What Ever Happened to the Constitution? - Judge Andrew Napolitano

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posted on Aug, 15 2010 @ 01:37 PM
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Well, instead of writing a whole long spiel, I think this member did a pretty good job on the differences between calling this country a democracy.

The Democracy Conspiracy

The problems is this, when you state we are a democracy, this means that the government can pass ANY law with the wishes of the majority.

The author of that thread, did a pretty good job, but the ROOT of a Republic is a Constitution, that the government cannot break.

As we can see here, our elected MORONS think the government can do pretty much anything they want. Which would include throwing people in prison for speaking out against the government.

Hopefully, you are not a Stack fan.



When we have idiots like this in government, I am glad #2 was put into the Constitution.

Thinking the consent of the governed is being pulled as we speak.




posted on Aug, 15 2010 @ 06:43 PM
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Even the qujote I pulled from Jefferson earlier is not an argument against a Democracy in general...Only as an argument against a pure Democracy. They knew from history what happens to a pure Democracy, like that of Classical Age Greece. The Constituion itself describes organizing how the US government is supposed to work is evident. One of my earlier Jefferson quotes posted in this thread even mentions that, "that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail..." This sounds like Democracy to me, but the rest of the quote speaks of the equal Rights of minorities are to be equally protected by Law. Just because I've bolded one part of that quote earlier doesn't mean I disregard any other part of it.

I've even said such in earlier posts, even over a year ago. It's just that the Constitution does include elements of Democracy, there are also specific limitations as to how much democratic processes are put to use.

Have you noticed that the Constitution actually defines the US Government & State Governments to be seperated according to enumerated Powers? Article 4, Section 4 specifically calls on the US government to include representatives for the States. This specifies that one certain level of government must uphold the lawfull Republic of another level of government, even within itself. The 17th Amendment is a path further away from a Republic, leading towards a more pure Democracy & that's what makes it wrong.

Originally posted by rnaa


Source: Jefferson on Politics & Government

"We may say with truth and meaning that governments are more or less republican as they have more or less of the element of popular election and control in their composition; and believing as I do that the mass of the citizens is the safest depository of their own rights, and especially that the evils flowing from the duperies of the people are less injurious than those from the egoism of their agents, I am a friend to that composition of government which has in it the most of this ingredient." --Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1816. ME 15:23

How about I put emphasis on a different part of the quote you posted? The part of the quote that says, "and believing as I do that the mass of the citizens is the safest depository of their own rights, and especially that the evils flowing from the duperies of the people are less injurious than those from the egoism of their agents..."
Right there is the Republic (representation) for the State Governments...In that the People elect their own Legislature already, without changing at all the Constitution for the US Government.

The Republic of the States is the basis for the Republic as it used to appear in the US Senate (that is, the People elect their State Legislature, that elect their US Senators), until the 17th Amendment shifted the US Government towards more Democracy. Even in the beginning, it was the Republic Governments of the States that led to the Republic of the US Government.

The Constitution was written to effect limitations on Democracy to a point where its excesses wouldn't interfere with it's basic "one person, one vote" advantadges. But even these few advantadges of Democracy have been corrupted (with controversial voting procedures, our elected representatives abjectly ignoring the voice of the People (the passage of Obamacare comes to mind as one recent example)) to the point where they're not even practicing Democracy, let alone a Republic.

[edit on 15-8-2010 by MidnightDStroyer]



posted on Aug, 15 2010 @ 11:42 PM
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reply to post by MidnightDStroyer
 





How about I put emphasis on a different part of the quote you posted? The part of the quote that says, "and believing as I do that the mass of the citizens is the safest depository of their own rights, and especially that the evils flowing from the duperies of the people are less injurious than those from the egoism of their agents..." Right there is the Republic (representation) for the State Governments...In that the People elect their own Legislature already, without changing at all the Constitution for the US Government.


OK lets break down that part that you want to emphasize. Because I don't think it is saying what you think it is saying.



"and believing as I do that the mass of the citizens is the safest depository of their own rights,"


Jefferson is here saying that he believes that democracy (the mass of the citizens) is the best way for people to protect their rights



and especially that the evils flowing from the duperies of the people are less injurious than those from the egoism of their agents...


Jefferson is here saying that be believes that the mistakes that people (that is, 'the mass of citizens') make are less harmful than those that their representatives (the agents).

That is NOT an argument for a non-democratic representative republic.

Jefferson understood that 'pure' democracy was impracticable for any level of government much larger than a small village and that therefore a representative form of government was inevitable. Never-the-less, he felt that the democratic 'will of the people' would make better decisions than agents who can be captured by special interests or assume too much power on their own.

Consider this statement from Jefferson:

"It must be acknowledged that the term republic is of very vague application in every language... Were I to assign to this term a precise and definite idea, I would say purely and simply it means a government by its citizens in mass, acting directly and personally according to rules established by the majority; and that every other government is more or less republican in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of direct action of the citizens. Such a government is evidently restrained to very narrow limits of space and population. I doubt if it would be practicable beyond the extent of a New England township." --Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1816. ME 15:19


He uses a different definition of a Republic than I use, because he generally uses the word "republic" as a shorthand for "democratic republic". When he is discussing non-democratic republics, he consistently derides them as evil ("To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep." - Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. ME 6:64)

Or consider this statement (remember that the Constitution was written 1787 and began operation in 1789 - so this from period it was being ratified by the States):



"I have such reliance on the good sense of the body of the people and the honesty of their leaders that I am not afraid of their letting things go wrong to any length in any cause." --Thomas Jefferson to C. W. F. Dumas, 1788. ME 6:430


Or this: (here 'quoted' rather than 'extracted' to get around extraction size limits)


"The whole body of the nation is the sovereign legislative, judiciary, and executive power for itself. The inconvenience of meeting to exercise these powers in person, and their inaptitude to exercise them, induce them to appoint special organs to declare their legislative will, to judge and to execute it. It is the will of the nation which makes the law obligatory; it is their will which creates or annihilates the organ which is to declare and announce it. They may do it by a single person, as an emperor of Russia (constituting his declarations evidence of their will), or by a few persons, as the aristocracy of Venice, or by a complication of councils, as in our former regal government or our present republican one. The law being law because it is the will of the nation, is not changed by their changing the organ through which they choose to announce their future will; no more than the acts I have done by one attorney lose their obligation by my changing or discontinuing that attorney." --Thomas Jefferson to Edmund Randolph, 1799. ME 10:126



Or this:



"Democrats... consider the people as the safest depository of power in the last resort; they cherish them, therefore, and wish to leave in them all the powers to the exercise of which they are competent." --Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 1825. ME 16:96


Finally, lets have a look at the "Jefferson quote" that seems to have mislead you into thinking that somehow Jefferson distrusted democracy.


Originally posted by MidnightDStroyer

The Founding Fathers knew history...And how Democracy always degenerates into tyranny.

Thomas Jefferson
A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.

The main problem is that, when the majority votes away Rights for anyone, it's usually without ever realizing that once those Rights are gone, they're gone for everybody.


First, note that every one of Jefferson's quotes I have provided have a source. That is because they come from the University of Virginia's Library Jefferson Collection quotation web Jefferson on Politics and Government which includes them. Notice also, that your quote, copied from BrainyQuote does not have a source marker. This is not only due to an unfortunate BrainyQuote policy, but also because Jefferson never said any such thing. It is a lie, pure and simple.

Please see the Montecello Jefferson Library's remarks on this false quote in the "Jefferson Encyclopedia". Even the Conservapedia acknowledges this as a fake.

There are dozens of fake quotes attributed to Jefferson and many founding fathers. You would do well to ensure there is an accurate source attribution before you rely on such incendiary quotes because not only do they lead you astray, they damage your credibility.



[edit on 15/8/2010 by rnaa]

[edit on 15/8/2010 by rnaa]



posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 12:14 AM
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reply to post by saltheart foamfollower
 





When we have idiots like this in government, I am glad #2 was put into the Constitution.


Jefferson also had an opinion(s) on this attitude:


"While the principles of our Constitution give just latitude to inquiry, every citizen faithful to it will deem embodied expressions of discontent and open outrages of law and patriotism as dishonorable as they are injurious." --Thomas Jefferson: Reply to Leesburg Citizens, 1809.



"The following [addition to the Bill of Rights] would have pleased me: The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or otherwise to publish anything but false facts affecting injuriously the life, liberty or reputation of others, or affecting the peace of the [United States] with foreign nations." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789. ME 7:450, Papers 15:367


Of course, if that addition had been made, then Faux News and World Net Daily would have no reason for existence.


"I acknowledge the right of voluntary associations for laudable purposes and in moderate numbers. I acknowledge, too, the expediency for revolutionary purposes of general associations coextensive with the nation. But where, as in our case, no abuses call for revolution, voluntary associations so extensive as to grapple with and control the government, should such be or become their purpose, are dangerous machines and should be frowned down in every well regulated government." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1822.



"In no country on earth is [a disposition to oppose the law by force] so impracticable as in one where every man feels a vital interest in maintaining the authority of the laws, and instantly engages in it as in his own personal cause." --Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Smith, 1808. ME 12:62



"In a country whose constitution is derived from the will of the people directly expressed by their free suffrages, where the principal executive functionaries and those of the legislature are renewed by them at short periods, where under the character of jurors they exercise in person the greatest portion of the judiciary powers, where the laws are consequently so formed and administered as to bear with equal weight and favor on all, restraining no man in the pursuits of honest industry and securing to every one the property which that acquires, it would not be supposed that any safeguards could be needed against insurrection or enterprise on the public peace or authority. The laws, however, aware that these should not be trusted to moral restraints only, have wisely provided punishments for these crimes when committed." --Thomas Jefferson: 6th Annual Message, 1806. ME 3:418



"The paradox with me is how any friend to the union of our country can, in conscience, contribute a cent to the maintenance of anyone who perverts the sanctity of his desk to the open inculcation of rebellion, civil war, dissolution of government, and the miseries of anarchy." --Thomas Jefferson to William Plumer, 1815. ME 14:235



"Military assemblies will not only keep alive the jealousies and fears of the civil government, but give ground for these fears and jealousies. For when men meet together, they will make business if they have none; they will collate their grievances, some real, some imaginary, all highly painted; they will communicate to each other the sparks of discontent; and these may engender a flame which will consume their particular, as well as the general happiness." --Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786. ME 17:90



posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 12:43 AM
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reply to post by MidnightDStroyer
 


One last series of quotes and I'm done.

You and Saltheart Foamfollower seem to have a 'thing' about Majority Rule, Foam stating that somehow a Representative Republic like the USA is not Majority Rule (can't figure that one out, but anyway) and you stating that somehow Jefferson's fake quote indicates that majority rule is a bad thing.

But since we are heavily into Mr. Jeffersion today, lets see what he really said about the subject:


"The first principle of republicanism is that the lex majoris partis is the fundamental law of every society of individuals of equal rights; to consider the will of the society enounced by the majority of a single vote as sacred as if unanimous is the first of all lessons in importance, yet the last which is thoroughly learnt. This law once disregarded, no other remains but that of force, which ends necessarily in military despotism." --Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, 1817. ME 15:127


Slam dunk.

lex majoris partis means "the majority makes the law" or "majority rule"


"All... being equally free, no one has a right to say what shall be law for the others. Our way is to put these questions to the vote, and to consider that as law for which the majority votes." --Thomas Jefferson: Address to the Cherokee Nation, 1809. ME 16:456



"The voice of the majority decides. For the lex majoris partis is the law of all councils, elections, etc., where not otherwise expressly provided." --Thomas Jefferson: Parliamentary Manual, 1800. ME 2:420



"Every man, and every body of men on earth, possesses the right of self-government. They receive it with their being from the hand of nature. Individuals exercise it by their single will; collections of men by that of their majority; for the law of the majority is the natural law of every society of men." --Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on Residence Bill, 1790. ME 3:60



"If we are faithful to our country, if we acquiesce, with good will, in the decisions of the majority, and the nation moves in mass in the same direction, although it may not be that which every individual thinks best, we have nothing to fear from any quarter." --Thomas Jefferson to Virginia Baptists, 1808. ME 16:321



"Where the law of the majority ceases to be acknowledged, there government ends, the law of the strongest takes its place, and life and property are his who can take them." --Thomas Jefferson to Annapolis Citizens, 1809. ME 16:337



"[Bear] always in mind that a nation ceases to be republican only when the will of the majority ceases to be the law." --Thomas Jefferson: Reply to the Citizens of Adams County, Pa., 1808. ME 12:18


Remember, it is Jefferson's habit to use the word 'republic' where today we would say 'democratic' or 'democratic republic'. But if we forget that for just a second, the above quote expresses exactly the opposite of the assertion that Republics are designed to eliminate the 'terrors' of majority rule.

Finally, I never considered Jefferson a profit in the Biblical sense, but in this last quote, we seem to find him predicting exactly Rupert Murdoch, News Ltd, and Faux News:


"[A faction's] newspapers say rebellion, and that they will not remain united with us unless we will permit them to govern the majority. If this be their purpose, their anti-republican spirit, it ought to be met at once. But a government like ours should be slow in believing this, should put forth its whole might when necessary to suppress it, and promptly return to the paths of reconciliation. The extent of our country secures it, I hope, from the vindictive passions of the petty incorporations of Greece." --Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, 1812. ME 13:162



posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 01:53 AM
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reply to post by saltheart foamfollower
 


Sorry, I know I said I was finished for the day but I'm back, because I wanted respond to this question and to the video you embedded.



Hopefully, you are not a Stack fan.


No, based on this video, I'm not a Stack fan. He gave a lousy answer to a loaded question. And if he did indeed say that the new Health Care laws somehow created a 'new right' in the morning session as the questioner eluded to, then I have to disagree with that as well.

Never the less, I disagree with the questioner even more.

Proper health care has always been a right, there just has been no way to provide it equitably. The new law is the first step in a long journey.

I base my assertion on 2 parts of the Constitution:

1) the Preamble to the Constitution which says:


We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


I consider a citizenry that is health and does not have to live in fear of bankruptcy from medical bills due to no fault of their own one of the prerequisite for 'domestic tranquility'. Furthermore promotion of a medical health in the general population is certainly "promotion of the general welfare". Finally, one cannot enjoy the secured "blessings of liberty" if one is imprisoned by the burden of unmanageable medical bills.

2) on the 9th Amendment which says that:


The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


In other words, it is recognized that those rights listed in the Constitution are no necessarily the only rights that people have, and the fact that the Constitution does not list every right, does not mean that that right does not exist.

The questioner quotes the 10th amendment as a tangential argument that the government can not find 'new' rights, but ignores the 9th amendment that explicitly says that it absolutely can.

Also requiring an insurance company to provide insurance to all Americans on an equitable basis has nothing to do with slavery (it also isn't the case with this bill, but its a start). The questioners fundamental basis for her question it fundamentally wrong.

No one is being 'forced' to provide medical care. Medical Doctors provide medical care because that is what they choose to do. There are already laws in existence that say a Doctor cannot refuse to treat someone. I repeat, they are not being forced to treat anyone, however, if they choose to become a Doctor, then they are legally bound to practice according to the laws governing medical practice.

Health practitioners practice their trade voluntarily and receive (more or less) just compensation for their services. Slavery it is not.

Similarly with Insurance Companies. No one is being 'forced' to pay for anyone's health care. An Insurance Company is either in the business of health insurance or they are not, it is their choice. However, if they choose to provide health insurance, they must do so according to the laws governing that market.

Health Insurance Companies provide insurance product voluntarily and receive much more than just compensation for their services. Slavery it is not.

Government providing for the General Welfare it is. Government ensuring the right to health is within the reach of all of "We the People" it is.

NOW, I'm done for the day.



posted on Aug, 16 2010 @ 08:46 PM
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Originally posted by rnaa

"and believing as I do that the mass of the citizens is the safest depository of their own rights,"


Jefferson is here saying that he believes that democracy (the mass of the citizens) is the best way for people to protect their rights

Which is only one aspect of a democracy. It's not the whole of the democratic process. I never denied that the Constitution includes some aspects of Democracy, only that it limits the government from becoming a pure Democracy. Until you actually absorb this particualr point (that I'm repeating...again), you'll always be on the wrong track in trying to "debunk" me.



Originally posted by rnaaJefferson is here saying that be believes that the mistakes that people (that is, 'the mass of citizens') make are less harmful than those that their representatives (the agents).

And this is also where the democratic elections in State legislatures (in absence of the 17th Amendment) still carried up into US Senate elections also...If the People don't like the State's election of US Senators, then the People can bring their grievances to bear more efficiently upon the State legislature & demand a Recall on the US Senator.
With the 17th Amendment, however, that takes the US Senate one step further away from removing an inappropriate Senator & therefore one step further from a Republic. The construction of the Constitution (particularly with the 10th Amendment) was to set the States as a "buffer zone" between the Feds & the People. Have you noticed in the US Constitution that there is a marked lack of any direct connection between the Feds & the People?

You also seem to disregard that America was established as a Constitutional Republic...Even though it includes some democratic functions, they are limited by the "Constitutional" part of the "Republic." The Will of the People must be heard through representatives selected by the Due Process of the Republic...But that Will must be rightful & therefore filtered through the limited Powers of the representatives. Jefferson (& many other Founding Fathers) knew that the Will of the People must not be used in the "heat of the moment," as in the case for a pure Democracy, to effect any significant long-lasting changes in Law which could be perverted by a Democracy. One example of this is found in the Amendment Ratification clauses...If the Constitution could be changed easily, then it would be altered (& perverted away from its original intent) during the "heat" of a moment of Public stresses.

But this does not change these two facts:
1: The 17th Amendment did not specifically change anything about Article 4, section 4 & stands in direct conflict with it.
2: Just as the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, means that the 17th Amendment can still be repealed with another specifically-defined Amendment.


Originally posted by rnaaConsider this statement from Jefferson:

"It must be acknowledged that the term republic is of very vague application in every language... Were I to assign to this term a precise and definite idea, I would say purely and simply it means a government by its citizens in mass, acting directly and personally according to rules established by the majority; and that every other government is more or less republican in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of direct action of the citizens. Such a government is evidently restrained to very narrow limits of space and population. I doubt if it would be practicable beyond the extent of a New England township." --Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1816. ME 15:19


He uses a different definition of a Republic than I use, because he generally uses the word "republic" as a shorthand for "democratic republic". When he is discussing non-democratic republics, he consistently derides them as evil ("To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep." - Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. ME 6:64)

It seems to me that the goal was fulfilled by a Constitutional Republic, in that it limits Democracy & Republic alike by establishing those very same "rules established by the majority" that you've quoted. This is what it means to "limit the government" itself, while retaining the smallest amount of limits on the People...The People retaining Sovereignty over the government by reducing the amount of Soverien Powers delegated through each level of government.

[edit on 16-8-2010 by MidnightDStroyer]



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 08:39 AM
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reply to post by MidnightDStroyer
 




...I never denied that the Constitution includes some aspects of Democracy, only that it limits the government from becoming a pure Democracy...


I understand what you are trying to say, but the spin you are putting on it extremely labored. The Constitution doesn't really 'limit the government from becoming a pure Democracy'. What the Constitution does is DEFINE the government as a Representative Democracy. Analogy: the design of a Sports Car doesn't 'limit' it from becoming a Pickup Truck, it MAKES it a Sports Car.



And this is also where the democratic elections in State legislatures (in absence of the 17th Amendment) still carried up into US Senate elections also...If the People don't like the State's election of US Senators, then the People can bring their grievances to bear more efficiently upon the State legislature & demand a Recall on the US Senator.


Again, I see the what you are saying, and I completely understand the original idea of having one of the chambers 'owned' by the State Government, rather than the democratic process.


Source: www.wordiq.com...

Before 1913, senators were seen (in the ideal) as representing the States to the Federal Union, and representatives were seen as representing local blocs of the people. Though the reality may well have differed, the theory was quite different from what the 17th amendment created - a local representative and a state-wide "representative at large."


This is clear enough. What is missing is the history that brought about that change, history that proved that the process was unworkable and unrepresentative.

First of all, your assumption that the State Legislatures choice of Senator is any more or any less subject to impeachment than the popular vote is false. Once chosen by any means, pre- or post- 17th Amendment, a Senator serves for six years. The procedure for removing a Senator from office if need be was not changed in any way by the 17th amendment. So that is a moot point, and recall is a 'democratic' process, not a 'representative' one.

Second, there is little evidence that the choice of the State Legislature is likely to be any better than the people's choice. Indeed, a State Legislature may well be dominated by politicians that were elected specifically on the basis of local state issues and who have no interest in the issues of national importance. Senators chosen by such a legislature may well not have the interests of the State in mind when they get to DC.

Third, there is the incontrovertible fact that incompetence, corruption, and outside interference, denied several States of any representation in the Senate what-so-ever for years on end.



Source: www.senate.gov

Intimidation and bribery marked some of the states' selection of senators. Nine bribery cases were brought before the Senate between 1866 and 1906. In addition, forty-five deadlocks occurred in twenty states between 1891 and 1905, resulting in numerous delays in seating senators. In 1899, problems in electing a senator in Delaware were so acute that the state legislature did not send a senator to Washington for four years.


Fourth, even before the amendment, many States had instituted popular election for their Senators. The Legislatures of these States had recognized that Senators should be democratically elected. The 17th formalized this new process for all States.



You also seem to disregard that America was established as a Constitutional Republic


Nothing could be further from the truth. If you review my input in this thread, you will notice that I am arguing from the point of view of the Constitution at every point. It is other posters that argue that other documents are more important than the Constitution in defining and limiting our Government.



...Even though it includes some democratic functions, they are limited by the "Constitutional" part of the "Republic." The Will of the People must be heard through representatives selected by the Due Process of the Republic...But that Will must be rightful & therefore filtered through the limited Powers of the representatives.


Yes. The American form of Government, as defined in the Constitution, is a democratic representative republic.

I put it to you that if there is an institution in society that is corrupting this representative system, it is the public opinion poll. Which of the un-democratic opponents of 17 are also speaking out about the polls?



Jefferson (& many other Founding Fathers) knew that the Will of the People must not be used in the "heat of the moment," as in the case for a pure Democracy,


Jefferson was not involved in writing the Constitution (he was in France). He was however, of the opinion that while 'pure' democracy was an ideal, it was impractical in a large, geographically remote country. He had more confidence in the people than you give him credit for. See my posts above.



But this does not change these two facts:
1: The 17th Amendment did not specifically change anything about Article 4, section 4


Absolutely, 100% correct. The two have absolutely nothing to do with each other.



& stands in direct conflict with it.


Absolutely, 100% incorrect. The two have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Article 4, Section 4 has to do with the "form of government" not the method of selecting Senators. A republican form of government, fundamentally, means that there is no monarch. The Constitution forbids admitting a State into the Union that has a Monarchical system.

I recognize that there is a 'debate' about the initiative, referendum, and recall processes that some States have in place and whether those processes violate the representative nature that the authors anticipated the republic should assume (and that Hamilton and Madison detailed in the Federalist Papers). However, there is no qualitative difference between the democratic election of Congressmen and the democratic election of Senators and it is obvious that the authors of the Constitution had no problem with the democratic election of Congress.

In short, if 17 is 'in direct conflict' with A4S4, then so is Article 1 Section 2. That doesn't make sense does it, the Authors putting in two clauses in the unamended original text that are in direct conflict with each other?

As an aside, I am in favor of referendum, initiative, and recall. I grew up in Arizona, which removed those provisions from its proposed Constitution in order to get it through Congress so it could be admitted as a State. After admittance as a State, it immediately amended its Constitution to put them back in.



2: Just as the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, means that the 17th Amendment can still be repealed with another specifically-defined Amendment.


Of course. That doesn't mean it is a good idea though.

Reducing democratic processes in the greatest democratic republic on the face of the earth is a step backwards. It would do absolutely nothing except make it easier for vested interests to control the Senate. Consider this: which is easier, Rupert Murdoch or British Petroleum or the King of Saudi Arabia 'buying' a Senate seat with the 17th Amendment in effect, or without the 17th Amendment. One of the main impetus for the 17th amendment was the corruption of the State Legislatures by vested interests through bribery and extortion.



It seems to me that the goal was fulfilled by a Constitutional Republic, in that it limits Democracy & Republic alike by establishing those very same "rules established by the majority" that you've quoted. This is what it means to "limit the government" itself, while retaining the smallest amount of limits on the People...


The key point in Jefferson's quote with respect to this discussion is:



... government is more or less republican in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of direct action of the citizens....


In other words MORE democracy = MORE republican. The 17th Amendment ensures more democracy, thus making the form of government more republican, in Jefferson's opinion. You introduced the fake Jefferson quote into the argument in order to use his mojo to back up your anti-democratic argument. It is only reasonable that you acknowledge it when the opposite is demonstrated.

Finally, "limiting the Government", is not achieved by the simple establishment of a Constitutional Republic. This is achieved by defining what the Government can do and how it is allowed to do it. It can reasonably be argued that a Constitution is required to establish that definition as the unimpeachable supreme law of the land. But the existence of Constitution alone does not ensure those limits. Zimbabwe has a Republican constitution and there is no question that the Government is not limited in any way, nor that the people are powerless in every way. Likewise, North Korea.

On the other hand, Australia has a Constitutional Monarchy, the provisions of the Constitution provide virtually no limits on the Government; it is almost impossible to amend. There is no Bill of Rights. (It is claimed that the authors based the Australian Constitution on the American Constitution. The only resemblance I can find is that the two houses of the legislature is called "House of Representatives" and the "Senate"). There is, never-the-less, an understanding of, and respect for, the same freedoms and rights enjoyed by Americans who are protected by such things, albeit with an Australian slant.


[edit on 17/8/2010 by rnaa]



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 02:25 PM
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Originally posted by rnaa
I understand what you are trying to say, but the spin you are putting on it extremely labored.

What I'm saying is not "spin," nor is it "labored." In the history of law & court jurisprudence, even long before the US became its own nation, one of the long-held, primary maxims of law is that: "If it's not specifically included, then it must be expressly excluded." As far as the written law is concerned, defining something also limits it from being anything else. To use your own analogy between the sports car & a pickup truck, being defined as sports car is what makes it a sports car & that does limit it from being made as a truck. You can't draw up blueprints & schematics for a sports car & wind up making a pickup truck.


By your description of my "labored spin," is the way that the Progressives have been running roughshod over the Constitution...They redefine the definitions of words (without actually having it officially entered into the legal vocabulary) or change the terminology to make it sound like they're using different definitions, then they run away from the law itself: It's literally a "War on Semantics" (aka: "spin") that they play. One good example is how the Progressives used to call themselves Neo-Cons...But when their ideologies became unpopular with the public, they changed their own moniker...But they never changed their ideology, their methods nor their goals. Their own habit of re-labeling everything does NOT change the reality under a new terminology. In the law, the word used is specifically defined...And the definition itself excludes everything else...Even fanciful "interpretations of intent."


Originally posted by rnaa
The procedure for removing a Senator from office if need be was not changed in any way by the 17th amendment. So that is a moot point, and recall is a 'democratic' process, not a 'representative' one.

I never even implied that the process of Recall wasn't democratic in function...It begins with the citizens, but must pass through various levels of representation (in local government first, then to whatever level is required to process the Recall Demand) for actual implementation.

What the 17th Amendment does is violates Article 4, Section 4 by creating more democracy at the expense of the eliminating the Republic guaranteed to the States, all without addressing the violation itself. Since Article 4, Section 4 was not specifically amended by any Amendment (let alone the 17th) or overruled by the Judicial (not that the Judicial could lawfully eliminate whole Sections anyway), it became violated instead. No matter how you try to dance around it, this is the fact. Even in the most liberal viewpoint, Article4, Section 4 might have been "unknowingly ignored" at the wrong time, but the 17th Amendment still results in violating it.


Originally posted by rnaa
Third, there is the incontrovertible fact that incompetence, corruption, and outside interference, denied several States of any representation in the Senate what-so-ever for years on end.

And you seem to lack taking any notice that the House of Representatives is doing exactly that very same thing, right now...And have been doing so for quite some time already (only they've been doing so more openly as of late). When you described the history of Senate corruption, that was only one of the early symptoms of corruption in government. There have been signs of this corruption at least since Lincoln's term, though.

It could be argued that government corruption actually started "peeking out of the closet while the public was looking" since Bush...But Obama's "change" was only the rate of acceleration in the corruption. It appears that Obama's promise of "change" consists primarily in the result of government corruption coming "out of the closet." So, how has Obama's "change" been working for you?


Originally posted by rnaa
Jefferson was not involved in writing the Constitution (he was in France). He was however, of the opinion that while 'pure' democracy was an ideal, it was impractical in a large, geographically remote country. He had more confidence in the people than you give him credit for.

For one, I never said Jefferson was involved in writing the Constitution. For another, You're not giving me any credit for knowing how fully Jefferson trusted the People to govern themselves & how well he tried to keep a tight reign on government interference. Jefferson was in Congress before he sat in the Oval Office & he twice fought against the establishment of a "national bank" for the government's use. He was fighting against government corruption almost before the ink dried on the Constitution. He fought corruption by being a strict constructionist viewpoint about the Constitution. Strict Constructionism of the Constitution also seems to be the best way to continue the fight against the corruption from the "War on Semantics" as I described earlier: Throughout American history, there are numerous examples of how it successfully fought off some aspects of the corruption, but the Constitution is (& has been) getting attacked from all directions...Even moreso since the end of WW2, during the Cold War Era & up to today, than in any other earlier period of history.


Originally posted by rnaaIn short, if 17 is 'in direct conflict' with A4S4, then so is Article 1 Section 2. That doesn't make sense does it, the Authors putting in two clauses in the unamended original text that are in direct conflict with each other?

To which Clause of A1S2 are you referring? Specifically, Clause 1 refers to the Representative election cycles in the House & selection of Electors (more commonly called the Electorial College today). The Electors are chosen by the same qualifications as Representatives & by vote. How does this conflict A4S4, since the Electors are part of the State government, whereas A4S4 specifically addresses the United States government. You talk about the State Electors as if they were the same as Representatives in the House. The qualifications are the same, but their jurisdiction is different: Electors are State jurisdiction & US Representatives are Federal jurisdiction.
Clause 2? No, that only specifies the qualifications for Representatives, so you're not likely to be referring to that.
Clause 3? Well, Clause 3 is only partially modified by the 14th Amendment (setting aside for the moment that the 14th Amendment also does not include within itself any specific clauses that it's supposed to amend). Even so, Clause 3 only addresses the changes from the 14th Amendment (US citizenship, Naturalization & the severely curtailed list of Rights that it's supposed to uphold) in addition to determining the per capita representation.
Clause 4? Nope, that concerns refilling vacancies.
Clause 5? Again, no. That addresses how the "in-House" Speaker & other officers are selected.

So I ask again...Where does A1S2 actually conflict with A4S4? The only conflict that would be possible is if the Electors & the Representatives occupied the same jurisdiction, which is NOT the case.


Originally posted by rnaa
Reducing democratic processes in the greatest democratic republic on the face of the earth is a step backwards.

I'm not arguing that point...The point I'm making that you still keep missing is that the 17th Amendment did not modify any specifics in A4S4 & the 17th Amendment violates that very same original text in the Constitution. They didn't write any specific documentation for amending the original text of A4S4, in order to prevent the conflict that's created because of the 17th. In short, they did not adhere to any consistency in modifying the original text...Had they done so, then A4S4 would have been also modified. That inconsistency, in & of itself, creates the violation.

One last thing to cover for this post:

Originally posted by rnaaYou introduced the fake Jefferson quote into the argument in order to use his mojo to back up your anti-democratic argument.

I have never used "fake quotes" from anybody, on ATS or anywhere else I post, so leave your baseless accusations to yourself, thank you very much.

[edit on 17-8-2010 by MidnightDStroyer]



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 07:44 PM
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the only problem here is you rights seem to forget what happened in the last previous administration, now the righter's complain!!! whereas this to me I see America way more improving not getting worse, the concept of America that the Righters have is well, totally out of whack of the ATS is really tying to talk about.. I have always noticed this, ATS is supposed to be separate from Politics... so before u reply again think about this why did Obama Win, and now why is ATS becoming so more right winged, You People seem to forget then not remember... so Think about that before posting a response....



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 08:24 PM
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rnaa must own a copy of every thing every written by Hamilton.



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 10:06 PM
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Originally posted by mryanbrown
rnaa must own a copy of every thing every written by Hamilton.


Google is your friend. It isn't difficult to educate yourself in this day and age.



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 10:51 PM
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reply to post by MidnightDStroyer
 




One good example is how the Progressives used to call themselves Neo-Cons...

The internal spats between which reactionary franchise has the most marbles don't really interest me




What the 17th Amendment does is violates Article 4, Section 4 by creating more democracy at the expense of the eliminating the Republic guaranteed to the States, all without addressing the violation itself. Since Article 4, Section 4 was not specifically amended by any Amendment (let alone the 17th) or overruled by the Judicial (not that the Judicial could lawfully eliminate whole Sections anyway), it became violated instead.


I don't figure out what part of "they don't have anything to do with each other" you can't understand. A4S4 doesn't have anything to do with how a Senator is selected. The 17th Amendment neither violates not amends A4S4 - it has absolutely nothing to do with anything about A4S4. It just doesn't.

There is exactly one Amendment that specifically amends another part of the Constitution: the 21st repeals the 18th. No other amendment references any other provision, the amendments just say 'it doesn't matter how it used to work, this is how we do things NOW'. So even if the 17th did have an effect on A4S4, it doesn't have to specifically say so. No amendment except 21 does. The 13 amendment didn't specifically change the three fifths rule for example.

A4S4 says that every State must have a Republican form of Government. And that is the case today. No state is a Monarchy or a Theocracy or for that matter, a 'pure' Democracy. They are all, all 50 of them, governed by a republican government. The 17th amendment does absolutely nothing to change that in any way what-so-ever.



And you seem to lack taking any notice that the House of Representatives is doing exactly that very same thing, right now...And have been doing so for quite some time already (only they've been doing so more openly as of late).


Could you elaborate please? I live in Australia these days, maybe I missed it. I am not aware of States refusing to certify election results for Representatives, or as you assert the House of Representatives somehow not permitting elections to take place. Which states are not represented in either the House or Senate due to actions by the House of Representatives?



To which Clause of A1S2 are you referring?




A1S2: (first sentence)

The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.


A1S2 is specifically stating that the House of Representatives must be by direct election. But by your rekoning, A4S4 somehow prevents direct elections. If 17 violates A4S4, then A1S2 violates A4S4 in exactly the same way.



One last thing to cover for this post:



Originally posted by rnaaYou introduced the fake Jefferson quote into the argument in order to use his mojo to back up your anti-democratic argument.


I have never used "fake quotes" from anybody, on ATS or anywhere else I post, so leave your baseless accusations to yourself, thank you very much.


So this is a different MidnightDStroyer then?


Originally posted by MidnightDStroyer

The Founding Fathers knew history...And how Democracy always degenerates into tyranny.

Thomas Jefferson
A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.



That quote is fake. I am not accusing you of inventing the fake, only propagating it with out checking its veracity. It appears to have been invented by some guy named Ken Schoolland in 2004.

It is exactly the opposite of everything that Jefferson stood for.


[edit on 17/8/2010 by rnaa]



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 12:07 AM
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reply to post by rnaa
 





There is exactly one Amendment that specifically amends another part of the Constitution: the 21st repeals the 18th. No other amendment references any other provision, the amendments just say 'it doesn't matter how it used to work, this is how we do things NOW'. So even if the 17th did have an effect on A4S4, it doesn't have to specifically say so. No amendment except 21 does. The 13 amendment didn't specifically change the three fifths rule for example.


What a load of horse manure! The 17th Amendment most certainly does Amend another part of The Constitution and that is Article I, Section 3, Clauses 1 and 2.


The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.


~The Constitution for the United States of America; Article I, Section 3, Clause 1~



Immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three classes. The seats of the Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the second class at the expiration of the fourth year, and the third class at the expiration of the sixth year, so that one third may be chosen every second year; and if vacancies happen by resignation, or otherwise, during the recess of the legislature of any state, the executive thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the legislature, which shall then fill such vacancies.


~Article I, Section 3, Clause 2~

It is clear by the plain language of the Constitution, and the 17th Amendment that followed:


The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.



When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.


~17th Amendment, (In part)~

...that the 17th Amendment irrefutably, and in arguably alters the Constitution and it, not the 21st Amendment, is the only Amendment that clearly alters the original document. The 21st Amendment repeals the 18th Amendment and rightfully so as Congress clearly overstepped their bounds with that prohibition placed upon the people, and the people, quite understandably, told the federal government to piss off.

Interestingly, to the best of my knowledge, the 17th Amendment has never been challenged for its unconstitutionality. That it is unconstitutional is arguable, and if one wants to argue for the Constitutionality of the 17th Amendment, that is one thing, but to misrepresent it and the Constitutional process of Amendments is uncalled for.

The argument that Amendments function as assertions that "it doesn't matter how it used to work, this is how we do things NOW" is your most egregious propaganda. It may be your little fantasy that a Constitutional Amendment can fundamentally alter the original document, but beyond the 17th Amendment, which clearly does alter the Constitution, you would be hard pressed to find an Amendment that does so.

There are Amendments such s the 20th Amendment that, contrary to your claim, changes the time frame set forth by the 12th Amendment in which a new President takes office. There is the 22nd Amendment which does not expressly alter the Constitution as an unlimited amount of terms of office for a President were not expressly spoken to. Thus, the 22nd Amendment merely places a limitation on the terms of office a President can hold without ever altering the Constitution itself. There is the 25th Amendment that merely clarifies what is not so clear by Constitution, the line of succession in the event of an untimely illness that would leave a vacuum in terms of the President.

There is no Amendment, outside of the 17th Amendment, that clearly and unabashedly alters the original document. Why it has never been challenged as unconstitutional is a question worth asking, but your assertions regarding the 17th Amendment, and the purpose of Amendments is questionable, to say the very least.

[edit on 18-8-2010 by Jean Paul Zodeaux]



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 03:57 AM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 




What a load of horse manure! The 17th Amendment most certainly does Amend another part of The Constitution and that is Article I, Section 3, Clauses 1 and 2.


Yes, of course amendment 17 changes A1S3. That wasn't the issue being discussed. The issue was that nowhere in the text of the 17th Amendment does it explicitly state that it is changing A1S3. It merely says how Senators will be chosen in the future. The modification to to A1S3 is IMPLIED, not explicit.

Of course every amendment changes the Constitution, that is the point of an amendment some change original (or previously amended) text some add new provisions.

Your indignance is a little hyperbolic, especially since you didn't understand the issue being discussed.



From Wikipedia: Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

The Seventeenth Amendment restates the first paragraph of Article I, § 3 of the Constitution, but replaces the phrase "chosen by the Legislature thereof" with "elected by the people thereof".

The amendment also supersedes part of the second paragraph of Article I, § 3. The phrase "and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies" is superseded by the second paragraph of the amendment.


But the text of the amendment doesn't explicitly say that it is voiding those two provisions, it just says that from now on Senators are to be elected.

It also doesn't have anything to do with A4S4 which is MidnightDStroyer's assertion.



Interestingly, to the best of my knowledge, the 17th Amendment has never been challenged for its unconstitutionality.


Your statement is a contradiction of terms. An Amendment cannot be unconstitutional because it IS PART OF the Constitution. If it were possible for any Amendment to be unconstitutional, then all amendments are unconstitutional. Fortunately Article 5 clears this problem up.

See Article 5 of the Constitution for a refresher course on the validity of amendments.



It may be your little fantasy that a Constitutional Amendment can fundamentally alter the original document,


Article 5 of the Constitution is not a fantasy. It specifically states how the Constitution is to be amended and that such amendments are for all intents and purposes part of the Constitution.



but beyond the 17th Amendment, which clearly does alter the Constitution, you would be hard pressed to find an Amendment that does so.
...
There is no Amendment, outside of the 17th Amendment, that clearly and unabashedly alters the original document.


It isn't hard to find other amendments that do that at all. A more complete list is as follows



  • Amendment 11 modifies A3S2.
  • Amendment 12 modifies A2S1.
  • Amendment 13 modifies A4S2.
  • Amendment 14 modifies A1S2.
  • Amendment 16 modifies A1S9.
  • Amendment 17 modifies A1S3.
  • Amendment 20 modifies A1S4.
  • Amendment 21 repeals Amendment 18.
  • Amendment 25 modifies A2S1 and Amendment 20.


For the most part, the remaining Amendments that are not mentioned above are adding something new to the Constitution not modifying the original text.

Of the nine Amendments listed, the only one that explicitly names the part of the Constitution it is modifying is 21. When the text of an amendment specifies something different than the original text, the original text is superseded. I expect that there are cases where people have been unsure whether an amendment changed the original text in particular ways, but I doubt that 17 is one of them.

That was my point in the discussion with MidnightDStroyer. Nothing more, nothing less.

You can recheck this list yourself by reviewing the on-line Constitution at Cornel University. The text is conveniently hyper-linked where it has been modified by an amendment, and there are extensive annotations available discussing important case law related to the various provisions.

Please, before making assertions about what the Constitution does and does not say, please read it. It isn't that hard to find, really it isn't.



The 21st Amendment repeals the 18th Amendment and rightfully so as Congress clearly overstepped their bounds with that prohibition placed upon the people, and the people, quite understandably, told the federal government to piss off.


Congress did not over step any bounds for any amendment.

The Constitution specifically gives Congress the authority to propose amendments. "We the People" elected representatives to Congress on the basis that a Constitutional Amendment to ban Alcohol would be proposed to the States and that was done. A sufficient number of States ratified the Amendment and it became part of the Constitution. A few years later "We the People" realized the stupid mistake we had made and elected representatives on the basis that a repealing Amendment would be proposed to the States. A sufficient number of States ratified the proposal and it became part of the Constitution.

At what part of the process is Congress overstepping its bounds by proposing the 18th amendment (or any amendment for that matter)?. Congress followed the will of "We the People" in proposing both prohibition and repeal of prohibition. The States did ratify the proposals according to the will of their electorate. There are many proposed amendments that have not been ratified by a sufficient number of States because the State Legislatures disagreed with the Congressional proposal. That is the way the process is supposed to work.

With regard to prohibition, the only "over stepping of bounds" was done by "We the People" who misunderstood the consequences of making prohibition part of the Constitution and only realized the mistake after years of general failure. This should serve as an object lesson for other groups trying to dictate their personal morality to the entire population via a Constitutional amendment. They had better make sure that morality is embraced by the entirety of "We the People".

Congress is tasked with proposing Amendments as they see necessary. The States are tasked with approving the proposed Amendments or not. Congress doesn't "enact" an Amendment, it is not a 'mere' law, it is part of the Constitution and is rightly not a simple thing to do.



[edit on 18/8/2010 by rnaa]



posted on Sep, 2 2010 @ 11:43 PM
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reply to post by rnaa
 


rnaa, your knowledge concerning the Constitution and Jeffersonian political philosophy is impeccable! I also share this passion; he was not only my favorite founder, but my favorite political philosopher in History. I have studied most of his work, and the intellect this man possessed puts him right up there with Aristotle (contributions to philosophy) as the father of modern political philosophy.

These projects that put his original letters online are doing an excellent job spreading his message. I have considered something similar (which, if completed, I will send you a PM).





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