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The Constitution’s Twentieth Amendment: Limiting Lame Duck Mischief

The Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution Explaining the need for the Twentieth Amendment is messy.  That is because despite the care taken in drafting, the Constitution left a few matters messy.  The Constitution provided terms of office for House members, Senators and the President.  It did not give dates for when those terms would begin.  It left […]

Fifteenth Amendment: Power to Congress over Voting Discrimination

The Civil War had been won by the North, but there was still much to do, as both legal and extra-legal means were used to prevent freed slaves from voting. Between the end of the Civil War in 1865 and 1870, the US Constitution was amended three times. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments are collectively known as […]

11th Amendment Overrules the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court interprets the Constitution. If the Court makes an unpopular decision, the recourse is an amendment. This happened with the Eleventh Amendment. During the Revolutionary War a South Carolina merchant, Captain Robert Farquhar sold supplies to the State of Georgia on credit. Following the War, Georgia refused to pay Farquhar asserting that he […]

Constitution’s “Origination Clause”: Why Revenue Bills Start in the House, Part 1

This is Part 1 of a three part series discussing the Constitution’s Origination Clause.  Part 2 explains the Senate procedure of  “gut and replace”. Part 3 explains why “gut and replace” violates the Constitution. There are overriding principles embodied in the US Constitution, derived from the Declaration of Independence.  These principles are beliefs about the […]

The US Constitution and Local Government

Discussions of the US Constitution tend to focus upon the actions of the president, congress and the Supreme Court.  While these are consequential, often overlooked is the impact of the Constitution on the actions of local government. Most Americans are aware of the presidential oath of office required of a new president before he begins […]

An Agency Theory of The Constitution as a Power of Attorney

“[W]e must never forget that it is a constitution we are expounding.” Chief Justice John Marshall, McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) Reviewing the 200 years of “expounding” the Constitution has undergone can be quite confounding.  There have been hundreds of Supreme Court opinions. Legal scholars, lawyers, and judges engage in continuing debate over the proper method […]

The Sword of Liberty: Constitutional Education and Adventure

Book Review: The Sword of Liberty by Loren J. Enns1 Thomas Jefferson expressed the sense of the Founders of the American Republic: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…” 2 The Constitution’s Article V reflects this principle, providing […]

The Government May Be “Shut Down” But The Constitution Is Hard At Work

Despite a century long[1] effort to eviscerate and ignore the Constitution, the government “shut down” demonstrates the document’s stubborn staying power.  As the news media works to “analyze” who will get the blame, no one mentions that the goal of the Constitution was to limit government by dividing power.   Though those in office will not […]

American Federalism: Source, Purpose and Establishment Part II

Beginning with The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in 1639,[1] Americans grew increasingly accustomed to local self-government.  They also learned the freedom and liberty that came along with a benign distant central government accepting local citizens’ control of  local law.  Over time, Americans came to live in a world perhaps described as “quasi-federalism”.[2] Among the men who […]

American Federalism: Source, Purpose and Establishment Part I

“The federal and State governments are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers, and designed for different purposes.” James Madison   The Federalist, No.46 The American freedoms of religion, speech, press and assembly as protected and practiced were new to the world. Those contributions to the world’s political thought were uniquely American. So it is with […]