Geeks + Guns

Keep up on the newest, geekiest weaponry in the planetary arsenals!

Promote peace through superior firepower!

Have we mentioned that this isn't your fathers' 2nd Amendment Website?

Something Completely Different


So You Say

How might conservatives regain power?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Cryo Chamber

Constitutional Dead Letters

by Roger Roots – Historians of Soviet Russia occasionally note that the communist workers’ paradise was originally intended to adhere to a written constitution that expressly guaranteed freedoms such as speech, dosage press and assembly. In practice, advice however, none of the freedoms guaranteed in the Soviet constitution were recognized in the country’s legal system, and millions of dissenters and suspected dissenters were imprisoned or killed for disagreeing with the commissars of the state.

The United States Constitution, by contrast, is thought to be in good standing. Yet there are numerous provisions of the U.S. Constitution that are never enforced. These provisions, analogous to “dead letters” in the U.S. Postal System, are either totally ignored by federal judges or given such a narrow construction that they might as well not exist. As columnist and curmudgeon Joseph Sobran has written, the Supreme Court has, in essence, exercised a “line-item veto” over the [docs], totally ignoring provisions that interfere with the justices’ national vision or social objectives.

Read more for some examplesExamples:

  • The House origination clause, Art. 1, § 7, requiring that all “Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives,” has been rendered a dead letter by neglect. As Congressman Ron Paul has pointed out, the 2008 bank bailout bill with all its tax implications was deliberately introduced in the Senate after House members rejected it – a plain violation of this clause. Similar practices have gone on for many years.
  • The congressional declaration of war clause, Art. 1, § 8. No “war” in the constitutional sense has been declared since 1941, although the executive branch has engaged in numerous undeclared wars and military escapades around the globe.
  • The public accounting clause Art. 1, § 10: As already discussed, the secret budget of the CIA is in plain conflict with Article I of the Constitution (”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”).
  • The Legal Tender Clause, Art. 1, § 10, prohibiting states from making “any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.” The application of the Federal Reserve Act and many other statutes and executive orders are in plain violation of this clause. State and Federal governments demand and provide payment in paper currencies that are unbacked by any precious metals.
  • The prohibition against bills of attainder, Art. 1, §10 – which was supposed to ensure that no one could ever be punished by the legislature – has been addressed only four times by the Supreme Court. Congress regularly enacts new laws placing extrajudicial punishments on various groups (felons, convicted sex offenders, disfavored corporations such as Wal-Mart, and even entire industries (e.g., “Big Tobacco”)).
  • The Contract Clause, Art. 1, § 10, prohibiting states from impairing contractual obligations. Long dead and buried. Today the federal courts uphold wage, work, production, pricing, licensing and advertising regulations of every manner, irrespective of the Contract Clause.
  • The Second Amendment right to bear arms. Despite the recent Heller decision (which issued a “landmark” ruling that the Amendment protects an individual right), there are still thousands of felons and other persons in federal prison for the mere possession of firearms. No defendant has ever been released from prison or cleared of gun charges in federal court on account of judges recognizing the right to bear arms. The gist of the Heller decision is that the Amendment protects a “reasonable” right to bear government-approved arms so long as you are government-approved. Of course, such a limited and conditional reading of the Second Amendment renders it a dead letter. The leaders of the American Revolution were themselves accused (and some convicted) felons, and several were notorious criminals (e.g., John Han*****, an accused tax evader and smuggler; John Paul Jones, a twice-indicted murderer who adopted his name as an alias to avoid arrest).
  • Leave a Reply




    You can use these HTML tags

    <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>