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IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
It’s been a while. Life moves onward. I will return…
Trump Could Simply Ignore Court’s Order Halting Travel Ban
Does our current status quo make our Constitution a suicide pact? Thomas Jefferson certainly said as much, warning that accepting judicial supremacy would make our founding document just that, a felo de se, as he put it in Latin.
Acceptance of judicial supremacy, by the way, is precisely why President Trump’s temporary ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations is on hold. Imagine that, Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist, No. 78 that the judiciary is the “least dangerous” branch of government because it “has no influence over either the sword or the purse,” yet it’s trumping the man with the sword, the president. But does it have to be this way?
No, Trump could simply ignore the court ruling suspending his ban.
Outrageous!? Unconstitutional!? Actually, it’s wholly constitutional.
In his dissent from the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges marriage ruling, late Justice Antonin Scalia warned that with “each decision… unabashedly based not on law,” the Court moves “one step closer to being reminded of [its] impotence.” What did Scalia know about courts’ power?
That it’s basically an illusion.
Let’s do a civics quiz. Why does the legislative branch have the power to make law? Why does the executive branch (presidency) have the power to enforce law? The answer in both cases is because the Constitution grants it.
Okay, now how is it that the judiciary has the “power” to rule on law and have its decisions constrain not just its own branch, but the other two as well? How have the courts become king? Because the Constitution grants…no, stop. It’s not in the Constitution—anywhere.
Rather, this “power” was declared by the courts themselves, most notably in the 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision.
That’s right, the Supreme Court gave the Supreme Court the supreme power to have the final say on laws’ meaning.
It’s a great con if you can pull it off.
The point is that the judiciary enjoys this power at the executive branch’s pleasure. As soon as the latter says, to paraphrase Andrew Jackson, “The courts have made their decision; now let them enforce it,” that power goes bye-bye. The judiciary is reminded of its impotence.
So it isn’t just that the courts lack the sword or purse, the possession and exercise of which could simply amount to might making right. They also have no constitutional claim to judicial supremacy. In fact, the power is a violation of everything for which America stands.
Jefferson explained why in 1820, writing that “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.” This is where we are now, and have long been—suicide-pact territory. The will of a nation 320-million strong is expressed through its duly elected representatives and laws are passed….
And then that will is thwarted by five black-robed lawyers in a central-government tribunal.
Does this sound like a government of, by and for the people to you?
As time has worn on, the judiciary has become increasingly brazen, issuing rulings more and more distant from the Constitution. This is no surprise. As Jefferson put it, “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 privileges of their corps.”
They even conjure up rationalizations justifying this power and privilege. For example, they long ago invented, out of thin air, the concept of the Constitution as a “living document” that can be interpreted to “suit the times.” Yet since the interpretations so often conflict with popular will, the only common thread is that they suit the judges.
These esteemed jurists then put a veneer of legitimacy on their violation of law and duty by assigning themselves an intellectual-sounding designation. “Why, we’re not constrained by a 200-year-old piece of parchment like those knuckle-dragging originalists,” they say, “We’re ‘pragmatists’!”
To understand how outrageous this is, consider an analogy touched on by Chief Justice John Roberts when, during his confirmation hearings, he said his job was only “to call balls and strikes.” Expanding on this, judges can in fact be thought of as baseball umpires, while the game’s ruling body is the legislature and the rule book is the Constitution. Now, what if an umpire considered the rule book living and said, “With the great pitchers in these times, three strikes are insufficient; I’m giving the batter four strikes”? What if he then stated, “I’m not abdicating my duty. I’m a pragmatist!”
Would this be taken seriously? Or would he be laughed off the diamond?
Obviously, it’s the job of the ruling body to alter the rules if necessary. Likewise, there is a lawful way to make the Constitution “live”: the Amendment Process. It’s long and difficult, and this ensures that before a change is made, a majority of the people agrees. This brings us to the problem with it—from the judiciary’s perspective:
Judges can’t control it.
So they usurp the people’s power with a wink and a nod. They must be stopped.
There’s more than one way to do this. Another little known fact is that Article III of the Constitution grants Congress the power to limit the jurisdiction of federal courts below the Supreme Court and the appellate jurisdiction of the latter. In other words, Congress could simply have prevented federal courts below the SCOTUS from ruling on immigration (and other issues) to begin with and the SCOTUS from reviewing lower-court decisions on those issues.
Congress also has the power under Article III to eliminate any and every federal court, except for the SCOTUS. So it could have made the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit—a bench of fools now reviewing Trump’s immigration ban—disappear long ago.
Yet this would require that our cowardly politicians take a real stand on a contentious issue. They’d rather that judges, who don’t have to be re-elected, make the tough decisions. They can then pretend they did all they could and say, “The courts have ruled. The law’s the law!”
So is it any surprise the courts are going rogue? “Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” as Lord Acton warned. And how can we have a balance of power among the three governmental branches, as the founders intended, when two branches refuse to exercise their power?
I’ve heard it said that if the president ignored the courts, it would spark a constitutional crisis. Newsflash: When a branch of government is continually trampling the rights of others and violating the Constitution, we’re already in a constitutional crisis. Showing the judiciary its impotence isn’t the disease—it’s the cure.
Only power neutralizes power. It’s shocking how we’ve betrayed the letter and spirit of our nation’s founding and have allowed the courts to run amok. We can continue drinking the judicial-supremacy Kool-Aid and committing national suicide, or we can drain the swamp infested with black-robed tyrants. It’s impotence for them—or irrelevancy for us.
Selwyn Duke is a writer, columnist and public speaker whose work has been published widely online and in print, on both the local and national levels. He has been featured on the Rush Limbaugh Show and has been a regular guest on the award-winning Michael Savage Show. His work has appeared in Pat Buchanan’s magazine The American Conservative and he writes regularly for The New American and Christian Music Perspective.
Sorry for the lack of posts, including missing the annual WKRP Thanksgiving episode…Life has a habit of getting in the way. I’m thankful that Hillary lost the election, and I’m willing to give Trump his first 100 days to show me if he really meant what he said throughout the campaign. The first action I’ll be looking for is his nomination to replace Scalia on SCOTUS, and I’ll go from there
The Obama Era is Over
Obama and his supporters loved talking about history. His victory was historic. They were on the right side of history. History was an inevitable arc that bent their way.
The tidal force of demographics had made the old America irrelevant. Any progressive policy agenda was now possible because we were no longer America. We Were Obamerica. A hip, happening place full of smiling gay couples, Muslim women in hijabs and transgender actors. We were all going to live in a New York City coffee house and work at Green Jobs and live in the post-national future.
The past was gone. We were falling into the gorgeous wonderful future of dot com instant deliveries and outsourced everything. We would become more tolerant and guilty. The future was Amazon and Disney. It was hot and cold running social justice. The Bill of Rights was done. Ending the First and Second Amendments was just a clever campaign away. Narratives on news sites drove everything.
Presidents were elected by Saturday Night Live skits. John Oliver, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee were our journalists. Safe spaces were everywhere and you better watch your microaggressions, buddy. No more coal would be mined. No more anything would be made. The end of men was here. The end of the dead white men of the literary canon. The end of white people. The end of binary gender and marriage. The end of reason. The end of art. The end of 2 + 2 equaling 4. This was Common Core time. It was time to pardon an endless line of drug dealers. To kill cops and praise criminals. To be forced to buy worthless health insurance for wealth redistribution to those who voted their way to wealth.
This was Obama’s America. And there was no going back. We were rushing through endless goal posts of social transformation. The military fell. Then the police. Now it looks as quaint as anything from the 50s, the 70s or the 80s. A brief moment of foolishness that already appears odd and awkward. And then one day nostalgic. It wasn’t the future. It’s already the past. It’s history.
Scalia died. Hillary Clinton was bound to win. And she would define the Supreme Court. Downticket races would give her a friendly Senate. And then perhaps the House.
But there is no right side of history. There is only the side we choose.
The Obama era was permanent. It was history. Now it is history.
Its shocking ascendancy has been paired with an equally shocking descent. The Obama era is done. It’s gone. It’s over. It was wiped from the pages of history in one night that left Congress and the White House in Republican hands.
It would have been bad enough if Jeb Bush had succeeded Obama. That would have been inconvenient, but not a repudiation. Instead Obama’s legacy was dashed to pieces. His frantic efforts to campaign for Hillary did no good. The public did not vocally reject him. What they did was in its own way even worse. They brushed past him. They sidelined him. They gave him passable approval ratings while dismissing his biggest accomplishments. They forgot him. They made it clear that he did not matter.
And that is in its own way far more brutal and wounding. They didn’t just destroy the Obama era. Instead they dismissed it as if it never existed.
Obama didn’t make history after all. He wasn’t a teleprompter demi-god standing athwart of history. He was Carter and Ford. He was there to be forgotten. He didn’t change the world. He wasn’t the messiah. He was merely mortal. Just another politician who will sag and age. Who will, in the end, be photographed like Bill Clinton, lonely and lost in a world that has passed him by.
The Obama era ends not with a bang, but with a whimper. With a national consensus that maybe he didn’t really matter so much after all. And those to whom he mattered the most were his enemies determined to undo everything he did.
Obama once thought that he belonged to the ages. Now he belongs in the rubbish bin.