Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Dangers of Democracy, Majority Rule, and Public Opinion

How dangerous is public opinion and majority rule in American history. Consider this scary example: Nazi Germany modeled America in many ways as follows: • Germany justified World War II as an expansion of territory similar to how America moved West and conquered Native-Americans. • The Nazi’s modeled American anti-miscegenation laws. While American laws generally targeted African-Americans most Nazi laws targeted Jews. • The Germans modeled American laws to treat minorities as second-class citizens. For example, segregation laws against African-Americans made it more difficult for them to travel, vote, or partake in the political process. The Insular Cases decided by the Court in 1901 basically provided that persons living in recently acquired territories from the Spanish American War did not possess full citizenship privileges. People living in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines took a backseat to naturalized citizens. While some justices correctly felt citizenship followed the American Flag, others felt it was okay to deny territory inhabitants certain rights. Similarly, German naturalization laws provided that only pure-blooded Germans can be citizens similar to how the United States dealt with territories. • American laws regarding eugenics where followed very closely by Nazi’s to maintain a pure race free from “foreign pollution”. • Both Americans and Nazi’s used abortion as a key element to eliminate racial impurities. • Germans closely followed American laws regarding immigration. The Exclusion Act of 1882 denied Chinese immigrants entrance into the United States. The Emergency Quota Act of 1921, Asiatic Barred Zone Act of 1917, and the Immigration Act of 1924 denied certain persons from immigrating into the United States. In particular, persons from Asia, Southern Europe, and Eastern Europe were denied access to the United States. Germany followed the same types of laws to deny or discourage Jews from entering their country. For instance, the Cable Act of 1922 stripped German women of citizen rights when they married non-citizens Asians. It was not just how Americans treated African-Americans and Asians that caught the attention of Nazis. They also admired American policy toward Native-Americans by placing them on reservations isolated from the main population. American hate organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) where equivalent to Nazi fascists. But it was not just the American South that discriminated, all of America was guilty of some sort of discrimination towards minorities and certain immigrants in the name of public opinion.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Discrimination and the Court (Part II)

If the government could not force affirmative action on otherwise innocent companies, it used coercive measures to make companies comply. One method was to force any government contractor to meet affirmative action policies. Another method allowed the government to set-aside funding (up to 10%) that was used to contract with minority dominated companies. SCOTUS found the latter method constitutional in Fullilove v. Klutznick. Of course, nothing in the Fullilove decision worried about how the program would affect the cost and quality of the work since there was less competition and the fact these types of government programs were generally open to more lobbying, corruption, waste, and fraud to win contracts.

To complicate matters, SCOTUS held in Johnson v. Santa Clara County, that reverse-discrimination affirmative action policies were acceptable to make up for past injustices. Santa Clara County was guilty of discrimination and therefore were allowed to promote less qualified females over more qualified males to make up for past indiscretions. The bottom line is that individuals, companies, organization, and federal agencies should be able to contract with anyone they feel will help them best achieve their goals so long as they do violate the contract and work rights of more qualified persons.

Discrimination laws have extended beyond Title VII. For instance, Congress passed the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA) which protects workers between the ages of 40 to 70. But doesn’t ADEA discriminate against younger persons who may be more qualified to do the job? This may explain why the unemployment rate among younger persons is almost always higher than older persons. Age discrimination is treated by the courts and the government very similarly as race and gender discrimination. For instance, ADEA has a BFOQ exception which generally deals with safety concerns. For example, in many airline cases the Court has upheld a mandatory retirement age of 60 years old for pilots due to safety concerns. To be sure, many people may rather put their lives in the hand of an experienced 62-year-old pilot than one making their maiden voyage. But age discrimination is also very different from race and gender discrimination. No white person can become a black person and generally speaking very few males become females and vice versa. But every young person becomes an older person. Hence corporate age laws are developed by people that all face the same consequences. For this reason, age discrimination makes little sense. The bottom line, debating work contracts which consider color-blindness, gender-blindness, and age-blindness makes more sense than debating controversial and inflammatory age, race, and gender discrimination cases.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Discrimination and the Court (Part I)

The Supreme Court interpretation of the Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act progressively moved from preventing discrimination to guaranteeing racial outcomes. In fact, the SCOTUS interpretation of Title VII was vastly different than what Senator Hubert Humphrey notes suggest was the true meaning behind the legislation. Title VII was necessary to end state government regulation used to enforce separate but equal policies on companies and minorities. Title VII was initially successful at reducing government regulations which, in turn, helped increase minority wages and participation in the work force. The gains from Title VII were short lived once SCOTUS and Congress began growing the federal government to guarantee racial outcomes by the early 1970s. The progression of SCOTUS interference is illustrated in the line of cases from Griggs v. Duke Power to Guardians Association v. New York City to Connecticut v. Teal to Watson v. Fort Worth Bank to Wards Cove v. Antonio to name a few of the key cases. To keep up with SCOTUS, Congress passed the Equal Opportunity Employment Act (EOEA) which made hiring and promotion guidelines even more stringent than Title VII. Congress and SCOTUS had one goal and that was to make sure no company practiced discrimination. This is a noble goal, but by placing the burden of proof on defendants to prove they were not discriminating and creating outrageous guidelines for hiring tests and interviewing practices a few things were bound happen. First, many companies not practicing discrimination were incorrectly found guilty of the practice. Second, not only would qualified whites be passed over for jobs and promotions, so too would qualified minorities. Third, even though the government and the Court did not specifically sanction quotas, companies were forced to implement them or face discrimination charges based on precedent and legislative rules. Fourth, the same rules for companies did not apply to government agencies and their hiring practices. Fifth, it increased hiring costs and made companies less efficient. Finally, these regulations stagnated not only minority wages and work force participation but it did the same to poor whites. Yes, Title VII racial discrimination laws and SCOTUS enforcement worked to widen the socioeconomic gap between the rich and poor.

Similarly, Title VII and the EOEA influenced SCOTUS to push for outcomes in gender equality. It was not enough to insure women and men were not discriminated against for jobs they were qualified to work. Instead, SCOTUS pushed for results in cases. For instance, in Diaz v. Pan American Airways, SCOTUS correctly held that Pan Am could not discriminate against men for airline attendant jobs. However, the decision was about balancing gender participation in the airline attendant profession. But why should Pan Am feel compelled to hire non-qualified males to guarantee balanced outcomes in the flight attendant profession? Pan Am should only hire those male candidates that meet their customer service guidelines that women are generally better at meeting. This same standard should apply to women wanting to be a building contractor or deep-sea fisher, they should not be discriminated against if they meet the job qualifications. The bottom line, companies should not be compelled to lower their hiring standards to guarantee balanced racial or gender outcomes.

Title VII does not treat gender the same as race because the law contains the “Bona Fide Occupational Qualification” (BFOQ) exception. Of course, there are many exceptions that may apply to gender and not race such as being a professional football player. In International Union v. Johnson’s Control Inc., SCOTUS held that denying pregnant women the right to work in an area with dangerous levels of lead was unconstitutional. Johnson’s Control merely wanted to protect a fetus from dangerous levels of lead exposure. However, SCOTUS viewed this as Johnson’s Control trying discriminate against pregnant women and held, they should be allowed to work in the dangerous area if they wish to do so. Would SCOTUS hold Johnson’s Control free from liability if babies were being born with deformities? SCOTUS could have easily seen Johnson’s Control as a BFOQ exception to protect both the health and wellbeing of the mother and baby. The bottom line, Johnson’s Control was found guilty for doing what was right.

Similarly, in Los Angeles Department of Water and Power v. Manhart, SCOTUS held annuity pension plans could not be calculated based on the life expectancy for women and men separately. These annuity pension plans had to be calculated together using a unisex formula. Since women’s life expectancy is longer than men, the average annual annuity payouts would be slighter lower for women. Manhart would insure the annual payout for women would be higher. Instead of finding a BFOQ exception, SCOTUS held annuity pensions had to be calculated based on unisex formulas. This holding would be cause for companies to stop annuity pensions (which is what happened) or to stop hiring women because it cost them more for benefits while at the same time it decreased the cost for benefits for men. Manhart is a welfare case because it transfers wealth from one person (men) to another person (women) and there is nothing in Title VII to justify any welfare program. In Gedulig v. Aiello, SCOTUS held that pregnancy did count towards unemployment disability compensation. Since disability compensation was already costing companies twice as much for females than males, SCOTUS found it made no sense to add to that unbalanced cost ratio. Should women be denied more disability compensation and should men dispute the already unbalanced cost ratio favoring women? These are dilemmas raised by attempting to guarantee equality: it is impossible to rationally satisfy everyone

SCOTUS found “voluntary” affirmative action in Title VII where none existed in Steelworkers v. Weber. However, Title VII does allow for affirmative action but only in cases where companies or unions were found to have discriminated against minorities and or women. But there is nothing that permits wholesale affirmative action policy in Title VII. In fact, Title VII was designed to be a “color-blind and gender-blind” statute. What this means is that company decisions to hire and promote were to be made without considering race and gender. Senators Joseph Clark and Clifford Case, who were instrumental in the passage of Title VII, wrote:

There is no requirement in title VII that an employer maintain a racial balance in his work force. On the contrary, any deliberate attempt to maintain racial balance, whatever such a balance may be, would involve a violation of title VII because maintaining such a balance would require an employer to hire or to refuse to hire on the basis of race.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Defending Freedom of Contract: Constitutional Solutions to Resolve the Growing Divide

People may find the Press Release to my new book at the following location:

https://www.prdistribution.com/news/defending-freedom-of-contract-constitutional-solutions-to-resolve-our-growing-political-divide/4605657

This site contains more information than what has been previously published.

The book website is located at:

https://www.defendingfreedomofcontract.com/

Friday, June 28, 2019

Defending Freedom of Contract: Constitutional Solutions to Resolve our Political Divide

The synopsis of my latest book which is out and will be available in most major outlets within the next month:

Over the course of United States history there has been a coup d’état changing the meaning of the Constitution from a republic to a democracy. The latest trend is to change the United States from a democracy to a socialist nation. During the democracy revolution the mantra of conservatives and liberals was to divide and conquer different demographics of the populace by pitting citizens against each other. What would happen if Americans discovered the Founders true meaning behind important historical documents including the Constitution, the Northwest Ordinance, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence as well as important Supreme Court cases including Calder v. Bull, Corfield v. Coryell, Lochner v. New York, and Meyer v. Nebraska? Instead of pitting Americans against each other we would instead be discussing equal rights for everyone. Instead of majority groups with the most power instilling their will on minorities or the weak we can protect the rights of each American citizen equally. Unfortunately, there have been dozens of horrid Supreme Court decisions, over the course of United States history, protecting some class of citizens at the expense of another class of citizens: Dred Scott v. Sanford, the Slaughter-House Cases, United States v. Cruikshank, Bradwell v. Illinois, Plessy v. Ferguson, the Insular Cases, Muller v. Oregon, Schenck v. United States, Nebbia v. New York, Buck v. Bell, West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, Wickard v. Filburn, United States v. Darby Lumber, Korematsu v. United States, Williamson v. Lee Optical and Grutter v. Bollinger to name a few. Many times, the Supreme Court would decide cases correctly, but would do harm to people’s rights by deciding the cases using the wrong rationale. Cases such as Brown v. Board of Education, Obergefell v. Hodges, and Lawrence v. Texas are a few landmark cases that used social justice instead of deciding the cases based on Constitutional law. While liberals like to violate the rights of some using social justice, political correctness, and discrimination claims, conservatives like to use moral justice to control individual private behavior that does not violate the rights of anyone.

Many may not believe in natural law fundamental rights because they do not believe in God. That said, very few would dispute the following natural law fundamental rights: Life, Obtaining Knowledge, Speech, to Vote, Religious Freedom, to Play, to Travel, Freedom of Contract, to Work, Freedom to own and sell Property, to Marry, to raise a Family, to pursue Health, Enjoy Nature, pursue Friendships (associations), to Obtain Justice, Safety, Self-Defense, and Equality for All. These are the rights that every person is born with and they may not be taken away without some compelling reason to protect the welfare and safety of other citizens. Many of these rights are enumerated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but even more are unenumerated. However, there is an originalist meaning in the Constitutional to elevate unenumerated rights to Constitutional status using the Ninth Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment privileges and immunities and due process clauses. It is not the job of governments to create, prohibit, regulate, or legislate our fundamental rights, but to protect them. Talking in terms of natural law fundamental rights instead of women’s rights, gay rights, or diversity makes more sense since natural law fundamental rights are generic, they are not controversial, and are agreed to by a vast number of citizens. Even if there are no gay rights, that does not mean gay marriage or gay sex would not be Constitutionally protected using the many natural law fundamental rights listed above. For instance, everyone has a right to marry and everyone has a right to contract with whomever they want for marriage or friendships. Encompassing the rights listed above, the book explains why gun rights would be a right, healthcare would not be a right, education would be a right, and abortion would not be a right. However, when we talk about these divisive issues in terms of rights instead of in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, social economic status and so forth, it is not as polarizing. Notice how the Constitutionality of issues does not depend on political ideology. The Constitution and henceforth, the law is generic: there is no place in the law for discrimination, bias, opinions, and balancing tests.

Where to Order:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Patrick_Bohan

It is available in eBook, hardcover, and paperback. It will be available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other sites in the next few weeks.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

State's Rights, Nullification, Racism, Slavery, and Segregation

One misconception about federalism and State rights that needs to be addressed is racism. Most liberals are of the belief anyone who defends federalism or State rights must be a racist. State rights got a bad name during the slavery and segregation eras. Southerners tried to defend slavery and segregation by claiming they were State rights issues and the federal government should not interfere. This is wrong for the reasons that follow: • The text of the Constitution bars segregation as this book explains later on. Hence, the federal government rightly interfered over the issue of segregation because it was not a State rights issue. • Almost all of the Southerners supporting segregation were Democrats or liberals, not the Republicans they accuse of being racists. • As pointed out earlier, Democrats and liberals pursue States rights when it suits them. For example, many social issues such as marijuana and sanctuary cities (illegal immigration) are supported by liberals. In fact, liberals are okay having State laws supersede federal criminal laws over marijuana and sanctuary cities. Liberal States have vowed not to implement the Bush REAL ID. This defiant State act is called nullification. • The issue of nullification is also incorrectly seen as a Southern States’ rights issue. Nullification is a doctrine which would allow States the right to nullify federal laws they may find unconstitutional. Nullification is not the law, but States have threatened to use it throughout United States history. Nullification was a common threat used by Southerners in the face of federal desegregation or anti-slavery laws. However, nullification had its roots at the Constitutional Convention. It came up again in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions (1798) in response to John Adam’s Alien and Seditions Act. Originally, nullification was a Northern principle threatened by New England States in response to trade embargos and the War of 1812 during the Jefferson and Madison administrations. In 1832, South Carolina would use the nullification threat in response to a protective federal tariff that forced Southern States to buy agriculture farming products at a much higher prices. South Carolina Senator John Calhoun’s argument for nullification was at least compelling. Calhoun in his publication, “Exposition and Protest”, suggests the Constitution is a contract between States and the federal government. In the compact agreement, States yield some sovereignty but when the federal government goes beyond its enumerated powers to encroach on State sovereignty, States should be able to nullify unconstitutional laws. While some will dispute that the supremacy clause prevents States from using nullification, but the supremacy clause should only apply to Constitutional laws. In other words, the supremacy clause is not an open invitation to violate the rights of States and citizens without some compelling reason. Nullification has deep-roots in American history, not just Southern history. And nullification has deep-roots supporting many issues, not just slavery and segregation. As just mentioned, modern liberals are threatening Nullification over the Real ID law. • Most liberals incorrectly claim States rights protected slavery the first 70 years of United States history. It is a sensible argument since history books and the Smithsonian support these misguided theories. But it is wrong. On the contrary, abolitionists were supported by State rights and slavery was protected by the federal government. The Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and 1850 prove the federal government was pro-slavery, whereas free-States used State rights to protect runaway slaves. The Supreme Court was sympathetic to slave owners in Prigg v. Pennsylvania, Strader v. Kentucky, and Dred Scott v. Sanford. The Court rubber stamped the Fugitive Slave Acts and, of course, voided the Missouri Compromise which prohibited slavery above the 36’ 30” parallel. It was originally the North that wanted to secede from the Union over slavery. The only reason the South seceded was not because the government trampled on their States rights. It was because with Lincoln elected to the Presidency and more Republicans winning seats in Congress, the writing was on the wall that the South would no longer receive preferential treatment from the federal government over slavery. • Using racism to argue against State rights is a “strawman” or ad hominem fallacy argument. This is where people attack the character of those they are debating to avoid addressing the issue at hand. Whenever someone uses the race card, rest assured that that argument is more than likely a strawman or an ad hominem fallacy. Being called a racist is so common now, it is not just used against State rights arguments, but against anyone who votes for a Republican candidate.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Ninth Amendment (Part IV)

Other theories limiting the power of the Ninth Amendment include the “residual rights” theory. A good example of this is illustrated in United Public Workers v. Mitchell (1947) where Justice Stanley Reed wrote “If granted power is found, necessarily the objection of invasion of those rights reserved by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, must fail.” In other words, individual freedom, rights, and liberty must take a back seat to enumerated federal powers. Let’s be clear, the Constitution does not support any hierarchy of clauses or Amendments (unless amendments are drafted specifically to repeal or correct previous clauses and amendments). In fact, the Ninth Amendment guarantees all rights be treated equally. This follows any natural law principle that there is “no arbitrary preferences among values” or among morals or rights. So, why have the Ninth and Tenth Amendments been treated differently than other amendments? That is the million-dollar question. Mitchell upheld the Hatch Act which denied citizens working a government job from practicing their fundamental right to “engage in a political activity”. Mitchell was the first case to deny the concurrent powers doctrine simply by labelling the Ninth and Tenth Amendments as truisms. The Constitution has been described as an island of government powers surrounded by a sea of rights and not the other way around. “Rights came first, then came the government, and then came the law.” The Constitution was written to protect individuals from government intrusion and restrictions. It would make no sense to protect the government at the expense of the people. This goes against any Federalist or anti-Federalist views during the Founding era. As Libertarian legal scholar Randy Barnett asserts “Ninth Amendment skeptics have always seemed to think that when a provision is inserted merely for greater caution, this means it has no function apart from serving as some sort of enforceable warning.” Moreover “They [Justices] consistently overlook how such cautionary rights can serve as a redundant or secondary line of defense when other primary constraints on government power fail.” Just as the Ninth Amendment provides redundancy to protect the rights of citizens, the freedom of contract can do the same. Both Barnett and Liberal Legal Scholar Daniel Farber have similar views about the Ninth Amendment. However, they differ on one key point. Farber sees the Ninth Amendment as protecting the “rights” of citizens whereas Barnett sees the Ninth Amendment protecting both the “rights” and “liberty” of citizens. They both see liberty as something different than rights. Liberty is to protect citizens from unnecessary government restrictions, regulations, and mandates that may not necessarily violate the rights of citizens. For that reason, Barnett pictures a small federal government whereas Farber is okay with a big convoluted government encroaching on people’s liberty. Farber contends that Madison’s purpose for the Ninth Amendment had nothing to do with limiting the size of government. He is wrong, the whole purpose of the Constitution and Bill of Rights was to limit the scope of the federal government. Madison may have been a Federalist (wanting a strong central government) at the Constitutional Convention but he said in Federalist Paper 45 that the Constitution provides for limited federal powers but State powers were infinite. In fact, what Madison is referring to is that the Constitution was designed to meet the subsidiarity natural law principle: “Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. Political decisions should be taken at a local level if possible, rather than by a central authority.” For the purpose of this book both liberty and rights will be seen as one of same thing since governments should not be in the business of violating either without some compelling reason to do so. Legal scholar, Kurt Lash, also views the Ninth Amendment’s purpose to curb federal government encroachment, but his originalism interpretation led him to come to that conclusion via different reasoning. However, Lash does not view the Ninth Amendment as protecting the individual rights of citizens from State encroachment – that is a big flaw. The 2010 case Troxel v. Granville is an interesting case regarding Justice Antonin Scalia’s misguided originalism view of the Ninth Amendment. The majority held that parents had the fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care of their children. That is not an overly surprising decision, but what was interesting was Justice Scalia’s dissent. Scalia holds that “a right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children is among the unalienable rights”. But Scalia uses restraint declining to use the Ninth Amendment to elevate this right. Scalia made the following remarks regarding the Ninth Amendment: “even farther removed from authorizing judges to identify what they may be (rights)” when discussing what fundamental rights to elevate. In other words, according to Scalia, if the right cannot be found in the text of the Constitution, then the right cannot be elevated. Therefore, the Ninth Amendment, the privileges and immunities clause, and substantive due process are not acceptable theories or law doctrines to elevate any fundamental right in Scalia’s view. In sum, there are strong originalism arguments to say the Ninth Amendment has been applied incorrectly by judges and justices because it is misunderstood. The Ninth Amendment should be used to elevate rights and to protect individuals from both State and federal encroachment which may violate individual rights and liberty – it is used for neither reason.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Ninth Amendment (Part III)

Marshall would rely on his “expressly” argument to circumvent the Tenth Amendment in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819). In this case, Marshall held the federal government could create a national bank to carry out enumerated powers such as to lay and collect taxes. Marshall would use a broad interpretation of the necessary and proper clause in this opinion. Marshall contends that the federal government can use any implied power necessary to carry out enumerated powers. But, obviously, there were many more less intrusive ways to carry out laying and collecting taxes then creating a government monopoly. Where Marshall failed in his decision was to evaluate the “proper” part of the necessary and proper clause. Marshall, never asked the question if the bank was necessary, was it also proper? In other words, was creating the national bank the “correct” way to achieve the least evasive means (federal encroachment) to establish the end result (tax collection)? No, and proof of this is provided throughout this book in terms of how McCulloch is cited to grant the federal government expanded implied powers. This is perfect proof that consequentialism doctrines (do the ends justify the means) do not necessarily work at achieving the greater good. These doctrines are arbitrary and are impossible to measure. Madison was correct to say that once the federal government was provided ANY implied powers, then federal power would reach to every aspect of the lives of Americans. Marshall made a huge mistake. Sure, he was wrong to even consider that the federal government had the right to build a corporation, but more importantly, since his decision provided no limit on implied powers for the federal government, Marshall essentially armed Congress with a blank check to intrude on State and individual rights whenever they felt it appropriate. The concurrent powers doctrine of the Ninth and Tenth Amendment is interesting because it is the antithesis of modern jurisprudence introduced by the FDR Court. The doctrine holds that States maintain sovereignty over powers concurrently held by both the States and federal government via the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. For instance, the Federal government has the enumerated power to prosecute counterfeiters. However, in State v. Antonio, the South Carolina Supreme Court held that South Carolina had the right to prosecute a counterfeiter citing the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. Today, modern federal courts uphold many federal laws and statutes even though they are outside the realm of its enumerated powers. But in State v. Antonio, the South Carolina Supreme Court laid the groundwork to limit federal powers by reading Constitutional provisions narrowly to limit the expansion of enumerated powers. In another case, Houston v. Moore (1820), in his dissent, Justice Joseph Story held Pennsylvania could discipline militia members (through court-martial) even though Article I, Section 8, Clause 15 and 16 provide enumerated power over militias to the federal government. Story cited the Ninth Amendment to uphold the doctrine of concurrent powers. In New York v. Miln (1837), the Court upheld a New York law which said ships must furnish a passenger list to local authorities. In his majority concurrence, Justice Smith Thompson, cited Story’s opinion in Houston v. Moore upholding the law based on the concurrent powers doctrine. At this point, however, Justice Story changed his view about State power and the Ninth Amendment and dissented in the case. In Smith v. Turner (1849, passenger car cases), the Court held that States could not impose a passenger tax on ships travelling in interstate commerce. In his dissent, Justice Peter Daniel, cited the concurrent powers doctrine in Story’s Houston opinion. Even though Justice Story’s dissent in Houston was cited in many Court cases, most modern scholars overlook this Ninth Amendment claim. The reason for this is simple: Story changed his view. In his book “Commentaries on the Constitution” published in 1833, Story changed his opinion about federal power instead invoking those views held by Chief Justice Marshall. Justice Marshall never mentions the Ninth Amendment in any one of his opinions even when that was the main argument in the case. However, Story’s concurrent powers doctrine has never been questioned or overruled by the Court. The 1948 case, Bute v. Illinois, is often overlooked. In this case, Justice Harold Burton held that the concurrent powers doctrine of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments could be used to deny applying the Bill of Rights to the States. Most would agree that the Bute opinion should only hold weight if the State law is stricter (provided more individual rights) than the federal law otherwise the Bill of Rights should apply to the States. Many State and federal cases also used the concurrent powers doctrine. For instance, in Hawke v. Smith, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the right of States to use referendums to approve proposed amendments to the Constitution instead of State legislatures as outlined by Article V. FDR’s National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) was rejected using the concurrent powers doctrine by federal judges in Amazon Petroleum Corporation v. Railroad Commission, Hart Coal Corporation v. Sparks and Acme Inc v. Besson. And the Iowa Supreme Court struck down provisions of FDR’s Agriculture Adjustment Act (AAA) in United States v. Neuendorf. In Henry Broderick v. Riley (1951), the Washington Supreme Court said that the Ninth and Tenth Amendments are being forgotten in legal jurisprudence to protect State rights from federal encroachment. The concurrent powers doctrine, the right to work, freedom of contact, and property rights took a big hit Tennessee Electric Power v. Tennessee Valley Authority (1938, TVA). In this case, the plaintiffs argued that the federal government’s TVA project to generate and sell electricity violated States rights because it would “result in federal regulation of the internal affairs of states, and will deprive the people of the states their guaranteed liberty to earn a livelihood and to acquire and use property subject only to state regulation.” Justice Owen Roberts held that individuals had no standing to file claims under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments – only States could make claims under these two Amendments. That is odd since both amendments claim to protect the rights “retained for the people” and “or to the people”. The TVA case erased the original intent the Founders held for the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. Madison’s amendment placement proposals also debunked several other flawed theories about the meaning or purpose of the Ninth Amendment. First is the collective rights theory which states the Ninth Amendment was adopted for the purpose of creating a Constitutional convention. If that were true, then Madison would have proposed placing the Amendment in Article V with other Constitutional convention and amendment guidelines. Second is the Ninth Amendment was created for the purpose of guaranteeing a republican form of government for the States. If that were true, then Madison would have proposed placing the Amendment in Article IV with the other guaranteed republican form of government statements. Still, other scholars theorized the Ninth Amendment’s purpose was to prevent the repeal of any States’ Bill of Rights that may be stricter than those proposed in the Constitution. If this was its purpose it is not working. The Court continually infringes on stricter State law interpretations of the Bill of Rights, especially during the Warren Court (more on this later).

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Ninth Amendment (Part II)

Some scholars have said that the Ninth Amendment only applies to a compact between the States and the federal government (like the Tenth Amendment). This is half true. The original meaning of the Ninth Amendment can be explained in part by James Madison, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, and Roger Sherman’s original draft of the Bill of Rights. Sherman attempted to combine both the Ninth and Tenth Amendments into one amendment. The committee rejected this, but it is proof both amendments had the purpose of limiting federal power. Madison’s first inclination was to add the first ten amendments into the Constitution under the section where they were most pertinent. Madison wanted to list the first nine amendments under Article I, Section 9 after the clauses guaranteeing other natural or fundamental rights including a writ of habeas corpus and the ban on bills of attainer and ex post facto laws. Madison proposed placing the unique federalism protection clause (the Tenth Amendment) in Article VI. Since Madison did not want to place the Ninth Amendment in the same section as the Tenth Amendment, some incorrectly argue the two amendments cannot have a similar meaning to limit federal power. This explains why when some States were admitted to the union they had provisions similar to the Ninth Amendment in their State constitutions: They believed the Ninth Amendment limited federal power, not State power. Of course, the amendments were added to the end of the Constitution creating some confusion about the intent or the meaning of the Ninth Amendment. In fact, Madison’s original proposal for the Ninth Amendment reads as follows: “The exceptions here or elsewhere in the Constitution, made in favor of particular rights, shall not be construed so as to diminish the just importance of other rights retained by the people; or as to enlarge the powers delegated by the Constitution; but either as actual limitations of such powers, or as inserted for greater security.” The second part of the proposed Ninth Amendment is proof it was intended to be a federalism clause. The purpose of the clause was to limit federal powers similar to the Tenth Amendment. The fact the “enlarge the powers” phrase of the Madison’s Ninth Amendment draft was removed, it incorrectly led many scholars to believe the amendment was not one to deny federal power, but only retain individual rights. However, in letters between Madison and Hardin Burnley, he ensures the meaning of his draft and the final version of the Ninth Amendment have the same meaning. Madison asserted that “retained rights” and “limited power” were one of the same thing. Madison’s correspondence with Burnley started when the Virginia ratifying committee (for the Bill of Rights) rejected the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. Governor Edmund Randolph and others fretted over the changed language of the Ninth Amendment. Although the language of the Tenth Amendment between Madison’s draft and the final version remained unchanged, the Virginia committee wanted two amendments to stop the encroachment of federal power. Madison wrote that “every public usurpation is an encroachment on the private right, not of one, but of all.” Hence, protecting rights is the same as limiting federal power. At the same time Virginia was debating ratifying the Bill of Rights another dispute started in Congress over establishing a national bank. The crux of the debate for Madison centered around the fact that both the Ninth and Tenth Amendments limited federal powers from using the necessary and proper clause to create a national bank. Madison’s reassurance of the meaning of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments in the bank dispute may have helped Virginia to end its gridlock and pass the Bill of Rights. It is important to note that only Virginia questioned the meaning of the Ninth Amendment. All of the other States seemed to understand that the Ninth Amendment was intended to limit federal power. Thus, the Ninth Amendment was drafted to protect citizens from the “backdoor” theory. For instance, freedom of the press in the First Amendment did not allow Congress the power to regulate the press if it did not infringe on a free press. Hamilton feared this exact theory in Federalist Paper 84. He felt by having a Bill of Rights it would allow the federal government to use the amendments as a backdoor to broader powers. In other words, if there is an amendment restricting Congressional powers, then the fear was that the Constitution would be interpreted as implying that power must be an enumerated one. But the statement proposed by Madison in the previous paragraph shows he did not intend for the Bill of Rights to “enlarge the [federal] powers” in the Constitution. A good early example of the backdoor theory is the Alien and Seditions Act signed into law by President John Adams. Many people were imprisoned or deported because of the Act. Most people are aware of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions (written by Madison and Jefferson). In the Resolutions, both Madison and Jefferson proposed that the Alien and Seditions Act was unconstitutional because it violated both the First and Tenth Amendments. Most people, on the other hand, are not aware of the “Response to the Virginia Resolutions”. Scholars agree that the author of the document would be future Chief Justice John Marshall. Marshall defends the Alien and Seditions Act as Constitutional using three arguments. First, he asserts that Congress may use the necessary and proper clause in times of crisis (to avoid war with France) to protect the well being of American citizens. Secondly, he brings up the point of how the Tenth Amendment was copied from Article II of the Articles of Confederation which provides “each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United State, in congress assembled.” The key word in this provision is “expressly” since it was omitted from the wording of the Tenth Amendment. Hence, Marshall felt this meant that federal power could be “liberally construed”. Finally, Marshall contends that Congress can regulate speech so long as it does not abridge the freedom of speech. The final argument proposed by Marshall was the backdoor theory and is precisely one of the purposes of the Ninth Amendment. The Ninth Amendment does not allow Congress to “enlarge” its powers around clauses, provisions, and amendments in the Constitution. In fact, many politicians such as Thomas Mason, James Callender, and Nathaniel Macon are on record for using the Ninth Amendment to find the Alien and Seditions Act unconstitutional. As for the “expressly” argument, John Page (Virginia politician and governor), wrote that the combination of both the Ninth and Tenth Amendments provides for “conferred expressly delegated powers.” Even in the famous case, Calder v. Bull, Justice Samuel Chase holds “the several State Legislatures retain all the powers of legislation, delegated to them by the State Constitutions; which are not expressly taken away by the Constitution of the United States”

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Ninth Amendment (Part I)

The Ninth Amendment is an excellent example of how originalism theory is dead among justices. The Ninth Amendment is an enigma because it is interpreted incorrectly and it is hardly used. The Ninth Amendment provides: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The Ninth Amendment and the privileges and immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment are very similar and allow for justices to elevate natural law fundamental rights that are nowhere to be found in the Constitution. They are also very similar because they are seldom used. Scholars are at odds whether the Ninth Amendment applies to both federal and State governments. The theory in this text believes the Ninth Amendment should be included as part of the Bill of Rights (most scholars only believe the first eight amendments make up the Bill of Rights). Therefore, the Ninth Amendment should be applied to the States via the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause as other Bill of Rights amendments have been (although this has not happened yet). Fundamental rights can be elevated through either the Ninth Amendment or the privileges and immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Of course, the privileges and immunities clause has been incorrectly redacted from the Constitution in the Slaughter House Cases (more on this later) and the Ninth Amendment is long forgotten, also redacted by the “inkblot” theory. Robert Bork, a Supreme Court Justice nominee (Senate did not confirm him in 1987), said during his confirmation hearings that the Ninth Amendment is an “inkblot” and should be ignored since its true meaning is hard to discern. It is hard to fathom, something as important as the Ninth Amendment, should be redacted from the Constitution. After all, our Founders had a specific reason to put it in the Constitution in the first place. The Ninth Amendment was James Madison’s way to handle a very perplexing issue. Most Constitutional Convention members did not want to create a Bill of Rights for various reasons. The most important reason was echoed by James Iredell from North Carolina. He contented it is impossible to list all the natural rights of all citizens. Thus, by enumerating a few natural rights it may end up disparaging the many natural rights that are not found in the Bill of the Rights. But many States would not ratify the Constitution without the promise of a Bill of Rights to be added to the document. In Federalist Paper 84 Alexander Hamilton argues against a Bill of Rights: A Bill of Rights is not needed for the Constitution since many individual and State rights are built into the Constitution such as not allowing a suspension of a writ of habeas corpus. Besides, Hamilton argues that by adding a Bill of Rights “they would contain various exceptions to powers not granted”. Furthermore, Hamilton added “Why declare that things shall not be done which is no power to do?” Hamilton argues further in Federalist Paper 83 that many individual rights are already included in State constitutions such as trial by jury. Hamilton claims there is no trial by jury provision in the Constitution since each State has varying and unique interpretations on the subject such as some States allow trial by jury for criminal cases but not for civil ones and vice versa. In most cases, State constitutions were more stringent than the federal Bill of Rights. Constitutional convention member, James Wilson, also argued against a Bill of Rights fearing those rights not incorporated in the Bill of Rights would be denied or disparaged by both federal and State governments. Wilson was correct in his assessment and this will be explained later in this book. Madison’s plan to solve this conundrum was the Ninth Amendment. The Ninth Amendment was scarcely used in American jurisprudence to enumerate individual rights. But there is some precedent to back this school of thought. Justice Goldberg used the Ninth Amendment in his reasoning for Griswold v. Connecticut (he was the only Justice out of 7 to do so) and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Sandra Day O’Connor, and David Souter used the Ninth Amendment in Casey v. Planned Parenthood (Roe v. Wade follow up in 1992). The Oregon Supreme Court elevated the right to own property as fundamental in Roman Catholic Archbishop v. Baker (1932) using the Ninth Amendment. A district court upheld the fundamental right to work in United States v. Lieto using the Ninth Amendment. In Lieto, Judge William Hawley Atwell held “The only controversy that is here is between the humble citizen who asserts his right to carry on his little business in a purely local fashion, without being arrested and punished for a mythical, indirect effect up interstate commerce.” Most scholars (both liberal and conservative) have tried to minimize the impact and relevance of the Ninth Amendment and most justices have been reluctant cite it because they are afraid of opening “Pandora’s box”. Put another way, both the Right and Left are afraid of how each side will use the amendment. In particular, they fear the amendment will be exploited for political purposes. This is true, but justices have already exploited many provisions of the Constitution for political purposes. Later, in this text, there is an outline of rules that should be followed by justices to elevate natural law fundamental rights so the Ninth Amendment is not exploited for political purposes. The original intent of the Ninth Amendment provides for a dual purpose. First, it is to prevent the federal and State governments from denying any rights that may not be enumerated in the Constitution or Bill of Rights. Secondly, the amendment is to “deny an expansion of federal power” that may arise from a limited list of rights in the Constitution. In other words, the amendment would prevent the federal government from assuming it has power to regulate any rights that are not enumerated in the Constitution. The Ninth Amendment also has a dual purpose in terms of protecting the rights of individuals and also protecting the collective rights of people within a State. For example, the collective right of the “home rule” provides that States can “determine for itself its own political machinery and its own domestic policies” so long as they do not violate the rights of citizens. The Ninth Amendment also dictates that all enumerated and unenumerated rights be treated exactly the same. Put in other terms, one right, regardless of enumeration, should not be given any priority over another right. This is important because the entire history of the Supreme Court violates this Ninth Amendment rule. Instead, the Court is about conjuring up balancing tests to provide some rights more preferred status over other rights. That being said, however, it is important to note that the Ninth and Tenth Amendments cannot be used by States to shield them from violating the rights of its citizens. For this reason, the Ninth Amendment should apply to the federal government as a federalism clause and both the State and federal governments for protecting the individual rights of its citizens.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Eleventh Amendment and Contracts Clause (Part IV)

In holding with the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, the Northwest Ordinance, and the Constitution there can be only one purposeful enforcement of the Eleventh Amendment. The true purpose of the Eleventh Amendment is to protect States from being sued by citizens for enforcing constitutional State and federal laws or from States being sued by citizens for failing to enforce unconstitutional State or federal laws. This follows Shiras’s equality principle. Let’s evaluate a few examples:

A good example of the Court allowing a State to use sovereign immunity was Griffin v. School Board of Prince Edward County (1964). In this case, the Court held that a State government could not be sued for educational reasons. This case was about citizens suing a State for higher tax rates to improve education. A State is not violating any Constitutional clause or amendment for appropriating taxes for education. Using this logic, it can be argued that States could use sovereign immunity to prevent the federal government from integrating school systems during the 1960s. This is true. Later, this text will discuss in more detail why government mandates forcing the integration of schools during this era were wrong. In short, citizens should be able to choose the school they want for their children’s education. Citizens should not be forced to attend schools they do not want for the sole purpose of obtaining the integration results the government desires. Desegregation is a natural process whereas integration is a forced process.

The Eleventh Amendment would not face another landmark case until Seminole Tribe v. Florida (1996). This is good example of a case where States should not be able to hide behind the Eleventh Amendment to avoid a federal law. Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) under the commerce clause. The Act imposed upon the States a duty to negotiate in good faith with Indian Tribes to generate a contract for gamming privileges. Congress certainly has the power granted under the commerce clause to pass this regulatory act since it applies to “Indian Tribes”. When the State of Florida refused to negotiate with the Seminole Tribe, they brought a suit against the State. But the conservative sect of the Court incorrectly asserted precedent set by Hans to deny Citizens the right to sue their State because Florida had Sovereign immunity granted by the Eleventh Amendment. In the majority opinion they thought Hans restricted the application of the commerce clause. Sure, this decision provides States more power over the federal Government, but it also restricts the power and sovereignty of its citizens. Since the IGRA was a federal law, States could only hide behind the Eleventh Amendment if 1. The IGRA was unconstitutional or 2. The IGRA was outside the scope of Congress’s constitutional authority. Since neither of the above conditions were met, the Eleventh Amendment should not apply.

Justice Souter wrote the dissent to Seminole Tribe which was joined by Justice Ginsberg, Stevens and Breyer. Souter rightly remarks “Because the plaintiffs in today’s case are citizens of the State they are suing, the Eleventh Amendment simply does not apply to them.” For this reason, he also believes Hans was also wrongly decided. Souter also points out in Federalist Paper 32 that States have no sovereignty over the regulation of commerce with Indian Tribes. Souter further acknowledges a proposed amendment by Massachusetts Representative Theodore Sedgwick after the Chisholm decision, but it was never ratified. The Sedgwick amendment would have denied “Any Citizen” the right to sue “any State”. Souter asks why this proposal was denied in favor of the one ratified in the Eleventh Amendment? Souter certainly pokes holes in the Hans holding. Finally, Souter admits “The American development of divided sovereign powers was made possible only by a recognition that the ultimate sovereignty rests in the people themselves.” This is certainly consistent with the Chisholm decision and Marshall’s remarks about Chisholm in Fisher. A year later, in Alden v. Maine (1997), the Court made similar arguments and came to a similar decision as in Seminole Tribe. Souter is correct, since the IGRA did not violate the Constitution then a State cannot hide behind sovereign immunity.

Why was the Eleventh Amendment passed? At constitutional ratifying conventions at least five States made serious objections that citizens of other States could sue States (Virginia, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island). Rhode Island did not even attend the Constitutional Convention so their objections should be taken with a grain of salt. There are three main reasons for the passage of the Eleventh Amendment. The first reason was debt. All of these States had large sums of paper currency in circulation that the State was obligated to honor following the Revolutionary War. The second reason was to limit the federal judiciary power over disputes between citizens with other States. The final reason was small compared to the first two but there was some concern putting citizens on equal footing with the States. Therefore, the Eleventh Amendment was passed to protect State rights and immunity from federal judiciary interference, concerns over debt, and to hold State sovereignty at a higher hierarchical status than popular sovereignty.

Several obscure contract cases made their way to the Supreme Court around the time of the Chisholm decision and that was of great concern to States. Grayson v. Virginia (1796) was a land dispute between Virginia and an Indiana fur company. If Virginia lost the suit they would have been forced to pay a sum of between 1 and 2 million dollars (a huge sum in those days). In Vassall v. Massachusetts, Vassell was a Loyalist during the Revolutionary war. He fled to England during the war to avoid prosecution (and persecution). In this case, the State of Massachusetts confiscated his property during the war and Vassall wanted his property refunded after the war. In Cutting v. South Carolina, the Prince of Luxemburg wanted to recover debt on a vessel purchased by the State of South Carolina. And Huger v. Georgia involved a land dispute between a South Carolina company and Georgia. The South Carolina company held that Georgia breached on its contract conditions by later claiming it would only accept coined money instead of paper notes to pay for the land. James Jackson (future Georgia governor) wrote that Georgia had no authority to sell state lands. Jackson argued that such decisions are “retained by the people” of Georgia to act in a collective manner. Georgia was already outraged by the Chisholm ruling: its lower House passed a bill calling it a felony, subject to death, for anyone helping to enforce the Chisholm ruling. States began to fear that suits brought forward against States would include much more than contract disputes such as civil liabilities like in Vassell. States feared everyone would be going to the High Court demanding some form of restitution. The above cases were either settled or the suit was dropped following the adoption of the Eleventh Amendment.

Clyde Jacobs, disagrees with the premise States passed the Eleventh Amendment to seek shelter from debts since the federal treasury (under Alexander Hamilton) introduced a policy of “assumption”. Assumption allowed the federal government to take over “most” State debt incurred by the war effort (about 85%). Thus, in Jacobs view, State debt was minimal and most of it was being honored. Most cases where debts were not being honored were generally disputes over the confiscation of Loyalist property. Jacobs may be right, but without recourse, it is hard to imagine that the rights of some citizens were not violated by the passage of the Eleventh Amendment. In fact, in Cohens v. Virginia, Chief Justice Marshall explains the reason for the adoption of the Eleventh Amendment was for the sole purpose of denying out of State citizens any recourse from recovering their debts.

The Eleventh Amendment set a bad precedent by allowing States to default on contract obligations. Only six years following the passage of the Constitution the sovereignty of “We the People”, the rights “retained by the people” in the Ninth Amendment, and the rights “to the people” in the Tenth Amendments would be diminished forever. Did our Founders want the federal and State governments to have immunity powers similar to the King of England? Of course not, that is why Americans fought the Revolutionary War: To break away from this tyranny style of English rule. If taxation without representation caused friction between the King and colonies, it is hard to imagine that the colonies would be happy if England hid behind sovereign immunity to breach on contract obligations similar to how States were breaking their contract obligations. The objective of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution was to provide ultimate sovereignty with the people with State and federal sovereignty to follow (in that order).

What is sometimes lost in the debate over the Eleventh Amendment is that, although it passed Congress overwhelmingly, the Senate asked for a textual change to the Amendment that the House rejected. That change read “where such State shall have previously made provision in their own courts, whereby such suit may be prosecuted to effect”. The rejection of this statement eliminated any chance that suits by citizen and foreign subjects against other States would ever be resolved in State courts. Hence, there was no recourse for citizens whose property rights or contractual rights had been violated at any level in the court system.

In sum, individual or popular sovereignty over State and federal government sovereignty is an important issue that will change for the worse over the course of United States history. When individual sovereignty is diminished at the expense of State and federal government power, it is without question, one of many things, that has led to the mitigation of contract rights and all rights in general. The Eleventh Amendment was the first step in the process of diminishing individual contract rights at the expense of the federal and State governments. The correct application of the Eleventh Amendment was described by Justice George Shiras in Prout. By applying his principles, the Eleventh Amendment would protect both individual citizens from State and federal encroachment (unconstitutional acts or laws) and collective citizens (States) from federal encroachment (unconstitutional acts or laws). Finally, it is important to note that Justice Bradley and Miller in their Slaughter House dissents correctly point out that the right of citizens to use the contracts clause or to sue a State were both fundamental rights.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Eleventh Amendment and the Contracts Clause (Part III)

The Court shifted gears in New Hampshire v. Louisiana (1883). The Court held the States of New York and New Hampshire could not circumvent the Eleventh Amendment by filing suit against Louisiana on behalf of its citizens. In this case, New York and New Hampshire tried to recoup defaulted loan payments from Louisiana for their citizens. Elliot v. Jumel (1883) was another Louisiana loan default case where the Court again shielded Louisiana from the suit using the Eleventh Amendment. In Cunningham v. Macon Railroad (1895), the Court provided Georgia sovereign immunity. In this case, when the railroad sold its ownership to the State, the State only honored corporate bonds held by one group of investors while neglecting another. Both Justices Stephen Field and John Harlan dissented. Field and Harlan wanted to protect citizens from breach of contract using the contracts clause. But the New Hampshire, Elliot, and Cunningham line of cases essentially provided the Eleventh Amendment priority over the contracts clause. This is something the Founders did not intend to happen. Again, no clause or Amendment in the Constitution has priority over any other. And just because the Eleventh Amendment was “newer” than the original text of the Constitution this does not mean it can supersede all other provisions, clauses, and amendments. In fact, the Ninth Amendment provides that all rights, enumerated or not, should face exactly the same levels of scrutiny or priority. By 1890, it was official, the Eleventh Amendment was shielding States who defaulted on contracts with citizens. What’s worse, in Ex parte Ayers (1887), the Court held that State officers could not be held liable for carrying out unconstitutional State laws. Most can agree with that outcome (the State should be liable), but where is the recourse for citizens who have been wronged? The Ayers precedent meant citizens cannot sue either the State or its officers who can both hide under the guise of the Eleventh Amendment allowing them to impair or default on contracts or worse yet, violate other fundamental rights.

In Reagan v. Farmers Loan and Trust (1894), the Court shifted gears again. Justice David Brewer initiated a new doctrine. The Brewer doctrine distinguished between governmental and pecuniary cases when identifying which State cases the Court may apply sovereignty immunity via the Eleventh Amendment. Reagan dealt with State railroad rates set by the Texas railway commission. The Court held the rates were too high in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court viewed the action taken by the State of Texas as being a pecuniary one and not a governmental one. The Brewer pecuniary doctrine was an unnecessary balancing test. After all, aren’t most of the contract clause / Eleventh Amendment disputed cases discussed in this section pecuniary in nature? Interestingly, the Court conjured up the Brewer doctrine so it did not appear as if the Court was justifying using the Fourteenth Amendment to supersede the Eleventh Amendment. In fact, Clyde Jacobs believes this would be acceptable and may explain why the Eleventh Amendment has more clout than the contracts clause. Once again, there is nothing in the structure of the Constitution which provides any provision, clause, or amendment priority over another.

Other cases such as Smyth v Ames (1898) and Prout v. Starr (1903) had similar outcomes as Reagan over railway rates. Fitts v. McGhee (1899) was the anomaly ruling during the era holding States could be provided Eleventh Amendment protection over setting predatory railroad rates. However, Ex parte Young (1908) established, without a doubt, the Reagan, Smyth, and Prout line of cases were the clear precedent. The Court would correctly hold that States violating property or other rights of individuals would not be tolerated for any reason. States could not seek shelter from these violations via the Eleventh Amendment. For example, in Ex parte Young, the Court held that State laws forcing railroad companies to set outrageous rates or face high fines, long jail sentences, and the forfeiture of property was way too extreme and a violation of both individual and corporate due process rights.

But why would the Supreme Court protect citizen rights via the Fourteenth Amendment but not through the contracts clause? One reason, discussed earlier, it is incorrectly believed that the Fourteenth Amendment is newer and trumps the Eleventh Amendment whereas the newer Eleventh Amendment trumps the contracts clause. Justice George Shiras dispels that myth in his opinion in Prout v. Starr: “The Constitution of the United States, with the several amendments thereof, must be regarded as one instrument, all of whose provisions are to be deemed of equal validity. It would, indeed, be most unfortunate if the immunity of the individual states from suits by citizens of other states, provided for in the 11th Amendment, were to be interpreted as nullifying those other provisions which confer power on Congress to regulate commerce among the several states, which forbid the states from entering into any treaty, alliance, or confederation, from passing any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or, without the consent of Congress, from laying any duty of tonnage, entering into any agreement or compact with other states, or from engaging in war, all of which provisions existed before the adoption of the 11th Amendment, which still exist, and which would be nullified and made of no effect if the judicial power of the United States could not be invoked to protect citizens affected by the passage of state laws disregarding these constitutional limitations. Much less can the 11th Amendment be successfully pleaded as an invincible barrier to judicial inquiry whether the salutary provisions of the 14th Amendment have been disregarded by state enactments.” Notice Justice Shiras writes the Eleventh Amendment is not meant to protect States from a “law impairing the obligation of contracts”. Despite Shiras opinion States have been allowed to impair or default on contracts by hiding behind the Eleventh Amendment. Clyde Jacobs correctly asserts the “contracts clause had no limitation on state power” but what’s worse, it continues to have no limitation on State power.

Hence, if any provision, clause, or amendment is violated then the law is unconstitutional using the Shiras equality theory. The only way a law is constitutional is when ALL provisions, clauses, and amendments within the Constitution are not violated (or true). Therefore, if the contacts clause is violated, it does not matter if the Eleventh Amendment is not violated, they both must be Constitutional for States to receive sovereign immunity. But by holding that sovereign immunity is true in a scenario where the contracts clause is violated, this is incorrectly providing more power to the Eleventh Amendment. The Eleventh Amendment should only apply and protect States if they are not violating the rights of citizens with unconstitutional laws. This follows the logic and precedent set forth in the Reagan, Smyth, Prout, and Young line of cases which withheld sovereign immunity from States for violating the Fourteenth Amendment. Although the line of cases from Reagan to Young were correctly decided the Brewer doctrine was wrong. The Brewer pecuniary doctrine is not needed to justify the holding in these cases: The Fourteenth Amendment is not trumping the Eleventh Amendment (they are both given the same weight).

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Eleventh Amendment and the Contracts Clause (Part II)

John Marshall also believed that Article III, Section 2 should have been construed broadly at the time of the Virginia ratifying convention. But, as we shall see, Marshall changed his tune as Chief Justice because he was not expecting States to hide behind immunity to commit crimes against citizens. Besides, how do you protect the rights of citizens without yielding some degree of sovereignty to the people? This is what makes the Constitution, the Northwest Ordinance, and the Declaration of Independence so unique: these documents followed Lockean social compact theory by placing priority for individual sovereignty over government sovereignty.

In Chisholm, property was sold by a South Carolina citizen to the State of Georgia. The Court was correct to hold Georgia or any State should not default or impair their contractual agreements with citizens. Was the purpose of the Eleventh Amendment to protect States who default or impair contracts or violate the rights of citizens? Was the purpose of the Constitution to protect the government over citizens? Some believe the drafters of the Eleventh Amendment wanted to protect States from frivolous claims while at the same time maintaining peace and tranquility within the Union (eliminating disputes between States). If this is true, this is a weak argument. After all, it can create just as much friction between States if a neighboring State is taking advantage of its residents. Hence, the peace and tranquility argument can go both ways.

This text believes the best reason for the Eleventh Amendment is to protect States and citizens from federal government encroachment (judicial and legislative). Other than that, it suits no purpose. However, the amendment is hardly used for that reason.

In Hans v. Louisiana (1890), the Court’s Justice Joseph Bradley overruled the principals of sovereignty held in Chisholm by siding with the views held by a single justice in that decision: Iredell. This was not an easy decision since the Eleventh Amendment says “Citizens of another State” but Hans was from Louisiana, the State he was suing. Yet, the Court decided that the drafters of the Eleventh Amendment also meant to include “Citizens of the same State”. Interestingly, Justice John Harlan concurs with the decision in Hans but writes “The comments made about the decision in Chisholm v. Georgia do not meet my approval.” He would continue by writing “Besides, I am of opinion that the decision in that case was based upon a sound interpretation of the Constitution as that instrument then was.” Hans also went against Justice Marshall’s precedent set in Cohens v. United States (1821). In Cohens Justice Marshall held citizens can sue a State in which they reside. Of course, it seems odd that a State can be sued by its own citizens but a citizen of another State with a similar grievance has no recourse. That seems to be the compromise made by the drafters of the amendment. But the text is clear, if the Eleventh Amendment meant to provide States sovereign immunity from ALL suits introduced by citizens those words cannot be found in the amendment. In his Hans opinion, Justice Bradley also conveniently ignored Justice John Marshall’s opinion in Fletcher v. Peck (1810). Marshall said individuals suing State governments may no longer be in the Constitution, but Chisholm was the proper interpretation of the intent of the Constitution. In other words, the Eleventh Amendment does not change the meaning of the Constitution, it merely prohibits citizens (from different States) from suing States. Marshall’s exact words in Fletcher were: “The Constitution as passed, gave the courts of the United States jurisdiction in suits brought against individual States. A State, then, which violated its own contract was suable in the Courts of the United States for that violation. Would it have been a defense in such a suit that the State had passed a law absolving itself from the contract? It is scarcely to be conceived that such a defense could be set up. And yet, if a State is neither restrained by the general principles of our political institutions nor by the words of the Constitution from impairing the obligation of its own contracts, such a defense would be a valid one. This feature is no longer found in the Constitution, but it aids in the construction of those clauses with which it was originally associated.” Therefore, Marshall does not necessarily think Chisholm was completely repudiated by the Eleventh Amendment. In Marshall’s view, Chisholm was a sound decision whose principles still represent legitimate constitutional jurisprudence: Citizens are still sovereign within the structure of the Constitution. Put another way, the Eleventh Amendment was not an open invitation for States to violate the rights of its citizens.

In fact, over Marshall’s long tenure as Chief Justice he restricted the Eleventh Amendment by narrowly interpreting the text. In the line of cases United States v. Peters (1809) and Osborn v. Bank of the United States (1824), Marshall held that the Eleventh Amendment applied only to States and not State officers. In other words, State’s had to be the party of record in the case to obtain sovereign immunity. However, in Governor of Georgia v. Madrazo (1828) the Marshall Court backtracked a bit and established a new doctrine. The Court held the Eleventh Amendment can be applied to cases where the suit is brought against a State office but not to those cases where the individual character of the person holding that office is the purpose of the suit. And of course, in Cohens, Marshall held that the Eleventh Amendment did not apply to States being sued by citizens of the same State. Even the unfriendly Hans Court held in Lincoln County v. Luning (1890), that any subdivision of a State (in this case a county) is exempt from sovereign immunity.

After the Civil War, the Court moved in a positive manner to protect citizens from having States default on contract obligations. In Davis v. Grey (1873), the Court used Osborn precedent (State officers can be sued) and the substantive due process concept of “freedom of contract” in holding Texas violated a land contract with a local railroad. In other words, the State could not pass legislation that would allow a State to default on a property contract. Of course, many scholars like Clyde Jacobs criticized the opinion because it meant State officers could be held liable for State debts. Jacobs also did not like the substantive holding by the Court, but that was not much different than using the contract clause to strike down the law. However, Jacobs admits State officers have never been held liable for debt amassed by a State since the State would repay the debt before an officer was held accountable. And what is wrong with that: A State honoring its contract obligations with American citizens and foreigners. In Board of Liquidation v. McComb (1875), the Court held that the State of Louisiana repaying a bond debt at 60 cents on the dollar was an impairment of a contract. Again, the Court did not let States hide behind the Eleventh Amendment to default or impair their contract obligations with citizens. In the United States v. Lee (1882), the Court even held the United States could not be shielded from immunity in property rights cases because this is a fundamental right of all citizens.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Eleventh Amendment and the Contracts Clause (Part I)

It is important to evaluate the adaption of the Eleventh Amendment and its interpretation to see how individual sovereignty and personal contract rights started to diminish very early in United States history.

Eleventh Amendment legal scholars, Clyde Jacobs and Kurt Lash, give some credence that the original intent of the Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution was to provide States sovereign immunity from citizens of different States. Article III, Section 2 provides “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;-- to Controversies between two or more States;--between a State and Citizens of another State;--between citizens of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.” The Eleventh Amendment provides: “The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.” In essence, the Eleventh Amendment repeals the clause “between a State and Citizens of another State” of Article III, Section 2.

Jacobs and Lash argue that immunity may be implied in Article III, Section 2, but that seems unlikely. Jacobs argues that “Controversies between two or more States” means the States have immunity or it could disrupt the peace and tranquility of the nation. For controversies between States to be resolved one State must waive its sovereign immunity for the case to move forward. Both Jacobs and Lash further contend the text fails to define whether or not a State could be a plaintiff or defendant. In other words, in their view, a State may bring suit against a citizen as a plaintiff but States cannot be a defendant in suits brought forth by citizens using a very strict reading of the clause. These are not very strong arguments. The strongest argument is that diplomatic immunity arose from the 1789 Judiciary Act interpreting Article III, Section 2. But should diplomats who commit crimes against United States citizens receive immunity from criminal prosecution? It is hard to imagine our Founders, who just finished a War to free itself of crimes committed by English nobility, would provide diplomats immunity from criminal prosecution in the Constitution. The reason diplomats receive immunity is to maintain peace and tranquility among the nations. But any diplomat who gets away with crimes, hiding behind immunity, would also create friction between nations.

The Eleventh Amendment controversy started just four years after the ratification of the Constitution. In Chisholm v. Georgia (1793), the Court correctly ruled (by a 4-1 margin – Only 5 Supreme Court Justices presided over the Court in the early years) that individual citizens could sue State governments because sovereignty rests with the people, not the States per the Ninth Amendment and the Declaration of Independence. However, the ratification of the Eleventh Amendment, in 1795, superseded and repudiated the Chisholm decision. The Eleventh Amendment essentially provided State governments with the power to default on loans with citizens from different States – obviously a violation of any contract.

Prior to Chisholm, there were a few cases that provided precedent to support the Chisholm holding. The Court allowed a foreigner to sue the State of Maryland in Van Staphorst v. Maryland (1791, the case was resolved before trial). Of significance, Maryland did not contest the suit using sovereign immunity. In Oswald v. New York (1792), the Court held that the State of New York owed a widower back pay for her deceased husband’s salary. New York contested the lawsuit using sovereign immunity since they believed they were free from being sued by a person from another State (Pennsylvania).

In English law, Justice John Holt wrote “If the plaintiff has a right, he must of necessity have means of vindication if he is injured in the exercise or enjoyment of it.” Justice James Wilson wrote one of four brief Supreme Court majority opinions for Chisholm citing it is the people of the United States that are the sovereign power, not the States or federal government. Wilson’s opinion was joined by fellow Constitutional Conventionalist John Blair, Chief Justice John Jay (author of five Federalist Papers), and William Cushing. In fact, Wilson, Edmund Randolph and Oliver Ellsworth (future Chief Justice) were on the five-member committee responsible for drafting the Constitution. This committee took proposals from Constitutional Convention members and wrote document drafts which were reviewed, debated, and edited by the entire convention. Without a doubt these founders understood the intent of Article III, Section 2. At the Pennsylvania ratifying convention Wilson proclaimed “[I]mpartiality is the leading feature, there ought to be a tribunal where both parties (State and citizen) stand on a just and equal footing.” Jay suggested since States could sue citizens it only seem fair that citizens could sue States. Attorney General Edmund Randolph, who defended Chisholm, said although States are sovereigns, governments were created for the happiness of the people. Randolph understood protecting the rights of the people is the main objective of governments. James Iredell of North Carolina dissented backing the sovereign immunity argument. However, there is no record of Iredell contesting the meaning of Article III, Section 2 at the Constitutional Convention or the North Carolina ratifying convention.

Iredell’s dissent consisted of a very broad reading of the Article III, Section 2 and his reliance on the law of nations or foreign law. Iredell saw an analogy between civilian suits being denied against a sovereign country (England) and therefore, he reasoned, civilian suits should be denied against sovereign States. Reviewing foreign law is an acceptable action for Supreme Court justices, but it should only be used for guidance. Any opinion must be based on the Constitution and not just foreign laws.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

2019 NFL Mock Draft

1. Arizona Cardinals - Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

2. San Francisco 49ers - Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

3. New York Jets - Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio St.

4. Oakland Raiders - Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Montez Sweat, EDGE, Miss. St.

6. New York Giants - Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio St.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

8. Detroit Lions - Devin White, LB, LSU

9. Buffalo Bills - Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan

10. Denver Broncos - Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

11. Cincinnati Bengals - Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

12. Green Bay Packers - T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

13. Miami Dolphins - Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

14. Atlanta Falcons - Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

15. Washington Redskins - Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida St.

16. Carolina Panthers - Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

17. New York Giants (via Cleveland) - D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

18. Minnesota Vikings - Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama

19. Tennessee Titans - Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

21. Seattle Seahawks - Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

22. Baltimore Ravens - A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

23. Houston Texans - Andre Dillard, OT, Washington St.

24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago) - Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

25. Philadelphia Eagles - Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

26. Indianapolis Colts - Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas) - Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

28. Los Angeles Chargers - Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

29. Kansas City Chiefs - Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans) - Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio St.

31. Los Angeles Rams - Jeffery Simmons, DL, Miss. St.

32. New England Patriots - Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Human Nature is to Waste Energy by Living in the Past

If we could harness all the energy people use living in the past, we would solve our national energy problems. It is a shame, but we love to live in the past, and this is all wasted energy. We are all guilty of it to some degree. However, it has become the signature personality trait of many people who lack strategic vision and forward thinking processes. I witness this type of behavior in everyday life. Unfortunately, most good thoughts of the past are usually overwhelmed by bad thoughts so we dwell on failures or thoughts of revenge and getting even.

This negative thought process is what leads to rumors. Ninety-nine percent of all rumors are false stories put in motion by angry people with a vendetta who want to get even with an adversary. In other words, people have an “ax to grind” and this is just wasted energy on something we cannot change the outcome – it is in the past. This does, however, demonstrate that our problem solving skills are non-existent. In fact, it is much more likely that people would blame and point the finger at others then to offer solutions and move forward. This is common in the workplace, and in everyday life.

This behavior is what leads to bullying and today it is much easier to bully using technology and social media. People can use these communication mediums to post anonymous messages. What’s worse, the bullying messages are not even unique – they have been passed down from one bully to the next.

These types of personalities will typically draw conclusions by hearing only one side of the story. And what’s more disturbing, we are more concerned about our neighbors or coworkers lives then we are with our own or our families. It is a sad existence and I feel sorry for these folks. They have nothing better to do with their own lives then to try to ruin someone else’s. And to help their effort bullies are good at brainwashing others. Their posse of brownnosing minions carryout the bullying attacks.

Of course, these same bullies can become hypocrites when they need something. They can turn on the charm to manipulate the people they have been bullying. After all, people usually only contact another human being when they need something. It is no longer human nature to contact families, relatives, friends, or coworkers to see how they are doing.

What is the result of this type of behavior? Unfortunately, the solution is for people to stick to themselves and avoid others. This means not doing anything more than necessary – like volunteering. And it is volunteering that makes this country great. Volunteers put themselves at risk for unwarranted attacks by selfish self-centered narcissists whose only purpose on this earth is to be carbon emitting oxygen thieves. Yes, climate change just may be manmade in the form of useless drivel and wasted energy from people around the globe.

Imagine how much better this world would be if people minded their own business and used their energy and intellect to solve problems without blaming others. Instead, we are a populous of dopes that cannot even come up with their own bullying quotes. Our offspring are learning trivial behavior from their parents that will spiral out of control over the years. It is a sad state of affairs, and we are all guilty of this to some degree.

It is our responsibility to work hard throughout life to better ourselves. I do not see this. It seems most adults are still stuck in our childhood brains – kids will throw their best friend under a bus to avoid punishment. We are still more concerned about suing our friends and neighbors over trivial grievances than simply saying “hi” or waving hello to them when we see them.

We are training our brains to be wired wrong – by being narcissistic self-centered rumor oriented problem creating followers who want to bring people down instead of leaders who want inspire and lift people up. Sure, many people with flawed characters are in leadership positions and they think they are good leaders. But this is far from the truth because they got into their roles by being deceitful lying backstabbing folks unwilling to be accountable or take responsibility for their actions. Instead they are willing to do what is best for themselves and not what is best for the company or others. Brain storming sessions quickly become blame storming sessions and these manipulative leaders will resort to any strategy to protect their shady images including bullying and other passive aggressive behavior.

So it is imperative that humans work hard to be better people by living in the moment to solve future problems. If our personas do not change for the better, our negativity will be the demise of the human race.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Contracts and Natural Law Fundamental Rights (Part V)

Freedom of Contract

As far back as 1795 in American history, federal courts established contract rights as natural rights necessary to protect property and other individual rights. In Vanhorn’s Lessee v. Dorrance, judge William Patterson (a founding father) declared a Pennsylvania statute to be null and void for violating the contract clause of the Constitution. Patterson did admit that citizens must sacrifice property rights for public welfare (with just compensation), but only under “grave emergencies”.

The right or freedom of contract established by the Court in Lochner v. New York (1905) was powerful (actually freedom of contract was elevated eight years earlier in Allgeyer v. Louisiana, but this case does not receive anywhere near the same attention of Lochner). In Allgeyer, the Court’s justice Rufus Peckham held in a unanimous decision: “The 'liberty' mentioned in [the Fourteenth] amendment means not only the right of the citizen to be free from the mere physical restraint of his person, as by incarceration, but the term is deemed to embrace the right of the citizen to be free in the enjoyment of all his faculties, to be free to use them in all lawful ways, to live and work where he will, to earn his livelihood by any lawful calling, to pursue any livelihood or avocation, and for that purpose to enter into all contracts which may be proper, necessary, and essential to his carrying out to a successful conclusion the purposes above mentioned.”

What made Lochner (and Allgeyer) unusual was the fact the Supreme Court elevated the freedom of contract as a right even though it did not exist in the Constitution. While Lochner v. New York only protected economic contracts, it is apparent that freedom of contract could be used to protect rights that exist in the Bill of Rights such as property rights (buying and selling property is protected by contracts) and religious rights (contract with pastor, priest, deacon, and even the bible or God). That is why conversations between a spouse, doctor, or religious leader are considered privileged, because they are protected by a contract. Freedom of contract could also protect other rights not included in the Constitution such as worker rights (implied contract between employer and employee) and civil rights (implied contract of decency, tolerance, and respect to avoid violating the rights of others – the golden rule). Therefore, the right or freedom of contract is a powerful tool to protect both individual rights within or outside the Constitution. However, the Supreme Court (also referred to as “the Court” throughout this book) rescinded this right under FDR’s progressive New Deal Court in cases like Nebbia v. New York (1934), Parrish v. West Coast Hotel (1937), and Wickard v. Filburn (1941). While the right to contract was killed by the Court, the Court continued to elevate other rights not found in the Constitution including privacy, marriage, sex, abortion, and self-defense to name a few.

There is a zero-percent chance the Court will restore the right of contract. Why? Both the Right and Left abhor the Lochner v. New York decision. It is estimated that fewer than 5% of legal scholars believe that Lochner was a good a decision and the remaining 95% are ecstatic it was overturned. Consider the fact that 90% of legal scholars believe that the Slaughter House cases (1873) were decided improperly. Yet, the Court has refused to overturn that case after 140 years. If the Court is that reluctant to overturn a case that most agree was wrongfully decided, then there is no chance the Court will reinstate Lochner and the freedom of contract. There is, however, a strange relationship between Lochner and the Slaughter House cases. The dissent argument in the Slaughter House cases was not much different than the majority opinion in Lochner. Thus, it begs to reason why one opinion is revered while the other is demonized? Nevertheless, this conflict may be precisely the reason the Slaughter House cases have never been overruled.

So why write a book about the freedom of contract if it has no chance of being restored? To illustrate how the Court has veered from the true textual meaning of the Constitution diminishing its power to protect the rights of all Americans. Had the Court remained committed to the textual meaning of the Constitution and the right of contract, it would have proved to be a useful tool to solve both conservative and liberal problems without the Court doing whatever it takes to obtain a desired result including using discrimination, controversy, and legislative activism.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Contracts and Natural Law Fundamental Rights (Part IV)

United States citizens tried to inject social compact theories into welfare debates. The land reformers of the Nineteenth Century tried to argue that land belonged to everyone equally. Their theory suggests there should be no private property, that land should not be bought, sold, gifted, or willed. Moreover, they argued that the living, not the dead should control the land. Land reformers would argue that the sea, light, and air are all publicly owned. All that being said, none of the great theorists of social compact theory agree that all land should be publicly owned and redistributed to only living citizens. In their defense, Land reformers like to point to Locke’s statement: “Labor makes for the greatest part of the value of things.” However, this is not condoning welfare or land redistribution. It is condoning capitalism and those that work will have the best opportunities to reap the benefits of their labor and to purchase land. In fact, one of the biggest arguments made by land reformers is that it will reduce the size and power of government. Of course, we have learned that none of this true in modern America. Redistribution of wealth and welfare has grown the government in astronomical proportions over the past 60-years. Land reformers best argument from social compact theory comes from the Pufendorf point of view where citizens natural law rights are not absolute and therefore property rights can be abridged for any reason the government sees fit. However, this is the antithesis of the social contract theory America was founded on. Even if rights are abridged there must be a compelling reason and the government must use the least evasive method to achieve its objective. The Homestead Act of 1862 proved that land equality did not work. People who received free land got greedy and willed it to their children. This ended the land reformers bid for perpetual land equality. This is precisely why socialism does not work: everyone is partial to their own needs and greed. Besides, land reformers arguments that “land cannot be bought or sold” conflicts with modern liberalism principles that that rights such as healthcare can be bought and sold.

Modern progressives and liberals have moved away from the Declaration of Independence refuting natural law fundamental rights and social contract theory. However, using social contract theory arguments in favor of illegal immigration, lenient immigration laws, and gay rights would make more sense than the hollow arguments put forward merely to win political points (and votes). There are several reasons for liberals abandoning social contract theory. In particular, many progressive or liberal policies do not fit into social contract theory and the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence. For instance, capitalism or economic freedom and private property rights are all supported by social contract theory. Also, it is important to understand that original progressives were racists. They believed in racial purity and therefore were proponents of anti-immigration, segregation, and legislation against women’s rights. But it was not just progressive and liberals dissing the Declaration of Independence. Far right conservatives did the same thing in the 1970s in response to the civil rights movement started in the 1960s. The bottom line is that the Declaration of Independence is long forgotten in modern society, taking a back seat to the incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States (discussed later in this text).

The turning point in the movement against social contract theory started after the Civil War. After a brutal war, the people feared Lockean and Declaration of Independence principles of revolution and secession. The move from popular sovereignty to government sovereignty took many forms: majority rule, emergencies, social justice, presumption and other methods discussed later in this text. America began to look more like Alexander Hamilton’s view of big government over Thomas Jefferson’s political principles. A change in focus from political to social issues was also fundamental in mitigating social contract theory. There was a progressive ignorance indicating “creative political intelligence” was needed to “tame” social contract theory. However, progressives fail to see how social contract theory protects social rights such as friendships and community relationships. Progressives also incorrectly hypothesize “society makes individuals, individuals do not make society.” Obviously both statements are true, not just one.

Freedom of contract to protect natural rights was also hypothesized as a method to replace social contract theory: “There was no lack of postbellum lawyers and judges who deemed freedom of contract under the law a far safer bet than a social contract above the law.” But this text believes there is no reason that freedom of contract and social contract theory cannot coexist since both protect natural rights and popular sovereignty. And freedom of contract may not support overthrowing the government but it supports the formation of political assemblies and protests (social contracts) to keep government in check.

Is social contract theory dead in modern America? Yes, and the reasons are outlined below:

• A “state of nature” died a long time ago. A state of nature implies little governance so citizens can live free with nature. But as populations and society grew with technological advances much of the United States is no longer in a state of nature but is now a land of laws, institutions, and traditions.

• Supreme Court justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, did his best to destroy the “higher law principles” of social contract theory. Holmes said “The jurists who believe in natural law seem to me to be in that naïve state of mind that accepts what has been familiar and accepted by them and their neighbors as something that must be accepted by all men everywhere.” Holmes and other progressives such as Walter Lippmann moved society away from higher law principles to one of majority rule. Lippmann said “Politics is not concerned with prescribing the ultimate quality of life.” Moreover, Lippmann suggested “that the public philosophy shall be believed to be right.” However, all that being said, following natural law principles does not violate the right of others, but majority rule in United States history has been used consistently to violate the rights of our neighbors (more on this later in the text).

• The question of who consents to the social contract is open for debate. And is consent absolutely necessary for social compact theory? There is no question that the founders and their generation consented to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They signed the documents and even held state ratifying conventions for the Constitution. But, no one has officially signed on to these documents in over 240 years. .

Do United States citizens and aliens consent to government? The answer is both yes and no. There must be both political authority and political obligation for consent. Political authority is when “the leaders get the right to govern only those who agree to give them this right in a social contract”. Political obligation is when the “people are obliged to obey the state’s orders only if they agreed to do so in a social contract”. Those who do not consent have more rights than those who do consent. So, who consents to social contracts? Those who take an oath to uphold the Constitution; immigrants (illegal or legal) who move to the United States; those of us who inherit property; people who violate the rights of others (criminals); those of us who take more out of system (welfare and public benefits) than put into it (taxes); even those individuals or companies who benefited from temporary welfare benefits or bailouts have consented unless they paid back their grants with interest; individuals who fail to pay their taxes on time or cheat on their taxes; certain individuals and companies who work for government contracts; and military personnel as well as many public jobs. From this it is easy to surmise that a majority of Americans do consent to government and the social contract theory. Non-consenting individuals’ natural law fundamental rights should be honored as outlined in those critical documents at the founding: The Declaration of Independence, the Northwest Ordinance, and the Constitution. Consenting individuals’ rights might be abridged. For instance, military personnel lose rights when they tried in military tribunals; Criminals are confined and even when they are free they face parole guidelines such as being forced to wear a tracking device; Welfare recipients, if the government wanted, can be drug or alcohol tested and compelled to work jobs they do not want for their benefits; Public officials can be held to higher criminal standards such as treason; Layers, who take an oath to uphold the Constitution, can be disbarred for life from practicing law if they violate their duties whereas, most individuals who are fired from a job for violating ethical standards can simply get a similar job at another company. One thing is certain, consenting or not, all citizens should be held to the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Put another way, citizens and aliens consent only to Constitutional laws but no one consents to unconstitutional laws.

It is the view of this text that most Americans do provide consent and those who have not consented can be held to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution so long as their rights are not abridged for any reason. So, consent has sort of survived the test of time.

• Human or natural rights are the only aspect of social contract theory that has sort of survived the test of time. However, the “rights revolution” starting in the 1970s has increased the number of rights, but in doing so, it has also diluted our rights. Animals, nature, and abortion rights do more to mitigate our natural fundamental rights because it suggests elective surgery, a tree, and even drinking coffee are on par with true natural law fundamental rights such as obtaining knowledge and the sanctity of life. Instead, animals and nature can be protected through “human” contract rights with nature. In fact, social contract theory and a state of nature can be formulated to protect our environment. Social contract theory and higher law principles can also be used to protect nature as God intended. To make matters worse, many rights given to women, gays, and minorities in the form of diversity and affirmative action provide some groups of people preferential treatment. One should remember President Andrew Jackson’s campaign slogan: “Equal rights to all; special privileges to no one”. President’s Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover would do a huge disservice to rights by suggesting “human rights over property rights”. After all, what good are an individual’s rights if the home they live in is confiscated by the government without just compensation. Finally, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) campaigned on social contract theory in 1932. However, in reality, his social contract theory was, in essence, social justice or welfare doing another huge disservice to the doctrine. But, in FDR’s defense, he was not the genius the Left made him out to be because he merely copied what France had already accomplished with regards to social rights.

Can social contract theory be resurrected? Probably not, although many have tried. Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” was at best a pseudo reenactment of the social contract theory. This text focuses on what reforms are needed to protect our true natural law fundamental rights to stop the dilution of rights (freedom of contract). This text is not trying to accomplish this goal by reinstating social contract theory but it will try to achieve this task through other Constitutional methods. Besides, it is not acceptable to pick and choose which parts of social contract theory are acceptable and which ones are not. Case in point, by doing so, the South found ways to justify slavery. However, the South could not justify slavery if they followed the entirety of Lockean and Jeffersonian social contract theory. For this reason, this text would like to see the full reinstatement of the Jeffersonian Declaration of Independence preamble for United States social contract theory. But that may not be possible based on the damage it has already undertaken.