secession

Discussion in 'Politics' started by homewardbound, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. homewardbound

    homewardbound
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    Several years ago I read a book about the Constitutional Convention. I don’t remember the title anymore, but I remember that the author explained that near the end of the Convention one of the delegates wanted to give Congress the power to make salutary laws, which the author explained are meant to govern people’s moral behavior. I thought at the time that it was strange that the author used the term salutary since the only other way I have ever known it to be used is to describe salutary neglect- the British practice of not rigidly enforcing some of the trade laws that Americans eventually objected to during the American Revolution.

    Well, it turned out the author used the wrong term. According to the Notes that James Madison took at the Constitutional Convention both Madison and then later another delegate wanted to give Congress the power to make sumptuary laws. This kind of law has to do with regulating what people can buy in order to reduce conspicuous spending- that often means someone is living beyond their economic means. These laws do not affect morality in terms of sex or marriage which is the impression I got from this book’s author when he described his salutary laws.

    At any rate the Constitutional Convention didn’t adopt Madison’s call for sumptuary laws and didn’t really debate the issue either because after being at work for several months already the delegates wanted to go home as soon as they could. The Convention generally concluded that Congress did not need an express power to make sumptuary laws because it could regulate moral behavior by exercising its other powers- namely to regulate commerce and levy taxes.

    Now, today America is a moral cesspool that our Founding Fathers would not recognize. We need laws to prohibit and punish immoral behavior like adultery and Sodomy. But I realize that in today’s political climate and the fractured political process that the Constitution set up no majority could be mustered to pass any laws to govern moral behavior. But I don’t want non-Christians’ immorality to bring God’s judgment on my country.

    I have always been opposed to secession. There is nothing in the Constitution to allow it and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled several times that the states cannot leave the Union and must obey federal law. But with more and more people in this country becoming more and more immoral, maybe secession should be an option. So I have a modest proposal to settle religious and ideological differences among the people of the United States:

    Congress proposes a constitutional amendment to the effect:

    1. The preservation of the Godly heritage of the United States of America being necessary for the security of a free people the Congress shall have the power to make sumptuary laws for the maintenance of the Judeo-Christian society of the American People but no law shall be made to establish or maintain any congregation, denomination or sect to the exclusion of any other.

    2. The approval of this amendment at the next election for United States Representatives after this amendment is proposed, by a majority of the electors for United States representatives in a majority of the districts for which members of a state’s legislature are chosen shall constitute ratification of this amendment by convention held in that state and this amendment shall not be operative except upon ratification by the conventions of three-fourths of the states.

    3. Upon the ratification of this amendment any county or other political subdivision of any state in which two-thirds of the electors for United States representatives shall reject ratification of this amendment may in a manner and under such regulations which the congress shall determine by law, secede from the United States of America and from the state in which the county or other political subdivision is located and shall thereafter cease all allegiance and obligation to the United States and to the several states providing that the United States and the separate states shall retain ownership of any real or chattel property which is owned thereby at the time at which this amendment is ratified and the United States shall retain sovereignty over the territorial waters and airspace of the United States as determined by the laws and treaties made under this Constitution and the residents of such counties that secede shall be assessed by the United States according to the per capita debt of the United States at the time of secession.
     
  2. Squidward

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    What??? I'm very conservative, but no way should people be criminally punished for moral failures. We do not need a theocracy. If we do, then who gets to rule? Catholics? Lutherans?
     
  3. Salty

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    Can you imagine what life would be like if Westboro Baptist was in charge?
     
  4. Squidward

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    We'd all be going to hell. The Right Reverend Fred Phelps, J.D. would have us all on a skewer in flames.
     
  5. billwald

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    >I have always been opposed to secession.

    You don't "believe in" The Declaration of Independence?


    > There is nothing in the Constitution to allow it

    It is a given, the null case, since the Declaration of Independence is one of our founding documents and the heart of the Revolution.

    > and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled several times that the states cannot leave the Union and must obey federal law.

    And you agree with all Supreme Court decisions? Roe v Wade has been upheld several times.
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    That's a pretty polarizing first post loaded with a lot of assumptions.

    I'm going to refrain from replying until I see if the OP is gonna hang out and discuss. :)
     
  7. PamelaK

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    "But I don’t want non-Christians’ immorality to bring God’s judgment on my country."

    You're about 39 years too late. Our gov't did it with Roe v. Wade.
     
  8. billwald

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    The suggestion in the IP would probably be unconstitutional.

    I think God gave up on the USA when General McArthur begged for Christian churches to send missionaries to Japan and he was ignored.
     
  9. homewardbound

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    Since 2008 I have had heart trouble. After going 23 years with no illness serious enough to warrant medical attention I had a bout with pneumonia that aggravated a defective aortic valve that I didn’t know I had, and this put me in congestive heart failure. I was supposed to 5 BP drugs, but the side effects were so bad- and I have no reason to be alive anyway- so I stopped taking them after about 2 years. My BP is again sky-high. I had to see a GP last June for gout and he wouldn’t treat the gout if I didn’t agree to be treated for the BP. But the GP hasn’t been willing to overmedicate me the way my cardiologist was. However, my GP sent me back to the cardiologist in order to find out why my BP is so high. There is nothing the cardiologist can do that he hasn’t done already, but when I saw him yesterday he insisted that I be admitted to the hospital because my BP is at stroke levels. But then once I was admitted my care was entrusted to the ward doctors so what actually happened was not what my cardiologist said that HE was going to do. I do not wish to be a guinea pig for the medical profession so I discharged myself this afternoon instead of undergoing invasive procedures that I have already undergone and which didn’t show anything out of the norm the first time.

    But at any rate my health at the moment will not permit me to suffer the stress of an argument with a bunch of Baptists, so I will be brief and then move on.

    The American Revolution was more about an open rebellion against a British king who was unfit to rule. Americans were simply observing 7 centuries of British history because the Brits themselves have repeatedly rebelled against tyrannical kings. Americans were in open rebellion against British authority long before 1776. Independence was essentially an afterthought. And no part of Great Britain proper left Great Britain (most Brits did not consider Americans to be Brits even when many Americans thought of themselves as Brits up until independence. So independence was not really secession.

    The U.S. Supreme Court didn’t really settle anything in its Roe decision. The Court declared that it had no choice but side with the woman’s right to an abortion because nothing in the Constitution or statutory law defined the unborn as legal persons for constitutional purposes. But the Court also declared the Congress could make a law whereby the unborn would have legal personhood under the 14th Amendment and such a law would give the Court ample reason to revisit the Roe decision because the unborn person’s right to life would be in conflict with the woman’s right to an abortion.

    Secession is unconstitutional as the Constitution is now written. But ratification of the amendment that I propose would make secession constitutional by setting up a legal framework in which secession could be achieved.
     
  10. billwald

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    Where in the Constitution is secession prohibited?
     
  11. homewardbound

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    Article VI.

    All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

    No state could leave the Union or otherwise place itself outside of the jurisdiction of the federal government without violating Article VI of the Constitution.

    Each of the original 13 states had previously ratified the Articles of Confederation and perpetual union, so under the Constitution right now that Union, which predates the Constitution, cannot be nullified because it is an obligation that predates the Constitution and which the Constitution preserves. Also, the U.S. Congress established by the Articles of Confederation passed the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (before the Constitution was even written) whereby the lands in the Old Northwest Territory could be turned into territories and states that “shall forever remain a part of this Confederacy of the United States of America, subject to the Articles of Confederation, and to such alterations therein as shall be constitutionally made; and to all the acts and ordinances of the United States in Congress assembled, conformable thereto.”
     
  12. Alcott

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    Amendment X:
    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    Neither Article VI nor Amendment X address secession in an overt way. As the amendments take precedence over the original body-- or so says the original body-- Amendment X takes any precedence here. So since nothing overtly forbids secession, I maintain it is allowable, and it would take another amendment to make it clear it is forbidden. The closest the Supreme Court has come to ruling on this is White v. Texas. It's been a long time since I studied that, but its concern was with debt, and it was a case in 1869, when the SP was not in any form going to rule that the Union had just fought the constitution by fighting the Confederacy. And if you think the fedral government at that time did not bend the constitution to suit reconstruction wishes, then would you say the Tenure of Office act was constitutional?

    Nevertheless, you have stated your theory as to why secession is illegal by citing Article VI, and I maintian Amendment X, because it is an amendment, takes predecence.
     
  13. billwald

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    Then the Constitution, unlike the Articles of Confederation, voids the Declaration of Independence?
     
  14. homewardbound

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    The decisions of the Supreme Court take precedence over the text of the Constitution and its amendments because the Supreme Court’s power “shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects. In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”

    In at least 2 rulings subsequent to the 10th Amendment the Court ruled that the states are still subject to the Constitution and federal law.


    James Madison to Edmund Randolph: “I hold it for a fundamental point that an individual independence of the states is utterly irreconcilable with the idea of an aggregate sovereignty. I think, at the same time, that a consolidation of the states into one simple republic is not less unattainable than it would be inexpedient. Let it be tried, then, whether any middle ground can be taken, which will at once support a due supremacy of the national authority, and leave in force the local authorities so far as they can be subordinately useful.” (A More Perfect Union, William Peters, Crown Publishers, Inc. New York, 1987, 0517564505

    Under the Constitution, as currently amended, no state can disrupt or in any way interfere with the operation of the federal government as long as the federal government is acting within its enumerated and implied powers and only the Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court can determine when and if the federal government is acting within these powers.

    United States Supreme Court: McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819

    “The constitution, therefore, declares, that the [17 U.S. 316, 327] constitution itself, and the laws passed in pursuance of its provisions, shall be the supreme law of the land, and shall control all state legislation and state constitutions, which may be incompatible therewith; and it confides to this court the ultimate power of deciding all questions arising under the constitution and laws of the United States. The laws of the United States, then, made in pursuance of the constitution, are to be the supreme law of the land, anything in the laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. The only inquiry, therefore, in this case is, whether the law of the state of Maryland imposing this tax be consistent with the free operation of the law establishing the bank, and the full enjoyment of the privileges conferred by it?...By the charter. the bank is authorized to issue bills of any denomination above five dollars. The act of Maryland purports to restrain and limit their powers in this respect. The charter, as well as the laws of the United States, makes it the duty of all collectors and receivers to receive the notes of the bank in payment of all debts due the government. The act of Maryland makes it penal, both on the person paying and the person receiving such bills, until stamped by the authority of Maryland. This is a direct interference with the revenue. The legislature of Maryland might, with as much propriety, tax treasury notes. This is either an attempt to expel the bank from the state; or it is an attempt to raise a revenue for state purposes, by an imposition on property and franchises holden under the national government, and created by that government, for purposes connected with its own administration. In either view, there cannot be a clearer case of interference. The bank cannot exist, nor can any bank established by congress exist, if this right to tax it exists in the state governments. One or the other must be surrendered; and a surrender on the part of the government of the United States would be a giving [17 U.S. 316, 330] up of those fundamental and essential powers without which the government cannot be maintained. A bank may not be, and is not, absolutely essential to the existence and preservation of the government. But it is essential to the existence and preservation of the government, that congress should be able to exercise its constitutional powers, at its own discretion, without being subject to the control of state legislation. The question is not, whether a bank be necessary or useful, but whether congress may not constitutionally judge of that necessity or utility; and whether, having so judged and decided, and having adopted measures to carry its decision into effect, the state governments may interfere with that decision, and defeat the operation of its measures. Nothing can be plainer than that, if the law of congress, establishing the bank, be a constitutional act, it must have its full and complete effects. Its operation cannot be either defeated or impeded by acts of state legislation. To hold otherwise, would be to declare, that congress can only exercise its constitutional powers, subject to the controlling discretion, and under the sufferance, of the state governments.”

    “Since, then, the constitutional government of this republican empire cannot be practically enforced, so as to secure the permanent glory, safety and felicity of this great country, but by a fair and liberal interpretation of its powers; since those powers could not all be expressed in the constitution, but many of them must be taken by implication; since the sovereign powers of the Union are supreme, and, wherever they come in direct conflict and repugnancy with those of the state governments, the latter must give way…”

    U.S. Supreme Court, Fletcher v. Peck, 1810

    “…Georgia cannot be viewed as a single, unconnected, sovereign power, on whose legislature no other restrictions are imposed than may be found in its own constitution. She is a part of a large empire; she is a member of the American union; and that union has a constitution the supremacy of which all acknowledge, and which imposes limits to the legislatures of the several states, which none claim a right to pass.”
     
  15. homewardbound

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    The declaration of independence has nothing to do with this issue. Rebellion against the legal authority of Great Britain became justified only when Americans were forced out of the legal process whereby they could seek redress for grievances against the British government. We rebelled against Great Britain only when the law allowed us no other alternative. But as long as elections are held on schedule, the Courts are open and office holders yield to their successors, Americans can redress their grievances with the federal government so rebellion is neither necessary, nor legal. But when Christians cannot control society well enough through the rule of law to uphold God's law (due to the smallness of their number or corruption within government), Christians must separate themselves from the ungodly and re-establish society on Biblical principals.
     
  16. billwald

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    I thought most of you believed that the Dec of Ind enumerated God given rights?
     
  17. homewardbound

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    Which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which in 18th century parlance meant property. But the DOI also declared "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."

    Rights need the protection of government so nobody can place themselves beyond the jurisdiction of legitimate government without becoming a danger to everyone else’s rights. The situation I see is that our current government is still a legitimate government, although it is one in which God-fearing people no longer have enough power to make that government protect a God-fearing society.
     
  18. Arbo

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    Best laid plans, eh?;)
     
  19. billwald

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    >deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

    The Confederacy retracted their consent.
     

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