Categories
Constitution Elections Electoral College Truth

The Electoral College is Essential to America

By KrisAnne Hall

On Wednesday, the Oregon House passed legislation (HB 2927) that would require Oregon to award its Electoral College votes only to presidential candidates who win the national popular vote. According to National Popular Vote, this kind of legislation has already been passed by 10 states, (California, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington) and the District of Columbia.

To be clear, Oregon and these other 10 are not technically abolishing the Electoral College but altering it. Article 2 section 2 clauses 2 and 3 and the Twelfth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution require states to establish electors that will choose the president and vice president of the United States. These states are not eliminating their Electoral College, they are eliminating the voice of their citizens and eliminating the legitimacy and relevance of their state’s involvement in the political process. In short, disenfranchising the vote of an entire state.

The process of the Electoral College was established for a specific reason.

Because we have failed, for generations, to teach an accurate application of the Constitution, many people like Oregon Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer believe that the Electoral College is “flawed and outdated.” Keny-Guyer told Oregon Live, “The Electoral College does not fit the ‘We The People’ and ‘One person, one vote’ style of government. Keny-Guyer and those who believe as she does simply do not understand why the Electoral College was established and how that process protects her individual liberty and the sovereignty of her state.

She also doesn’t understand that neither Oregon nor America are democracies, but instead are Constitutional Republics. The incessant push toward being ruled by majority opinion is supposed to be antithetical to the American character, unfortunately the dearth of real education in America has created an equal scarcity of understanding about America’s fundamental principles.

 

The reason for the Electoral College

The process of the Electoral College was established to ensure that the person elected to be president of these United States would accurately represent the union as a whole, not favoring certain States while ignoring others. The office of president, contrary to popular belief, was never designed to be a representative of individual citizens, but rather a representative of the collective interests of the states.

A survey of the powers delegated to the president via Article 2 of the Constitution makes the role of the president quite clear. He is not the “leader of America,” he is the leader of the military upon declaration of war by Congress  He is part of the treaty process that makes contractual agreements with foreign governments and the states. Most everything that the president is to do, he does only with the consent of the Senate (the voice of the states).

Together, the President and the Senate ensure that each state’s interests are represented equally in matters of war, peace, and foreign commerce. The office of the president was established to be the voice to foreign countries on behalf of the collective states. Because he is the representative of the states, the electors of the state are to choose their president based upon the person they believe will best represent the principles and interests of their state.

There is no power delegated by the Constitution to the president that authorizes him to directly affect the lives of the people. The only power held by the president to touch lives individually would be that of the power to grant reprieves or pardons for federal crimes — and that was established to be a check and balance upon the judiciary, not a system of personal favors to individuals.

Because the president’s role in government is to be an ambassador on behalf of the states, the states must choose their representative. The popular vote for president that takes place within the state ensures that the principles and the interests of the people of that state guide and direct the electors in their choice of president. These subtle distinctions are hard for Americans to grasp since we perceive our nation to be a unitary whole where the states provide support to the central government that directs them.

We have forgotten that our republic is a collection of independent sovereign states who created the District of Columbia to represent their interests.

 

The dangers of the popular vote movement

The national popular vote movement takes us even farther away from our Constitutional structure by further removing the independence of the states, and eliminating the voice of the people within those states.

This new legislation proposes that once a popular vote is complete across the nation, each elector of the state must choose the person elected by popular vote regardless of the collective choice of his fellow state citizens. This legislation mandates that each state submit to the popular choice of the nation as a whole, regardless of whether that candidate best represents the interests and principles of the people of that state.

Through popular vote, the individual states would become completely irrelevant in the processes of the federal government. The president would no longer be required to ensure all states’ interests were represented in matters of foreign affairs. The president’s only concern, throughout the entire four years of his term, would be to make sure the select few states, with the greatest voting population, and the biggest cities, were happy and pleased with the execution of his power. It would be like Georgia surrendering all its voice to New York and legislating themselves out of the political process or like Connecticut asking Texas to decide what is in the best interest of Connecticut. So in this specific case, Oregon’s legislation actually makes its residents more subservient as a small state.

Future presidents could then ignore all but a few states.

All treaties could be focused upon the prosperity and growth of a select few states, at best ignoring the rest, at worst requiring the lesser populated states to enrich the other states via treaties and regulations. All wars could be conducted in the interest of a few states and all peace could be negotiated to benefit the few over the whole. Cabinet members and Supreme Court justices could be chosen from persons of those few big population states because there would be no motivation to make an equitable search. Every state that did not hold the majority voting population would be relegated to being a spectator in the entire political process.

 

The very point of the Constitution’s framers

Charles Cotesworth Pickney, delegate to the Constitutional Convention summed up what was not only the popular belief of the delegates, but would also become the controlling belief in establishing Article 2 section 1 clauses 2 and 3 of the Constitution. He classified a national popular vote of the president to be “liable to the most obvious & striking objections.” He said if the people were to elect the president by popular vote, “They will be led by a few active & designing men. The most populous States by combining in favor of the same individual will be able to carry their points.” (Editor’s note: See also Explaining the Brilliance of the Electoral College)

Not only will the States be silenced in their political affairs nationally and in foreign negotiations, the national popular vote would ensure that the people themselves would be silenced. What would be the point in voting if you didn’t live in one of the largest population states when your interests won’t be represented? Every presidential election would be chosen by these few states and these few states would grow and maintain their voting power, because the national popular vote system would ensure the enrichment of these states over the smaller states. A national popular vote is, in fact, an oxymoron as it would only reflect the voice of the majority, denying every person in their state a voice in the presidential election.

Those who cry for a national popular vote, do so out of ignorance, yet maddening on toward their own destruction. Oregon and states like her will not achieve a greater voice with the elimination of the Constitutional process of the Electoral College, they will ensure their political irrelevance from this day forward.

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the US Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. KrisAnne is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, she also has an internationally popular radio and television show and her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com

Categories
Constitution Religious Truth

Judicial Secularists Attack Religious Freedom

(Editor’s Note: (The Revolutionary Act has received information that First Liberty Institute, representing Cambridge Christian High School in its fight for religious freedom, is planning to file an appeal.)

by Rep. Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

On June 7, the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Florida dealt the latest blow to religious freedom in our country.  

The case arose from a request by Cambridge Christian High School, which had earned the opportunity to compete in the 2A division playoffs finals, to use the stadium’s public announcement system in prayer prior to the beginning of the game. The team’s opponent was another Christian school equally devoted to serving God and to conducting itself in His image with every activity it undertakes.  

Citing issues of potential coercion and fearing that such prayer might be offensive to others, Dr. Roger Dearing, the executive director of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), declined the request.

Of course, in so doing, Dr. Dearing dismissed the fact that the same FHSAA had approved such a request in 2012. He also dismissed the national tradition of engaging in prayer prior to the start of a football game. And most astoundingly he ignored that both teams, meaning all parties involved, wished to engage in a unified prayer as one community under Christ.

Following the denial, Cambridge Christian brought the case to the judiciary for consideration. After all, they weren’t asking for the announcer to lead everyone in prayer. They weren’t asking for the FHSAA to buy new equipment. They weren’t even asking for the game to be delayed for one moment because, in point of fact, the two teams were going to pray on the field and in front of the fans anyway.  

No. The only question they were asking was, “Hey, man, can I borrow your microphone?”

 

Court predictably quashed religious freedom

But almost predictably, the court ruled against religious freedom citing issues of perceived endorsement of religion by government and of the infringement praying might have on the rights of others (yes, this is not a misprint).

Every time I learn of a case like this, I am baffled at the extent to which the state squashes the public’s ability to pray in an open forum merely because of government’s presence. This catastrophic road upon which the Supreme Court of the United States has placed us suppresses our right to worship and to pay reverence to God — in direct violation of the original intent First Amendment.  It ignores the spiritual aspects of human existence, and most importantly, casts aside the foundational roles of religion and religious worship in our nation’s birth.  

Repeatedly, I am told that the reason for following this road is the wall of separation between church and state espoused by Thomas Jefferson in his letter written on the first day of 1802 to the members of the Danbury Baptist Church.  

But there is so much that runs counter to this assertion.  

First, President Jefferson’s comment was completely extrajudicial in nature.

Second, the concept of a wall of separation between church and state has been tainted by the agenda-driven nature of the Supreme Court’s 20th-century opinions. Following the 19th-century Court’s introduction of Jefferson’s wall into the legal corpus, the first two 20th-century cases invoking it did so in an effort to keep the government from interfering with state-based, religious-supporting programs.  

But in 1947, the Court changed direction to one that would inhibit, rather than support, religious worship. With its McCollum decision, the court prohibited Bible verses from being recited in public schools, and later, it struck down prayer in schools as well as the observance of even a bland and neutral moment of silence.

The subsequent deterioration in the nation’s moral posture and the breakdown in the family as a central societal unit are the predictable consequences of these actions.

 

An alternative route ensuring freedoms

But lost in these recitations is the overt bias the Court displayed in selecting Jefferson’s wall of separation in its interpretation of the First Amendment.  

Let’s consider a few similarly applicable observations made by some of the nation’s foundational greats in equally extrajudicial fashion.  George Mason, in writing the Virginia Bill of Rights, wrote, “all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and. . . it is the mutual duty of all to practise Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.” His proposed amendment was subsequently approved by the Virginia legislature, the same legislature Madison and Jefferson inhabited — a far greater weight of influence than one man’s personal letter.

Based on Mason’s language, would it not have been more appropriate for a 20th century court to hold that in interpreting the First Amendment we should recognize that our nation was created with the purpose of guaranteeing that all men be able to engage in Christian forbearance? If so, wouldn’t using a public microphone for spontaneously requested prayer be not only allowed, but encouraged?

Or how about using John Marshall, the most prolific justice in the history of the Supreme Court? When asked about the nexus of Christianity and the nation’s government, he wrote in a letter, just like Jefferson did, that, “The American population. . . is entirely Christian, and with us, Christianity and religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institution did not presuppose Christianity.”

Consequently, wouldn’t a more appropriate truism for the Supreme Court to follow in its interpretation of the First Amendment be that the United States of America, through its foundation and its culture, presupposes Christianity?

Or consider the observation made by Justice Joseph Story, one of the early members of the Supreme Court, who extra-judicially wrote, “My own private judgment has long been (and every day’s experience more and more confirms me in it) that government cannot long exist without an alliance with religion to some extent; and that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests and solid foundations of free government.”

From this, wouldn’t a more appropriate guide for the interpretation of the First Amendment be that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests, foundations, and existence of these United States of America?

 

Back the need for a legislative override

If any of these guides had been adopted instead of, or perhaps in addition to, Jefferson’s wall of separation, imagine how different American jurisprudence would be as it relates to religious liberty and our freedom to worship! Sharia law would be an impossible legal threat, and the concepts of love for one’s neighbor and respect for the dignity of man would be freely taught in our schools under the direct supervision of the community’s parents.

From this analysis a few conclusions may be reached.

First, there is no inherent reason for Jefferson’s wall of separation, at least as the courts apply it today, to be the only compass in interpreting the First Amendment of the Constitution. So long as all religious views are respected, the government can peacefully cohabitate with worshipers be they Christian, Jewish, or any peace-loving faith.  

Second, neither the people of this great nation nor its elected representatives selected the road our nation has traversed regarding religious liberty. Instead, it was embraced by an oligarchy of legalists unaccountable to the will of the people.

Consequently, if it is true that the Courts have interpreted the Constitution in a manner inconsistent with the will of the people, then isn’t it up to We The People, as the true purveyors of the Constitution, to override an opinion of such a Court and reverse an ill-conceived opinion? We know, through their writings, that at least Jefferson and Madison would think so.

Truly, the road we are following regarding our religious freedom is nothing short of harrowing. It has diminished our sense of morality and has curtailed our abilities to teach our children that there are things bigger than themselves.

It is time for our country to navigate back to the road built upon Christian forbearance; the same road that would lead us to the shining city on the hill.

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and serves in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.

Categories
Constitution Privatization Truth

Why Trump Must Eliminate the FAA to Privatize Air Travel

By KrisAnne Hall

The Trump administration would like to privatize air traffic control, removing it from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Privatization is exactly what should happen, but is that what will happen?

The question we should be asking is: If the FAA loses its role regulating air traffic, will that be equal to privatization? Unfortunately, I believe the answer will be no.  

We must remember there is absolutely no authority for the federal government to regulate domestic flights. The assertion of necessity due to international flights or national security is a false assertion and does not create a domestic regulatory authority.  

The commerce clause, contrary to modern thought, also does not create an authority for the federal government to regulate air traffic. James Madison, known as the Father of the Constitution, explained in an address to the House of Representatives in 1792 that the commerce clause is not a power of its own but a description of the purpose of those limited and enumerated powers expressly delegated to the federal government through the Constitution.

Madison expressly warns us that to allow Congress to turn this clause into a power, creates a completely unlimited federal government, one that the Constitution cannot tolerate:

“for if the clause in question really authorizes Congress to do whatever they think fit…, of which they are to judge, and money can be applied to it, …every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress…were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America…”

The FAA should not exist as it does and it certainly has no constitutional authority to regulate our domestic air traffic. Therefore, privatizing is exactly what should happen to bring this operation in line with the Constitution.

 

Trump’s plan falls short of privatizing

Unfortunately, Trump’s plan is not calling for the dissolution of the FAA, so this agency will continue to exist and exert a great deal of control over the operation of any private entity taking over that role.  Additionally, most airports are not really private entities. Most airports are Public-Private Partnerships (P3’s) which are a hybrid of government agency and private business. Finally, Trump’s current plan to privatize air traffic control specifically designs the new non-profit corporations as Public-Private Partnerships.

Public-private partnerships (P3’s) equate to an unholy marriage of government and private corporations.   They are private corporations, operating with a private board of directors like all corporations, making money like a private corporation, but carry the power, force, and often the funding of government. Your tax dollars often fund them, the authority of government empowers them, but you have no control over them.

It is a quasi-governmental bureaucracy that makes money like a private business but is subsidized in part or in whole by the government. It frequently proposes and enforces government regulations upon the people with the authority of government, but the people elected no one holding this authority and share in none of the money collected.

Perhaps the most disturbing consequence of these P3’s is the immunity from legal consequences the corporate leadership enjoys because of their quasi-government status.

The proposed plan for the new air traffic corporations establishes that the air traffic corporations will be sustained completely by “user fees” instead of taxes. However, tax dollars will be used to establish the corporations until the fees are in place and the transition and start up are complete. And of course the federal government will also continue to control the operation of air traffic through rules and regulations by the FAA.

 

United Airlines controversy highlights FAA problem

The United Airlines scandal provided us with the perfect example of how these P3’s can go all wrong.  The doctor who was forcefully and abusively removed from the plane for refusing to give up his seat to airline employees, was not removed from the plane by airline employees. He was removed from the plane by government employees.

Under normal legal conditions, the airline would have to go through legal contract dispute resolution with the passenger. Government employees cannot enforce a private contract agreement using the power of government unless there has been fulfillment of civil due process and a court order. How then, could government employees inject themselves into this civil dispute? Because airports are not private entities, they are this P3 public-private hybrid. This is the same relationship and power a public-private air traffic corporation would hold.

Since these air traffic corporations are being specifically designed as P3’s, it would be inaccurate to classify this proposed move as “privatization.”

The airline industry as a whole needs to be completely privatized. But that’s not what is happening here.  Privatization of air traffic control does not necessarily mean the elimination of all government regulations. However, any regulation upon the air traffic industry must be handled at the State level, where the Constitution establishes the power to be reserved.

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the US Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. KrisAnne is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, she also has an internationally popular radio and television show and her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com

 

 

Categories
Constitution Truth

Breaking the Contract Binding the United States

By KrisAnne Hall

Mayors and governors cannot lawfully make treaties with foreign governments and this is why.

The Constitution of the United States is a contractual agreement between the States of the Union, the States are the parties to the contract and the Federal government is the product.  When a new State becomes a part of these United States, they do so by legally agreeing to be bound by the terms of the existing contract.

The States, through that contract, delegate a few, defined powers and responsibilities to the federal government, while all powers not explicitly delegated within the contract are reserved to the individual States. Any alterations to the contract — to be clear, the U.S. Constitution — must be done through the amendment process of Article V.

 

Power over treaties delegated to the federal government

In general, there are two spheres of government authority — internal and external. The federal government’s sphere of delegated authority is intended to be primarily foreign in application, whereas the State’s sphere is domestic.

James Madison, the second president of the United States and Father of our Constitution, explained this power relationship in Federalist 45.

“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; with which last the power of taxation will for the most part be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people; and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

In a nutshell, the federal government was created by the States to be an Ambassador on behalf of the States in foreign affairs and carry out certain enumerated functions agreed upon by the States.

Article 2 section 2 clause 2 of the Constitution delegates the authority of treaties to the President and the Senate, as it is dealing with externalities. Since this power of making treaties is specifically delegated to the federal government, it is not a power that remains reserved to the States. Since treaties are an item that falls within the foreign sphere, it is by the Constitutional contract, not a power that either the State or local governments can lawfully engage in without fully jeopardizing every remaining term of the contract. It also invites foreign influence within the borders of the Republic by bypassing the Constitutional safeguards of full state representation through the Senate.

 

Power to make treaties and alliances prohibited to the States

George Washington, our first president, warned future generations of the great dangers of foreign influence.

“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”

To minimize the threat of foreign influence domestically, our framers established treaties to occur through a procedure that would ensure the interest of all the States, equally, and conducted in full view of the entire Union. To make this point clear, the designers of our Constitutional Republic ratified Article 1 section 10 clause 1 as a part of the contract that explicitly prohibits the States from making treaties or alliances with foreign governments:

“No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation…”

Therefore, in response to certain States attempting to make treaties or alliances with foreign governments, outside their authority as outlined by the Constitution, every other State must make a public declaration of non-compliance and opposition to these illegal agreements. If a mayor or other local entity attempts to make a treaty or alliance with a foreign government, the government of that State has an obligation to every other State in the Union to make a public statement of non-compliance on behalf of the people of the State and the Constitution of the United States.

It is true that each State is sovereign and independent. However, as sovereign governments each State agreed to delegate certain powers to the federal government to “establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

When a State or local government engages in a power that has been constitutionally delegated to the federal government, and been specifically denied to individual states via the contract, they are not only violating the terms of the constitutional contract, they are putting the welfare, security, and domestic tranquility of the all States in jeopardy.

By making these rogue foreign agreements, these government agents are ultimately jeopardizing all American Liberty, now and in the future. In their actions, these governors and mayors are declaring the Union of States dead.

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the US Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. KrisAnne is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, she also has an internationally popular radio and television show and her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com

 

Categories
America Constitution healthcare Truth

A True American Healthcare System

By Rep. Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

As Obamacare continues to reveal itself as an economic and policy disaster, it strikes me that in undoing this healthcare mess, we are not following the path forged for us by the Framers of the Constitution.

For them, the overarching, driving concern was the protection of the liberties of the nation’s citizens from the intrusions of an excessively powerful government. Translated to healthcare, this would mean protecting patients and their doctors from government interference in their most private and personal dealings.

The Framers accomplished this by creating a national government of specific and enumerated powers that was prohibited from directly regulating the actions of the American people. This latter authority was retained by the states, and specifically not given to the federal government.

So, under this strategy, what would the nation’s health care system look like?

 

Protecting freedoms, not relying on government

In a truly American healthcare system, the responsibility for funding one’s medical care would fall squarely upon the treated individual. In cases where the cost of receiving treatment became excessive, the individual would be aided by his or her family, local churches, and community charitable organizations dedicated to helping those who couldn’t help themselves.

More importantly, healthcare would be delivered in a society where God and worship played a central role in human interaction. And no, not because the government demanded it, but because the people spontaneously shared this unyielding resolve in a state where an environment encouraging public worship existed and the family was viewed as society’s foundational building block.

It was a milieu where people were continuously reminded of their direct relationship with God and of His greatest commandment; that each person love God with all his might and that he love his neighbor as he does himself.

If the healthcare system needed to be more formalized so that hospitals and healthcare could be regulated or a risk-diverting network could be implemented, then such a structure would be generated and executed by the state, not by the federal government. In fact, if the Constitution were properly interpreted, the courts would hold that the federal government was prohibited from directing the states on creating, implementing, or administering a health care program, or taxing the people directly for the purpose of creating a healthcare insurance company.

 

Healthcare not part of limited federal government

Other than Dr. Benjamin Rush, who voiced his concern for the potential of healthcare being used as a tool in support of a dictatorial regime, it is likely that the Founders gave little thought to the design of the new nation’s healthcare system. Not only was it orders of magnitude beyond their primary concern of building a functional system of government, but they would have clearly maintained that such was not the role of the new federal government. In fact, they did. It was no enumerated, as mentioned above.

If asked, the Framers would have undoubtedly agreed that the solution to the nation’s healthcare challenges lay not in the acts of politicians, but in the moral compass provided to the people by their Creator and in the unyielding pledge that each and every person had instinctively made to his or her neighbor through his or her faith in God.

It is within these concepts that the true solutions to our healthcare woes is to be found, not in the machinations conceived by politicians or bureaucrats.

Hopefully, we as a nation will recall and apply these self-evident truths before we irreparably tarnish our Great Experiment and make true the warnings of Dr. Rush some 240 years ago.

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and serves in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com.

Categories
Constitution Marijuana Politics Truth

America’s Ramshackle Marijuana Laws

by Rep. Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

I was speaking to a legislator this week readying himself for his vote on Florida’s medical marijuana legislation when he posed an interesting question: How can we defend voting in favor of any medical marijuana legislation if in so doing we are essentially passing a state law that is prohibited by federal law?  

It’s a great question! Not only because it cites a potential and obvious quandary, but also because it speaks of matters of preemption and federal supremacy.  

Article I, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution reads that the Constitution and laws of the United States “shall be the supreme Law of the Land,” and clear as it may appear, it took a Civil War and hundreds of thousands of American deaths to settle this question. But although the question has been settled conceptually, controversies still arise about the extent of that doctrine and the limitations of its scope.

Enter the medical marijuana debate.

 

Clearly unconstitutional, but…

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA), first passed in 1970, is very clear in Congress’s intent to cover the field of regulating mood-altering drugs such as marijuana.

Citing the lack of any medically accepted use, its high risk of abuse, and its lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, the Food and Drug Administration classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug. As such, the use, possession, or manufacture of marijuana is a federal criminal offense, except when used as part of a federally supported research project. There is no exception in federal statutes for any medical use of marijuana.

It would appear, then, that federal law is completely clear on its prohibition of medical marijuana. 

So, how is it possible that a state can pass a law, or even a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana, for any purpose?  

The short answer, of course, is that a state may not do so. The closest case to directly address this matter was decided by the Supreme Court of Colorado in 2015; Coats v. Dish Network, LLC.  In it, the Colorado Supreme Court summarized the concept of federal supremacy and said that an activity deemed lawful under state law, but unlawful under federal law, cannot be construed to be a lawful activity.

In other words, just because the state says medical marijuana is legal does not make it legal because such a declaration is superseded, and preempted, by federal law.

This being the case, it should be easy to argue that any state law, whether it is mandated by the state’s constitution or passed by a state legislature is unconstitutional because it would be offensive to the Supremacy Clause.

 

Maybe not unconstitutional

But here’s the rub.

In 2014, Congress passed the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act prohibiting the use of any funds appropriated to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to keep a state from implementing laws relating to the use, possession, distribution or cultivation of medical marijuana. As a result, the federal government, specifically the DOJ, cannot interfere with a state sanctioned medical marijuana program.

So, is medical marijuana legal in a state that has implemented such a program? Odd as it may sound, the best answer I can give you is that it is not legal, but Congress has decided not to do anything about it — for now, or maybe forever.  

Is it Constitutional under the Supremacy Clause? This question has not yet been decided, and it is ultimately up to the courts to make the call, but I will give you my opinion. In order for a law to be offensive to the Supremacy Clause, Congress must act in a manner that makes clear its intent to preempt all conflicting laws. Although the Controlled Substance Act qualifies as such a law, the injection by Congress of the medical marijuana provision in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act gave the states the autonomy they need to regulate medical marijuana.

As a result, if asked, I believe the courts will rule that state laws relating to medical marijuana are not unconstitutional despite the prohibition in the Controlled Substances Act.

Clear as mud!

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and serves in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.

 

 

 

Categories
Constitution Free Speech Truth

In Defense of Wholly Free Speech

(Editor’s note: This column is in response to a Revolutionary Act column in the wake of the Kathy Griffin revulsion.)

By KrisAnne Hall, JD

When speech, political or otherwise, is taken to the heights of offensiveness one can expect there to be consequences. If a person wishes to push the boundaries into the vile and reprehensible, then that person should be ready to be shamed, shunned, boycotted or soon unemployed. Any or all of those consequences are understandable and often justified in a civil society. Yet to be targeted by the government for prosecution for being offensive is another issue entirely.

If America has forgotten one thing it is that, Liberty is not neat and tidy. It is quite often offensive and abrasive. Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and our third President declared: “Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem,” translated as “I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.”

However, the founders of our Constitutional Republic knew that Liberty was the most important thing in society and in life. Patrick Henry, a designer of our Constitutional Republic and delegate to the State of Virginia, professed that he would rather suffer death than a life without Liberty. It is when our ideologies are tested that our devotion to Liberty is truly challenged. No other liberty is more challenging and more delicate than the liberty of free speech.

 

America’s Founders took free speech to extremes

During our battle for Liberty with Great Britain, it was common for the Sons of Liberty to fashion life-sized, stuffed likenesses of politicians and then hold public mock hangings of these effigies. If that was not offensive enough, at the conclusion of the mock hanging they would also light fire to this caricature and rejoice in its burning.

The Sons of Liberty did not restrain their criticism of the crown. One opposition chronicler of the events noted “The sons or Spawns of Liberty and Inquisition were still venting threats and Insulting the Crown and Officers under it.” (Capt. John Montressor, The Montressor Journals)

Mock hangings were not the only form of potentially offensive free speech expressed by the founders of our Constitutional Republic. These supporters of Liberty also held mock funerals that began with processions marching down the streets with coffins in hand and likenesses of politicians and tax collectors on the caskets, concluding with a full eulogy and funeral service.

One Oxford historian describes our founders’ artistic processions of death: “In the make-believe world of 1764 and 1765, the stamp distributors died, resolving the problem of moral evil through creating surrogate victims which could be mutilated, hanged, and immolated with impunity.” (Ann Fairfax Withington, Mock Funerals and Mock Executions)

These are historical examples of free speech as expressed by the very authors of the First Amendment. Their own expression of political speech was often far from civil and even included artistic and (from the ruling British perspective) vile depictions of the death of the officers of the crown. Without such expressions fueling the understanding of and dedication to the cause of liberty, our nation would not likely have been birthed on this continent.

 

Founders battle for free speech

Even after our liberty was won from Great Britain, the battle for free speech in America continued.

On July 14, 1798, the political party in power, supported by John Adams, the second President, was able to pass through Congress the Alien and Sedition Acts. With the backdrop of the French Revolution spreading its terror throughout Europe and the fear of foreign subversives infiltrating America, the Adams administration and his party hoped to tighten immigration controls and silence dissenters. This act to protect national security was so destructive to free speech and free press, that our newly formed union nearly erupted in a revolt against this president and the Congress that passed this unconstitutional law.

The Sedition Act declared that people who assembled to protest a law, a politician, or any act of government was guilty of a “high misdemeanor.” This Act went on further to make it illegal to “write, print, utter or publish, cause to be written, printed, uttered, or publish…any…scandalous or malicious writings…” against anyone in the federal government with intent to “defame” or bring them into “contempt or disrepute” or to “excite against them the hatred of the people” is also guilty of this “high misdemeanor.”

As a result of this Act, 17 people were indicted, 10 were convicted, most were journalists, some were not. Here are a few examples:

  • Journalist Benjamin Bache would be arrested for printing in his publication “Aurora” that President Adams was a “old, querulous, Bald, blind, crippled, and Toothless.” Since his writings were classified as “abusive” to the President and written in “malice,” he was to be criminally prosecuted.
  • David Brown was arrested in April of 1799 for helping to erect a liberty pole with a sign that read, “A Speedy Retirement to the President. No Sedition Bill, No Alien bill, Downfall to the Tyrants of America.”
  •  Luther Baldwin, a Congressman, was arrested in July of 1798 for getting drunk and yelling out publicly “There goes the President and they are firing at his ass.” It was also reported that Baldwin shouted that “he didn’t care if they fired thro’ his ass.” A tavern owner, hearing these exclamations, declared the statements to be seditious and Baldwin was later arrested and convicted of Sedition.
  • The most outrageous case involved Congressman Matthew Lyon, a member of a political party opposing President Adams. Lyon wrote an article in the summer of 1798 criticizing President Adams’ “continual grasp for power” and his “unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, and selfish avarice.” In a later writing, Lyon wrote that Congress should dispatch the President “to a mad house” for his handling of the French Crisis. In October, a federal grand jury indicted Lyon for stirring up sedition.

 

Mimicking the age’s tyrant kings

President Adams’ actions began to mimic those of the tyrannical kings that permeated this generation’s history: The imprisonment of Sir Edward Coke by King Charles I for establishing a petition of grievances against the king; The imprisonment of bishops by King James II for criticizing the king from the pulpit. These are just two examples of the struggle between Liberty and government that gave rise to the Five Liberty Charters from which we would inherit our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Knowing this history and the ways of tyrannical government, the people knew they had to organize against this unjust and unconstitutional act of their federal government. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were placed in charge of writing Resolutions for Virginia and Kentucky to express the outrage of the people. Madison’s Virginia Resolution pointed out that this Sedition Act was not only a power not delegated to the federal government but one that is expressly forbidden.

Madison charged that this act alone, “ought to produce universal alarm, because it is levelled against that right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon, which has ever been justly deemed, the only effectual guardian of every other right.” Madison characterized the federal government’s Sedition Act as a “reproachable inconsistency, and criminal degeneracy, if an indifference were now shewn, to the most palpable violation of one of the Rights, thus declared and secured; and to the establishment of a precedent which may be fatal to the other.”

Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolution carried on this list of criticisms and decried the assertion that the federal government had been granted any power to limit the free speech of American’s in order to avoid criticism or offense:

“That if those who administer the general government be permitted to transgress the limits fixed by that compact, by a total disregard to the special delegations of power therein contained, annihilation of the state governments, and the erection upon their ruins, of a general consolidated government, will be the inevitable consequence: That the principle and construction contended for by sundry of the state legislatures, that the general government is the exclusive judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, stop nothing short of despotism; since the discretion of those who administer the government, and not the constitution, would be the measure of their powers:”

These kingly acts by Adams would bring about his political demise. Thomas Jefferson would be elected president in a romping victory. The Sedition Act would be repealed. After being elected president, Thomas Jefferson immediately pardoned all those convicted under the Sedition Act.

It is not at all uncommon for a person to lose sight of the proper principles when he sits at the seat of power. He can easily become a tyrant seeking to punish all who oppose him. What he fails to realize is that his behavior is self-destructive. When he attacks the natural rights of his foes he threatens to damage those same rights for himself, his countrymen and future generations. As Thomas Paine had remarked previously:  

“An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates his duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” (Thomas Paine, Dissertation on First Principles of Government, 7 July 1795)

As one studies the details of this stretch of history and looks out on the scene of America today it is obvious that those who do not know their history are doomed to repeating its mistakes.

 

Lose speech, lose the Republic

“Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech; which is the Right of every Man, as far as by it, he does not hurt or controul the Right of another: And this is the only Check it ought to suffer, and the only Bounds it ought to know.” – Benjamin Franklin, Silence Dogood Essay No. 8

Benjamin Franklin rightly declared that the only check a person’s liberty should suffer is that “he does not hurt or control the Right of another.” Expressing offensive speech is not hurting or controlling the Right of another. One doesn’t have a right to not be offended, nor a duty not to offend. If that is not the case then the very foundations of our Republic are illegitimate, the Constitution is invalid and the government has no basis upon which to exist much less upon which to prosecute. Thankfully, our founders understood that these principles were self-evident.

James Madison, our fourth President also known as the Father of the Constitution, described freedom of speech as a kind of property. In 1792, he wrote:

“…a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them… Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.” (emphasis added)

Madison is reasoning from the principles of Natural Law. A man has property in his faculties by nature of his being. Man was created neither by government nor by another man and therefore has a natural right to what is his, including the faculty of his speech. Government being of creation of that man is instituted with a duty to protect the man’s property, which includes his inalienable rights. Note Madison uses the word “impartially.” For America to be a just government, it must be one that is willing to protect not just popular and palatable expression, but even the most offensive and vile.

To assert that the popular or majority opinion of appropriateness is the measure of the length and breadth of free speech is to ignore the history that demanded the necessity of our First Amendment and to cast aside the principles of Natural Law upon which our founding documents rest.

Benjamin Franklin believed that a nation rises or falls in connection with its handling of freedom of speech:

“This sacred Privilege is so essential to free Governments, that the Security of Property, and the Freedom of Speech always go together; and in those wretched Countries where a Man cannot call his Tongue his own, he can scarce call any Thing else his own. Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech; a Thing terrible to Publick Traytors.” Silence Dogood #8

 

The foundation for freedom

Freedom of speech is the bedrock principle of all wisdom and liberty in society.

When the government can curtail speech, we the people will inevitably suffer the most arbitrary and oppressive governments known to history. Freedom of speech should be such a dear right to all Americans that we would rejoice over the fact that something offensive can be spoken publicly.

When government, or the mob, can determine what is offensive or acceptable, then no other freedom is secure. The protections of freedom of speech were not embedded into the foundation of this republic merely to protect that which my opponents might find offensive, but more than anything else that my speech might be protected when it targets government and its ministers.

These are the principles that truly make America great. It is unfortunately all too common for those who gain the position of power to tend toward an overzealous defense of themselves (like Adams) or, in our day, of their party, or mistake a sense of intense nationalism for a focus on the just cause of liberty. We would do well to understand that we must suffer the speech of fools, so that the speech of the just may have its day.

We cannot allow government to have the power to punish speech. If we wish to be the America that is true to our Liberty foundations, we must hold fast to these rights, even if they make us feel uncomfortable. All the people, all of government, from the local mayor to the President, should be dedicated to the unfeigned protection of all speech and assembly, regardless of how we feel about the message.

Let civil society deal with offense, keep government out of it. That is the definition of “freedom of speech;” that is only way to secure Liberty.

KrisAnne Hall is a former bio-chemist, Russian linguist for the US Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. KrisAnne is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, she also has an internationally popular radio and television show and her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com

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Constitution Government Truth

House Joint Resolution 121: Amending Florida’s Constitution to Restore the Balance of Power

By Representative Julio Gonzalez

Today, I introduced House Joint Resolution 121 calling for the submission of a proposed constitutional amendment to Florida’s voters that would allow the Legislature, within a period of five years, to override a ruling of the Florida Supreme Court.  I am also filing an accompanying communication to Congress that asks that a similar proposed amendment for the United States Constitution be passed. The necessity for such a provision, both at the state and national levels, is obvious.

 

Acknowledging the humanity and fallibility of judges

At its implementation, our system of government was truly exceptional on the world stage because, among other reasons, its power was vested on the will of the people. Key to the protection of this reliance was the separation of power into three separate and coequal branches of government restricted by a robust system of checks and balances.

Specifically not in the Constitution was an assignment to the judiciary of serving as the ultimate authority on the constitutionality of laws. And although the Legislature could always revamp a law the judiciary interpreted as meaning something different from what the legislature intended, there was no provision that would allow the Legislature to override a ruling where the court voids a law as unconstitutional.

With what most of us are taught about our government and our nation’s history, it is difficult to conceive that the Supreme Court would not have such plenary authority in determining what is constitutional and what is not. After all, the members of the highest court are learned individuals inhabiting positions designed to insulate them from the world of politics and partisanship.

However, the fact is that these men and women, learned in the nuances of law as they may be, are neither insulated from the world of politics nor free of partisanship. One need only recall the consistent apportionment of Republican and Democrat justices on issues of gun control, redistricting, abortion, school choice, religious liberties, the scope of federal power, states rights, and religious education to realize that these predictable divisions amongst the various factions of the courts represent more than mere differences in legal opinion. In fact, Thomas Jefferson foresaw this harsh reality back in 1820 when he wrote,

 

Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so.  They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps.  Their maxim is “boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem,” and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. 

(Thomas Jefferson to William Charles Jarvis, Sept. 28, 1820)

 

Indeed, we have seen these encroachments play out on countless occasions. Supreme Court rulings have mandated that religious symbols be taken down from public places or be replaced with others. They have placed prohibitions on prayer in public schools, commencement ceremonies, and athletic events. Negations of laws prohibiting the desecration of the American flag have made the unconscionable legally acceptable, and judicial prohibitions on federal term limits have overturned the will of the people of a state, even if that will is enshrined in the affected state’s constitution. And recurrently, the distributions of votes in these opinions largely mirror the party affiliations of its members.

And let us recall that these members are generally appointed to their positions without oversight by the electorate and generally remain there for the rest of their lives.

 

The finality of a Supreme Court’s opinion on matters of constitutionality

But an even greater threat than the inherent shortcomings of any court or its members is the finality of a supreme court’s decision on constitutional matters.

When a supreme court writes an opinion on the issue of constitutionality, its decision has the same effect as if its author had written a note upon the face of the document, permanently changing its meaning, and in certain instances, its intent.  Upon doing this, there is nothing the legislature, chief executive, or the electorate can do to reverse course other than to undertake the daunting task of amending the affected constitution. Needless to say, this is a Herculean endeavor, which is overwhelming in scope for most court-enacted constitutional changes. Consequently, the effects of court rulings on matters of constitutionality stand unchallenged, permanently changing the supreme law of the land, and by extension, the society which it governs.

In light of these considerations, shouldn’t a court’s opinion be subject to affirmative checks and balances just like the actions of any other branch of government?

The answer, of course, is yes. And the Framers would have agreed!

First, consider that the Framers never expressly gave the Supreme Court final authority on determining a law’s constitutionality. Article III of the United Sates Constitution gave the courts “Judicial Power” over all cases and controversies arising out of the Laws of the United States and the Constitution. However, it does not say that the Supreme Court is the ultimate authority on the Constitution.

The federal Supreme Court’s plenary authority in deciding issues of constitutionality was actually imposed upon it by its own actions. In the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison, one of America’s sentinel cases, John Marshall singlehandedly declared, “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” Consequently, any act of the legislature the court determines is repugnant to the Constitution will become void.

And with that, the Supreme Court of the United States gained the absolute power to overrule the legislature in issues of constitutionality.

But who overrules the Supreme Court?

The people? No, not unless they can mount a massive amendment process that we have already seen is excessive to the task.

The executive? No, except by the ability to replace justices as their positions become vacant through death, retirement, or impeachment (and add term limits-or advanced age in the cases of some state supreme courts).

The legislature? Absolutely not. Like a game of rock-paper-scissors, John Marshall said the court beats the legislature.  Period!

Then what?

Nothing.

But this answer is not only inconsistent with the system of checks and balances the Framers developed for our government, it appears that such a conclusion was not what the Framers envisioned. The most direct commentary on the matter comes from Thomas Jefferson himself when commenting to William Jarvis on a book of essays Jarvis had written and sent to Jefferson for his consideration. In it, Jarvis wrote of the importance of the American judiciary to nullify a law it found to be unconstitutional. Jefferson took umbrage with that observation, writing, “to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.” Further, he warned, “The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots.”

George Washington also warned of the dangers of relying on the courts to modify and craft the policies of government in no lesser instance than in his Farewell Address:

“If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates.  But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”

Clearly, allowing the judiciary to act without direct restrictions is not only contrary to the visions the Framers had for our fledgling nation, but carries with it a real danger of encroachment upon the authorities of the other branches of government and ultimately upon the power of the people to control their own destinies.

The only remaining question then, is what can be done to remedy this situation?

 

Correcting a deficiency

Many corrections can be designed to address the issue of judicial overreach, but perhaps the most direct and effective of these is one that should have been instituted at the very inception of our nation’s Constitution and inscribed into that of each state: the existence of a legislative override of a Supreme Court opinion.

Indeed, Canada already instituted such a provision. Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom amended onto the Canadian Constitution in 1982 allows, among other authorities, for the legislature or Parliament to declare an act operational notwithstanding the opinion of the court. In other words, if a sufficient proportion of a Canadian legislative body should find the opinion of the court inconsistent with the views of the electorate, the legislature could override or nullify the court’s ruling.

It is such a provision, modified and tailored to the state of Florida and to our national government, that I propose be presented to the people as amendments to their respective constitutions.

 

For Florida, such an amendment would read:

Any law, resolution, or other legislative act declared void by the supreme court, district court of appeal, circuit court, or county court of this state may be deemed active and operational, notwithstanding the court’s ruling, if agreed to by the legislature pursuant to a joint resolution adopted by a two-thirds vote of each house within five years after the date that the ruling becomes final. Such a joint resolution is exempt from section 8 of this article and shall take effect immediately upon passage.

 

And for the United States Constitution, it would read:

Any law, resolution, or other legislative act declared void by the Supreme Court of the United States or any District Court of Appeal may be deemed active and operational, notwithstanding the court’s ruling, if agreed to by the legislature pursuant to a joint resolution adopted by a sixty percent vote of each chamber within five years after the date that the ruling becomes final.  Such a joint resolution shall take effect immediately upon passage.

 

It is my concerted view that such provisions, if enacted by the people would curtail the tendency of activist judges to manipulate the law to suit their political views and agendas. Equally as importantly, this would force the people to engage the legislature in enacting rectifications to current laws that they see as objectionable or flawed, restoring the natural relationship between the people and their legislative bodies. This would also force the electorate to more carefully look at their candidates and their actions during times of reelection.

 

Three counterpoints countered

The defense of an American Notwithstanding Clause would be deficient if it did not address some foreseeable objections, which include: 1) the effects this provision would have on America’s historic civil rights rulings; 2) the effect of a notwithstanding clause upon the separation of powers; and 3) the ability of the public to use the judiciary to overturn laws they presume to encroach upon the rights of free Americans.

First, to the issue of civil rights. Without question, the greatest stain in our nation’s fabric is the tragic tolerance of slavery in the United States Constitution. As we know, it took a calamitous Civil War pitting brethren against brethren to rectify this gross travesty of justice. Moreover, equally as unconscionable is the persistence of legal hurdles to the equal standing of the various members of our American society throughout the latter nineteenth century and into the twentieth century.  Indisputably, Supreme Court cases like the Brown decisions were instrumental in reversing the persistence of the racial injustices that gripped our nation. Indeed, the Civil Rights Movement either would not have survived or would have been greatly hampered were it not for the necessary interventions of the courts.

To help ensure that such decisions are never touched by an aggressive legislature, the provision I propose carries with it a reach back limit of five years. In other words, the legislature may only invoke a notwithstanding declaration within five years of the court’s ruling. In this way none of the sentinel cases of American jurisprudence already in existence can be touched by the various legislatures. Five years also gives the people the opportunity to change the electorate in the hopes of overriding a recent opinion.

The concern regarding an encroachment unto the separation of powers is equally as spurious, first because of the five-year reach back limitation that has already been discussed, and second because of the supermajority requirement imposed on the legislature in reversing a court’s decision. The reversal of a ruling would require such a high consensus that it would rarely be employed. Indeed, the Canadian experience has been one of rare impositions of the legislatures’ wills upon the judiciaries, and I expect it would be the same for the United States and its jurisdictions.

Moreover, the argument that the Legislature’s newly acquired authority would encroach upon the judiciary’s powers actually turns reality upon its head as presently, it is the judiciary that is improperly encroaching upon the people and their legislatures, and it is that encroachment that this amendment is designed to correct. Enactment of the Notwithstanding Clause would not intrude upon the power of the judiciary, but rather, it would act to restore the natural balance between the two coequal branches of government as originally envisioned by the Framers.

Finally, regarding the court’s abilities to protect our rights as Americans and free members of society, for the reasons previously outlined, I suspect the law will have no effect on cases where clear violations of rights have taken place. Where the Notwithstanding Clause will exert its effects is in those situations where parties misguidedly wish to invoke their will upon the people by bypassing the legislature through the manipulations of an activist court. Such actions are the usurpations of which President Washington spoke in his Farewell Address. It is my impression that once again, the Notwithstanding Clause will have a salutatory effect upon our nation and upon our countenance.

Our nation’s exceptional nature is based on, among other pillars, our government’s respect for the will of the people, our reliance on a robust system of checks and balances to preserve our separations of powers, and upon the reliance on generalized debate in deciding our nation’s future direction.

It is clear that with regard to our judiciary, our system has strayed away from this original framework and must be corrected. It is with this intent that I introduce the Notwithstanding Clause, initially for the legislature’s consideration, but ultimately for the people’s. I am excited about the conversation this provision will elicit and am hopeful for its ratification and for the beneficial effects it will have upon our Republic.

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopedic surgeon, lawyer and State Representative for South Sarasota County, Florida.  He is the author of The Federalist Pages, available at www.thefederalistpages.com or at Amazon.  He is available for speaking engagements and can be reached at [email protected].