Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Constitution and American Sovereignty

Slight drift into politics here. I receive this publication every couple of months and it is always thought provoking. Excerpts from speeches by David Limbaugh, Mark Steyn, Rush and others and there are many more in their archives. They lead to many conversations in our home and I often find my copy in my kids' rooms, or I send it to Specialist.

I think this one is particularly important to read and understand, then put in contrast to what has been happening in our nation in the past 20 years or so. Keep in mind the Texas court case mentioned, the Kyoto treaty, Law of the Sea proposed by the UN, etc. As a nation, we cannot submit our sovereignty to foreign countries. I've been reading British papers for a few years now, and I am sickened and astounded by the way they keep giving away their rights and sovereignty to the EU...which is nothing more than a huge bureaucracy. Amnesty International and the International Red Cross also sicken me. I refuse to donate to the Red Cross any more, and anyone who approaches me regarding anything like this gets one of two things...a question about their personal knowledge of the Constitution and how it expressly FORBIDS anything above it or why they are so stupid as to think that we need to do what Europe does. We left, remember?

Anyway, take a few minutes to read the article and ponder on it. Real food for thought. Any emphasis is mine.

"The Constitution and American Sovereignty

Jeremy Rabkin
George Mason University
"WOULD WE be far wrong," President Lincoln asked in a special message to Congress in 1861, "if we defined [sovereignty] as a political community without a political superior?" Maybe that’s not exhaustive, but it comes on good authority. And notice that for Lincoln, sovereignty is a political or legal concept. It’s not about power. Lincoln didn’t say that the sovereign is the one with the most troops. He was making a point about rightful authority.

By contrast, sovereignty wasn’t an issue in the ancient world. Cicero notes that the ancient Romans had the same word for "stranger" as for "enemy." In the ancient world, people didn’t interact with foreigners enough to think about their relation to them except insofar as it meant war. Nor was sovereignty an issue in medieval Europe, since the defining character of that period was overlapping authority and a lot of confusion about which authority had primary claims. No one had to think about defining national boundaries. This became an issue only in the modern era, when interaction between different peoples increased.


The Constitution provides for treaties, and even specifies that treaties will be "the supreme Law of the Land"; that is, that they will be binding on the states. But from 1787 on, it has been recognized that for a treaty to be valid, it must be consistent with the Constitution—that <span style="font-weight:bold;">the Constitution is a higher authority than treaties.</span> And what is it that allows us to judge whether a treaty is consistent with the Constitution? Alexander Hamilton explained this in a pamphlet early on: "A treaty cannot change the frame of the government." And he gave a very logical reason: <span style="font-weight:bold;">It is the Constitution that authorizes us to make treaties. If a treaty violates the Constitution, it would be like an agent betraying his principal or authority.</span> And as I said, there has been a consensus on this in the past that few ever questioned.

Read the rest here please. Then comment if you please.


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