The Constitution --- Plain and Simple
A More Perfect Union --- Part I
Curtis W. Caine, MD
This column on the Constitution appears in the Medical Sentinel to remind us that it is the unConstitutional (and thus illegal) activities in medicine and all other facets of our lives that have trampled on and outlawed our God-endowed freedom and liberty.
Let us begin with some pertinent definitions --- Webster, Random House, etc. define:
Axiom: A self-evident, univer-sally accepted truth.
Maxim: A rule of maximum weight, sanctioned by experience.
Aphorism: A short expression of a principle.
Adage: A long established saying that has obtained authority by long use.
Proverb: An adage couched in a vivid concrete phrase.
Saying: A brief habitual expression.
Here is an aphorism: A creature is not above or superior to his creator, otherwise he would have created himself; which would be an obvious incompatible incongruity. Since some readers may not have followed previous columns in the Medical Sentinel on the U.S. Constitution, and we all need our memories refreshed now and then, here again for emphasis is the pecking order in the affairs of Americans, but this time in reverse order:
A. Institutions created by the U.S. Constitution (i.e., the Congress, the Executive, the Judiciary) are not above the Constitution which gave them birth, but subservient and servile thereto. They must obey it. But they don't, and haven't for a long time. That's our problem --- Constitution-violating, unlawful, defiant, irresponsible government.
B. The States created the U.S. Constitution, therefore only they can amend it. But "laws" of the Congress and regulations of the bureaus do not, and cannot, amend the Constitution. So any law or regulation that is not authorized by the Constitution is illegal. That's approximately 80 percent of them.
C. The citizens created the States and have the final say in state body polity.
D. Man is not greater than his Creator. God is the sovereign of the universe. He is over all of the above and everything else.
It is axiomatic that in a democracy, a 51 percent majority vote prevails, overruling the law --- resulting in tyranny and mobocracy. For this reason, the Founders took great pains to preclude fathering a democracy.
On the other hand, by maxim, in a Republic, the law prevails, overruling even a 110 percent majority vote. But that didn't keep LBJ from going to Congress on a rerun in which he received 110 percent of the ballots issued in Precinct 13 of Jim Wells County in Texas. For this reason, the men of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia labored for four months to establish a Constitutional Republic.
The Constitution in Article I, Section 2, paragraph 5 provides that only the House of Representatives is to impeach a President and that for only "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors" as per Article II, Section 4; and "The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments" per Article I, Section 3, paragraph 6. These stipulations order that if the House impeaches, the Senate must try and convict or not convict. It may neither ignore holding a trial nor seek a devious way to reach a "bipartisan" consensus/settlement, like a formal reprimand labeled "censure."
The Constitution in Article VI, paragraph 2 declares "This Constitution...shall be the supreme Law of the Land." So, neither the Congress, nor the Executive, nor the Judiciary may violate it. There is provision in the Constitution for impeachment, but there is no provision, and therefore no option, for formal censure by either the House or the Senate. In reality, though, impeachment by the House is, of itself, a reprimand. Thus, our sitting President has, in effect, already been censured (i.e., he was impeached by the House of Representatives on Dec. 19, 1998).
Likewise, neither is there a Constitutional provision for a "special prosecutor."
What does all of this have to do with "a more perfect union?" Here is what:
The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution begins "We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, ...do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." [Emphasis added.]
More perfect than what? More perfect than operating under the provisions of the then current Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union.(1)
In June 1776, our forebears, the freedom lovers of this Republic, in anticipation of their separation from the Crown of England, drew up the Articles to have them ready when they had made good their divorce. On July 4, 1776, they Declared their Independence, which required war to obtain. The Articles were agreed to on November 15, 1777, and witnessed in Philadelphia on July 9, 1778.
Among other features of the Articles (i.e., Article V), there was a legislature consisting of one house. Two to seven Delegates thereto were annually appointed by each State's legislature as it saw fit, and replaced at will by it. One very intriguing, appealing, instructive provision of Article V, paragraph 3, was that Delegates were maintained by and paid by their State, not the central treasury, thus restraining them on a short tether. I'd like to run an experiment today to see if these two arrangements (i.e., Delegates serving at the pleasure and at the expense of their own State legislature) would produce more States-men and fewer politicians!
There were no Congressmen or Senators as such. These Delegates met every year "in Congress assembled." The word "Congress" was not used in the Articles in this phrase as a proper noun but as a descriptive adverb --- con gress, from Latin, "to meet with, to get together," a formal assembled-get-together. Each State had a single vote regardless of population --- a system the larger States resented. There was no real Executive(2) charged with seeing that things got done. A President was appointed annually to preside over the assemblage of Delegates "in Congress assembled." He had no powers of his own and could serve only one year out of any three. The Articles could not be amended except by unanimous consent of the States, and thus never were.
Article VIII of the Articles provided for a "common treasury --- supplied by the several States, in proportion to the value of all land within each State, granted to or surveyed for any person." These taxes were to be "laid and levied by the authority and direction of the Legislatures of the several States."
When the Delegates were not in "Congress assembled," a Committee of the States consisting of one delegate from each State was to manage the general affairs of the United States under directions laid down by the assembled Congress.
Article XI anticipated Canada joining its Confederacy. The Declaration of Independence made reference to Canada.
By bitter experience as Colonists under a tyrannic King, the citizens of the new United States had a justifiable fear of central government power. Therefore, as indicated above, central authority in the Articles was so severely limited that, post haste, it became apparent that the provisions of the Articles were seriously flawed and inadequate to govern the new nation. It only takes a cursory knowledge of the genius of the U.S. Constitution vis-à-vis the Articles to understand why the latter failed to establish an effective efficient administration.
Hence a convention was called "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation...[to] render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government and the preservation of the Union." It met on May 14, 1787 as per Article XIII of the Articles, and concluded its work on September 17, 1787. That day was rightly celebrated yearly as our Constitution Day, in honor and memory of having drafted an entirely new and different, brilliant and wonderful document, the Constitution of these States that United.
What was to have been a revising convention became a replacement Constitutional Convention. With that precedent, many of us fear that should a convention be called now by a petition of two-thirds of the States, as per Article V of the Constitution, to consider one or more amendments thereto, that a whole new and vastly different Constitution could be drafted and adopted, radically and detrimentally altering our present form of government.
In today's anti-Constitution atmosphere to take a gamble that three-fourths of the States would not ratify such a document is too risky. At least one such document is already on the table that is not even set yet! Thus, as citizens of this great Republic, we must oppose calling such a convention for any reason (i.e., balanced budget, term limits, prayer in schools, etc.) There is nothing in the Constitution that says a convention is to be limited in its call to certain, specified, proposed amendments. Therein lies the danger...
1. Farrand M. The Fathers of the Constitution. New Haven, CT, Yale University
Press. This book contains the text of the Articles of Confederation and
2. Collier JL, Collier C. Decision in Philadelphia --- The Constitutional Convention of 1787. New York, NY, Random House, 1986.
Dr. Caine is an anesthesiologist in Jackson, Mississippi, and a member of the editorial board of the Medical Sentinel.
Originally published in the Medical Sentinel 1999;4(2):63-64. Copyright©1999
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)