With people just pouring through the southern border of our nation without any check whatsoever you might rightly ask why we need a Citizenship Test at all. By law, every person wanting to come into the United States must be screened by Title 8, United States Code, section 1182. This is the law as passed by Congress that spells out what persons are not allowed into the United States under any circumstances. Only Congress can make laws and the President is to “faithfully execute” them. That the President is making law through Executive Orders that contradict what the Legislative Branch has passed is extra-Constitutional and should be challenged in the Supreme Court. This answers the question on the Citizenship Test about what the Constitition does. It structures our federal government, defines the relationship between the individual States and the federal government, and outlines the relationship between the federal and state governments and the Rights and Liberties of the Citizens of the United States. Miss Constitution was very gratified that some of you contacted her with your answers and she hopes all of you gave some thought to the five questions asked at the end of Day Three of the Test. One question that many struggled with is who wrote the Federalist Papers. These were essays written to convince persons voting in Constitutional Conventions in the 13 states of the new United States to ratify the United States Constitution that was to replace the Articles of Confederation. The main objection to the new Constitution was that, no matter what checks were put in place, everyone knew Federal power was bound to eclipse State power and turn the Republic into an authoritarian state. In 1787, however, it was thought that the brilliance of the Constitution itself, and the moral virtue of the citizenry, would prevent such a thing from occurring. The citizens, however, were wary and not inclined to ratify the new governing document. John Jay and Alexander Hamilton from New York, and James Madison from Virginia wrote the essays we now still read in support of the new Constitution. However brilliant the essays were, the Constitution was not going to be ratified until Madison agreed to support adding the first ten Amendments or Bill of Rights to the Constitution to secure forever individual Rights against government Power. Today, these rights are disappearing quickly as the Authoritarian State everyone was worried about in 1787 becomes a reality. Let me explain in plain terms what this means using three of our most cherished Rights as examples.
- First, the only adult speech that is supposed to be censored is obscene speech, speech that calls for an immediate violent act that cannot be countered with other speech, and speech that calls for an overthrow of the state. Express or symbolic hateful speech is not to be censored. Books with hateful speech are not to be censored or banned. Miss Constitution does not understand why this is not clear. The language that was used by national leaders and others regarding President Trump is protected speech, although it breaks the Law of Courtesy and Comity. Untruth is NOT the measure of the speech being protected if it is political in nature. The Supreme Court has ruled on this many times. There is no such thing as political “disinformation” that can be banned. If you think certain information is untrue then speak out with other information. We have allowed large private social media platforms to determine what political speech is to be tolerated in our country. The Supreme Court should declare them “equivalent” government actors and stop them in their tracks. The essence of free political speech is what Justice Harlan told us – what is “disinformation” to one group is not to another. Therefore, it is all protected in a “marketplace of ideas.” The Press is not supposed to give us their Opinion, they are supposed to dig up facts that can be verified. We are way off track on this one.
- Second, a pandemic cannot be used to keep anyone from going to Church. When we say the Bill of Rights protects individual citizens regarding their religious preferences, we mean that no government, local or federal, can prohibit the free exercise of an individual’s religious practice that is not seditious or illegal in nature. That places of worship were shut down by government entities due to Covid-19 is unconstitutional. Rules may be established regarding safe worshiping, or the Church itself may shut down voluntarily, but prohibiting the exercise of lawful religion cannot be Constitutionally restricted for any reason whatsoever. If one is concerned about the virus spreading in Church then one simply does not go. This is called personal Liberty. This whole notion of shutting down society by government entities is the epitome of totalitarianism. Rules and Guidelines – yes, destroying a citizen’s livelihood – no. Teacher’s unions do not have the right to shut down schools. If teachers do not want to teach at their school then they should be replaced by persons who do want to teach. No union contract supersedes a State Constitution. If parents want to send their children to school then it is the parents’ decision to do so. Education is NOT a federal right. If a State includes the right to a K-12 education in their State Constitution it is a STATE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT. The State cannot just shut down public schools and substitute online learning if that learning is harmful to the child. Creative solutions can be found, including contracting with private and parochial schools that are open, to give parents a choice as to how to educate their children. Governors have no right to violate these rights by Executive Order just as the President of the United States cannot simply ignore Congress and govern by signing something in contravention of Federal Law.
- Third, government entities are also not allowed to spy on American citizens without a specific Court Order with particularized Probable Cause. Nor can government surrogates such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter spy on users even though they are not technically “government.” That a national bank, a private company, rummaged through their clients’ personal information to expose those they disagreed with politically is entering the twilight zone of private entities used by government to do what the Constitution prevents governments from doing. Health care providers may be the next entity used to undermine our system by divulging private information to government entities for politcal purposes. Our Civil Rights against government power becomes nothing more than an illusion if these practices are not challenged. A Dictatorship using the hollowed out framework of a Republic is still a Dictatorship. If more than one entity is involved it is an Oligarchy but still a Dictatorship, and if the Military joins, then the whole exercise and experiment in personal Liberty and limited government power that America represents is lost forever.
Miss Constitution holds out hope that the People of this nation actually do respect and admire what the Founders put together as the last best hope for protecting the dignity of the person. She thinks the State of the Union precarious as we are tested by a Citizenship Test far more serious than the one given those who wish to come here legally. She would ask that you just say “no” to the power-mad and mean it. Just keep saying “no” until we right the Ship of State for ourselves and future generations of Americans.