January 14, 2011
Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8
Here are some more limitations and prohibitions on Congress; those old chaps were truly obsessed with creating a small, restricted federal government with a very light hand.
What could go wrong?
Section 9 - Limits on Congress
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken. (Section in itailcs clarified by the 16th Amendment.)
[Clarifying language from the 16th Amendment: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.]
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.
No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.
Section 10 - Powers prohibited of States
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.
The 16th Amendment and income taxes... ouch!
All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
- Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 14, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM
TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/4749
The following hissed in response by: MikeR
"for executing it's inspection Laws". A grammar mistake in the Constitution? Daffyd, did you type this in by hand?
Update: Wow! The mistake is in the original document. Do we go after the intentions of the original signers, or are we bound by the exact wording? What would that force these states to do?:)
"No State shall...emit Bills of Credit;" Huh? California?
Interesting that there is a section describing what states may not do. I wonder if that should imply that things like the Bill of Rights aren't intended to restrict the states - since it should have said so explicitly, as it does here.
The following hissed in response by: wtanksleyjr
MikeR, yes, the Bill or Rights was NOT intended to affect the states; most of the individual amendments specifically restricted Congress itself. The 14th amendment "incorporated" some of the bill of rights against the states, but it's still debated which ones.
Note in particular that, given that some of the states ratified the Bill of Rights while having an established state religion, the Establishment Clause meant to them that Congress could not make laws prohibiting THEIR establishment. (BTW, at the time the phrase "establishment of religion" didn't mean "any religion"; it meant "an official state religion".
I think all the states now prohibit establishment in their own Constitutions, and of course the first amendment had to be incorporated against the states anyhow.
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
Yes, the 13th (1865), 14th (1868), and 15th (1870)Amendments -- primarily the 14th -- transformed the United States more profoundly than any other event before or since (at least so far; it remains to be seen what B.O. can do). Remember what came right before: The Civil War made it clear that failure (of the Union) was always an option.
Lincoln's great goal was to preserve the Union; and after his death, Congress enacted those "Civil Rights Amendments" in order to prevent the most burning issue of the preceding fourscore years, chattel slavery, from ever again tearing the nation apart. They did this in two ways:
- First, by utterly abolishing not only the slave trade, which had been done in the Constitution itself, but slavery itself, in all states everywhere in the United States.
- Second, by dramatically strengthening the national government at the expense of the formerly "sovereign" states.
Note that the first requires the second, as previously states could themselves choose "slave or free," and nothing in the Constitution gave the feds the authority to say otherwise.
Those amendments inaugurated the "era of incorporation," though it was a long time coming; in United States v. Cruikshank (1876) -- reaffirmed in Presser v. Illinois (1886) -- the Supreme Court held that the 14th Amendment applied only negatively to actions committed by a state government, and did not require any state to enjoin individual state citizens from depriving other citizens of that same state of their rights. (The cases specifically referred to the 1st Amendment right of assembly and the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms.)
The 14th Amendment reads, in part:
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Cruikshank arose from an incident in 1873 in Colfax, Louisiana: A group of primarily black Republicans had surrounded the Colfax courthouse to prevent the Democrats from seizing control of it, following a disputed state election. The "Fusionists" (Democrats) sent a private Ku Klux Klan army to the scene, killing, dispersing, and capturing the black Republicans.
Three years earlier, the U.S. Congress had passed the Enforcement Act of 1870, followed by two others in 1871, which explicitly required every state positively to protect the life, liberty, and property of every citizen, using the 14th Amendment as authority.
The instigators of the Colfax Massacre were indicted and convicted under those acts; but the Court quashed the indictments, holding the Enforcement Act to be unconstitutional: "The fourteenth amendment prohibits a State from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; but this adds nothing to the rights of one citizen as against another."
The Court held that that the 14th only prohibited the states themselves from depriving their citizens of their rights; the states could still constitutionally turn a blind eye to private individuals doing the depriving, such as the Fusionists and the Klan.
Many former slave states (and even some traditionally free states) gleefully took advantage of that ruling, sitting back and allowing "independent" private groups to do the dirty work that the Civil Rights Amendments prohibited the states from doing directly. The states also passed disenfranshising laws designed to prevent blacks (and poor whites) from voting, from serving on juries, and by and large nullifying those three amendments.
So at that time, the Civil Rights Amendments were accepted to have incorporated core rights against the states, but only to the extent that they prohibited the states themselves from violating their citizens' rights. The flip side of incorporation had to wait until the tail end of the 19th century, when the rest of the incorporation period began.
It's still ongoing; the most recent example was McDonald v. Chicago, decided last year (!), which fully incorporates the 2nd Amendment to the states (which are now required affirmatively to protect each citizen's right to keep and bear arms from both state and private infringement).
But even today, some elements of the Bill of Rights have never been incorporated to the states. Wikipedia has a handy list of which parts of what amendments in the BoR have been incorporated, and when.
Dafydd the Non-Lawyer (who could, therefore, be totally misinformed)
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at January 14, 2011 12:47 PM
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