Tuesday, October 17, 2006

300 Million Divided by 30,000 Equals 10,000

This blog poses and answers the question, “Where is our US Congress of 10,100 members?”

Our Congress, simply stated, is not built as the US Constitution dictates. The US Congress, by constitutional law, should have 100 US Senators (two per state) and 10,000 US Representatives. The words in Article 1 of the US Constitution are clear: “The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand.” When you divide 300 million by 30,000 it equals 10,000 US Representatives.

So where is everyone?

The answer is We the People have forgotten a constitutional right, the right to representation. It is a right written into our Constitution in Article 1 and ratified by all 50 states. Simply stated, the right to representation is the right of groups to be included in We the People at the ratio of one Representative for every 30,000 people. Congress has taken, that is, usurped that right from We the People, but as the right remains in the Constitution, we just have to ask for it back.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Federalist 58 and the Right to Representation

The Federalist Papers were written in 1788 to persuade the citizens of New York to support the new constitution. Three founders - John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, drafted the 85 op-eds in just a few months. In them the founders addressed the constitutional questions and fears of the citizens of New York. One fear in particular was that Congress would not "augment", that is, add, members to the US House of Representatives.

Federalist 58 has a long but accurate title: "The Objection That The Number Of Members Will Not Be Augmented As The Progress Of Population Demands Considered.” In the essay it is argued that the constitutional process for augmenting Congress requires a census and has two "unequivocal objects":

"Within every successive term of ten years, a census of inhabitants is to be repeated. The unequivocal objects of these regulations are, first, to re-adjust from time to time the apportionment of representatives to the number of inhabitants; under the single exception that each State shall have one representative at least: Secondly, to augment the number of representatives at the same periods; under the sole limitation, that the whole number shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand inhabitants." (Federalist 58: 1788)

Madison claimed the ratio of 30,000 to be "the sole limitation," but this never happened as planned. The 2nd Congress made a mess of things in April 1792, and the right to representation and the ratio have never recovered their constitutional power. The words that guarantee our right to representation have never been changed - just ignored and forgotten. The ratio and the right to representation remain in our Constitution, just as Madison and the founders left them to us; we just haven't been using them.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Our Unrepresentative US Congress

The 2006 election is four weeks from today. The votes will be counted and preparations for the new Congress will begin. In that Congress, our 110th, there will be 435 Representatives and 100 Senators. The elected members will meet in January 2007 and take the oath of office. That is the moment when they swear to defend the Constitution. The point of the oath is not for taking a nice picture. The point of the oath is that words matter.

If an elected representative of the people takes the oath and does not support the words in the US Constitution, then they have broken their oath and are not fit for office.

What is a citizen to think? Constitutions are designed to be clear. The twelve words in Article 1, Section 2, and Clause 3 of the US Constitution, which read, "The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand," are clear.

That leaves a simple question: Why is there not one elected representative willing to keep their word and support the constitutional representation of We the People? There is no other legal answer, constitutionally speaking, then to build the Congress as the US Constitution dictates. Anything else would be less than patriotic.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Sovereignty of the People

The issue of sovereignty - who gets to make the laws - is why we have a constitution in the first place. When George Washington and his band of revolutionaries declared their rebellion, it was against the sovereignty of King George III of Great Britain. They broke the laws of Great Britain in their revolt, and they became something new: a citizen instead of the "subject" of a king.

Some of the more popular revolutionary slogans combined representation and sovereignty. For instance, Patrick Henry noted that "Taxation without Representation is Tyranny." Another one, and even more popular, was "No Taxation Without Representation." You will also find "the Right to Representation" well argued in the Declaration of Independence in 1776. In the declaration, representation of the people is the third in a long series of complaints about his majesty’s rule. The charge was tyranny because the king would not accommodate large districts of population – the colonies – with representation. The founders declared only a tyrant would do such a thing:

"HE [King George] has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature, a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyrants only."

Our revolutionaries also signed the declaration with the phrase – “We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America . . . ”

There is no sovereignty of the people if the people are not constitutionally represented. Instead, Congress, just like King George, is refusing the people their "Right to Representation." In doing so, Congress is undermining the rule of law and the sovereignty of the people.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"bound by Oath or Affirmation"

James Madison, as founder, Representative, and President, believed in constitutionalism. Here I want to highlight a quote "Representative Madison" made in 1789 in the first House of Representatives of the First US Congress:

"My idea of the sovereignty of the people is, that the people can change the constitution if they please, but while the constitution exists, they must conform themselves to its dictates".

According to Madison, the other founders, and our Constitution, Congress is not sovereign. Our Constitution dictates a sovereignty of We the People. Congress is created by the Constitution, not the other way around. And, as the Constitution demands, every member of Congress is "bound by Oath or Affirmation" to support the words in our Constitution. (See Article VI of the US Constitution.) Supporting the words in a constitution is the definition of a constitutionalist.

The words "The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand" are still in the US Constitution: Why are members of Congress ignoring their "Oath or Affirmation"?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

We the People and our Right to Representation

I'll say it like this: it is generally agreed that what is in the US Constitution is the supreme law of the land. For example, our Constitution states that "No person but a natural born Citizen . . . shall be eligible for the Office of President." (See Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5)

The "natural born Citizen" rule has always been enforced. The words are clear and easy to understand - just like the words in Article 1 regarding Congress and the US House of Representatives: "The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand."

Now, why is one set of words enforced and the others are not? The answer is there should be no difference. As Supreme Court Justice John Marshall argued long ago in Marbury vs. Madison, "The powers of the legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken or forgotten, the constitution is written."

We have forgotten a constitutional right, the right to representation, but there it is written into our Constitution and ratified by all 50 states. Simply stated, the right to constitutional representation is the right of groups to be included in We the People at the ratio of one Representative for every 30,000 people.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Our Unconstitutional US Congress

This blog is about building a new Congress, just like the US Constitution dictates.

Today's post is on the words in our Constitution that define We the People. The founders were clear as to how Congress was to be formed. Each state was to have two senators and, in the House of Representatives, the people were to be represented by population - thus the census is taken every ten years.

Here are the twelve words that were ratified in the 18th century and have never been changed. They are still there today, in Article 1, Section 2, and Clause 3 of the US Constitution:

"The Number of Representatives shall not exceed
one for every thirty Thousand".

Those words are constitutional, and a Congress that ignores its founding document is no longer representative of the people. The citizens of the United States have an unconstitutional Congress.