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The Law of the Land

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Judging from the dictates streaming down from the pontificates at the Obama administration over the past several months concerning Obamacare, it is obvious that no one up there either understands the Constitution, or they have nothing but contempt for our founding document.

The best example of this attitude comes from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius who told several hundred legislators and state health officers that resistance to the 2010 healthcare overhaul is futile: “This is no longer a political debate; this is what we call the law,” Sebelius told the group that included Democrats and Republicans, elected officials, political appointees, and bureaucrats. “It was passed and signed three years ago. It was upheld by the Supreme Court a year ago. The president was re-elected. This is THE LAND OF THE LAND!”  This declaration has been echoed and regurgitated over and over again by pundits in the press as well.

Without doubt, Sebelius’ condescending tone is meant to intimidate the average law-abiding citizen into submission.  After all, our country is founded on a reverence for the rule of law, is it not?!?    Granted, it is true that Article VI of the US Constitution states the “Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof . . . shall be the supreme Law of the Land”.  Nonetheless, the reverse is also true—Laws NOT made pursuant to the Constitution are NOT the law of the land!

Hamilton argues this point passionately in The Federalist Papers:  “But it is said that the laws of the Union are to be the SUPREME LAW of the land. . . . But it will NOT follow from this doctrine that acts of the large society which are NOT PURSUANT to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land. These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such.” Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, Letter 33.

Hamilton then proceeds to provide the reader with a classic example of how this turning of things upside down might work:  “Though a law, therefore, laying a tax for the use of the United States would be supreme in its nature, and could not legally be opposed or controlled, yet a law for abrogating or preventing the collection of a tax laid by the authority of the State, (unless upon imports and exports), would NOT be the supreme law of the land, but a USURPATION of power NOT granted by the Constitution.”  Id.

If Hamilton were here, his response to Sebelius would have been simple:  “Hence we perceive that the clause which declares the supremacy of the laws of the Union, like the one we have just before considered, only declares a truth, which flows immediately and necessarily from the institution of a federal government. It will NOT, I presume, have escaped observation, that it EXPRESSLY confines this supremacy to laws made PURSUANT TO THE CONSTITUTION;”  Id.  In other words, if the power is not in the Constitution for the federal government to make a law, that law is NOT constitutional and should be treated as “a USURPATION” of the Constitution.

Put another way, patriots who actually have a respect for the rule of law and who read and understand the Constitution, would treat any and all unconstitutional laws with contempt and stand up to the tyrants trying to enforce their unconstitutional laws and refuse to obey them.  If you have not read the Constitution, you need to start doing it.  In your studies, remember what Madison said:  “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined” and are confined to “external objects, [such] as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.”  Madison, The Federalist Papers, Letter 45. 

You should also remember that Article I, Section 1, places “All legislative Powers” in the Congress.  This means that the President has no legislative powers whatsoever and may not exercise that power, despite what the “experts” say, when issuing executive orders that are legislative in nature.  You should also remember that the specific list of legislative powers granted to the Congress are outlined in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution and do NOT include the power to control the healthcare industry or any private industry for that matter.

Finally, remember also that the power spelled out in Article I, Section 8, clause 18, “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers” means just that—Congress can ONLY make laws that carry into effect the “foregoing powers” in Article I, Section 8.  Hamilton explains that this Necessary and Proper clause “is EXPRESSLY to execute” the powers listed in Article I, Section 8 and if the Congress wants to pass “anything exceptionable, it must be sought for in the specific powers upon which this general declaration is predicated.”  Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, Letter 33.

With respect to Sebelius’ last assertion that Obamacare “was upheld by the Supreme Court a year ago” and therefore had passed the test of constitutionality, Hamilton would have also told her that it did not matter, since the final judge of the constitutionality of laws passed by the Congress rests directly with the People: “Who is to judge of the NECESSITY and PROPRIETY of the laws to be passed for executing the powers of the Union?  I answer . . . If the federal government should overpass the JUST BOUNDS OF ITS AUTHORITY AND MAKE A TYRANNICAL USE OF ITS POWERS, THE PEOPLE, WHOSE CREATURE IT IS, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.”  Id.

We created the federal government.  It belongs to THE PEOPLE, and when they step out of “BOUNDS”, it is OUR responsibility to take corrective “measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution.”  We are NOT supposed to quietly submit to their demands and their unconstitutional laws, whether it has to do with healthcare, gun control or anything else for that matter.  The Constitution is plainly written and it belongs to THE PEOPLE, and they have the final say NOT the courts!

©March 2014 The Law Of The Land, Madame Publius™

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