Constitutional Imperfections

Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides the rules under which the Constitution can be amended, should that become necessary.  Although the Constitution has been successfully amended only twenty-seven times since March 4, 1789, most Americans would be surprised to learn that some 11,770 proposed amendments have been introduced in Congress between 1789 and January 3, 2019.

The first ten amendments are what we refer to as the Bill of Rights.  These amendments were written and adopted to satisfy the objections of the Anti-Federalist (States’ Rights) faction of the Constitutional Convention.  The Bill of Rights Amendments addressed Anti-Federalist concerns regarding personal freedoms and individual rights, restrictions on government power in judicial proceedings, and a catch-all declaration stating that all powers not specifically granted to the Congress are reserved to the states or to the people.  

The remainder of the amendments, numbered eleven through twenty-seven, deal with such matters as the election of presidents and vice presidents; outlawing slavery; citizenship and voting rights for former slavers; taxation authority; the election of U.S. senators; the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages; women’s suffrage; presidential term limits; Washington, DC, electoral rights; outlawing poll taxes; presidential disability; voting rights for 18-year-olds: and others.  However, three constitutional shortcomings now demand our immediate attention.

First, and most importantly, we must take immediate steps to amend the Constitution to eliminate the concept of “birthright citizenship.”  The 14th Amendment, ratified on July 9, 1868, was designed to provide citizenship for all those previously enslaved individuals who became Freedmen when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  The amendment was never intended to confer citizenship on those who just happened to be born on American soil, with no effort on their part.  As written, the amendment proclaims, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside…”

However, since the 1898 decision in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, the courts have held that it is sufficient for infants to claim “birthright citizenship,” so long as they are born on American soil, no matter the country of residence or the citizenship status of the child’s parents.  Ignoring the fact that children born to alien parents on American soil have no formal connection to the United States, the courts have rendered the phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” meaningless.

The center for Immigration Studies estimated in 2012 (the most recent figures available) that there were then approximately 40,000 annual births in the United States to “birth tourist” parents.  However, since 2012, a cottage industry called “maternity hotels” has developed.  For example, it has been reported that the Trump Tower II hotel in Miami, Florida, has become a “maternity hotel” specializing in Russian “birth tourists.”  Russian parents can give birth to an infant with American citizenship by paying a fee as small as $20,000 or as much as $85,000.  Wikipedia tells us that the deluxe program includes food, lodging, Russian-speaking obstetricians, gold-tiled bathtubs, and chauffeur-driven limousines.

Although it appears as if a great many Americans remain unconvinced that “birth tourism” is a bad thing, the “birth tourist” industry is one that must be eliminated.  A 2015 Pew Research survey found that 53% of Republicans and only 23% of Democrats oppose the concept. What is needed is an amendment clarifying the 14th Amendment, requiring that alien parents must be full-time legal U.S. residents for a period of years before their newborn infants can expect to have “birthright citizenship.”   

Next in order of importance is an amendment to Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, specifying the manner in which presidential electors are allocated in the various states.  Although states must retain the power to determine how electors are chosen, the question of whether states should be allowed to utilize a winner-take-all system, as opposed to the more democratic system now used by the states of Maine and Nebraska, is debatable.  To allow the winner-take-all system to be used at the discretion of the state legislatures is to guarantee an unrepresentative system in which a small number of states with very large cities will be able to determine who will lead our country.      

 In the 2000 presidential election, a switch of just 271,951 votes would have given George W. Bush a narrow popular vote victory over Democrat Al Gore, along with a 271 to 266 vote victory in the Electoral College.  The 2000 Bush-Cheney victory in the Electoral College, while losing the national popular vote, caused liberals, Democrats, and some moderate Republicans to search for ways in which to bypass the Electoral College.  The result was the creation of an organization called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). 

The NPVIC actively seeks support among the legislatures of the various states in support of a rule requiring that all of their state’s electoral votes be cast for the candidates for president and vice president who receive a majority of the national popular vote… regardless of the popular vote count in each of the Compact states.  What the NPVIC “reformers” have failed to consider is the outcome of the 2000 Electoral College vote if the NPVIC rule had been in place in all the blue states in the country, and if Bush-Cheney had been able to attract just one additional vote out of every 373 votes cast to win a narrow majority in the national popular vote.

In that event, the NPVIC proponents would have been quite chagrined to learn that, under the NPVIC rule, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney would have been the beneficiaries of a 538-0 unanimous vote in the Electoral College… not exactly what Compact supporters had in mind.  

What is needed is an amendment to Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, requiring the states to adopt an electoral vote allocation formula in which the winner of each state’s popular vote would receive his/her state’s two at-large electoral votes, while the remainder of each state’s electoral votes would be allocated to reflect the winner of the popular vote in each of the state’s congressional districts.   It is the most democratic reform available and it would require candidates to campaign in many more states than the so-called “swing” states of recent years.

The third, and final, constitutional shortcoming requiring our attention is the need for a clear definition of the term “natural born Citizen,” as used in Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution.  

As the Framers met in Philadelphia in July 1887 to approve a final draft of the U.S. Constitution, delegate John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the United States, sent a letter to General George Washington, president of the Constitutional Convention.  In his letter, Jay expressed his concern over the prospect of allowing an individual with any form of foreign allegiance, whether real or perceived, to serve as president of the United States and commander-in-chief of the Army and the Navy.  He wrote: “Permit me to hint whether it would be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of foreigners into the administration of our national government; and to declare expressly that the commander-in-chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born citizen (emphasis added).”

The Framers rightly understood that the most influential factor in a child’s upbringing is the parenting he/she receives as a child, and that the cultural, philosophical, political, and religious influence of a child’s parents fundamentally establishes the direction of his/her future conduct and intellectual development.  Accordingly, what the Framers feared most and what caused them to limit access to the presidency only to the “natural born” was the fear that a future president… during his formative years and during the years in which he was developing intellectually… would be exposed to an environment or an ideology which might cause him/her to reject the values and the principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution. 

Accordingly, the Constitution contains the clause cited above, requiring that all candidates for president and vice president must be “natural born” citizens, individuals whose citizenship status is unencumbered by any modifying adjective such as “dual,” “naturalized,” or “birthright.”  They cannot be “dual” citizens, as is the case with Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, or Nikki Haley.  And they cannot be “naturalized” citizens, as is the case with former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

As a nation of some 320 million people, there is enough political talent available to us to forego the necessity of delving into our large population of non-natural born citizens for presidential and vice-presidential talent.  Accordingly, a clarifying amendment to Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 is needed to make it clear, as the Framers intended, that a “natural born” citizen is an individual who was born to parents, both of whom were U.S. citizens at the time of his/her birth, and who has at no time in his/her life been a dual citizen  of the United States and any other country.

Since the earliest days of the 20th century, aliens wishing to avoid U.S. immigration and naturalization statutes have utilized liberalized interpretations of the 14th Amendment to win U.S. citizenship for their newborn infants, making it possible for extended family members to gain unfair and unintended legal residency status.  That citizenship loophole must be eliminated.

We must also take a lesson from the two-term presidency of Barack Obama.  Obama’s father was a Muslim and a black African communist sympathizer; his mother was a left wing socialist flower-child; his stepfather was an Indonesian Muslim; his grandparents were far-left communist sympathizers; his teenage mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, was a well-known Communist Party writer and activist; the people who were instrumental in launching his political career in Chicago were Weather Underground terrorists who had killed U.S. law enforcement officers; and his religious mentor was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, an America-hater of the first order.  These are but a few of the far-left radicals who had a major impact on Obama’s social, political, and economic values.  So, is it any wonder that he attempted to “fundamentally transform” the government and the culture of the greatest nation on Earth? 

Finally, the Framers were concerned that at some future time a relatively small number of megalopolis urban cities would have populations sufficient to control the selection of our national leaders.  Their concern that the day would come when small and sparsely populated states would have little or no say in the selection of our presidents and vice presidents led them to create the U.S. Electoral College.  It has served our nation well and we must take steps to protect it.

Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College.  He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.

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Federal Tyranny

We here are in a revolution … a war … that will determine the fate of our Republic.

 In 1964 the US Supreme Court handed down an un-Constitutional decision that has turned legislatures of state governments into a chaotically gerrymandered mess.  And since 40 or 50% of the population of most states abides in large cities, the gerrymanders can only get worse after the next census.  By their “one man, one vote” decision they have effectively done away with our system of representative government.  The logical consequence of this decision is that the populations of the largest cities will entirely overwhelm the voice the small communities.  It is called the “tyranny of the majority.”  The political strength of America and of the States has always been that the least of the community at large has always been represented and heard.  It is the Republican form, government rooted first in the individual, then the family, the community, the state and finally the Union.  Every citizen has had full access to all levels of government.  This will soon go away if we don’t act now. 

We need only to look at the state of California, to see the horrible consequences of a non-representative government.    

The attack upon the governments of the states is an insidious tyranny being thrust upon us from Washington DC by the minions of socialism and collectivism who have found a way to destroy our Republic.  They have co-opted one of the branches of the Federal government, namely the Supreme Court.  They have done this by packing the membership of the Court with leftists that delight in telling us that the Constitution is a “living document.”

Since the Supreme Court only has nine members, all these DC-ites had to do was to place five leftists on the bench.  Then those Justices could read into their decisions interpretations that are not in or ever intended to be in the Constitution by the founders. Many of their “living Constitution” decisions were specifically rejected either in the Constitutional Convention, the Congress or early decisions of the Court and continue to be rejected by the citizens of the States.  What they do by inventing “what the founders forgot to or should have included or what the document should now say in view of ‘modern circumstances’ ” is to amend the Constitution without the consent of the people.  The very definition of tyranny. 

The Constitution is very explicit, laws are the specific province of Congress under Article I, section 1 … the Supreme Court has no lawmaking authority and its authority under Article VI, the supremacy clause, extends only to the ” the Constitution and laws made in “Pursuance” thereof.”   In the Bill of Rights, the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution states:  The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor Prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people.  Clearly, by the Bill of Rights, the apportionment of state legislatures lies with the individual states.  Our prescient forefathers could see specter of  what the Court is doing now and insisted that the States have the final say. 

How do we approach the problem?  Some years ago at a State Convention I introduced the following Resolution and the delegates passed it.  I now re-present it for your perusal.

A Resolution

Asking the Legislature to Reinstate Suffrage of Its Counties

Whereas, the Founders of our nation, meeting in Philadelphia in 1787, after due consideration of the relative merits of Democracies and Republics, presented the nation with the most successful form of government yet devised by man, their Republic:

The Constitution of the United States of America

and

Whereas, their ingenious system was a compendium of checks and balances upon the power of the branches of government, directed at giving the majority its prerogatives, but providing due deference to minorities; and

Whereas, the government could have never been formed without enfranchising both the people and their property … a problem which they solved in the way that they made up the Congress, a compromise which resulted in the equal representation of the States in the Senate (no matter how small) and the guaranteed representation of each State (no matter how small) in the House of Representatives; and

Whereas, the national model provided by the Founders for successful government lay in recognizing distinct political entities solving distinct local problems, such as those known to the Founders to be manifested in the diverse original 13 Colonies, was subsequently venerated as a viable model for the make-up of State governments; and

Whereas, the Federal Constitution guarantees under Article IV Section 4 to each State   … “a Republican Form of Government” … it is undeniable that the Forefathers of our State were correct in deciding that the political subdivisions of this State, namely the Counties, were entitled, following the Federal model, to enfranchise each County with one Senator and at least one Representative in the House of Representatives in the State Legislature; and

Whereas, the Supreme Court of the United States of America misapplied their ruling under the 14th Amendment in Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, as was proved by the erudite dissent of Justice John Marshall Harlan II, when they ruled that the 14th Amendment required the Senates and State Legislatures be apportioned on the basis of population rather on the basis of political subdivisions … the Counties; and

Whereas, the imposition of Federal Court Ordered reapportionment of State Legislatures is beyond argument a tyranny of the Federal Government, the child of the States, being imposed upon its Father and Superior, the Sovereign States; and

Whereas, it is impossible to conceive and historically inaccurate to believe that the States would have ratified an Amendment to the Constitution that abrogated their ability to apportion their Legislatures; and

Whereas, the unintended consequence of this Federal meddling has resulted in the fragmentation of the County system of government and the loss of the representation and  understanding of the distinct and unique problems of large areas of the State, not to mention the chaos of gerrymandered voting districts.

Now Therefore Be it Resolved that we strongly urge that the Legislature and Governor of our State assert their Duties as the guardians of the rights of the citizens of this great Sovereign state and take all measures necessary, including Resolutions, Memorials, Amendments, Referendums, Laws, Lawsuits and if necessary Nullification to re-enfranchise the numerous disenfranchised Counties of this great State; and

Be it Further Resolved that the our delegation to the national Congress present this Resolution to that body for its consideration and urge its adoption nationally as it would apply to each of the Several States.

To this end, I offered a proposed amendment to the our Constitution as follows:

Apportionment of the Legislature

That we the citizens of our State shall apportion our Legislature, following the model of representation in the Federal system in the Congress of the United States of America and asserting the Guarantee of a Republican form of government as delineated in Article IV Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States of America so that:

The Senate of the Legislature of our State shall consist only of one Senator from each County of this State.

And:

The members of the House of Representatives of the Legislature of our State shall consist of at least (x) members and shall be adjudicated County by County on the basis that the number of citizens in each county bears to population of the whole State, provided that no member may represent the citizens of more than one county, and provided further that each county shall have at least one representative in the Legislature and that no county may have more than (x) Representatives.

If you agree with me, I urge you to make all possible effort to convince your present legislators to offer this proposed Constitutional Amendment to your Constitution to the electorate in the next general election so that they, the people, can decide whether or not they want an American Republic in your State or a socialistic tyranny.

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Ten Outstanding People?

During a televised interview on Wednesday morning, September 11, former DNC Chairwoman and current Fox News Contributor Donna Brazile referred to the top ten Democratic candidates as “ten outstanding people.”  At this stage of the 2020 presidential campaign it is impossible to draw any firm conclusions about which of those “ten outstanding people” will come out on top. Evaluating that small army of pretenders who see themselves as potential leaders of the Free World is a truly frightening exercise… much like tiptoeing through the malodorous “hazards” on the streets of San Francisco.  However, given the eclectic nature of the Democratic field there are some rather significant underlying factors that are certain to affect the outcome.    

As matters now stand, the RealClearPolitics average of polls taken between August 23 and September 3, shows the top five contenders as follows: Former Vice President Biden, 30.1%: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 17.6%; Sen. Bernie Sanders, 16.9%; Sen. Kamala Harris, 6.7%; and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 4.4%.  The second tier of candidates… businessman Andrew Yang, Cong. Tulsi Gabbard, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Sen. Michael Bennet… are all polling at less than 2.0%.  So, what can we say about each of the top five that may cause them to either rise or fall in the polls between now and the Iowa caucuses? 

First, former VP Joe Biden.  Although Biden was “joined at the hip” to Barack Obama during their eight years in the White House, that relationship is truly a double-edged sword.  Since Obama remains a beloved figure in the black community, Biden would be quite happy to have African Americans see his smiling face when they think of Barack Obama.  But will the Biden candidacy be a plus or a minus for the Obama legacy?  As the worst president in US history, Obama finds himself sitting on the edge of his chair, holding his breath and biting his nails, while the gaffe-prone Biden struggles to identify himself with Obama’s indefensible record. 

The New York Times reports that, in an April meeting, just before Biden announced his candidacy, Obama advised, “You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t,”   The Times went on to explain that Biden, who thinks he could have defeated Trump in 2016, responded by telling Obama that he could “never forgive himself if he turned down a second shot at Mr. Trump.”

Watching Biden carrying out his very limited campaign schedule, it has been clear from the beginning that he is not physically or mentally capable of competing against a strong and vital Donald Trump, a man who is capable of holding campaign rallies in San Diego, St. Louis, and Philadelphia, all in a single day, spending the night at the White House, and doing it all over again, five days out of every week.  Joe Biden will no longer be a candidate when the Iowa caucuses convene in February.  In fact, the odds are that he will withdraw prior to Christmas.

With Biden out of the race, media attention will focus on the contest between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.  Warren is said to have an excellent ground organization in Iowa, which could easily give her an edge over Sanders in that first-in-the-nation contest.  But it’s hard to see Iowans getting excited about either candidate, both of whom support the gradual phasing out of fossil fuels.  Even the most wild-eyed liberals in Iowa understand that tractors require either gasoline or diesel fuel to plant and harvest crops.  And since the phasing out of fossil fuels would necessarily eliminate the need for ethanol fuel additives, distilled from corn, it is highly unlikely that any of the ten Democratic candidates will be popular in any of the Corn Belt states.

From a national standpoint, both Warren and Sanders have expressed support for full term abortions, free college educations, student loan forgiveness, a national $15.00 minimum wage, guaranteed healthcare for all, and legalized marijuana… all of which are losing positions across the country.  Sanders has even gone so far as to endorse a population control scheme that can only be described as infantile genocide.  He has said, “So I think, especially in poor countries around the world where women do not necessarily want to have large numbers of babies, and where they can have the opportunity through birth control to control the number of kids they have, it’s something I very, very strongly support.”    

Worst of all, both Warren and Sanders have endorsed the most harebrained scheme in the history of representative government: Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s Green New Deal.  How any candidate for the presidency could campaign on those proposals is beyond human understanding.  In their entire platform of shared policy proposals, there is not a single winning issue.

Some ten points behind Bernie Sanders we have Sen. Kamala Harris, the former attorney general of the State of California, who takes great pride in the number of black and Hispanic criminals she’s sent to prison… a dubious distinction that she will regret once blacks and Hispanics have a chance to “evaluate” her in the voting booths.

However, Harris’s greatest shortcoming is the fact that she is not eligible to serve as president or vice president.  Although her lack of eligibility has not been an issue in the campaign, as yet, it is only a matter of time before one of her desperate competitors will use that fact against her.    

Harris’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan, emigrated to the U.S. from India in 1960 and her father, Donald Harris, emigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica in 1961.  Under U.S. law, an individual cannot apply for U.S. citizenship until they’ve held a “green card” for a minimum of five years.  Kamala Harris was born on October 20, 1964.  At best, her mother was a legal non-citizen resident of the U.S. for just 4 years, 9 months, and 20 days when Sen. Harris was born.  Her father was, at best, a legal non-citizen resident for just 3 years, 9 months, and 20 days when she was born.  Neither parent could possibly have been a U.S. citizen when Sen. Harris was born. 

What few Americans recognize is that there are only two (2) jobs in the entire United States… public sector and private sector combined… that require the incumbents to be “natural born” citizens.  Those two jobs are president and vice president of the United States.  The term “natural born,” by its very nature, implies that the “quality” of an individual’s citizenship must be pure… totally authentic, totally American, unencumbered by any modifying adjectives such as “dual,” “naturalized,” or “birthright.”  Senator Harris can be Mayor of San Francisco, she can be Governor of California, she can be a federal judge, she can even be Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  None of those jobs require status as a “natural born” citizen.  But unless her parents were both U.S. citizens when she was born, she is not a “natural born” citizen and cannot serve as either president or vice president. 

Just over two points behind Senator Harris, at 4.4% popularity, is the current mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg.  Unfortunately, Buttigieg has a major factor in his personal life that could easily short circuit any presidential ambitions he might have.  Buttigieg is openly gay and the person he refers to as his “husband” is a man named Chasten Buttigieg, nee Glezman.

The American people have proven time and time again that they are willing to cut a president a bit of slack when it comes to his personal life.  Were that not the case, John Kennedy would have been forced out of the White House long before he planned a trip to Dallas, and Bill Clinton would have been sacked long before he ever left Arkansas.  JFK is thought to have had more than 50 mistresses, including one he shared with Chicago organized crime boss Sam Giancana (a woman who also served as a courier between the two men), a bevy of some of our most beautiful movie stars, and two others who were thought to be Soviet spies.

The mainstream media were fully aware of the Kennedy and Clinton sexual dalliances, but they refused to report on them; they simply responded with a wink and a nod.  But the question arises [Ahem! How to phrase this delicately?], while the American people have always been willing to accept what consenting adults do behind closed doors, and have generally accepted the notion of same-sex marriage, when it comes to the sexual practices of gays and lesbians, have we become so inured to the idea of sodomy that we are willing to overlook its practice in the hallowed halls of the White House?  In the Lincoln bedroom?  Is that what political correctness demands of us?

Have the American people really come that far?  Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky introduced our children and grandchildren to the concept of oral sex, but sodomy?  Having that obligatory “birds and Bees” conversation with our children and grandchildren is difficult enough, but how would we ever explain sodomy to them… especially when the subject of our conversation is the president of the United States? 

From the beginning of the Trump candidacy, there have been three kinds of Republicans:  1) The “Never-Trumpers”… Bill Kristol et al… who despised Trump from the beginning and have not begun to change their minds, 2) Those who turned up their noses at Trump until at least the  end of his first year in office… this writer included… but who have finally concluded that he is exactly the kind of no-holds-barred leader that the country has needed for many decades, and 3) Those who were dedicated “Trumpsters” from the very beginning… my lovely wife included…  whose respect and admiration have only grown with time.

Considering all of Trump’s significant accomplishments and comparing what he could accomplish in two full terms with the irreparable damage that would be caused by any one of the current Democratic candidates, there is only one choice.  We must reelect Donald Trump in a landslide, and we must return governing Republican majorities in both houses of Congress.

As for the ten “outstanding people” now seeking the Democratic nomination, there is not a single person on the first page of the Washington, DC telephone directory who would not make a better president.  They are not what Ms. Brazile judges to be “ten outstanding people.”

Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College.  He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.

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