Chad's Constitution Blog

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Where Am I?!

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In the coming months you’ll probably notice that this blog isn’t updated as regularly as it usually is.  In fact, it might not even get updated at all.  That’s because I’ve decided to take a bit of a sabbatical from my normal writing routine.

In case you haven’t heard, my wife and I had a beautiful baby girl earlier this year.  As wonderful as she is, adding her to my already hectic schedule was starting wear me down.  A few weeks ago, it got pretty obvious that I needed to take a break, focus on my family, and get some rest.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

But don’t worry!

Just because I won’t be posting regularly doesn’t mean I’m disappearing completely.  I’ll still be around and checking my email regularly.  So if you have questions feel free to send me a message and I will definitely reply.

Also, if you are interested in having me speak to your organization I am still very much available to do that.

As for the future, it’s going to be exciting.  For now, my plan is to take a month or two to relax a little and try to be a normal person for a change.  After that, I’m going to start working on writing some new books, creating some new videos, coming up with a high school curriculum, or just seeing what kinds of cool stuff I can create!!  It’s going to be so much fun to see what I can come up with!

It’s going to be a while before I return to posting regularly – but I have a TON of great ideas.  So when I do finally return, it’s going to be BIG.  Trust me on that one. :)

Constitution Revolution: Will There Be Federal Control Over Our Elections?

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo ShowTo see last week’s lesson, click here.

Last week, I gave you a little taste of why electing a president through our Electoral College system is vital to getting a country like the United States to run properly.

Despite how well the Electoral College works, there are still some Americans who are doing everything they can to destroy it. And what’s worse — they are close to succeeding.

But any time we talk about ditching the Electoral College, there is one question we have to ask ourselves:

If we eliminate the Electoral College, what comes next?

To get a better idea of what comes next, I interviewed Tara Ross, an expert on the Electoral College and the author of a book that I highly recommend called “Enlightened Democracy.”

In this first clip, Tara and I talked about how opponents of the Electoral College plan to go about replacing it with a national popular vote — and some of the Constitutional questions surrounding their efforts:

Read More

Constitution Revolution: Will You Have a Voice in the 2016 Presidential Election?

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo ShowTo see last week’s lesson, click here.

It’s time in this series to move on to Article 2 – which covers the Executive Branch. That means that in the next few posts for this series we’re going to discuss the president and what his role is supposed to be in this country.

This week, we’re going to get started off with a bang by talking about the process we have for electing a president – otherwise known as the electoral college.

Since I have already written about the Electoral College twice before (here and here), I thought it would be good to get another perspective on the topic. So I sat down with Tara Ross to see what she could add to the discussion.

Over the last few decades, the Electoral College has become somewhat unpopular. During our talk, Tara
perfectly summed up why it’s losing support in our world that is increasingly driven by soundbites:

“The Electoral College isn’t a bumper sticker. You have to sit down and think about it for a few minutes to see why it’s so important.”

enlighten-o1And she’s right. The Electoral College doesn’t jump right out at you as a brilliant and effective method for choosing our presidents. You have to stop and think about all the challenges we face in a huge country like ours before you start to appreciate what an incredible system it is.

(As a side note, I highly recommend Tara’s book about the Electoral College called “Enlightened Democracy.”  It’s very thorough, but it’s still an easy read for regular people like you and me.) Read More

Constitution Revolution: Article 1, Section 10 Can Tell Us A Lot About The Rest of the Constitution

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo ShowTo see last week’s lesson, click here.

Our Constitution acts as a shield to protect the American people from our government. So once again, this week we’re going to discuss actions that the government is forbidden from taking.

In a recent post, we talked about the fact that Article 1, Section 9 is just a list of things that the federal government can’t do.

Well, Article 1, Section 10 is just a list of things that the State governments can’t do.

Article 1, Section 10 is pretty straight-forward and – for the most part – not controversial. As long as you don’t mind looking up a couple of vocabulary words, you should be able to interpret it pretty easily on your own.

But even though the meaning of this clause is easy to understand on its own, there are a couple of aspects of it that are worth discussing because they will give you a better idea of how the rest of the Constitution is supposed to work.

I Told You This Was Important

Ex Post Facto LawsIn my post about Article 1, Section 9 I stressed that it’s a big deal that the federal government is prohibited from passing ex post facto lawsbills of attainder and from suspending the privilege of habeas corpus.

Well, preventing the government from passing those types of laws is so important to protecting our freedom that it isn’t just the federal government that’s forbidden from passing them. Read More

Constitution Revolution: Was Donald Trump Right About Birthright Citizenship?

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo ShowTo see last week’s lesson, click here.

Is Donald Trump an uninformed buffoon when it comes to immigration like his critics claim? Or is he right to question the conventional wisdom when it comes to the 14th Amendment?

Since the topic of birthright citizenship has been all over the news, now is a great time to pause my Constitution Revolution series and clarify what the 14th Amendment means.

Before we get into that, let me lay down one disclaimer that you have to remember in order to understand this post: all I intend to do here is demonstrate the meaning of the 14th Amendment. That’s it.

Keep in mind that whatever your opinion is on illegal immigration, it has absolutely no impact on the meaning of the 14th Amendment. Whether you love the idea of birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants or you hate it – it doesn’t matter.

Truth is truth and the 14th Amendment means what it means. That’s what I intend to cover in this post. Read More

Constitution Revolution: Three Concepts Every American Needs to Know

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo ShowTo see last week’s lesson, click here.

It’s trendy today to believe that our Constitution is outdated. That it’s irrelevant to us as individual citizens.

But as Americans, we have to realize that our Constitution isn’t just some old document that gives power to our federal government. Our Constitution was primarily designed to act like a shield that protects citizens like you and me from the government.

The idea behind the Constitution was to put limits on the government and keep it from doing bad things to you. That’s why the Constitution matters so much to people like me. That’s also why people like me tend to freak out a little bit when the government violates the Constitution—those violations tear down the protection that we have against the government doing bad things to us.

As much as that might seem theoretical or academic initially, Article 1, Section 9 is a perfect example of why those protections in the Constitution matter so much to us on a personal level.

The Constitution Impacts You On a Personal Level

IMG_6902Article 1, Section 9 is just a list of actions that the federal government is forbidden from taking—and three of the actions in that list are intended to prevent the government from unfairly putting you in prison. I don’t know about you, but I kind of like the idea that my government shouldn’t be able to randomly throw me in jail. Read More

Constitution Revolution: The Truth Behind the Necessary and Proper Clause

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo ShowTo see last week’s lesson, click here.

In some ways, it’s sad that we have to stop here and take time to discuss the Necessary and Proper Clause. It is such a simple, straightforward part of the Constitution. All you need to figure out the meaning of this clause is a dictionary and little bit of common sense.

But as you know, those who wish our federal government had been granted more power than it was have no problem at all with distorting the clear language of the Constitution in order to get what they want. And ever since our Constitution was ratified they’ve been doing exactly that. Read More

Constitution Revolution: The Six Degrees Of Interstate Commerce

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo ShowTo see last week’s lesson, click here.

Another extremely controversial and constantly abused clause in Article 1, Section 8 is the Commerce Clause. As I mentioned last week, Article 1, Section 8 is the part of the Constitution that lays out what powers Congress has the authority to use. With respect to Commerce, it says Congress has the power:

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes…

At first glance, it doesn’t seem like this clause should be too terribly complicated. The problem is that over the years, the Supreme Court has dramatically expanded the meaning of commerce “among the states” to include any type of activity that directly – or even indirectly – affects interstate commerce.

Using that definition, can you think of anything that wouldn’t affect interstate commerce if you tried hard enough to find a connection?

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Constitution Revolution: The Most Abused Clause in the Constitution

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo ShowTo see last week’s lesson, click here.

It’s time in our journey through the Constitution to look at one of the most abused and distorted clauses in the entire document: the General Welfare Clause. Over the years, we’ve managed to get to the point where our courts now read this clause to mean the complete opposite of what was intended.

That re-invention of the General Welfare Clause has been pivotal in allowing the federal government to grow to the enormous size it’s at today. So pivotal in fact, that if we could just convince the courts to apply this one clause as intended, that alone might be enough to get our system to work properly again.

To see why, let’s start by taking a look at the text of the clause itself in Article 1, Section 8:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.

Today, the conventional wisdom is that this clause means that Congress can spend money for any public purpose it wants—and that this spending power is not limited by the enumeration of powers that comes later in Article 1, Section 8. The Supreme Court made that exact claim in its majority decision in U.S. v Butler (1936).

As I’ve explained earlier, the General Welfare Clause has also been improperly used to claim that Congress has a virtually unlimited power to tax.

But that interpretation is complete nonsense. To see that, let’s go back and take a look at what the size and scope of our federal government was intended to be.

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Constitution Revolution: Why The President Can’t Avoid Congress

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo Show. To see last week’s lesson, click here.

Before we move on from Article 1, Section 7, let’s take one last look at how a bill becomes a law. It’s worth spending some time on this part of the Constitution because it does a fantastic job of illustrating the difference between how our Founders approached government – and how we’ve approached government over the last 100 years.

Our Founders knew that we would have politicians who would try to get around whatever system we had. And they were right.

It’s inevitable that we will have politicians who will try to find any loophole that will allow them to get what they want even when everyone else opposes their ideas. So when our Constitution was written, a lot of time was spent trying to figure out what types of dirty tricks and dishonest games our public officials would try to play—and then coming up with ways to guard against those.

For an example of that, take a look at the end of Article 1, Section 7. After explaining the basics of how a bill becomes a law, it says:

“If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.”

Have you ever wondered why those little details were added? I always did.

It turns out, they serve a few very important purposes.

Read More

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