Thursday, January 14, 2010

Articles of Freedom, part 3

This is a series of posts concerning the works of the 2009 Continental Congress. Last week I wrote about Article 1 of the Articles of Freedom, which was entitled “the Sovereignty and the Declaration of Independence”. Now I will continue with Article 2, the text of which follows my comments.

I completely disagree with this whole Article. It is neither necessary nor sufficient for such committees to be created in order to bring government (federal, state, or local) into obedience to the Constitution. Some of the cc2009 delegates said that these committees that they want to create would be just another rubberstamp for big government. I agree with them, but they were outvoted. This was a waste of space. Something else more important could have been written, like violations of the 27th amendment.

Ed Vallejo of Arizona made the comment that he was against any “instructions to Congress” or to the states because the time for talk is over (the petitions for redress of grievances had already been served a long time ago). I don’t quite agree with this, but only because there are a few freshman congressman and state representatives who haven’t been served with the original petitions. But I basically agree with him that the time for “instruction” of government is over and the main focus should be on instructing the People as to what to do next. There are several articles with contain “civic actions” sections which serve this purpose. Since this one doesn’t have such a section, I consider it to be the most useless part of the entire document.

ARTICLE 2.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAWS AND THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

A. REMEDIAL INSTRUCTIONS TO CONGRESS

WHEREAS, Laws inconsistent with the Letter or Spirit of The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution for the United States may be hastily and unadvisedly passed: Be it

ORDAINED, that {here shall be listed the members of the Joint Committee for Constitutional Governance} shall be constituted a Joint Committee called the Committee for Constitutional Governance, to review all bills about to be passed into law by the Congress. And for that purpose the Committee shall assemble themselves, from time to time, when the Congress shall be convened. The size and funding of the Committee shall be sufficient to allow the effective and efficient operation of the Committee, based on an annual review by and containing the recommendations of the General Accounting Office (GAO). All bills that have passed the Senate and House of Representatives, shall, before they become Laws, be presented to the Committee, which will identify and record in its minutes the provision(s) of the Constitution, if any, that authorize the parts of the bill, and prohibitions or restrictions that would be violated. If upon such consideration it should appear improper to said Committee or a majority of them, that the bill should become a law of the Nation, that the Committee return the bill, together with their objections thereto in writing, to the Senate or House of Representatives, in whichsoever the same shall have originated, who shall enter the objections set down by the Committee at large, in their Minutes and proceed to reconsider the bill. If a provision(s) in any bill is found to be repugnant to the Letter or Spirit of our Declaration of Independence, and/or our Constitution, the bill shall be returned to the Chamber where it originated, together with its objections. That Chamber shall publish the objections in its Minutes and proceed to an up or down roll call vote, accepting or rejecting the Committee’s report, prior to any future action. If the bill passes the roll call vote, accepting the Committee’s report the bill, itself, would then be voted on. If a majority of the members agree to pass the bill in spite of the Committee’s objections, the bill together with the objections shall then be sent to the other Chamber, where the process would then be repeated: up or down roll call vote on the Committee’s Report followed by the vote on the bill itself.

And in order to prevent any unnecessary delays,

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, each bill shall be returned by the Committee within ten days:

i) unless the Committee notifies each Chamber that it requires more time to complete its review, specifying the time required, but in no event shall the Committee take more than thirty days to return the bill, or

ii) unless the Congress, by their adjournment, renders a return of the bill within ten days impractical, in which case the bill will be returned on the first day of the meeting of the Congress, after the expiration of ten days.

B. REMEDIAL INSTRUCTIONS TO EACH OF THE SEVERAL STATES

WHEREAS, Laws inconsistent with the Letter or Spirit of The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution for the United States may be hastily and unadvisedly passed: Be it

ORDAINED, that {here shall be listed the members of the Joint Committee for Constitutional Governance} shall be constituted a Committee, to be called Committee for Constitutional Governance, which shall review all bills about to be passed into law by the State Legislature. And for that purpose the Committee shall assemble themselves, from time to time, when the Legislature shall be convened. The size and funding of the Committee shall be sufficient to allow the effective and efficient operation of the Committee, based on an annual review by and including the recommendations of the Comptroller’s Office. All bills that have passed by each Chamber of the Legislature shall, before they become Laws, be presented to the Committee, which will identify and record in its minutes the provision(s), if any, of the State Constitution that authorize the parts of the bill and any prohibitions or restrictions that would be violated. If upon such consideration it should appear improper to said Committee or a majority of them, that the bill should become a law of the State, then the Committee shall return the bill, together with their objections thereto in writing, to the Chamber in whichsoever the bill shall have originated, who shall enter the objections set down by the Committee at large, in their Minutes and proceed to reconsider the bill. If a provision in any bill is found to be repugnant to the Letter or Spirit of our Declaration of Independence, and/or the State Constitution, the bill shall be returned to the Chamber where it originated, together with its objections. That Chamber shall publish the objections in its Minutes and proceed to an up or down roll call vote, accepting or rejecting the Committee’s report, prior to any future action on the bill. If the bill passes the roll call vote, accepting the Committee’s report the bill, itself, would then be voted on. If a majority of the members agree to pass the bill despite of the Committee’s objections, the bill together with the objections shall then be sent to the other Chamber, where the process would then be repeated by an up or down roll call vote on the Committee’s Report followed by the vote on the bill itself.

And in order to prevent any unnecessary delays,

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, each bill shall be returned by the Committee within

ten days:

(i) unless the Committee notifies each Chamber that it requires more time to complete its review, specifying the time required, but in no event shall the Committee take more than thirty days to return the bill, or

(ii) unless the Legislature, by its adjournment, renders a return of the bill within ten days impractical, in which case the bill will be returned on the first day of the meeting of the Legislature, after the expiration of ten days.

(from Articles of Freedom, the Works of the Continental Congress 2009)

Click here to read the next post in this series.

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