The Illinois Constitution, theory of government in general and a “sovereign people”.
Let me begin by stating that I do affirm to being somewhat of a hypocrite. Here I am, taking much time and effort to construct a site with information to educate people about the theory regarding our system of state government; yet I do so reluctantly because it is the in-application of that theory, and the ongoing misperception that our present government is a manifestation of the supreme will of a sovereign people, which has begotten the lie before us, which is nothing less than a metastasizing police state. I hate to say that we, being a sovereign people, could not be further from the truth. What we have before us today, both as a society and as a government, is a result of our own self-aggrandizement and megalomaniacal beliefs that we are both free and self-governing. I ask myself how a People can cite, quote, defend and rely upon a document that many have never seen, read, nor understand. It hasn’t been until fairly recently that I have come to understand, through exhaustive study, just what goes in to a constitution, as well as the convention creating such, and the application and interpretation of the different branches of government. What I have discovered is that people are not disposed to interpret the constitution, but rather government assumes the authority to interpret the constitution. The people lie dormant, ignorant, and uninterested.
I will save many of the details framing my argument for other pages that provide proper context, but my argument is based upon some very simple precepts that, if taken at face value, give rise to serious questions about the lawfulness, propriety, efficacy, applicability and authority of the government that has been created by some. I say that the constitution was written by a few, posed to the many, allowed to be voted upon by the select, and imposed upon the consenting. A few questions should come to mind when someone spews ideological platitudes about the constitution. First, who wrote the constitution; who voted to give any delegates that authority; who voted to ratify or reject the proposed constitution; who was given permission pursuant to that constitution to vote for the people who would hold office and pass legislation imposed upon the people; who gave their consent to be bound by that document and where does that consent exist for all to see?
If one is to be honest with themselves then these questions should not be easily dismissed. I would welcome a detailed answer on any of the issues presented. The conundrum presented arises from a reading of the Declaration of Independence where it says, …”governments are instituted amongst men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Since it can be said that a constitution is a document outlining the repository of power under which a government may justly act, from where does the consent of those who deposit their power exist? How does one consent, through the constitution, and what of those who do not consent?
Discussions on the oath for serving as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1870.
There was some discussion on whether there needed to be an oath at all. Some believed an oath was necessary, as it may include supporting the Constitution of the United States and the State of Illinois, while others thought the phrase “and of the State of Illinois” superfluous and unnecessary. Some of the reasoning being, how could one support something, abiding by its rules, ensuing legislation and boundaries in toto; while at the same time possibly finding fault with those provisions and seeking to revise, alter, amend or abolish those provisions? If one swears to uphold the Constitution of the State of Illinois, are they not also swearing to uphold any legislation or statutes that are not inharmonious as well? Are not constitutional laws an extension of the constitution; expounded upon and specifically applied through legislative authority? Is it only a cursory understanding of the Constitution of the State of Illinois which is needed, or a broad and exhaustive understanding of the positive law and statutes, as well as judicial interpretations, that is required to adhere to such an oath? Has every law or statute been challenged on constitutional grounds? Has every judicial interpretation that supports some laws on a constitutional basis, despite how repugnant or contrary to the reason or will of the People such may seem, been examined for error or mischief? If not, then how can this body, both collectively and severally, take and be bound by an oath to support that which they are not aware or do not fully understand? Will an oath also be required for each delegate to swear that they possess the knowledge and wisdom to make such interpretations? If so, then I wish to witness and then examine the first who will accept such responsibility.
The delegation, as it sits in assembly, is a manifestation of the legislature through their statutory exercise. However, from what authority did the original convention of 1818 derive its power? There were no statutes; there was no legislature to bind the delegates to creating something other than what sprung from their free-will or reason in crafting a document for the sole purpose of creating a defined, enumerated government for protecting their rights, property and liberty. That original body acted of its own volition with no oversight, save for that of the People who would vote on the fruits of that convention. If the Constitution is the organic law of the State, then how can a legislature, statute, or oath bind the delegates to anything other than that what is truly the giver of power, the People? I believe no oath is required. Nevertheless, if an oath is to be demanded by the majority of the delegation, then an oath to the People, represented by the delegation assembled, and seeking to craft a document to create a state government; limited in scope, and enumerated in power, deriving such from the consent of the governed and amenable to any of abuse of such power being subject to the reserved rights of the People to withdraw their consent immediately upon any perceived abuse of the delegated powers or a violation of individual rights. An oath, that considers first, the natural, unalienable and innumerable rights of the individual People; and second, the civil and political rights of the Citizen.
I find it contradictory to pledge any oath to the Constitution of the United States. To take such an oath requires an understanding; but first, an interpretation of that document. The courts of this land cannot settle on the meaning of the different provisions of the Constitution given their varied and differing interpretations. Until the Supreme Court of the United States makes the final determination, that is still only binding on the courts and not the legislative or executive, there will be as many interpretations of the Constitution as there are men who will read it. It is difficult to believe that when taking such an oath it is understood by all that what Ithey believe the Constitution to mean is the same as any other delegates understanding. The Constitution of the Unites States is not subject to interpretation by the federal government, since it is the People who crafted it and the States who are bound by it. How can a document that breathes life into a political body then be examined, interpreted, and applied by the very thing it creates? The federal government exists secondarily, and subordinate to, the several states. It is the central deposition of limited and enumerated power for achieving specific and limited ends. All other power remains with the People or their State. The delegates of the Convention, not able to fully understand the meaning of the United Stated Constitution since they are not the ones who wrote it, can only be concerned with deciding how much of the People’s sovereignty may be considered to be delegated to the State for effecting the safety and happiness of the Citizens. As long as the laws of the State are not out of harmony with the laws of the United States, notwithstanding the reserved powers through the ninth and tenth amendments, the power of the People to do what they will is limitless. With the increasing encroachment of federal power into the states and the dilution of state sovereignty through “necessary and proper” and “commerce clause” misapplication, we could craft a constitution that simply states, “We are a totalitarian outcropping of federal authority” and be in perfect harmony with the United States Constitution.