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The Two United States: Why Federal Law Doesn’t Apply To You. Part 2 of 6
By Truth Seeker (from 30/08/2012 @ 05:03:10, in en - Science and Society, read 1432 times)

... CONTINUES.

The current geographical United States includes the District of Columbia and federal enclaves where jurisdiction over forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards and other needful buildings has been ceded by the several States respectively; lands retained in States admitted to the Union since approximately 1870; and insular possessions, along with territorial waters (12-mile limit, established under international law).

The geographical division determines Congress’ power: Congress may exercise constitutionally delegated power, primarily under Art. I § 8 of the Constitution, throughout the “American empire.” This is Congress’ “general power.”

Congress exercises the combined power of state, national, and even local government in territory belonging to the United States—in the “geographical” United States. This is Congress’ special or limited jurisdiction.

Within the Union of several States, Congress may exercise only constitutionally delegated authority; within the “geographical” United States, Congress may exercise all power not explicitly or implicitly prohibited by the Constitution. Congress’ general powers delegated by the Constitution are restricted to those specifically enumerated in the Constitution; Congress’ special plenary power is permissive, limited only by implicit and explicit constitutional prohibitions, but may be exercised only in territory belonging to the United States.

Congress’ authority in and over the geographical United States is somewhat on the order of a European government where what we understand as national government in the American system is also a state government. Where existing insular possessions are concerned, there is also the distinction that the Constitution applies to them only as Congress chooses to extend it. Governing principles are more under international than constitutional law.

This notion was first judicially framed by Chief Justice Marshall in an 1828 decision involving an incident in Florida while Florida was yet a territory of the United States.

The Constitution extends authority for Congress to declare war and make treaties. It also delegates authority for Congress to establish new states.

Although the Constitution is silent with respect to acquisition of new territory beyond borders of existing States, and implicitly bringing territories ceded by original States into the Union, these powers were construed to extend territorial acquisition authority, and vest Congress with authority to govern and determine disposition of acquired territory. Following the Louisiana Purchase, Thomas Jefferson drafted proposed amendments that would authorize incorporating Louisiana and other future states included in the Purchase into the constitutional scheme, but Congress elected to proceed without an amendment. Chief Justice Marshall, writing for the Supreme Court in 1828, was put in a position of having to rationalize a quarter century of territorial development. In the Article IV framework, he stepped from strict constitutional construction into the forum of international law. Thus, federal government found a capacity beyond strict constitutional restrictions. There was a whole separate world to be explored, and subdued, beyond constitutional bounds.

To the point of the Spanish-American War, there was an amount of solace for incorporated territories of the United States, as well as the Union of several States: Once the Constitution has been extended to a territory, it cannot be retracted. The Ordinance of 1787 provided an amount of protection as it specifies that people of the territories were assured of common law and due process in the course of the common law, along with most other rights secured in the first ten amendments to the Constitution. But unincorporated territories did not enjoy these assurances.

Insular possessions have gained an amount of ground by way of compacts and agreements, but remain outside the constitutional scheme. Virtually all of them are subjected to “due process in the course of the civil law” (admiralty/maritime), and remain within Coast Guard jurisdiction.

With the history of United States territorial acquisition and development in place, Congress’ distinct roles, and distinction between the Union of several States and the geographical United States, are reasonably clear. With this in mind, the reason precious little federal law applies to the Union of several States and people of the several States will be easier to grasp.

The underlying theme—“Follow the money!”

Article I § 8.5 of the Constitution provides that Congress shall have power “to coin Money, regulate the Value thereof...” and at Article I § 10.1, stipulates that, “No State shall ... make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts ...” At Article I §8.6, Congress is granted power, “To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting and Securities and current Coin of the United States...”

There has been no constitutional amendment to alter these provisions. They remain as firmly in place today as they were in 1789. Yet there is precious little gold and silver coin in the United States or the Union of States—none in general circulation.

An old story has it that a woman once found her husband with another woman, but rather than panic, the man calmly got out of the bed, slipped on his clothes, straightened himself up, then asked his wife, “Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?”

Does the Constitution mandate gold and silver coin as the national currency? Monetary theories and rationalization are irrelevant. Either the several States are prohibited from making any thing but gold and silver coin a payment for debt or they aren’t. Authority to “coin” money and prescribe punishment for counterfeiting “current coin” of the United States pretty well locks the matter down. Either the several States are prohibited from making any thing but gold and silver coin a payment for debt or they aren’t. If this prohibition lies against the States, it follows that American founders intended for Congress to provide gold and silver coin as a uniform monetary system. In fact, George Washington and others threatened not to attend the Constitutional Convention if the notion of a federal paper currency was going to be considered. The fact that minting gold and silver coin of the United States was immediately implemented speaks to the matter—the first Congress, so far as possible, carried out constitutional intent.

TO BE CONTINUED ...