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Some Thoughts on the 27th Amendment

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

When we look at the failure of the legislative and judicial branches of government, we must fully understand that though only few instances fully demonstrate the failure of the two branches, that the disease that those failures represent, and, that we can ‘expose,’ are demonstrative of the systemic failure of the government’s willingness to be responsible to both the Constitution and the People.


The 27th Amendment


Gary Hunt,
Outpost of Freedom
December 10, 2002

This Constitution … shall be the supreme Law of the Land…”

Constitution, Article VI, clause 2

“… Amendments… shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States…”

Constitution, Article V

“No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.”

Constitution, 27th Article in Amendment

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States….”

Constitution, Article I, Section 6, clause 1

James Madison acknowledged (in Federalist Papers #62) the necessity that all laws be written such that they could be understood by all men. There can be little doubt that the Constitution is absent the legalese, which has become so common in the enactments and resultant bureaucrat’s interpretations, of the current proliferation of legislation. Can we, however, accept that what is written in such language as can leave no doubt in any normal mind does not mean what it appears to say?

As we all know and which is self-evident, any law is based upon intent. The legislative intent is often referred to, in court, so as to determine what was intended by the legislation. It would leave little to law if any set of words were left to the best argument. Instead, we must, as a nation of law, rely upon what was intended rather than that which someone would have us believe the words to mean.

When James Madison (yes, the very same one who wrote FP 62) submitted this amendment into the assortment of twelve, from which ten were selected to form the Bill of Rights, surely, he concerned himself with the thought that many who aspire to power also aspire to greed.

27th Article in Amendment “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.”

The 27th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on May 7, 1992. Isn’t it interesting that the states that blew the dust off of and ratified a two-hundred year old proposed amendment to the Constitution saw the necessity to do so? I suppose that they knew, or finally realized, what Madison knew then.

Even more interesting is the insight the politicians in Washington had. According to Judges Newman and Rader, in a Dissenting Opinion in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [Williams, et al v. United States – 99-1572, 00-1254,-1255], “Congress knew that ratification was imminent and that the amendment would prevent COLA [Cost of Living Allowance – 101 P.L. 194, 103 Stat. 1716, Title XI (2001)] provisions from taking effect during future congressional terms in which they became effective.” They, therefore, enacted a 25% pay raise and annual COLA raises before the Amendment could be ratified. You see, it is clear, at least in the eyes of these two judges, and, probably, the entire court, that there was intent to circumvent the upcoming ratification of the 27th Amendment.

The case, by the way, was decided that there was nobody with standing to bring the enforcement of the 27th Amendment before the court – including a member of Congress. The initial action was brought by a taxpayer, a state Senator who had voted to ratify and a Congressman. After the first appeal, only the Congressman was considered to have standing to bring suit. The final appeal left even him without standing. This makes it easy to understand why the COLA enactment also included federal judges. They didn’t want their COLA to be questioned along with that of Congress. So, we have a Statute which appears to be in conflict with a Constitutional Amendment, but, nobody can bring the matter before the Supreme Court.

Now, many other government employees are also covered by the COLA enactment. Among them, the Government Printing Office, in their ‘publication’ on the 27th Amendment, they say, “Now that the provision is apparently a part of the Constitution, it will likely play a minor role. What it commands was already statutorily prescribed…”

So, what we have had the government (administrative, legislative and judicial branches) say to us is that a Cost of Living raise is not a raise in pay; that if it were, nobody could challenge, in court, the law that preceded the Amendment – even though in conflict; and, that Congress, unless they vote down (not voted down seven of the last twelve years) their annual raise, they will receive it, even though in obvious violation of the intent of the Amendment — an increase in compensation.

Even more interesting is the fact that changes in the cost of living are a result, in part, at least, of the ineptness of Congress in managing the country. It is also a result of their violation of another provision of the Constitution (Article I, Section 10, clause 1) which requires that the state may not “make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.” Since we are no longer even allowed to own gold and silver to pay debts, we are subject to inflation which is a result of, and common to, any form of fiat currency (Federal Reserve Notes). The inflation, which is a result of disobedience of the Constitution, has resulted in the necessity to even consider Cost of Living as a factor in maintaining one’s purchasing power. They (Congress) and their employees are assured, at our expense, of not having their purchasing power diminished. Unfortunately, in our sustaining their coffers, we don’t have the means to offset inflation – resulting in a diminishing of our purchasing power.

Have you given your consent?
Or, have you been divested by the government?

For a list of states that ratified the 27th Amendment, go to A table of the dates of ratification of the Constitution and various amendments and pay particular attention to New Jersey and Michigan.


About Ashwander v. TVA

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

About Ashwander v. TVA


Gary Hunt

Outpost of Freedom

January 9, 2006


There has been s lot of discussion about Agencies, immunity, privilege, etc., and much of each argument has merit. So far, however, I haven’t seen any discussion on how the nature of the person and the court is established, and then, by what rules that relationship proceeds.


Many years ago, I became aware of what I believe to be the most damning of the Supreme Court decisions – at least, with regard to our liberties (rights, too!). In fact, a few of us coined a term to reflect what had happened when you found yourself without recourse. “Ashwanderized” was the term, and how we got to be Ashwanderized became the subject of study.


Before I continue, I will mention an instance where I had forgotten all about this aspect (due to the urgency of the situation, I think) and found myself, and others, beaten by this omission. The Court (Judge Walter Smith) ruled that we “had not exhausted all administrative remedies”, therefore he was denying our Emergency Petition for Writ of Mandamus. Unfortunately, the Bar attorney, acting in a non-bar capacity, was not versed on this matter and it did not occur to me. We pondered what remedies we had failed to pursue, and it wasn’t until it was too late that it occurred to me that we had not taken precautions against this eventuality.


I have, however, understanding Ashwander, managed to use Habeas Corpus to remove myself from jurisdiction. This came to me one evening, facing court the next morning, while pondering the question, “How do I get myself into Common Law jurisdiction? I realized that it was not Common Law that I wanted to get into, rather it was Common Law that I wanted to get out of.


That aside, for now, below are the seven (7) rules developed by the Supreme Court in dealing with Ashwander v. T.V.A. [297 U.S. 288 (1936)]. Though all are damning, to a degree, with regard to the current subject, pay particular attention to #4 and #6.

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“The Court developed, for its own governance in the cases confessedly within its jurisdiction, a series of rules under which it has avoided passing upon a large part of all the constitutional questions pressed upon it for decision.


They are:


“1. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of legislation in a friendly, nonadversary, proceeding, declining because to decide such questions ‘is legitimate only in the last resort, and as a necessity in the determination of real, earnest, and vital controversy between individuals…


“2. The Court will not ‘anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it… ‘It is not the habit of the court to decide questions of a constitutional nature unless absolutely necessary to a decision of the case…


“3. The Court will not formulate a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the precise facts to which it is to be applied….


“4. The Court will not pass upon a constitutional question although properly presented by the record, if there is also present some other ground upon which the case may be disposed of. This rule has found most varied application. Thus, if a case can be decided on either of two grounds, one involving a constitutional question, the other a question of statutory construction or general law, the Court will decide only the latter… Appeals from the highest court of a state challenging its decision of a question under the Federal Constitution are frequently dismissed because the judgment can be sustained on an independent state ground…


“5. The Court will not pass upon the validity of a statute upon complaint of one who fails to show that he is injured by its operation… Among the many applications of this rule, none is more striking than the denial of the right of challenge to one who lacks a personal or property right…


“6. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of a statute at the instance of one who has availed himself of its benefits…


“7. ‘When the validity of an act of the Congress is drawn in question, and even if a serious doubt of constitutionality is raised, it is a cardinal principle that this Court will first ascertain whether a construction of the statute is fairly possible by which the question may be avoided…

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It would appear that a public servant, who felt that his duties violated the Constitution, could not get the Court to make a determination as to the Constitutionality of that duty. For example, if one of Hitler’s SS troops felt that he was being told to do something that he perceived as a violation of the Constitution, he would have no standing to ask the Court for a determination. He would be compelled, by law, to “just do his job”. (Number 5)


Once a person seeks a benefit from an agency (Social Security, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Motor Vehicles, Welfare, Child Protective Services, etc.), he is no longer protected by the Constitution, for the supreme Court will rule that, since he has availed himself of its benefits, he is bound by that agency’s rules (number 6)


The First Amendment, Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting … the right of the people peaceably … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

In effect, the Court has removed itself as a means of ‘redress of grievances, by allowing itself to ‘rule’ that they will not answer questions regarding the Constitutionality of laws, enactments, or rules promulgated by agencies (whether in violation of the Constitution, or not).



If you read the entire case, you will see that it hinges on Administrative Agencies. Basically, if anybody has sought a benefit from an Administrative Agency, they have developed a relationship with the agency. In so doing, it has accepted the rules (statutory construction or general law, see #4) that the agency has adopted. This allows the court to sidestep reviewing the Constitutionality of the matter (see #6).

It should be easy, after reading the above, to begin to understand what has happened to “privileges and immunities.” They are still there, though they are difficult to find.


Gary Hunt,

Outpost of Freedom


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