Basic Jurisdictional Principles
A Theological Inventory of American Jurisprudence
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  Article I § 10  
"Everything predicted by the enemies of banks, in the beginning, is now coming to pass. We are to be ruined now by the deluge of bank paper. It is cruel that such revolutions in private fortunes should be at the mercy of avaricious adventurers, who, instead of employing their capital, if any they have, in manufactures, commerce, and other useful pursuits, make it an instrument to burden all the interchanges of property with their swindling profits, profits which are the price of no useful industry of theirs." 1

Article I § 10 clause 1:

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

Article II § 2 cl 2 gives the President the "Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur". 2 So treaties and alliances are initiated by the President, but require two thirds of the Senate to become positive law. Article I § 10 clause 1 is clearly denying this "Power" to the States. By itself, this term doesn’t conflict with the global covenant. — Before proceeding, we should quickly address this issue of States entering into a "Confederation". This term may have easily been used, say, by the supreme Court in Texas v. White, to establish that States do not have the right to secede. 3 Two facts vitiate against this: (1)The framers did not claim that States do not have the right to secede. If they wanted to absolutely prohibit States from seceding, this clause would have been an appropriate place to insert such prohibition. But this prohibition cannot be found anywhere. In fact, there’s evidence that the framers saw the threat of nullification and secession as checks against the general government’s propensity to become monolithic and abusive. (2)The southern States seceded before they confederated. In other words, they were no longer States in the Union when they joined the Confederacy. The method they used to secede was precisely the same as the method used to secede from England, which is the same method used to ratify the Constitution. They elected delegates to a special State deliberative body, the people in convention, whose purpose was to make a decision about secession or ratification. If these deliberative bodies were illegal, then so were those that seceded from England, and that ratified the Constitution. 4

Article I § 8 cl 11 gives Congress the power "To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water". Article I § 10 clause 1 hereby makes granting "Letters of Marque and Reprisal" exclusively the power of Congress by prohibiting that power to the States. There’s nothing inherently in conflict with the global covenant about prohibiting the States from exercising this power, so long as the prohibition exists by consent.

Article I § 8 cl 5 gives Congress the power to "coin Money". 5 Article I § 10 clause 1 hereby denies the States the privilege of doing so. As long as we recognize one thing about this, there is nothing inherently at odds with the global covenant about prohibiting the States from coining money. This prohibition does not deny private citizens the right to coin their own self-styled money. For example, Argentina recently had a severe economic crisis. One of the bright spots in their economy was "barter clubs". The Argentine barter clubs apparently created their own type of currency to facilitate the bartering process. Article I § 10 clause 1 says nothing about prohibiting this kind of private money. 6

Here, Article I § 10 clause 1 prohibits the States from emitting "Bills of Credit". A bill of credit is "A bill or promissory note issued by the government, upon its faith and credit, designed to circulate in the community as money.". 7 A bill of credit is essentially the same thing as paper money. So Article I § 10 clause 1 is prohibiting the States from issuing paper money. Again, assuming that the States consent – as States, by the mechanism of such mass consent, majority rule – there is nothing inherently at odds with the global covenant about prohibiting the State governments from issuing paper money. 8

When Article I § 10 clause 1 says "No State shall . . .  make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts", it does not inherently violate the global covenant, but it definitely aggravates arguments about constitutionality. There is apparently nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the general government from making something other than "gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts". But here, this clause specifically denies the States from making something else tender in payment of debt. So if the general government makes Federal Reserve notes tender in payment of debt, the States are still denied from doing so, unless a constitutional amendment creates an allowance for them to do so. — Have the States made something other than "gold and silver Coin" tender in payment of debt? — Absolutely! Federal Reserve notes! — Are the States breaking the law? — Absolutely! — Does anybody care? — Only those of us who have a genuine and sincere commitment to law-and-order. — The States are wallowing in a debauched currency, and it’s only a matter of time before people other than law-and-order folk see that the Emperor Has No Clothes. In other words, none of what this country is now doing with regard to the currency is lawful, and much of it is also illegal. 9 — Nobody gets to change the Constitution except by constitutional amendment. That’s the law, and that law is a protection of government by consent. 10

Even though a de jure Constitutional amendment to modify this "gold and silver Coin" clause does not exist, a de facto usurpation of this clause has occurred through the "national emergency" of Franklin Roosevelt’s administration. 11 First Roosevelt and Congress (the political branches) confiscated the gold and took the nation off the gold standard in 1933. In 1935 three cases came before the supreme Court (the Gold Clause Cases), each pertaining to public or private contracts that stipulated payment in gold. 12 In 1933 Congress had abrogated clauses in public and private contracts that demanded payment in gold. Bondholders brought these three cases before the Court to challenge Congress’s action in 1933 as a "breach of the obligation of contract", and as confiscation of property without due process of law. The majority held that Congress’s power to regulate the monetary system overshadowed such contracts, and they in effect claimed that Congress’s new fiat money was as good as gold. In a 5-to-4 decision, the minority contended that this was confiscation of property, and "Nero at his worst". 13 — From the perspective of the global covenant, Congress’s actions in 1933, and the supreme Court’s actions in 1935, were absolutely confiscation of property, and therefore bloodshed perpetrated by the government against private human beings. All three branches of the general government in effect conspired to cover up – as accessories to a massive gross delict – the massive fraud perpetrated by way of Congress and the Federal Reserve System.

That Article I § 10 clause 1 forbids the States from passing "any Bill of Attainder" or "ex post facto Law" is no surprise, since the Constitution forbids Congress from doing the same. 14 Likewise, that Article I § 10 clause 1 prohibits States from granting "any Title of Nobility" is no surprise, because Article I § 9 cl 8 does the same to the general government. — When Article I § 10 clause 1 prohibits the States from passing any "Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts", we need to wonder whether the same restriction applies to the general government, because nowhere else in the Constitution does the same wording appear. But the 5th Amendment says "No person shall . . .  be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law". Making contracts is an unalienable Right. Therefore, the fulfillment of "the Obligation of Contracts" is also an unalienable Right. Therefore, both are contained within the scope and purview of "life, liberty, or property". So both unalienable property rights and the Constitution forbid the general government from "impairing the Obligation of Contracts". The problem with this is that almost incessantly, both the States and the general government are "impairing the Obligation of Contracts" through excessive regulation of the economy, and constant meddling in peoples’ private affairs. Even though Article I § 10 clause 1 and the 4th Amendment forbid this, the courts at all levels are almost futile arenas for fighting such unconstitutional perpetrations of bloodshed. That’s because the judicial system is hiding behind stare decisis, claiming that settled law forbids them from finding the government guilty of "impairing the Obligations of Contracts". The judges are straining gnats and swallowing camels. If we look at a short history of how the Contracts Clause has been implemented, it will be obvious that the liberty to contract that was once healthy is now in critical condition.

In 1810 the supreme Court delivered an opinion in Fletcher v. Peck that established the Contracts Clause doctrine that lasted through most of the 19th century. 15 — After massive bribery of Georgia politicians, judges in State and general courts, and two U.S. senators, the legislature in Georgia authorized in 1794 the sale of Georgia’s western territories, known as the Yazoo area (later known as Mississippi and Alabama), to private land companies, for a pittance. An outraged electorate vanquished those Georgia politicians from the Georgia legislature, and in 1796 the new legislature rescinded the Yazoo grant. The rescission automatically invalidated all property rights deriving from the grant. But millions of acres of Yazoo territory had already been sold under the 1794 statute. One of the purchasers, Robert Fletcher, sued John Peck, from whom Fletcher had purchased Yazoo land, for breach of warranty of title. — Chief Justice John Marshall’s approach to the case was that the only issue the Court needed to address was the validity of the title. He ignored the bribery, apparently claiming that the solution to political corruption was found in the electoral process, not in the courts. Once the political corruption was eliminated from the scope of the Court, Marshall was able to focus exclusively on the validity of the contracts/titles/warranties of title. His opinion was that every purchaser of Yazoo land had innocently acquired "a title good at law, he is innocent, whatever may be the guilt of others, and equity will not subject him to the penalties attached to that guilt. All titles would be insecure, and the intercourse between man and man would be very seriously obstructed, if this principle be overturned.". 16

This decision is very clear and wise. To the detriment of all Americans, during the last hundred years, all titles have become insecure, and the "intercourse between man and man" has become "very seriously obstructed", because this principle of equity has been ignored, and the State’s duty to avoid "impairing the Obligation of Contracts" has been relegated to jurisprudential oblivion. — How?

In Fletcher, Marshall held the 1796 rescission of the 1794 grant to be unconstitutional, because it violated the Contracts Clause. He linked the Contracts Clause to the natural law doctrine of vested rights, so that when any agreement is "in its nature a contract, when absolute rights have vested under that contract, a repeal of the law cannot divest those rights". 17 We don’t need to study natural law doctrine or the doctrine of vested rights to know that when people make an agreement, and become dependent upon one-another, if one of them reneges on his obligations, somebody’s going to get hurt. So contracts usually have built-in penalties to make sure the parties fulfill their obligations. And when States arbitrarily interfere with these penalties and these obligations, the States are the source of the failure to fulfill these obligations, and the source of the damage done to the party. So the Contracts Clause is extremely important. But in "modern times, the Court has all but forgotten the clause". 18

From the ratification of the Civil War Amendments until the Great Depression, the Contracts Clause was enforced not directly, but through the doctrine of "substantive economic due process". 19 In other words, the Contracts Clause was enforced through the 14th Amendment mandate that "No State shall . . .  deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law". But when Franklin Roosevelt’s administration arrived, both the doctrine of "substantive economic due process" and the Contracts Clause "went out of fashion". 20 The crippling of the Contracts Clause is typically linked to Home Building & Loan Association v. Blaisdell (1934).

In Blaisdell, the supreme Court refused to nullify a Minnesota law that prolonged the redemption period for a mortgage in default. Like many of the decisions in those days, the Court rationalized its decision based on the nation’s "economic emergency". In other words, the Court’s decision was not based on law, but was "entirely pragmatic", meaning that the Court had abandoned principle, and was doing whatever it felt like doing. 21

In more recent times, "the Contracts Clause has been routinely subordinated to the modern Court’s substantial deference to state legislative judgment in matters of economics". 22 In 1987, Justice John Paul Stevens shamelessly stated that "It is well-settled that the prohibition against the impairing of the obligation of contracts is not to be read literally.". 23 So we’ve gone from treating the Contracts Clause as a vested right that is one of the unalienable Rights – a right to contract – to treating it as something that should not be taken literally. This avoidance of the plain meaning of the Constitution is consistent with the supreme Court’s relegation of private property rights to oblivion by way of the Commerce Clause. 24

Article I § 10 clause 2:

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Control of the Congress.

This is more definition of the rules that pertain to taxation. We’ll forgo scrutinizing this clause further, because on its face, it contains no clear violation of the global covenant. Even so, because the words "Imposts" and "Duties" appear earlier in Article I, there is potential for constitutional misconstruction. Perhaps we’ll address it at some other time and place.

Article I § 10 clause 3:

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

We find nothing about this clause that inherently violates the global covenant. Even so, the statement that "No State shall . . .  enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State" begs scrutiny on constitutional grounds. What if States enter into compacts with one another to violate the "Tender" phrase in Article I § 10 clause 1. What if they agree not only with each other, but also with the general government, to make Federal Reserve notes "Tender in Payment of Debts", rather than "gold and silver Coin". The States would be agreeing to violate the Constitution, and the general government would be agreeing to look the other way. Has this happened? Isn’t this precisely what has happened? If they had done this through a constitutional amendment, law-and-order folk might all be happy. But the fact that they have done this without a constitutional amendment inspires us all to wonder if the general government and the State governments are presently operating illegally. We wonder if, perhaps, these governments are perpetrating a massive fraud against all the citizens of all the States. Chances are excellent that these governments are operating illegally on this front, hiding behind the Gold Clause Cases as though the latter were legitimate amendments. 25


1Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Thomas Cooper in 1814. From The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Memorial Edition, vol. 14, p.61. — It’s online at URL:​tj/​jeff14.txt.

2Article II § 2 cl 2, URL: ./0_3_Art_II.htm​#Article2Sec2Cl1.

3See Article I § 9, URL: ./0_2_2_Art_I_Sec_9.htm​#TexasVWhite.

4Of course, the huge difference between these Confederate States and the States under the Articles of Confederation was that the former were seceding to protect their slave-based economic system, rather than to protect the general rights and privileges of citizens.

5Article I § 8 cl 5, URL: ./0_2_1_4_Art_I_Sec_8_Cl_5.htm​#Article1Sec8Cl5.

6It’s absolutely critical for government to make a distinction between legal tender in paying or discharging public debts, and legal tender in private contracts. Secular governments have no authority under the global covenants to interfere in the latter unless bloodshed exists. By mandating use of a specific currency in private contracts, secular governments are simply establishing a malum prohibitum to make sure its pet currency is always used. This is inherently a violation of rights.

7Black’s 5th, p. 149.

8Even so, there are huge problems with regard to the fact that the framers neglected to deny the same power to the general government. There is substantial evidence that most of the framers had the same low regard for bills of credit issued by the general government as they did for the same issued by the States. But they neglected to include the same prohibition against the general government in the Constitution. — For documentation on these claims, see The Creature from Jekyll Island, pp. 309-324, Chapter 15, "The Lost Treasure Map".

9"The principal distinction between the terms ‘lawful’ and ‘legal’ is that the former contemplates the substance of law, the latter the form of law. . . .  Further, the word ‘lawful’ more clearly implies an ethical content than does ‘legal.’ The latter goes no further than to denote compliance, with positive, technical, or formal rules; while the former usually imports a moral substance or ethical permissibility." (Black’s 5th, p. 797).

10But of course the American legal community’s replacement of natural law with legal positivism since 1930 has tended to make our legal system as arbitrary and fiat as our monetary system. Pertinent videos: "Money, Banking, and the Federal Reserve" at the "misesmedia" Youtube channel, URL:​watch?v=​YLYL_NVU1bg, and "America: Freedom to Fascism", URL:​watch?v=​uNNeVu8wUak.

11Article I § 8 cl 3, URL: ./0_2_1_2_Art_I_Sec_8_Cl_3.htm​#OffGoldStandard.

12Norman v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co., 294 U.S. 240; Nortz v. United States, 294 U.S. 317; and Perry v. United States, 294 U.S. 330. — For more about the history of American currency, see "Memorandum of Law: The Money Issue", URL:​~becraft/​MONEYbrief.html. For a more thorough understanding of such money issues, see The Creature from Jekyll Island, pp. 133-214, Section II, "A Crash Course on Money".

13This was the extemporaneous declaration of Justice James C. McReynolds. — The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, p. 341, "Gold Clause Cases", by James W. Ely, Jr.

14Article I § 9 cl 3, URL: ./0_2_2_Art_I_Sec_9.htm​#Article1Sec9Cl3.

15The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, p. 375, "History of the Court: Establishment of the Union", by William M. Wiecek.

16Fletcher v. Peck 10 U.S. 87 (1810) — Quoted at The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, , p. 305, "Fletcher v. Peck", by Sandra F. VanBurkleo.

17Fletcher v. Peck 10 U.S. 87 (1810) — Quoted at The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, , p. 305, "Fletcher v. Peck", by Sandra F. VanBurkleo.

18The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, p. 195, "Contracts Clause", by Douglas W. Kmiec.

19The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, p. 196, "Contracts Clause", by Douglas W. Kmiec.

20The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, p. 196, "Contracts Clause", by Douglas W. Kmiec. — That reputable law professors speak of supreme Court doctrines going "out of fashion", rather than speaking of the supreme Court enforcing the law, should be taken as a serious sign of our times, times of serious trouble. This is because we’re no longer talking about law. We’re talking about fashions. In other words, we’re talking about arbitrary, fiat decisions, not law.

21The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, p. 196, "Contracts Clause", by Douglas W. Kmiec. — In Blaisdell, the State of Minnesota impaired the "Obligation of Contracts" by forcing a mortgage company to extend the mortgagee’s payment period. The law was no doubt passed by Minnesota, and upheld by the supreme Court, because banks and mortgage companies were seen during the Depression as bad people, and bad institutions. They were bad to the extent that they participated in the Federal Reserve scam. Even so, this supreme Court opinion is a classic case of government (i)interfering with private property rights (via the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, in this case); (ii)misidentifying the cause of the damage; (iii)creating a pseudo-solution that causes even more damage (although the latter damage may not be readily obvious). The latter damage is essentially the nullification of the Contracts Clause, which is thereby a refusal to defend an unalienable Right.

22The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, p. 196, "Contracts Clause", by Douglas W. Kmiec.

23Keystone Bituminous Coal Assn. v. DeBenedictis 480 U.S. 470 (1987) — Quoted at The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, p. 196, "Contracts Clause", by Douglas W. Kmiec.

24Article I § 8 cl 3, URL: ./0_2_1_2_Art_I_Sec_8_Cl_3.htm​#Article1Sec8Cl3.

25To get a better grip on the extent of this fraud, see The Creature from Jekyll Island.

copyright © 2013 Charles Raleigh Porter, III
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