We will show that the 14th Amendment was:
The above video of Thomas Woods was published to our terminated channel.
THE 14TH AMENDMENT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL
- Judge L.H. Perez
- Judge L.H. Perez
The said proposed amendment not having yet received the assent of the three-fourths of the states, which is necessary to make it valid, the natural and constitutional right of this state to withdraw its assent is undeniable ***.
That it being necessary by the constitution that every amendment to the same should be proposed by two-thirds of both houses of congress, the authors of said proposition, for the purpose of securing the assent of the requisite majority, determined to, and did, exclude from the said two houses eighty representatives from eleven states of the Union, upon the pretense that there were no such states in the Union; but, finding that two-thirds of the remainder of the said houses could not be brought to assent to the said proposition, they deliberately formed and carried out the design of mutilating the integrity of the United States Senate, and without any pretext or justification, other than the possession of the power, without the right, and in palpable violation of the Constitution, ejected a member of their own body, representing this state, and thus practically denied to New Jersey its equal suffrage in the Senate, and thereby nominally secured the vote of two-thirds of the said houses. (New Jersey Acts, March 27, 1868)
The amendment to the Constitution proposed by this joint resolution as Article XIV is presented to the Legislature of Texas for its action thereon, under Article V of that Constitution. This Article V, providing the mode of making amendments to that instrument, contemplates the participation by all the States through their representatives in Congress, in proposing amendments. As representatives in Congress from nearly one-third of the States were excluded from the Congress proposing the amendments, the constitutional requirement was not complied with; it was violated in letter and in spirit; and the proposing of these amendments to States which were excluded from all participation in their initiation in Congress, is a nullity. (Texas House Journal, 1866, p. 577.)
The Constitution authorized two-thirds of both houses of Congress to propose amendments; and, as eleven States were excluded from deliberation and decision upon the one now submitted, the conclusion is inevitable that it is not proposed by legal authority, but in palpable violation of the Constitution. (Arkansas House Journal, 1866, p. 287.)
Since the reorganization of the State government, Georgia has elected Senators and Representatives. So has every other State. They have been arbitrarily refused admission to their seats, not on the ground that the qualifications of the members elected did not conform to the fourth paragraph, second section, first article of the Constitution, but because their right of representation was denied by a portion of the States having equal but not greater rights than themselves. They have in fact been forcibly excluded; and, inasmuch as all legislative power granted by the States to Congress is defined, and this power of exclusion is not among the powers expressly or by implication, the assemblage, at the capitol, of representatives from a portion of the States, to the exclusion of the representatives of another portion, cannot be a constitutional Congress, when the representation of each State forms an integral part of the whole.
This amendment is tendered to Georgia for ratification, under that power in the Constitution which authorizes two-thirds of the Congress to propose amendments. We have endeavored to establish that Georgia had a right, in the first place, as part of the Congress to act upon the question, "Shall these amendments be proposed?" Every other excluded State had the same right.
The first constitutional privilege has been arbitrarily denied. Had these amendments been submitted to a constitutional Congress, they never would have been proposed to the States. Two-thirds of the whole Congress never would have proposed to eleven States voluntarily to reduce their political power in the Union, and at the same time, disfranchise the larger portion of the intellect, integrity and patriotism of the eleven co-equal States. (Georgia House Journal, November 9, 1866, pp. 66-67)
Let this alteration be made in the organic system and some new and more startling demands may or may not be required by the predominant party previous to allowing the ten States now unlawfully and unconstitutionally deprived of their right of representation to enter the Halls of the National Legislature. Their right of representation is guaranteed by the Constitution of this country and there is no act, not even that of rebellion, can deprive them of its exercise. (Florida House Journal, 1866)
Eleven of the Southern States, including South Carolina, are deprived of their representation in Congress. Although their Senators and Representatives have been duly elected and have presented themselves for the purpose of taking their seats, their credentials have, in most instances, been laid upon the table without being read, or have been referred to a committee, who have failed to make any report on the subject. In short, Congress has refused to exercise its Constitutional functions, and decide either upon the election, the return, or the qualification of these selected by States and people to represent us. Some of the Senators and Representatives from the Southern States were prepared to take the test oath, but even these have been persistently ignored, and kept out of the seats to which they were entitled under the Constitution and laws. Hence this amendment has not been proposed by "two-thirds of both Houses" of a legally constituted Congress, and is not, Constitutionally or legitimately, before a single Legislature for ratification. (South Carolina House Journal, 1866, pp. 33 and 34)
The Federal Constitution declares in substance, that Congress shall consist of a House of Representatives, composed of members apportioned among the respective States in the ratio of their population, and of a Senate, composed of two members from each State. And in the Article which concerns Amendments, it is expressly provided that 'no State, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.' The contemplated Amendment was not proposed to the States by a Congress thus constituted. At the time of its adoption, the eleven seceding States were deprived of representation, both in the Senate and House, although they all, except the State of Texas, had Senators and Representatives duly elected and claiming their privileges under the Constitution. In consequence of this, these States had no voice on the important question of proposing the Amendment. Had they been allowed to give their votes, the proposition would doubtless have failed to command the required two-thirds majority.
1I. Joint Resolution IneffectiveIf the votes of these States are necessary to a valid ratification of the Amendment, they were equally necessary on the question of proposing it to the States; for it would be difficult, in the opinion of the Committee, to show by what process in logic, men of intelligence could arrive at a different conclusion. (North Carolina Senate Journal, 1866-67, pp. 92 and 93.)
Every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him shall be repassed by two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.
It is not denied that the States in question have each of them an actual government with all the power, executive, judicial, and legislative, which properly belong to a free State. They are organized like the other States of the Union, and, like them, they make, administer, and execute the laws which concern their domestic affairs.
the insurrection which heretofore existed in the State of Texas is at an end, and is to be henceforth so regarded in that State, as in the other States before named in which the said insurrection was proclaimed to be at an end by the aforesaid proclamation of the second day of April, one-thousand, eight-hundred and sixty-six.
And I do further proclaim that the said insurrection is at an end, and that peace, order, tranquility, and civil authority now exist, in and throughout the whole United States of America.
If ever the American citizen should be left to the free exercise of his own judgment, it is when he is engaged in the work of forming the fundamental law under which he is to live. That work is his work, and it cannot properly be taken out of his hands. All this legislation proceeds upon the contrary Assumption that the people of each of these States shall have no constitution, except such as may be arbitrarily dictated by Congress, and formed under the restraint of military rule. A plain statement of facts makes this evident.
In all these States there are existing constitutions, framed in the accustomed way by the people. Congress, however, declares that these constitutions are not "loyal and republican," and requires the people to form them anew. What, then, in the opinion of Congress, is necessary to make the constitution of a State "loyal and republican?" The original act answers the question: It is universal negro suffrage, a question which the federal Constitution leaves exclusively to the States themselves. All this legislative machinery of martial law, military coercion, and political disenfranchisement is avowedly for that purpose and none other. The existing constitutions of the ten States conform to the acknowledged standards of loyalty and republicanism. Indeed, if there are degrees in republican forms of government, their constitutions are more republican now, than when these States — four of which were members of the original thirteen — first became members of the Union.
The veto of the original bill of the 2d of March was based on two distinct grounds, the interference of Congress in matters strictly pertaining to the reserved powers of the States, and the establishment of military tribunals for the trial of citizens in time of peace.
A singular contradiction is apparent here. Congress declares these local State governments to be illegal governments, and then provides that these illegal governments shall be carried on by federal officers, who are to perform the very duties of its own officers by this illegal State authority. It certainly would be a novel spectacle if Congress should attempt to carry on a legal State government by the agency of its own officers. It is yet more strange that Congress attempts to sustain and carry on an illegal State government by the same federal agency.
It is now too late to say that these ten political communities are not States of this Union. Declarations to the contrary made in these three acts are contradicted again and again by repeated acts of legislation enacted by Congress from the year 1861 to the year 1867.
During that period, while these States were in actual rebellion, and after that rebellion was brought to a close, they have been again and again recognized as States of the Union. Representation has been apportioned to them as States. They have been divided into judicial districts for the holding of district and circuit courts of the United States, as States of the Union only can be distracted. The last act on this subject was passed July 23, 1866, by which every one of these ten States was arranged into districts and circuits.
They have been called upon by Congress to act through their legislatures upon at least two amendments to the Constitution of the United States. As States they have ratified one amendment, which required the vote of twenty-seven States of the thirty-six then composing the Union. When the requisite twenty-seven votes were given in favor of that amendment — seven of which votes were given by seven of these ten States — it was proclaimed to be a part of the Constitution of the United States, and slavery was declared no longer to exist within the United States or any place subject to its jurisdiction.
If these seven States were not legal States of the Union, it follows as an inevitable consequence that in some of the States slavery yet exists. It does not exist in these seven States, for they have abolished it also in their State Constitutions; but Kentucky not having done so, it would still remain in that State. But, in truth, if this assumption that these States have no legal State governments be true, then the abolition of slavery by these illegal governments binds no one, for Congress now denies to these States the power to abolish slavery by denying to them the power to elect a legal State legislature, or to frame a constitution for any purpose, even for such a purpose as the abolition of slavery.
As to the other constitutional amendment having reference to suffrage, it happens that these States have not accepted it. The consequence is, that it has never been proclaimed or understood, even by Congress, to be a part of the Constitution of the United States. The Senate of the United States has repeatedly given its sanction to the appointment of judges, district attorneys, and marshals for every one of these States; yet, if they are not legal States, not one of these judges is authorized to hold a court. So, too, both houses of Congress have passed appropriation bills to pay all these judges, attorneys, and officers of the United States for exercising their functions in these States. Again, in the machinery of the internal revenue laws, all these States are distracted, not "territories" but as "States."
So much for continuous legislative recognition. The instances cited, however, fall far short of all that might be enumerated. Executive recognition, as is well known, has been frequent and unwavering. The same may be said as to judicial recognition through the Supreme Court of the United States.****
To me these considerations are conclusive of the unconstitutionality of this part of the bill before me, and I earnestly commend their consideration to the deliberate judgement of Congress. (And now to the Court.)
Within a period of less than a year the legislation of Congress has attempted to strip the executive department of the government of some of its essential powers. The Constitution, and the authority provided in it, devolve upon the President the power and duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed. The Constitution, in order to carry out this power gives him the choice of the agents, and makes them subject to his control and supervision. But in the execution of these laws the constitutional obligation upon the President remains, but the powers to exercise that constitutional duty is effectually taken away. The military commander is, as to the power of appointment, made to take the place of its President, and the General of the Army, the place of the Senate; and any attempt on the part of the President to assert his own constitutional power may under pretense of law, be met by official insubordination. It is to be feared that these military officers, looking to the authority given by these laws rather than to the letter of the Constitution, will recognize no authority but the commander of the district and the General of the army.
If there were no other objection than this to this proposed legislation, it would be sufficient.
The bill then sets forth that the intent and design of the Acts of Congress, as apparent on their face and by their terms, are to overthrow and annul this existing state government, and to erect another and different government in its place, unauthorized by the Constitution and in defiance of its guaranties; and that in furtherance of this intent and design, the defendants, the Secretary of War, the General of the Army, and Major-General Pope, acting under orders of the President, are about setting in motion a portion of the army to take military possession of the state, and threaten to subvert her government and subject her people to military rule; that the state is holding inadequate means to resist the power and force of the Executive Department of the United States; and she therefore insists that such protection can, and ought to be afforded by a decree or order of his court in the premises.
This case was fully argued in the beginning of this month. It is a case which involves the liberty and rights, not only of the appellant but millions of our fellow citizens. The country and the parties had a right to expect that it would receive the immediate and solemn attention of the court. By the postponement of this case we shall subject ourselves, whether justly or unjustly, to the imputation that we have evaded the performance of a duty imposed on us by the Constitution, and waited for Legislative interposition to supersede our action, and relieve us from responsibility. I am not willing to be a partaker of the eulogy or opprobrium that may follow. I can only say... I am ashamed that such opprobrium should be cast upon the court and that it cannot be refuted.
The legislatures of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina had rejected the amendment in November and December, 1866. New governments were erected in those States (and in others) under the direction of Congress. The new legislatures ratified the amendment, that of North Carolina on July 4, 1868, that of South Carolina on July 9, 1868, and that of Georgia on July 21, 1868.
New governments were erected in those States (and in others) under the direction of Congress.
Whenever official notice is received at the Department of State that any amendment proposed to the Constitution of the United States had been adopted, according to the provisions of the Constitution, the Secretary of State shall forthwith cause the amendment to be published, with his certificate, specifying the States by which the same may have been adopted, and that the same has become valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the Constitution of the United States.
The fifth article is a grant of authority by the people to Congress. The determination of the method of ratification is the exercise of a national power specifically granted by the Constitution: that power is conferred upon Congress, and is limited to two methods, by auction of the Legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or conventions in a like number of states. Dodge v. Woolsey, 18 How. 331, 348, 15 L. Ed. 401. The framers of the Constitution might have adopted a different method. Ratification might have been left to a vote of the people, or to some authority of government other than that selected. The language of the article is plain, and admits of no doubt in its interpretation. It is not the function of courts or legislative bodies, national or state, to alter the method which the Constitution has fixed.
The unalterable provision is this: "that no State, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate."
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