TYRANNY IN AMERICA
THE 16TH AMENDMENT BILL BENSON LITIGATION
The Declaration of Independence lists, among other grounds for breaking away from
English rule, the “abolishing [of] our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of
our Governments.” Such conduct on the part of King George was deemed so contrary to “the
separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God” entitled them, our
Founding Fathers resorted to a long, bloody war, pledging their lives, their fortunes and their sacred
honor. We all know the outcome of that great struggle for freedom. The birth of a new Republic and
a written constitution designed to ensure that previous abuses of power were never again to be
instituted in the United States of America.
The concept behind the new government was simple and easy to understand. As late as
1965, the concept was recognized by the United States Supreme Court:
The Constitution divides the National Government into three branches-Legislative,
Executive and Judicial. This separation of powers' was obviously not instituted with
the idea that it would promote governmental efficiency. It was, on the contrary,
looked to as a bulwark against tyranny. For if governmental power is fractionalized,
if a given policy can be implemented only by a combination of legislative enactment,
judicial application, and executive implementation, no man or group of men will be
able to impose its unchecked will. James Madison wrote:
The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary,
in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether
hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the
very definition of tyranny. The Federalist, No. 47, pp. 373-374
(Hamilton ed. 1880).
United States v. Brown, 381 U.S. 437, 442-43 (1965).
The 16th Amendment, Bill Benson litigation proves, however, mere words on a piece of paper are
wholly insufficient to preserve freedom. Once again in our history, our most valuable laws, the First
and Fifth Amendments, are being abolished, and our fundamental form of government is being
Shortly after the United States Constitution, when the revolution and its causes were still
fresh in the minds of those in government, one of the most famous cases in our relatively short
history was handed down by the Supreme Court. That case was Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137
(1803). The Supreme Court there stated the duty of the courts as follows:
It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the
law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and
interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the
operation of each.
So if a law be in opposition to the constitution; if both the law and the constitution
apply to a particular case, so that the court must either decide that case conformably
to the law, disregarding the constitution; or conformably to the constitution,
disregarding the law; the court must determine which of these conflicting rules
governs the case. This is of the very essence of judicial duty.
If then the courts are to regard the constitution; and the constitution is superior to
any ordinary act of the legislature; the constitution, and not such ordinary act, must
govern the case to which they both apply.
Those then who controvert the principle that the constitution is to be considered, in
court, as a paramount law, are reduced to the necessity of maintaining that courts
must close their eyes on the constitution, and see only the law.
This doctrine would subvert the very foundation of all written constitutions. It would
declare that an act, which, according to the principles and theory of our government,
is entirely void; is yet, in practice, completely obligatory. It would declare, that if the
legislature shall do what is expressly forbidden, such act, notwithstanding the
express prohibition, is in reality effectual. It would be giving to the legislature a
practical and real omnipotence, with the same breath which professes to restrict their
powers within narrow limits. It is prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits
may be passed as pleasure.
That it thus reduces to nothing what we have deemed the greatest improvement on
political institutions-a written constitution-would of itself be sufficient, in America,
where written constitutions have been viewed with so much reverence, for rejecting
the construction. But the peculiar expressions of the constitution of the United States
furnish additional arguments in favour of its rejection.
The judicial power of the United States is extended to all cases arising under the
Could it be the intention of those who gave this power, to say that, in using it, the
constitution should not be looked into? That a case arising under the constitution
should be decided without examining the instrument under which it arises?
This is too extravagant to be maintained.
In some cases then, the constitution must be looked into by the judges. And if they
can open it at all, what part of it are they forbidden to read, or to obey?
There are many other parts of the constitution which serve to illustrate this subject.
It is declared that “no tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any
state.”Suppose a duty on the export of cotton, of tobacco, or of flour; and a suit
instituted to recover it. Ought judgment to be rendered in such a case? ought the
judges to close their eyes on the constitution, and only see the law.
The constitution declares that “no bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be
If, however, such a bill should be passed and a person should be prosecuted under it;
must the court condemn to death those victims whom the constitution endeavors to
“No person,” says the constitution, “shall be convicted of treason unless on the
testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”
Here the language of the constitution is addressed especially to the courts. It
prescribes, directly for them, a rule of evidence not to be departed from. If the
legislature should change that rule, and declare one witness, or a confession out of
court, sufficient for conviction, must the constitutional principle yield to the
From these, and many other selections which might be made, it is apparent, that the
framers of the constitution contemplated that instrument, as a rule for the
government of courts, as well as of the legislature.
Why otherwise does it direct the judges to take an oath to support it? This oath
certainly applies, in an especial manner, to their conduct in their official character.
How immoral to impose it on them, if they were to be used as the instruments, and
the knowing instruments, for violating what they swear to support?
The oath of office, too, imposed by the legislature, is completely demonstrative of
the legislative opinion on this subject. It is in these words, “I do solemnly swear that
I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor
and to the rich; and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties
incumbent on me as according to the best of my abilities and understanding,
agreeably to the constitution, and laws of the United States.”
Why does a judge swear to discharge his duties agreeably to the constitution of the
United States, if that constitution forms no rule for his government? if it is closed
upon him, and cannot be inspected by him?
If such be the real state of things, this is worse than solemn mockery. To prescribe,
or to take this oath, becomes equally a crime.
It is also not entirely unworthy of observation, that in declaring what shall be the
supreme law of the land, the constitution itself is first mentioned; and not the laws of
the United States generally, but those only which shall be made in pursuance of the
constitution, have that rank.
Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and
strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a
law repugnant to the constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other
departments, are bound by that instrument.
Simple truth, simply stated, resonates in your heart. One always knows the truth simply because it
The states of Florida, West Virginia, Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania
did not submit certificates of ratification.
Here are some other simple truths:
$ The United States Constitution makes a distinction between direct taxes and indirect
taxes, and requires direct taxes to be apportioned and indirect taxes to be uniform.
Art. I, § 2, Cl. 3; Art. I, § 8, Cl. 1; and Art. I, § 9, Cl 4.
$ The United States Constitution requires constitutional amendments to be ratified by
the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states before becoming a part of the
Constitution. Art. V.
In 1894 Congress passed the 1894 Income Tax Act, 28 Stat. 509, ch. 349. Section 27 of that
There shall be assessed, levied, collected, and paid annually upon the gains, profits,
and income received in the preceding calendar year by every citizen of the United
States, whether residing at home or abroad, and every person residing therein,
whether said gains, profits, or income be derived from any kind of property, rents,
interest, dividends, or salaries, or from any profession, trade, employment, or
vocation carried on in the United States or elsewhere, or from any other source
whatever, a tax of two per centum on the amount so derived over and above four
thousand dollars, and a like tax shall be levied, collected, and paid annually upon the
gains, profits, and income from all property owned and of every business, trade, or
profession carried on in the United States by persons residing without the United
The constitutionality of this section was challenged on the ground that the act passed by
Congress was a direct tax that wasn’t apportioned. The argument went before the United States
Supreme Court in the case of Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Company. It was reported twice;
once at 157 U.S. 429 (1895) and again at 158 U.S. 601 (1895). The majority of the Supreme Court
held Section 27 imposed a direct tax and that because the tax was not apportioned, it violated the
taxing provisions of the Constitution. The minority thought a tax on income was as excise that
didn’t require apportionment.
In 1909, President Taft called a special session of Congress. He asked Congress, to
overcome the Pollock decision, to pass a proposed constitutional amendment. Congress obliged,
and proposed the 16th Amendment, which reads as follows:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever
source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard
to any census or enumeration.
The proposed amendment was sent to the governors of the forty-eight several states, who
submitted the proposed amendment to each states’ legislative body. The various legislatures acted
on the proposed amendment, and certificates of ratification of forty-two states1 were thereafter sent
2 At this time, Congress had passed Section 205 of the Revised Statutes which read:
Whenever official notice is received at the Department of State that any
amendment proposed to the Constitution of the United States has been adopted,
according to the provisions of the Constitution, the Secretary of State shall
forthwith cause the amendment to be published in the newspapers authorized to
promulgate the laws, with his certificate, specifying the States by which the same
may have been adopted, and that the same has become valid, to all intents and
purposes, as part of the Constitution of the United States.
by the governors to then Secretary of State Philander Knox. The states of Connecticut, New
Hampshire, Rhode Island and Utah rejected the proposed amendment.
Secretary of State Knox noticed that the vast majority of the certificates of ratification he
received contained language different from the language of the amendment proposed by Congress.
He thus asked the Office of the Solicitor of the United States to give him a legal opinion as to
whether the proposed amendment could be certified by Knox as having been ratified.2
On February 15, 1913, the Solicitor sent a Memorandum to Knox. The Memorandum
contained this language:
$ In no case has any legislature signified in any way its deliberate intention to change
the wording of the proposed amendment. The errors appear in most cases to have
been merely typographical and incident to an attempt to make an accurate quotation.
$ Furthermore, under the provisions of the Constitution a legislature is not authorized
to alter in any way the amendment proposed by Congress, the function of the
legislature consisting merely in the right to approve or disapprove the proposed
$ It, therefore, seems a necessary presumption, in the absence of an express stipulation
to the contrary, that a legislature did not intend to do something that it had not the
power to do, but rather that it intended to do something that it had the power to do,
namely, where its action has been affirmative, to ratify the amendment proposed by
Congress. Moreover, it could not be presumed that by a mere change of wording,
probably inadvertent, the legislature had intended to reject the amendment as
proposed by Congress where all parts of the resolution either than those merely
reciting the proposed amendment had set forth an affirmative action by the
Secretary of State Knox then officially certified the 16th Amendment had been ratified, and was
now a part of the United States Constitution.
In 1984 Bill Benson took it upon himself to visit the Capitols of all forty-eight states where
he obtained certified copies of the legislative journals pertaining to the alleged ratification of the
16th Amendment. He also traveled to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. where he obtained
a certified copy of the Solicitor’s Memorandum of February 15, 1913. He published his findings in
3. The books are available on Bill Benson’s web site: www.thelawthatneverwas.com...
a two-volume book entitled “The Law That Never Was.”3
The legislative journals Bill obtained conclusively show that the states of Oklahoma,
Missouri and Washington intentionally amended the language proposed by Congress, thereby
committing an act that the Solicitor of the United States recognized was in violation of the United
States Constitution. Bill also discovered that numerous other states voted to ratify language
different from that proposed by Congress, that there is no record of some houses of the states’
legislatures voting at all, that the Senate’s vote in Kentucy, nine to ratify and twenty-two not to
ratify was incorrectly reported at twenty-two to ratify and nine not to ratify, and that numerous
states violated their constitutionally required procedures during the ratification process.
These issues soon came to the attention of the courts. Each court to consider the issue held it
lacks the judicial authority to hear the issue. See United States v. Thomas, 788 F.2d 1250 (7th Cir.
1986); United States v. Foster, 789 F.2d 457 (7th Cir. 1986); United States v. Ferguson, 793 F.2d
828 (7th Cir. 1986); Miller v. United States, 868 F.2d 236 (7th Cir. 1988); Lysiak v. C.I.R., 816 F;2d
311 (7th Cir. 1987); United States v. Sitka, 845 F.2d 43 (2nd. Cir. 1988), United States v. Stahl, 792
F.2d 1438 (9th Cir. 1986); and United States v. Benson, 941 F.2d 598 (7th Cir. 1991.)
The reason for the courts’ conclusion that it lacks authority to hear the issue is the Enrolled
Bill Rule announced by the United States Supreme Court in three cases: Field v. Clark, 143 U.S.
649 (1892); Laser V. Gannett, 258 U.S. 130 (1922); and Coleman V. Miller, 307 U.S. 433 (1939).
Each of those courts held that certification by the Secretary of State under Revised Statute 205
creates a conclusive presumption of ratification which is beyond review by the courts, and therefore
the issue is a political question, not a judicial question.
It took our federal judiciary only eighty-nine years, from Marbury v. Madison to Field v.
Clark to move from law to tyranny. Article V requires actual ratification of a proposed
constitutional amendment by the several states; the Enrolled Bill Rule allows ratification by
presumption of one man.
The tyranny was too much for Bill Benson. He put together the Reliance Defense Package
and encouraged people, through his website and his speaking engagements, to obtain his material,
study it, and if they thought it true, to exercise their First Amendment right to petition the
government for redress. This proved too much for the federal government.
On November 16, 2004, the government sued Bill Benson to obtain an injunction to prohibit
him from falsely telling people that the 16th Amendment was not in fact ratified, and to obtain the
names and addresses of those who obtained his information. The government argued that under the
Enrolled Bill Rule, the 16th Amendment was conclusively presumed ratified, and therefore his
statements were false as a matter of law. In response, Bill submitted the facts showing the proposed
amendment was passed by the false presumption of Secretary of State Knox and that less than
three-fourths of the several states voted for ratification. Bill argued that Revised Statute 205, as
applied under the facts he adduced, was an unconstitutional legislative act which had the effect of
amending Article V of the Constitution. He argued that the various courts that previously heard the
issue never had before them the truth that several states had intentionally modified the language
proposed by Congress. Bill also argued that the cases of Field v. Clark, Leser v. Garnett and
Coleman v. Miller could not be the law if it allowed amendment of the Constitution by
presumption. Bill argued that if the question were a political one, then his speech on the subject was
political speech, and protected by the First Amendment. And finally, Bill argued that the refusal of
the Court to allow Bill to present the facts to prove his statements were true violated due process of
The court struck all of Bill’s facts from the record as irrelevant, and failed to address any of
his other questions. On January 10, 2008, the court granted the government’s requested injunction.
As of now, then, the government may prosecute you for lying and prevent you from presenting a
defense. As of now, speaking about a political question is against the law. As of now, there is no
due process of law. As of now, there is no First Amendment right to speak or to petition the
government for redress of grievance. As of now, the words of the Supreme Court in Marbury v.
Madison are like the words of the United States Constitution; mere words that have no meaning.
The only bright spot is that we convinced the court that the names and addresses sought by
the government were protected. We did this by having three people, John Doe I, John Doe II and
Jane Roe, file a motion to intervene and file a motion for a protective order to protect their names
from being disclosed. The strategy worked. The government’s attorney advised us, however, they
intend to appeal the decision in order to obtain the names and addresses.
I am writing you to solicit your help to put together a unified, winning team, to end the
federal income tax, which as we all know, it a major part of Ron Paul’s platform. Many of you, like
me, were alive in the 60's and watched the civil rights movement. We learned that it takes a unique
combination of political activism and awareness coupled with court action to change the minds of
the courts and the politicians. Ron Paul’s campaign provides the necessary political action, and the
Bill Benson litigation provides the court action.
The Bill Benson litigation is perhaps the single most important tax case since Pollock. It has
the capacity to do away with the income tax once and for all. The timing is perfect because of Dr.
Paul’s presidential campaign. The case fell into our hands because the government raised the issue
of the non-ratification of the 16th Amendment. For the first time ever, we have the facts in evidence
that several states actually amended the proposed 16th Amendment. We have a beautiful first
amendment issue as well as a fifth amendment due process issue to get the attention of the Supreme
Court, not to mention the issue that the government believes it can amend the constitution by the
presumption of one man instead of actual ratification. We have an opportunity to move the Supreme
Court back into protectors of the Constitution instead of protectors of the political system.
If we are to win this monumental case, and win the battle with the federal government, we
need to do the same thing those in the civil rights movement did. The Ron Paul campaign teaches us
the populace can be reached and funds raised, if only we go out and do it.
The current intent is to file the appeal in the 7th Circuit and move the court to certify several
questions to the Supreme Court because the 7th Circuit feels bound by Supreme Court precedent.
The consensus of opinion is that we have to flood the appellate court with amicus briefs from both
individuals and groups if we hope to achieve this goal.
To make this a reality, we have to advertise our needs and have various motions and amicus
briefs available for download from numerous websites. To that end, can you assist with the
following, either individually or by eliciting the aid of those who can:
• Build and host web sites
• Create YouTube videos
• Post blogs
• Produce Squidoo lenses and other articles
• Set up donation sites
• Obtain high search engine rankings for the above
• Put together letter writing campaigns
• Write motions for leave to file amicus briefs
• Write amicus briefs (most of the law you will need has already been briefed in the
motions previously filed and is available on my website:
• Contact groups to entice them to file amicus briefs
• Contact those who have Ron Paul meet up groups and alert them of our need for help
• Set up and put into place the same tactics utilized by the Ron Paul campaign to help
• Set up mailing lists and do regular mailings
• Produce and market t-shirts, bumper stickers and other products
• Contact public radio and television stations to arrange for us to appear on their
I’m certain there is even more we can do, and your input is critically important.
Financing is needed for the following:
• Newspaper advertisements to attract more financial support, people to file amicus
briefs, and to gather public support
• Letter writing campaigns
• Advertisements in the various state bar publications to attract attorney assistance
• Television and radio announcements and commercials
• Provide support for the litigation team
• Hire a firm to take the case to the Supreme Court since they refuse to allow me to
We have a unique opportunity to change history and really make a difference at a time when
it is most needed. We have each taken it upon ourselves to step out from the crowd, like our
founding fathers, and fight against tyranny. The Benson litigation, the way it came about, and the
way it has unfolded, is nothing short of miraculous. Please, lets come together and take advantage
of this magnificent opportunity.