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Trump, the Constitution, and National Monuments

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

“Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington,” President Donald Trump said, speaking at Utah’s State Capitol Dec 3, 2017. “And guess what? They’re wrong.” He then reduced two national monuments in Utah, one the Grand Staircase-Escalante by 50%, created by Bill Clinton in 1996, the other, The Bears Ears by 85%, created by Barack Obama less than a year ago, both land grabs highly unpopular with Utah congressional delegates.

The cut of two million acres in Utah monuments alone is the largest in the nation’s history. These cuts may open a new era as 27 other monuments may be on the down size agenda in coming months or years reducing the trend of previous presidents to gobble up enormous tracts of largely western land. The Federal government already owns 63.6% of Utah and elected government officials want to manage their own land, like states east of the Mississippi. Indeed, the federal government claims to own a third of all the landmass in the United States (Inventory Report on Real Property Owned by the United States Throughout the World, published by the General Services Administration, page 10).

Presidents designating national monuments for the last 40 years ranked on number follow: Obama 26, Clinton 19, Carter 15, G. W. Bush 6, Reagan and George Bush 0 (Department of the Interior, Quartz). Those restricting land use the most in millions of acres were: Obama 553.5m, G. W. Bush 218.8m, Carter 56m and Clinton 5.7m. All presidents previous to Carter were 3 million or less. In other words, the top three land grabbers: Obama, G. W. Bush and Clinton each set aside more land than all previous presidents before them combined. At this rate of acceleration one can easily see that in a few short decades the president could own or control every acre in America (National Parks Conservation Association). At the very least one can say that Trump has potentially stopped the acceleration.

A big issue is the constitutionality of further restricting land use mostly of campers, bikers and hikers. It also restricts hunting, fishing, horseback riding and off-road vehicle usage, by the signature of one man only. Outside of managing land as a territory until statehood is obtained (Article 4, Section. 3, Clause 2), the Constitution gives little power to the federal government to do so.

The Founders understood that the size of land holding was proportionally related to the perceived size of the federal government and they intentionally wanted that perception small. The federal government was permitted to have but 10 square miles for a federal capital. The only other land that they could acquire had to be for military purposes as specified in the common defense clause of the Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 which reads: “and to exercise like Authority over all places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the same shall be for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock Yards, and other needful Buildings.” Any new acquisition had (1) to be purchased, (2) have the consent of the State Legislature where the land exists, (3) and be for military purposes.

As all land acquisition powers are in Article I of the Constitution with the legislative branch, the president was left out of the process. None of these constitutional requirements were met with respect to any of the national monuments acquired and Teddy Roosevelt used a mere law, the Antiquities Act of 1903, to trump the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. None were purchased, none received the consent of the State Legislature, and none are used exclusively for military purposes. Nor has there been an additional amendment to the Constitution authorizing additional federal ownership of land as required by Article V for any additional federal power. Constitutionally there exists no federal land, or Bureau of Land Management, or even public land.

One might argue that most, if not all, of the monuments were already on federal land having been acquired when the federal government refused to give to new states all the land that went with statehood when they transitioned from territorial status. That is true. The federal government through this process came to own about a third of the United States. That late 19th Century leaders fraudulently acquired the property in the first place, it does not follow that present leaders should expand on the fraudulency.

Constitutionally all land within state boundaries, unless acquired through the three stipulations noted in the Constitution, belong to the states—no exceptions. That the federal government has created national monuments unconstitutionally on what are state lands, or that both political parties have ignored this part of the Constitution for over a hundred years, does not make federal confiscation now constitutional.

Although President Trump claimed no constitutional grounds for his downsizing precedent, he should. His cited reason, that the natural resources of Utah should not be “controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington” is basic to the collective view of the Founding Fathers that federal powers be limited and specifically listed in the Constitution or in an amendment to it, was supported by all signing it. And should be today by all swearing an oath to preserve it.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Roy Moore, the Judge That Followed the Constitution

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

I too am troubled by a 32 year-old man becoming a U.S. Senator allegedly having attempted to seduce a 14 year-old-girl 38 years ago, as I am with allegations of “me too” women alleging something similar. Thus far documentation on these are not conclusive. And I question the timing—just before an election— which potentially disrupts the balance of power in the Senate.

Moreover, this seems like the same movie that I watched on others the left wanted to destroy notably Clarence Thomas and Donald Trump, while John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, whom the left solidly supported, both had sexual relations with an intern in the White House. So I avoid rushing to judgment on Moore until conclusive evidence is available.

Unfortunately no one is writing about Roy Moore as the judge that used the Constitution to defend the Ten Commandments and the Defense of Marriage Act, issues which made him indisputably the most hated judge in America by the left. That hatred began when Moore, a newly elected circuit judge, placed a wooden plaque of the Ten Commandments on the wall of his courtroom. This and his practice of having pre-session prayer in his courtroom asking for divine guidance for jurors in their deliberations resulted in non-Christian hatred toward him.

His designing and placing a monument of the Ten Commandments in front of the Alabama Supreme Court building amplified such. The ACLU successfully sued to have it removed. Moore refused on the basis that the Ten Commandments are the “moral foundation” of U.S. law, stating that in order to restore this foundation, “we must first recognize the source from which all morality springs … the sovereignty of God.” For this he was removed from his judgeship.

His defense of the Defense of Marriage Act was the second unpardonable sin for the left. In state after state the Act, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, was passed. Likewise, in state after state, after passage, non-elected federal appellate judges ruled same-sex marriage to be constitutional, reversing the will of the majority. Justice Moore gave the constitutional argument in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act when he wrote that the U.S. Constitution gives no jurisdiction whatsoever to any branch of the federal government to dictate marriage policy to the states and advised Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to disallow county clerks from issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

In a hand delivered letter to Governor Robert Bentley January 27, 2015, Justice Moore argued that “nothing in the United States Constitution grants the federal government the authority to redefine the institution of marriage” and that it decidedly trumps Alabama state law, more specifically the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment passed in 2006 by 81% of her voters. Moreover, “44 federal justices have imposed by judicial fiat same-sex marriages in 21 states of the Union, overturning the express will of the people in those states.” This he called judicial tyranny, which he defined as “unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority.” He referred to the misuse of more recent interpretations of equal protection, due process, and full faith and credit concepts, as “spacious pretexts” not part of the original document.

When the Founding Fathers created the Constitution they recognized two co-existing governments known as Federalism: one, the federal government, to function primarily externally, the other, the states, to manage internal functions. Like a normal marriage they functioned—neither being master nor slave. Of the two only the federal government was restricted in its functions by a list of 17 specific powers found in Article I, Section 8. The Founders knew that all central governments like to grow. The states were left unrestricted and all power not identified was intentionally left to them and lesser governments.

To make doubly certain that this limitation on the federal government was permanent, the States insisted on a Bill of Rights as a condition of their acceptance of the Constitution. Amendment 10 of it reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution…are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

Unfortunately for advocates of federalizing “loving relationships” the word marriage, or anything like unto it, is not in Section 8, nor has it been added to the Constitution by way of amendment through Article V, which is the process for change and thus this issue is devoid of federal constitutional authority. If we are to follow the Constitution as intended, and not make a mockery of it, marriage related questions are state functions alone and cannot be moved to a federal jurisdiction without a 3/4th affirmative vote of the states as per Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Alabama has every constitutional right not to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples.

Judge Moore knows and honors the Constitution as understood by its Founders resulting in his having many enemies. Is that hatred enough to fabricate child sexual assault stories never before mentioned? Quite possibly! Many of us still believe that a man is innocent until proven guilty. So until then we should support Mr. Moore. The left has a long history of giving a pass regarding the personal conduct of its favorites but will bring quick attention to anyone else alleged doing something similar, more especially if it changes the Senate to its favor and disrupts the Trump agenda.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Bill to Abolish the EPA Still Progressing Through the House

By Harold Pease Ph. D

“The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.” This one sentence, proposed law H.R. 861, is probably the shortest and most direct ever proposed in U.S. History. It was introduced by Rep. Matt Gaetz February 3, and is presently working its way through four committees: Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Science, Space, and Technology. If passed it will save taxpayers over eight billion dollars a year and send over 15,000 employees looking for new jobs.

Congressman Gaetz wrote defending his bill, “Our small businesses cannot afford to cover the costs associated with compliance, too often leading to closed doors and unemployed Americans. It is time to take back our legislative power from the EPA and abolish it permanently.”

But those who oppose the bill, like hornets swarming out of a disturbed hornets nest, are those who benefit from the Agency, the 15,000 with its passage soon to be looking for new jobs, profiting corporations, Hollywood activists, and big government advocates both Democrat and Republican—essentially the biggest donors in elections. A quick look on the Internet shows the hornets coming with every gun in the arsenal (even they believe in gun rights as long as they have all the guns), and they do, even the establishment media and socialized universities. Without huge public support career politicians will fold on this one.

Congressman Gaetz wrote, “states and local communities are best positioned to responsibly regulate the environmental assets within their jurisdictions.” He is right but he has a stronger argument, the Constitution does not list (Article I, Section 8) the environment as a federal function of government. By not being listed, it automatically remains a state, county and city prerogative (Amendment 10). If environmentalists want such power they must use Amendment V, which requires any new power to get 3/4ths of the state conventions to move the power from the states to the federal government so that it can be listed with the other federal powers.

Power grabbers, of both major political parties, do not like these parts of the Constitution because they rightfully do not allow them to do anything they wish. Moreover, the EPA was never enacted by Congress as required in Article I, Section 1 “All legislative power herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States….”, no exceptions. It was nothing more than an Executive Order penned by then Republican Richard Nixon, December 2, 1970.

Years ago in visiting with a local contractor I learned that his biggest obstacle in providing reasonably priced middleclass housing for the community was the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He told me that in a $300,000 home approximately one-third of that cost was fulfilling the myriad of rules that were mandated by this organization. He took time to share some of those with me. They were so unreasonable and without them I could have saved $100,000 on a new home. Without his willingness to go through these hoops there would be few single-family homes older than the sixties in this modest oil-town community.

He was a modest, unassuming good man, not the corporate polluter, toxic dumping and public land rapist that the extreme environmentalists portray developers. After five years of hearings battling the EPA over a single endangered flower that had popped up on his property next to a public park, he finally received permission to build.

Once construction workers, attempting to update an elementary school, found in a distant part of the schoolyard a kit fox den. All work stopped for at least six months while school authorities worked through the web of EPA rules before they could proceed. Costs mushroomed and human needs, even for children, were immediately placed on hold for an animal that locals knew was not really endangered. I used to tell my students that if they wanted an eye-opening experience just drive through the allies at night; they would see a kit fox before they saw a common cat.

The problem ended when those trying to get the school functioning again were allowed to purchase a kill permit. Yes, a kill permit, and the animal presumably protected because it was on an endangered list, was killed anyway. To obtain a kill permit the property owner is required to purchase land elsewhere, sometimes three times as large, next to a reserve and donate that property to the reserve. There is no attempt made to capture the offending animal or transplant the unwanted flower to another place. That would be too practical and reasonable for the government.

What I have shared is common knowledge to ninety percent of those over 30 and not associated with a college or university. Indeed, I have never met a defender of the EPA outside the latter category. Colleges are too often havens for teachers teaching, and students learning, that only the federal government can or will protect the environment and that states, counties or cities are too influenced by corporations and developers to do the job. The opposite is true. States have far more incentive in protecting their back yard than do unelected bureaucrats living 2,000 miles away that are not personally impacted by the rules they impose on others. The Constitution automatically protects us from these people if we will let it. Does your Congressman support H.R. 861?

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

In America, “We Don’t Worship Government — We Worship God.”

Harold Pease Ph. D

If the President does what he says he will do, as so far Trump has, Christians, and Christian values, can look forward to a new era of respect and value. President Trump gave two powerful, policy changing, addresses Friday, September 13, one to the Values Voters Conference, mostly Christian leaders, and the second refusing to recertify the Iran Nuclear Treaty, basically sending it back to the Senate for much needed improvement. The establishment news media, notably hostile in their coverage of Christian values, have essentially buried the first address by extensive coverage of the second.

Liberty Under Fire treats this topic as a constitutional issue because the Founding Fathers valued religion in government, protected religion by creating the 1st Amendment in the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution requires a moral people to be fully understood. And, as mentioned, the establishment news media won’t cover it because of its long-standing anti-religious bias.

The Founder best articulating the value of religion in government was President George Washington. In his Farewell Address as he left office after refusing a third term he advised. “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? … reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

The list of demanded freedoms made conditional upon states ratifying the Constitution were listed in order of importance in the Bill of Rights. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Freedom of religion was listed first.

John Adams best articulated the need for a moral people to fully understand the Constitution when he wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Benjamin Franklin expressed a similar view, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom…. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”

The following phrases in Trumps address to the Values Voters Conference are some of the most powerful to come from the lips of a president in our history and are in harmony with the Founding Fathers. “America is a nation of believers, and together we are strengthened and sustained by the power of prayer.” And later, “We know that the American family is the true bedrock of American life.”

“I pledged that, in a Trump administration, our nation’s religious heritage would be cherished, protected, and defended like you have never seen before.”

“Bureaucrats think they can run your lives, overrule your values, meddle in your faith, and tell you how to live, what to say, and how to pray.  But we know that parents, not bureaucrats, know best how to raise their children and create a thriving society.”

“We know that it’s the family and the church, not government officials, that know best how to create strong and loving communities…. In America, we don’t worship government — we worship God.”

“We see it in the church communities that come together to care for one another, to pray for each other, and to stand strong with each other in times of need.” “We will pass on the blessings of liberty, and the glories of God, to our children.”

So what campaign promises on freedom of religion has he kept? “To protect the unborn, I have reinstated a policy first put in place by President Ronald Reagan, the Mexico City Policy.” This policy prohibits federal funding of organizations performing or promoting abortion as a method of family planning. Democratic presidents always reinstate it and Republican Presidents rescind it.

He issued an executive order “to prevent the horrendous Johnson Amendment from interfering with your First Amendment rights.” This Amendment prohibited tax-exempt organizations, churches and ministers included, from having a political voice in society. “We will not allow government workers to censor sermons or target our pastors or our ministers or rabbis.  These are the people we want to hear from, and they’re not going to be silenced any longer.” The order resulted in the Department of Justice issuing “new guidance to all federal agencies to ensure that no religious group is ever targeted under my administration.”

“We have also taken action to protect the conscience rights of groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor…. we will not let bureaucrats take away that calling or take away their rights.”

So is Trump just following a script to insure he captures the religious community in 2020? He already has them because he has done more for this community than any president in distant memory. Moreover, as he pointed out in his address, he is “the first sitting President to address” the Values Voter Summit when not running for president, as the sitting president.

The words are perfect and should inspire confidence that in the difficult decisions that he may make, he will go first to his knees and be led by God. But will he? I would feel more comfortable if we saw him attend a church occasionally. Still, it is refreshing to have someone defend the religious community as too few before him have.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

States Form an Alliance to Defy Trump

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

Under the leadership of California Governor Jerry Brown and with governors Andrew Cuomo of New York, and Jay Inslee of Washington, complicit, the United States Climate Alliance was formed, an alliance of states committed to upholding the 2015 Paris Accord from which President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out and renegotiate. “California will resist,” Brown affirmed.

The United Nations deal/accord/agreement (whatever the name), but never called a treaty as this would actually bind agreeing countries, came about December 12, 2015, in Le Bourget, France where representatives of 195 countries assembled. Most agreed to lower greenhouse gas emissions believed to affect climate change. The arrangement attempts to bind signing countries beginning in 2020 to convene every five years with their plans to lowering emissions and reconvene again three years later with statistics on their new improved emission levels.

The problem is that despite the practice of not using the word treaty that began with Bill Clinton’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and GATT (General Agreement on Tariff and Trade), any deal/accord/agreement that has any expectation of accomplishing anything should be called a treaty and must be ratified by the U.S. Senate to be constitutional.   Not using the word treaty means that participating nations simply had a discussion. Politicians cannot just change the word treaty to a synonym of treaty with the intent to thereby bypass the U.S. Senate, which body is responsible for all agreements with foreign nations, and thus the Constitution, to accomplish a binding purpose on this nation.

The Constitution gives the president “Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur… (Art. II, Sec. 2, Cla 2). No other term is used in the Constitution to describe an agreement between nations. Wordage created by the then Barrack Obama foreign policy team presented in a U.N. assemblage in Paris by then Secretary of State John Kerry, without either advice in forming the wordage or consent of the Senate thereafter, is a flagrant violation of the Constitution.

Trump should rescind the “understanding” in Paris on constitutional grounds alone. That the Republicans view the science of human caused climate change as unproved, and thus disapprove of any understanding that binds them as the so-called Paris Accords do, should be secondary. Still, Trump’s resistance to it is understandable. Both political parties should disapprove it, as the U.S. Senate, as required by the Constitution, never ratified it.

But the governors are violating other parts of the Constitution as well. Listed in Article I, Section 10 are powers denied to the states, mostly those given to Congress in Section 8. It begins, “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation….” The listing follows but it means with any other states or nations. Certainly Brown’s the United States Climate Alliance is an alliance with other states to accomplish a combined purpose specifically forbidden by the Constitution.

Brown has a history of forming other alliances with states as well, even countries, in his Under2 Coalition “a group of national and subnational governments dedicated to keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.” Which “now boasts more than 170 jurisdictions worldwide, with Canada, Mexico and Sweden among the newest members” (Tribune News Service June 2, 2017, “As Trump Exists Climate Deal, States Form Alliance to Uphold it”). These countries include signed agreements with China and Germany. Not only does this violate the above-mentioned constitutional citation but yet another which reads “No state shall, without the Consent of Congress … enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power” (Art. 1, Sec. 10, Cla. 3).

It gets worse. Considering himself America’s climate czar, Brown is “urging the world to defy President Trump and join him in San Francisco next year for a ‘climate action summit’. ” President Trump “is trying to get out of the Paris agreement, but he doesn’t speak for the rest of America,” Brown told an audience (Tribune News Service, “Challenging Trump, Jerry Brown Announces Global Climate Summit in California,” July 10, 2017). His defiance is not only unconstitutional but borders on treason. It is a dangerous precedent if the governor’s threat to the nation and Constitution is not challenged.

Brown may argue that he is initiating only economic agreements with foreign countries but the Constitution governs this area as well leaving it to the federal government. “No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports” or “Lay any duty of Tonnage,” and continues with other restrictions on the state (Art 1, Sec.10, Cla.2). Clearly Congress alone has “Power to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations”(Art. 1, Sec. 8, Cla. 3).

Unfortunately, the United States Climate Alliance created by the governors of California, Washington and New York just two months ago, has grown to include 12 states and Puerto Rico. Nowhere in the Constitution is a governor given authority to represent the federal government on foreign policy, defy existing policy or participate in creating new foreign policy. Like it or not Trump does speak for America and constitutionally the federal government is the only authority in foreign policy, including climate policy, or foreign commerce.

 

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Trump Wants States to Pay More for Infrastructure

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

President Donald Trump has promised to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure but he wants to leverage this money to provide the extra provided by states and cities to make their project possible, not pay the whole thing. This way he gets the most bang for the federal buck. Whether Trump understands the Constitution or not it leaves infrastructure to the states and cities, he seems to be working toward that end, at least having them pay much more for such, but he is likely to get resistance because they are used to handouts.

Three reasons justify this position. Residents are the primary users of what is built, thus should sustain its cost. Infrastructure, or anything like it, is not listed in Article I, Section 8 as a function of the federal government, nor has it been added by way of amendment to the Constitution, and thus, is entirely a state, county and city function. Finally, the federal government is over $20 trillion in debt, a debt that cannot be paid in a lifetime and even then not without quantitative easement of the currency, the process of inflating existing money.

Of course, the argument that the nation has been funding infrastructure for well over a century beginning with the transcontinental railroads after the Civil War, then the numerous construction projects of the Franklin Roosevelt era, then to the interstate freeways under Dwight D. Eisenhower, is a powerful argument. Still, going off the Constitution just once in 1869 to help the Union and Central Pacific Railroads complete the first transcontinental railroad justified going off it two more times the next twenty years for other transcontinental railroads expecting the same benefits. Every special interest group makes its case based upon what was given others. For this reason it is almost impossible to cease giving once started and get back to the Constitution.

When railroad tycoons realized that they could get the federal government to help pay for such, ensuring greater profits for them, other tycoons sought and expected the same benefits. James J. Hill of the Great Northern Railroad crossed the continent without federal help, because he did not want federal control, proving that, sooner or later, it could be done without federal help and damage to the Constitution.

All of the vast federal infrastructure projects of the 1930’s were also not constitutionally based. The federal government had no authority to finance infrastructure projects or job creation. Many also question whether these were absolutely necessary for economic survival. Others, including myself, believe that they prolonged the Great Depression to 12 years, instead of the usual two to three years, and that it was World War II that ended the Depression, not anything that Franklin Roosevelt did.

Federal job creation, formerly left entirely to the private sector, is now expected by voters as is a forced retirement plan called social security. Two new amendments to the Constitution would have authorized these drastic changes in the distribution of power and in authorizing such, but no amendments were even sought. We have had extensive national debt since.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, presumably troubled by the stark constitutional departures of his two predecessors, based his extensive interstate freeway infrastructure project on national security. Why not make landing strips for military planes everywhere available by merely, when needed, closing down a section of the freeway to public travel? It has never been used for such.

It was a brilliant stretch of the Constitution but national defense is at least a federal government responsibility as it is empowered “to make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.” Still, given the cost and that its primary function was to promote interstate travel thus, in practice had very little to do with national security, constitutionalists would have had us seek other ways of accomplishing the landing of jets, as for example, at military air bases and, in a real emergency, commercial airports.

Some have defended these huge constitutional departures by referring to interstate commerce. The Constitution reads, “The Congress shall have Power … To regulate Commerce … among the several States.” Under the original interpretation, commerce among the states did not begin until goods commenced their final movement from their state of origin to that of their destination. It was to ensure that states did not impede commerce, the movement of things, by regulation. This had been a problem necessitating the Constitutional Convention. Who had authority at the border, more especially when the border was a river moving commerce, as the Potomac between Maryland and Virginia? But there was never authority given to create the river or the road? Like postal delivery, another itemized federal power, commerce would use existing roads.

Now the states are addicted to federal handouts. Rather than raise state taxes to fund even big projects, often referred to as TIGER grants, to which they have become accustomed, they do not mind federal slavery as long as the feds do not dry up their federal teat. Fifty years ago they would have resisted losing their independence from the federal government. Now dependent they are likely to resist Trump’s measure to be otherwise. Trump wants to stretch federal dollars to provide the extra percent to put the project over the top.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.