by the states.99 But the supposedly legally neutral interpretations had profound effects. And the court, just like Johnson, demonstrated an uncanny ability to ignore inconsistencies and to twist rules, beliefs, and values to undermine the solid progress in black people’s rights that the Radical Republicans had finally managed to put in place. The court declared that the Reconstruction amendments had illegally placed the full scope of civil rights, which had once been the domain of states, under federal authority. That usurpation of power was unconstitutional because it put state governments under Washington’s control, disrupted the distribution of power in the federal system, and radically altered the framework of American government.100 The justices consistently held to this supposedly strict reading of the Constitution when it came to African Americans’ rights. Yet, this same court threw tradition and strict reading out the window in the Santa Clara decision. California had changed its taxation laws to no longer allow corporations to deduct debt from the amount owed to the state or municipalities. The change applied only to businesses; people, under the new law, were not affected. The Southern Pacific Railroad refused to pay its new tax bill, arguing that its rights under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment had been violated. In hearing the case, the court became innovative and creative as it transformed corporations into “people” who could not have their Fourteenth Amendment rights trampled on by local communities.101 So, while businesses were shielded, black Americans were most emphatically not. The ruling that began this long, disastrous legal retreat from a rights-based society was the 1873 Slaughterhouse Cases.
Carol Anderson (White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide)
Even before the war ended, in late 1863 and early 1864, Representative James M. Ashley (R-OH) and Senator John Henderson (D-MO) introduced in Congress a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment was, in important ways, revolutionary. Immediately, it moved responsibility for enforcement and protection of civil rights from the states to the federal government and sent a strong, powerful signal that citizens were first and foremost U.S. citizens. The Thirteenth Amendment was also a corrective and an antidote for a Constitution whose slave-owning drafters, like Thomas Jefferson, were overwhelmingly concerned with states’ rights. Finally, the amendment sought to give real meaning to “we hold these truths to be self-evident” by banning not just government-sponsored but also private agreements that exposed blacks to extralegal violence and widespread discrimination in housing, education, and employment.8 As then-congressman James A. Garfield remarked, the Thirteenth Amendment was designed to do significantly more than “confer the bare privilege of not being chained.
Carol Anderson (White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide)
When the court decides, neither side usually has a large enough majority to contest judicial leadership. In contrast, Utah has a large LDS-Republican majority that can amend the state constitution, threaten retaliatory impeachments, or pass mitigating statutes against judicial decisions. In addition, the duration of conservative power has produced a more conservative court that defers to the legislature. The US Supreme Court sets an example of judicial leadership that some justices in Utah sought to follow. But the Utah reaction against federal court decisions and Utah’s conservative electorate and government have prevented the Utah court from emulating the national model.
Rod Decker (Utah Politics: The Elephant in the Room)
Senator Walter George (D-GA) was proud of how states like his beloved Georgia were able to legally disfranchise millions of voters. “Why apologize or evade?” he asked. “We have been very careful to obey the letter of the Federal Constitution—but we have been very diligent in violating the spirit of such amendments and such statutes as would have a Negro to believe himself the equal of a white man.”117
Carol Anderson (White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide)
The definition of a confederate republic seems simply to be "an assemblage of societies,'' or an association of two or more states into one state. The extent, modifications, and objects of the federal authority are mere matters of discretion. So long as the separate organization of the members be not abolished; so long as it exists, by a constitutional necessity, for local purposes; though it should be in perfect subordination to the general authority of the union, it would still be, in fact and in theory, an association of states, or a confederacy. The proposed Constitution, so far from implying an abolition of the State governments, makes them constituent parts of the national sovereignty, by allowing them a direct representation in the Senate, and leaves in their possession certain exclusive and very important portions of sovereign power. This fully corresponds, in every rational import of the terms, with the idea of a federal government.
Politics Faculty, Hillsdale College (The U.S. Constitution: A Reader)
According to Marxist economist Christian Marazzi, the switch from Fordism to post-Fordism can be given a very specific date: October 6, 1979. It was on that date that the Federal Reserve increased interest rates by 20 points, preparing the way for the ‘supply-side economics’ that would constitute the ‘economic reality’ in which we are now enmeshed.
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
Now, I ask, where among the delegated grants to the Federal Government do you find any power to coerce a State; where among the provisions of the Constitution do you find any prohibition on the part of a State to withdraw; and, if you find neither one nor the other, must not this power be in that great depository, the reserved rights of the States?
Jefferson Davis (The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government)
the post-war Texas Constitution shatters this idea in its very first lines. Article 1, Section 1 of the Texas Constitution of 1876 declares: “Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and the maintenance of our free institutions and the perpetuity of the Union depend upon the preservation of the right of local self-government, unimpaired to all the States.” Texas is a free, independent, and sovereign State in a political and economic union with 49 other free, independent, and sovereign States. Collectively, these States work together to common ends and to solve common challenges. They operate under a framework that is codified in the Constitution of the United States. This framework created a federal government whose job it is to administer the Union in very specific ways. Anything beyond that, the States are, in every respect, like any other sovereign nation-state anywhere else in the world. We are not, nor were we ever intended to be, one nation.
Daniel Miller (Texit : Why and How Texas Will Leave The Union)
Long years of experience indicated to us that Negroes could achieve this goal when four things occurred: 1. nonviolent demonstrators go into the streets to exercise their constitutional rights; 2. racists resist by unleashing violence against them; 3. Americans of good conscience in the name of decency demand federal intervention and legislation; 4. the administration, under mass pressure, initiates measures of immediate intervention and supports remedial legislation.
Martin Luther King Jr. (The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.)
perpetrators of the Holocaust constituted a small minority among the accused Nazis. After 1948, in the German Federal Republic, they were not prosecuted in sizable numbers until the 1960s. Even so, out of the (roughly estimated) one hundred thousand perpetrators involved in the mass killings of Jews, only some seven hundred were tried and five hundred convicted by
Abram de Swaan (The Killing Compartments: The Mentality of Mass Murder)
While no censorship would be placed on the citizens, every person was responsible if he attacked the government in speech or writing, and such actions would lead to a criminal prosecution in a federal court.
Sean Patrick (The Know Your Bill of Rights Book: Don't Lose Your Constitutional Rights—Learn Them!)
central bank is an institution of the most deadly hostility existing against the Principles and form of our Constitution. I am an Enemy to all banks discounting bills or notes for anything but Coin. If the American People allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the People of all their Property until their Children will wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered.” -Thomas Jefferson (this describes where we are at today under the Federal Reserve)
J. Micha-el Thomas Hays (Rise of the New World Order: The Culling of Man)
I’m going to tell you something right now that you may not believe, but is 100% true: There is no law in existence anywhere in the IRS tax code or elsewhere that says you have to pay income tax to the Federal Government of the United States of America.  The income tax is a completely voluntary tax, but you are led to believe that it is mandatory. A mandatory, graduated income tax completely violates the Constitution.  What our Constitution mandates is that all personal taxes collected by the government must be apportioned, which in a nutshell means equally collected and equally distributed back to the people. Not only is there no law requiring
J. Micha-el Thomas Hays (Rise of the New World Order: The Culling of Man)
Government sales constituted 100 percent of the market for integrated circuits until 1964, and the federal government remained the largest buyer of chips for several years after that. The military had started funding research on new types of electric circuits in the early 1950s, when the tyranny of numbers first emerged. The problems inherent in complex circuits containing large numbers of individual components were particularly severe in defense applications. Such circuits tended to be big and heavy, but the services needed equipment that was light and portable. “The general rule of thumb in a missile was that one extra pound of payload cost $100,000 worth of extra fuel,” Noyce recalled. “The shipping cost of sending up a 50-pound computer was too high even for the Pentagon.” Further, space-age weapons had to be absolutely reliable—a goal that was inordinately difficult to achieve in a circuit with several thousand components and several thousand hand-soldered connections. When the Air Force ordered electronic equipment for the Minuteman I, the first modern intercontinental ballistic missile, specifications called for every single component—not just every radio but every transistor and every resistor in every radio—to have its own individual progress chart on which production, installation, checking, and rechecking could be recorded. Testing, retesting, and re-retesting more than doubled the cost of each electronic part.
T.R. Reid (The Chip: How Two Americans Invented the Microchip and Launched a Revolution)
The Constitution simply does not allow federal courts to attempt to change that situation unless and until it is shown that the State, or its political subdivisions, have contributed to cause the situation to exist. No record has been made in this case showing that the racial composition of the Detroit school population or that residential patterns within Detroit and in the surrounding areas were in any significant measure caused by governmental activity.” Most disturbing about Justice Stewart’s observation was that the civil rights plaintiffs did offer evidence
Richard Rothstein (The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America)
Being terminated for any of the items listed below may constitute wrongful termination: Discrimination: The employer cannot terminate employment because the employee is a certain race, nationality, religion, sex, age, or (in some jurisdictions) sexual orientation. Retaliation: An employer cannot fire an employee because the employee filed a claim of discrimination or is participating in an investigation for discrimination. In the US, this "retaliation" is forbidden under civil rights law. Reporting a Violation of Law to Government Authorities: also known as a whistleblower law, an employee who falls under whistleblower protections may not lawfully be fired for reporting an employer's legal violation or for similar activity that is protected by the law. Employee's refusal to commit an illegal act: An employer is not permitted to fire an employee because the employee refuses to commit an act that is illegal. Employer is not following the company's own termination procedures: In some cases, an employee handbook or company policy outlines a procedure that must be followed before an employee is terminated. If the employer fires an employee without following this procedure, depending upon the laws of the jurisdiction in which the termination occurs, the employee may have a claim for wrongful termination. … In the United States, termination of employment is not legal if it is based on your membership in a group protected from discrimination by law. It is unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee based upon factors including employee's race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, medical condition, pregnancy, or age (over 40), pursuant to U.S. federal laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. … Many laws also prohibit termination, even of at-will employees. For example, whistleblower laws may protect an employee who reports a legal or safety violation by the employer to an appropriate oversight agency. Most states prohibit employers from firing employees in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim, or making a wage complaint over unpaid wages. [firing someone for political affiliation or activism away from work is not on the list]
Wikipedia: wrongful dismissal
In the Citizens United fight for free speech rights, “ While Senate Democrats sought to empower Congress to restrict individual citizens’ political speech rights, they did not want to apply that same treatment to giant media corporations like CNN and the New York Times...Citizens United was a conservative nonprofit corporation that made a movie critical of Hillary Clinton. And Senate Democrats now wanted to give the federal government the constitutional authority to punish anyone for criticizing Hillary Clinton or any other political candidate." -p. 116
Ted Cruz (One Vote Away: How a Single Supreme Court Seat Can Change History)
The Supreme Court is supposed to protect our constitutional rights. It is also charged with securing our Constitution’s defining structural features, federalism and the separation of powers. Both doctrines protect Liberty by dividing power, by establishing checks and balances to prevent any branch of government from becoming too powerful...Over the past six decades, the Court has arrogated to itself far too much power-- well beyond what it is entitled to under the Constitution. It has seized this power at the expense of Congress, the executive branch, the states, and We the People alike. -p. Xxv
Ted Cruz (One Vote Away: How a Single Supreme Court Seat Can Change History)
The issue was so explosive that the word slavery did not appear in the Constitution, replaced by the euphemism of people “held to service or labor.” Slaveholding states wondered how their human property would be counted for congressional-apportionment purposes. Northern states finally agreed that five slaves would be counted as equivalent to three free whites, the infamous “federal ratio” that survived for another eighty years. The formula richly rewarded the southern states, artificially inflating their House seats and electoral votes and helping to explain why four of the first five presidents hailed from Virginia. This gross inequity was to play no small part in the eventual triumph of Jeffersonian Republicans over Hamiltonian Federalists.
Ron Chernow (Alexander Hamilton)
Absolute power could be exercised if the president felt it necessary to intervene if a state was not living up to its duties toward the constitution or federal laws. In cases of major threats to public safety (such as the previous mutinies and protests), the president could temporarily suspend certain civil rights in the interest of restoring order.
Captivating History (The Weimar Republic: A Captivating Guide to the History of Germany Between the End of World War I and Rise of the Nazi Era)
The fact is that the number one thing Trump could have done to MAGA would have been to eliminate the Federal Reserve and take the money power back from the Illuminati and back in the hands of the Congress as it dictates in the Constitution.
J. Micha-el Thomas Hays (Rise of the New World Order: Book Series Update and Urgent Status Report: Vol. 5 (Rise of the New World Order Status Report))
One suspects that, at some level, progressives grasp the power of this dynamic, which is why they advocate for national legislation for every problem to defeat the individual liberty that federalism helps secure.
Randy E. Barnett (Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People)
Like all who had intelligently and impartially studied the history of the formation of the Constitution, he held that the Federal Government had no rightful power to coerce a State. Like the sages and patriots who had preceded him in the high office that he filled, he believed that "our Union rests upon public opinion, and can never by cemented by the blood of its citizens shed in civil war. If it can not live in the affections of the people, it must one day perish. Congress may possess many means of preserving it by conciliation, but the sword was not placed in their hand to preserve it by force."—(Message of December 3, 1860.)
Jefferson Davis (The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government)
However, the decisions first to draft the Articles of Confederation and then, later, to move toward a new constitution and a more centralized federal government — the key events of the 1780s — were actions that mostly benefited the elites.
Daniel A. Sjursen (A True History of the United States: Indigenous Genocide, Racialized Slavery, Hyper-Capitalism, Militarist Imperialism and Other Overlooked Aspects of American Exceptionalism (Truth to Power))
The Constitution creates a framework for limited government—which is to say, the authority of the federal government covers enumerated areas but no others. Outside that purview, the government has no authority. Second, the Bill of Rights. Later added to the Constitution—ironically at the insistence of its Anti-Federalist opponents—this roster contains a series of limitations on government that typically begin, “Congress shall make no law.” Congress shall make no law restricting speech, or the press, or the free exercise of religion.
Dinesh D'Souza (United States of Socialism: Who's Behind It. Why It's Evil. How to Stop It.)
With very rare exceptions, there were none in 1850 who claimed the right of the Federal Government to apply coercion to a State. In 1860 men had grown to be familiar with threats of driving the South into submission to any act that the Government, in the hands of a Northern majority, might see fit to perform. During the canvass of that year, demonstrations had been made by quasi-military organizations in various parts of the North, which looked unmistakably to purposes widely different from those enunciated in the preamble to the Constitution, and to the employment of means not authorized by the powers which the States had delegated to the Federal Government. Well-informed men still remembered that, in the Convention which framed the Constitution, a proposition was made to authorize the employment of force against a delinquent State, on which Mr. Madison remarked that "the use of force against a State would look more like a declaration of war than an infliction of punishment, and would probably be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous compacts by which it might have been bound.
Jefferson Davis (The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government)
In all free governments the constitution or organic law is supreme over the government, and in our Federal Union this was most distinctly marked by limitations and prohibitions against all which was beyond the expressed grants of power to the General Government. In the foreground, therefore, I take the position that those who resisted violations of the compact were the true friends, and those who maintained the usurpation of undelegated powers were the real enemies of the constitutional Union.
Jefferson Davis (The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government)
It is well known that, at the time of the adoption of the Federal Constitution, African servitude existed in all the States that were parties to that compact, unless with the single exception of Massachusetts, in which it had, perhaps, very recently ceased to exist.
Jefferson Davis (The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government)
The only way judicial nominations will be detoxified...is for the Supreme Court to restore our constitutional order by returning improperly amassed federal power to the states; securing all of our rights, enumerated and unenumerated alike; and forcing Congress to legislate on the remaining truly national issues rather than delegating that legislative power to executive-branch agencies.
Ilya Shapiro (Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America's Highest Court)
Institutionalization and ‘special housing' At the time of the passage of the ADA, states still had laws on the books requiring people with mental disabilities to be institutionalized. Not even slaves had been so restricted. "Spurred by the eugenics movement," write legal historians Morton Horwitz, Martha Field and Martha Minow, "every state in the country passed laws that singled out people with mental or physical disabilities for institutionalization." The laws made it clear that the state's purpose was not to benefit disabled people but to segregate them from "normal" society. Thus, statutes noted that the disabled were segregated and institutionalized for being a "menace to society" [and] so that "society [might be] relieved from the heavy economic and moral losses arising from the existence at large of these unfortunate persons." "The state of Washington made it a crime for a parent to refuse state-ordered institutionalization," they wrote; "once children were institutionalized, many state laws required parents to waive all custody rights." Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote in the 1985 Cleburne Supreme Court decision (the decision saying that people with mental retardation did not constitute a "discrete and insular" minority) that this "regime of state-mandated segregation and degradation [had] in its virulence and bigotry rivaled, and indeed paralleled, the worst excesses of Jim Crow. Massive custodial institutions were built to warehouse the retarded for life." Yet they continue today. In 1999, the Supreme Court in its Olmstead decision acknowledged that the ADA did in fact require states to provide services to people with disabilities in the "most integrated setting"; but institutionalization continued, because federal funds  -- Medicaid, mostly  -- had a built-in "institutional bias," the result of savvy lobbying over the years by owners of institutions like nursing homes: In no state could one be denied a "bed" in a nursing home, but in only a few states could one use those same Medicaid dollars to get services in one's home that were usually much less expensive. Ongoing battles were waged to close down the institutions, to allow the people in them to live on their own or in small group settings. But parents often fought to keep them open. When they did close, other special facilities cropped up.
Mary Johnson (Make Them Go Away: Clint Eastwood, Christopher Reeve & The Case Against Disability Rights)
The presence of Fascism anywhere constitutes a threat to peace, and you do not need to debate it.
E.B. White (The Wild Flag: Editorials from the New Yorker on Federal World Government and Other Matters)
Stone that whenever the president “gave the word,” the governor should formally request federal troops, thus triggering the sole constitutional
Doris Kearns Goodwin (Leadership: In Turbulent Times)
If the federal government’s intervention isn’t needed, the Constitutional provision will be harmlessly superfluous.  But who can say what experiments will be tried by the caprice of particular States, by the ambition of enterprising leaders, or by the intrigues and influence of foreign powers?
Mary E. Webster (The Federalist Papers In Modern Language: Indexed for Today's Political Issues)
Mary Fanning (THE HAMMER is the Key to the Coup "The Political Crime of the Century": How Obama, Brennan, Clapper, and the CIA spied on President Trump, General Flynn ... and everyone else)
In 1963, Choh Hao Li, chairman and lone tenured faculty member in the Institute of Experimental Biology at Berkeley, announced that he had isolated and purified his sixth pituitary hormone, lipotropin. The magnitude of such a feat is clear considering that only one other person had ever purified a hormone, and that person was not coincidentally a student of Li's. The purification of lipotropin should have been a reason to celebrate; however, Li's colleagues at Berkeley acknowledged but did not rejoice in his success. As they perceived it, endocrinology was a scientific field that came out of the clinical sciences, which meant that Li's research was completely unsound, and they put enormous pressure on him to change his scientific topic. When that did not work, Wendell Stanley tried to 'promote [Li] out of the Virus Laboratory,' then later University Chancellor Clark Kerr threatened to discontinue the Institute for Experimental Biology because it did not fit with Berkeley's commitment to pure research. Things got infinitely worse for Li, of course, because he became perceived as less qualified with each professional achievement. [...] C. H. Li's travails at Berkeley are only half the story. In 1969, five years after transferring from Berkeley to UCSF, Li and his laboratory assistants assembled a highly complex synthetic version of human growth hormone (HGH) that was biologically active and could promote the growth of bones and muscle tissue. Rather than ignore or criticize the work, however, journalists waxed eloquently [sic] about Li's creation of HGH. One described it as no less than a panacea for most of the world's problems. Others clearly saw specific applications: 'it might now be . . . possible to tailor-make hormones that can inhibit breast cancer.' Li's discovery of synthetic HGH 'constituted a truly . . . great research breakthrough [that had] obvious applications,' ranging from 'human growth and development to . . . treatment of cancer and coronary artery disease.' Desperate letters poured in too; athletes wanted to know if HGH would help them become faster, bigger, stronger, and dwarfs from all over the world begged for samples of HGH or to volunteer as experimental subjects. Unlike at Berkeley, Li's discovery made him a hero at UCSF. None other than UCSF Chancellor Phillip Lee described Li's discovery as 'meticulous, painstaking, and brilliant research' and then tried to capitalize on the moment by asking the public and their political representatives to increase federal support of bioscience research. 'Research money is dwindling fast,' repeated Lee to anyone who cared to listen. 'We've proven than synthesis can be done, now all we need is the money and time to prove its tremendous value.' It is not surprising that federal and state money began to pour into Li's lab. What is shocking, however, is how quickly Li achieved scientific acclaim, not because he changed, but because the rest of the world around him changed so much.
Eric J. Vettel (Biotech: The Countercultural Origins of an Industry)
The immediate cause of the Civil War lay in the derangement of the nation’s two political systems—the constitutional system of the 1780s and the party system of the 1830s—and in their interaction with each other. Both these systems rested on an intricate set of balances: the constitutional, on a balance between federal and state power and among the three branches of the federal government; the party, on a competitive balance between party organizations at the national and state levels. The genius of this double system lay in its ability to morselize sectional and economic and other conflicts before they became flammable, and then through incremental adjustment and accommodations to keep the great mobiles of ideological, regional, and other political energies in balance until the next adjustment had to be made. This system worked well for decades, as the great compromises of 1820 and 1850 attested. The system was flexible too; when a measure of executive leadership was needed—to make great decisions about the West, as with Jefferson, or to adjust and overcome a tariff rebellion, as with Jackson—enough presidential authority could be exerted within the system to meet the need. But the essence of the system lay in balances, adjustment, compromise. Then, in the 1850s, this system crumbled. The centrifugal forces besetting it were so powerful that perhaps no polity could have overcome them; yet European and other political systems had encountered enormously divisive forces and survived. What happened in the United States was a fateful combination: a powerful ideology of states’ rights, defense of slavery, and “southern way of life” arose in the South, with South Carolina as the cutting edge; this was met by a counter-ideology in the urbanizing, industrializing, modernizing states, with Illinois as the cutting edge in the West.
James MacGregor Burns (The American Experiment: The Vineyard of Liberty, The Workshop of Democracy, and The Crosswinds of Freedom)
district court, Kirstein v. University of Virginia,20 may well mark the turning point in the long effort to place equal opportunity for women under the aegis of the Federal Constitution.21 The court held inconsonant with the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause the exclusion of women from the University of Virginia’s undergraduate school at Charlottesville; it approved a plan which, after a two-year transition period, requires the admission of women on precisely the same basis as men. Although sixteen years have elapsed since Brown v. Board of Education,22 Kirstein v. University of Virginia is the first decision to declare unconstitutional exclusion of women from educational opportunities afforded to men by a state institution.23 Significantly, “private” institutions of higher learning that might escape a constitutional prod confined to “state action” are beginning to volunteer similar reforms. For example, Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences announced during the 1969–70 academic year that it would admit women on the same basis as men and would offer students of both sexes the same options with respect to housing accommodations
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (My Own Words)
in Federalist Paper Number 45 shows how Madison and the founders saw the limited role of federal government: The operations of the federal government will be at their most extensive and important in times of war and danger, while those of the state governments will be the most important in times of peace and security. Since periods of war and danger will probably occur much less than times of peace and security, the state governments will enjoy yet another advantage over the federal government.
Mike Huckabee (The Three Cs That Made America Great: Christianity, Capitalism and the Constitution)
In Boumediene v. Bush, the Supreme Court held that the United States’ exercise of authority over Guantánamo gave the detainees a constitutional right to bring their habeas corpus claims in federal district courts. The Court also held that the procedures authorized under the Military Commissions Act, which called for military tribunals to look into the detention of the Guantánamo detainees, were not an adequate substitute for habeas. As the Court explained, “[t]he laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, even in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system, they are reconciled within the framework of the law.”17
Sandra Day O'Connor (Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court)
In America, the Federal Constitution has endured as the most sagacious conservative document in political history
Russell Kirk (The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot)
Independent” regulatory commissions and insurers and illegal aliens and doctors and private corporations and all Americans are bound by the law, not by President Obama’s whims. When he imperiously purports to waive federal statutes, he does not merely violate the law and flout his constitutional obligations. He subjects Americans to the intolerable dilemma of abiding by the law or bending to his extortionate abuse of raw power.
Andrew McCarthy (Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment)
Dru wins a striking victory at Elma, in upstate New York. Subsequently acclaimed ‘Administrator of the Republic’, he embarks on a dramatic programme of radical reform: introduction of a federal income tax, nationalisation of key industries, limitation of the working week, more stringent controls on concentrations of industry and the introduction of profit-sharing with employees in return for the abolition of strikes. Not content to rest there, he ensures women are granted the vote, and the Constitution is rewritten.
If it cannot be argued that a city has breached a federal or state environmental law, then surely it’s committed some form of discrimination. If discrimination cannot be plausibly alleged, well, federal and state constitutions are full of words and promises that might have been violated.
Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has willfully undermined the federal immigration laws; he has willfully refused to execute indisputably constitutional and valid laws of the United States; and he has engaged in gross maladministration by punishing states that seek to enforce federal immigration law, and denying them the sovereign right to defend themselves from the economic and security harms caused by illegal immigration, while rewarding states that flout federal immigration law.
Andrew McCarthy (Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment)
As alleged in Article I, he has unilaterally and in violation of the Constitution conferred amnesty on several categories of illegal aliens, which categories he has unilaterally defined, and he has instituted unauthorized federal benefits for those aliens, without congressional authorization and in defiance of Congress.
Andrew McCarthy (Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment)
He has abused his authority over the Department of Homeland Security, and its component agencies charged with enforcement of the immigration laws, to confer an administrative amnesty on categories of illegal immigrants, which categories he has unilaterally defined, in order to undermine federal immigration laws and the constitutional authority of Congress to enact immigration law.
Andrew McCarthy (Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment)
One way or the other , the case coming before a federal judge in Miami July 2 challenging Florida's 6-year-old constitutional ban on same-sex marriages could be the next shoe to drop.