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Thursday, August 9, 2007

The House and Senate are not Legitimate

The House

Article I, section 2 of the Constitution says "The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative;" The exact wording of this clause is that, each Representative represents a minimum of 30,000 people. The intention was that each member of the House of Representatives should also not represent more than 30,000 people. This custom was followed for awhile and then abandoned.

Some people say that the value was changed from 40,000 to 30,000 at the last minute, which shows that this was intended to be both a maximum and a minimum. There was supposed to be an amendment in the Bill of Rights specifying that no Representative could represent more than a certain number of people, but it was never passed.

Each member of the House of Representatives currently represents over 600,000 people. Therefore, I conclude that there has not been a legitimate House of Representatives for decades.

Congress passed a law limiting the size of the House of Representatives. This violates the spirit of the original Constitution, but not the actual written document.

There is an important reason to limit the number of citizens for each representative. With only 30,000 people per representative, it is possible for each voter to personally know their Representative. In the current system, the Representatives are distant from their constituents.

The intention was not for the House to be an elite organization. It was intended to also include a substantial number of middle class people. With a small House, millions of dollars must be raised to gain election.

There's an obvious reason why Congress wanted to limit the size of the House. By having fewer Representatives, the power of each of them is maximized. A larger House would be awkward, but it still would be workable.

Before 1910, after each census, Congress passed a law increasing the size of the House to comply with the "1 Representative per 30,000" rule. After the 1910 census, Congress passed no such law increasing the size of the House. Nobody complained. In 1920, realizing they got away with it, Congress fixed the House at its current size.

The Senate

Originally, the Constitution said that the state legislatures would choose the Senate. The House was supposed to be the advocate for the people's rights. The Senate was supposed to be the advocate for states' rights.

The 17th amendment completely subverted this purpose. Direct election of Senators, combined with the defects of the voting system, makes the Senate unaccountable just like the House. An important check in the Constitution was removed.

Congress frequently passes laws that overrule states' rights. For example, states are required to follow Federal guidelines for speed limits, education, welfare, and ID cards. With a Senate that represented the states, such laws would not be passed as easily.

Some people argue that the 17th amendment was never properly ratified, just like the 16th amendment was never properly ratified. In other words, there hasn't been a properly seated Senate since the 17th amendment was declared ratified.

The Civil War

Some people say that the Constitution ended at the start of the Civil War in 1861. At the start of the Civil War, the southern states walked out of Congress. Congress no longer had a quorum. Under parliamentary rules, there are very few things Congress can do without a quorum. Congress can hold a vote to see if they have a quorum. Congress can vote to set a date to reconvene and vote to adjourn.

However, Congress did something weird. It voted to adjourn, but it did NOT set a date to reconvene. In other words, Congress adjourned itself out of existence.

President Lincoln issued an executive order to get the government going again. He wasn't sure he had actual authority to do this, but his only other option was to give up and go home. President Lincoln knew that what he did wasn't technically proper. After the Civil War, he was planning to properly formally reestablish the Constitutional government. He was killed before he could do this.

In other words, some people say that the US government ceased to exist at the start of the Civil War. It never properly had authorization to continue operations.

Summarizing, the current House of Representatives directly violates the original intent of 30,000 citizens per Representative. The 17th amendment might never have been properly ratified. The original intent of the Constitution, where the Senate represents states' rights, has been subverted.
Some people say the US government never properly reestablished itself after the Civil War. In a strict technical sense, the US government is illegitimate because it's violating its own rules.

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