The Supreme Law of The Land

Discussion in 'The Constitutional & RKBA Forum' started by Shizamus, Nov 16, 2003.

  1. Shizamus

    Shizamus New Member

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    THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND
    By Lisa Guliani

    This article is dedicated to the Anti-Federalists, to
    whom we owe credit and steadfast gratitude for the
    Bill of Rights - and to Rick Stanley, constitutional
    activist and American patriot for "pushing the
    envelope".


    "Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves.
    Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their
    swords, and every other terrible implement of the
    soldier, are the birth-right of an American. The
    unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of
    either the federal or state governments, but where I
    trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the
    people."
    Tench Coxe, (friend of Madison, member of Continental
    Congress)
    Freeman's Journal, 20 Feb. 1778

    The Second Amendment to the Constitution reads as
    follows:

    "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the
    security of a free state, the right of the people to
    keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    The Second Amendment has been a source of intense
    political debate throughout American history, even
    prior to the adoption of the Constitution. It would
    appear that there were - and continue to be - two
    schools of thought as to its definition and intent.
    It seems clear that the framers of our Constitution
    sought to protect the freedom of individual citizens
    to defend themselves, their property and their
    country. Some of the initial militia proposals called
    for a "select militia" which would be regulated by the
    government. These proposals were considered to be
    potentially dangerous by others, including George
    Washington. They were characterized as undemocratic
    because a "select militia" would have amounted to
    nothing less than the creation of a "standing army".
    Our founding fathers shared great concerns about the
    issue of standing armies, and this is why proposals
    calling for government-regulated militias were shot
    down at the time. The "select militia" was ultimately
    established and became what is known today as the
    National Guard. However, the National Guard is NOT
    the "well-regulated militia" referred to in Amendment
    II of the U.S. Constitution.

    Despite differing positions of people like Baron Von
    Steuben, a proponent of "select militia", all of the
    pre-Constitution militia proposals called for what is
    known as a general duty of all citizens to possess
    arms. That's right, they called it a general duty.
    The second amendment continues on to say that "the
    right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not
    be infringed." Many academians and special interest
    groups seem to ignore this part of the amendment - the
    part which uses the words "the people". That would be
    you and me. In other words, it is our natural right
    to possess a firearm and to use it in defense of our
    selves, families or homes.

    This interpretation has been challenged time and time
    again by those seeking to convince average citizens
    that defense is best left to "law enforcement" and to
    the military. Back in the earlier times of this
    nation, it would have been simply unthinkable to
    surrender your firearms in the hope that someone else
    would protect your interests. Yet, today, we swim in
    a sea of special interests, with many powerful and
    persuasive voices telling us the Second Amendment does
    not mean what it means. To systematically disarm a
    population is to place them in serious jeopardy. Our
    Founding Fathers knew this all too well, which is why
    they placed prohibitions within the Constitution.
    It's safe to assume that these men learned their
    lessons from the record of history.

    Home-Rule Ordinances vs. the U.S. Constitution

    For the last two years, I have watched the ongoing
    battle being waged between a man named Rick Stanley,
    Denver law enforcement, and the Denver, Colorado
    judiciary. Stanley is a former Libertarian
    senatorial candidate for the state of Colorado and has
    been perhaps the most impassioned, unrelenting and
    outspoken American in current times on the issue of
    the second amendment. Denver is one of 76 home-rule
    municipalities within the state of Colorado. A
    home-rule municipality, according to the Colorado
    Municipal League, is one in which "citizens voted to
    adopt a home-rule charter based on the principle that
    local citizens should have the right to decide how
    their local government should be organized and local
    problems resolved." The purpose of this is to
    protect a city from state interference, unless the
    courts decide that a matter has statewide impact. If
    this is the case, then the state law is said to
    prevail over home-rule law.

    Home-rule would appear to be a tool of citizen
    empowerment on its face. However, what happens when a
    home-rule ordinance conflicts with a state
    constitution or even the federal Constitution? Which
    law prevails? For example, if the Second Amendment to
    the U.S. Constitution tells us that every American
    citizen has the right to keep and bear arms, and goes
    on to say that this right shall not be infringed, how
    can a home-rule city lawfully enact and enforce a
    local ordinance that clearly violates the federal
    statute? Rick Stanley is sitting in a Colorado jail
    at this writing because he refused to abide by
    Denver's local home-rule ordinance which prohibits
    people from openly carrying a firearm. Stanley
    insists that this ordinance violates not only the
    Colorado State Constitution but also the Constitution
    for the united States of America.

    In Section 8 of the Home Rule provision of the
    Colorado Constitution, (Article 2, Section 6) it
    specifically prohibits any home-rule city from making
    any ordinance that violates a Colorado citizen's
    rights in the state Constitution. This was affirmed
    in SB-25, legislation which tells all cities in
    Colorado - and specifically on the issue of "open
    carry of a weapon" - that the cities are prohibited
    from making ordinances that violate state
    constitutional rights. City ordinances must be in
    harmony with, not in violation of, the state
    constitution. So what is Denver's problem with this,
    exactly?

    Stanley was not arrested for brandishing his weapon
    in a threatening manner or for using it in the
    commission of any crime. He was arrested for having
    his weapon visibly holstered. He was exercising his
    natural right to keep and bear arms in a peaceable
    manner, a provision which is succinctly spelled out
    within our Bill of Rights. Rick Stanley's refusal to
    defer to a home-rule ordinance which he deems
    unconstitutional (simply because it is) has been a
    constant thorn in the side of Denver law enforcement
    and the Denver courts system. Stanley has also
    challenged the jurisdictional authority of the
    judiciary to even try his case. He cited the U.S.
    Constitution in his defense and was pointedly ordered
    not to refer to it again by one Judge Patterson. It
    would seem that the Denver Judiciary is getting a
    little too big for its britches, wouldn't it?
    Incidentally, the Colorado State Constitution Bill of
    Rights says:
    " Section 13. Right to bear arms. The right of no
    person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home,
    person and property, or in aid of the civil power when
    thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question;
    but nothing herein contained shall be construed to
    justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons."
    Rick Stanley was not carrying a concealed weapon.

    The ongoing and escalating debacle in Denver with
    Stanley, (a successful local businessman as well as a
    constitutional activist) is relevant to us all. We
    need to ask ourselves if his situation could happen to
    any one of us in any state of the Union. Do home-rule
    ordinances supersede state or federal statutes? Does
    the Second amendment really apply to every U.S.
    citizen or can a local municipality override a federal
    mandate? How much power do local governments actually
    possess? If a city or town can enact laws that
    abrogate state and federal laws, then it is
    conceivable that within the state of Colorado alone,
    one could travel to 76 different cities and be subject
    to differing laws from city to city and town to town.
    How confusing is that? Moreover, how can this be in
    harmony with the U.S. Constitution - the supreme law
    of the land?

    Looking further into the issue of home-rule, it needs
    to be clear that local governments have limited
    authority. They do not possess inherent power or
    authority. Even a home-rule city or town does not
    have limitless authority to just do as it pleases.
    City governments obtain their power from state
    government. They are confined to dealing with local
    matters only and are confined within the boundaries
    of their state constitutions. Home-rule ordinances do
    not free the people of a city or town from their state
    constitutions nor are they freed of the provisions of
    the supreme law of the land, the Federal Constitution.


    I was curious to know the educated opinion of an
    academian on this subject, so I asked a professor of
    political science, Mr. Joseph F. Zimmerman. Professor
    Zimmerman is currently writing the 2004 Book of the
    States. He is a noted researcher on the subject of
    home-rule and related topics. When asked about the
    Second Amendment and home-rule, Professor Zimmerman
    replied:

    "You are using the National Rifle Association's
    definition of the right to keep and bear arms as
    guaranteed by the 2nd amendment to the U.S.
    Constitution. You need to read the entire amendment
    which stipulates " A well-regulated militia, being
    necessary to the security of a free state, the right
    of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be
    infringed."

    Excuse me? The National Rifle Association's
    definition? Isn't that interesting. As a matter of
    fact, I've read and re-read the 2nd amendment a number
    of times and I think it enunciates rather well the
    spirit and intent under which it was drafted. Call me
    crazy, but I'm convinced that this amendment says what
    it means and means what it says. It's a shame human
    beings invariably feel the need to twist, contort and
    complicate what would otherwise be a very simple
    matter. According to Zimmerman, there is more than one
    definition or version of the 2nd amendment. I'm
    reminded of a former president who liked to have fun
    playing with the definition of the word "is". If you
    recall, "is" does not necessarily mean "is". And now,
    there are those who would argue that the 2nd amendment
    does not mean what it says. These must be the same
    people who think there is more than one version of the
    truth.

    Zimmerman goes on to say " The Militia was renamed the
    National Guard by a 1916 Act of Congress. The
    amendment refers to the minutemen of the revolutionary
    war period or citizen soldiers. The amendment does
    not mean you have a constitutional right to own a
    bazooka, a heavy caliber machine gun, or similar
    weapons." Zimmerman had this to say about home-rule:
    ".there is no complete "home-rule" for any local
    government. If a local government had complete
    home-rule, it would be a sovereign political entity."

    So which law prevails and which is the higher
    authority - a home-rule law or the federal law? The
    Supreme Court had this to say:

    "The United States is entirely a creature of the
    Constitution. Its power and authority have no other
    source. It can only act in accordance with all the
    limitations imposed by the Constitution." - Reid v
    Covert 354 US l, 1957, Supreme Court decision
    http://www.constitution.org/ussc/354-001a.htm


    I interpret this decision to mean that the
    Constitution is forever the supreme law of the land
    and all levels of government are subject to and
    confined by the Constitutional provisions and
    prohibitions of our guiding documents. This is
    inclusive of home-rule cities and towns all across the
    nation, including Denver, Colorado, where local
    government apparently believes it answers to no higher
    authority than itself. The rights enunciated within
    the Bill of Rights are clear and they are applicable
    to ALL Americans. There is no judge in any of these
    united States of America - including Denver's Judge
    Patterson - who has been granted the authority to
    nullify the Federal Constitution or disallow it in a
    supposed court of law. This type of behavior is not
    only the pinnacle of arrogance, but extremely
    dangerous to all of us. It sets a horrifying judicial
    standard and a frightening precedent because it bears
    tremendous potential to be duplicated in courts
    throughout the country if left unchecked.

    As American citizens, we possess fundamental human
    rights, granted to us by our Maker. We possess the
    right to defend ourselves and those we love, and to
    defend our property/land. The 2nd amendment is simple
    to understand and has no obscure, multiple meanings.
    If you still harbor doubt about this issue, please
    consider the unforgettable words of George Washington:


    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution
    itself. They are the people's liberty teeth
    keystone... The rifle and the pistol are equally
    indispensable... more than 99% of them by their
    silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands.
    The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains
    evil interference. When firearms go, all goes, we need
    them every hour."
    ~ President George Washington ~
    (Address to 1st session of Congress)

    In other words, we ARE the Militia.

    Further Reading:

    1. Merrill Jensen, ed., The Documentary of History of
    the Ratification of the Constitution, vol. 3 at 378.
    (Madison, Wisconsin).

    2. Walter Bennet, ed., Letters from the Federal Farmer
    to the Republican, at 21, 22, 124 (University of
    Alabama Press, 1975).

    3. Noah Webster, "An Examination Into the Leading
    Principles of the Federal States", at 56 (New York,
    1888).

    4. Annals of Congress 434 (1789)

    5. Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution,
    vol. 2 at 746 (1833).

    6. Act of May 8, 1792; Second Congress., First
    Session, Ch. 33

    =====
    Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as
    rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is
    the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the
    liberty of appearing.
    ~ Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791 ~
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