In honor of the 233rd birthday of the Constitutional Convention signing, the following is offered. Too many Americans including our leaders, who take oaths to protect the Constitution, do not know the document. If you ask candidates any of these questions, hopefully you’ll receive the same relative response.
U.S. Constitutional Questions
September 17, 2020
Author Unknown (a respected constitutional lawyer provided the model candidate responses)
We should ask candidates precise questions about the Constitution so we are not left with meaningless platitudes and campaign slogans.
The following 9 Constitution questions of candidates for political office can be used especially for candidates for federal office; the presidency, the Senate, and Congress.
1. What policy issues are within the joint jurisdiction of Congress and the states?
Essentially none. Education, welfare, the environment, business regulation, medical care, and virtually all of the issues that have nearly bankrupted this nation are actually within the exclusive jurisdiction of the states.
2. Do you think the practice of giving wide regulatory authority to the administrative agencies is constitutional?
No. Article I, Sec. 1 of the Constitution says that all legislative authority at the federal level is given to Congress. It is unconstitutional for the President or the administrative agencies to make rules with the force and effect of law. Agencies can make rules about when and where you must file paperwork, but they cannot make substantive policy. And the vast majority of federal rules are substantive and not merely procedural in character. Most of the Code of Federal Regulations is unconstitutional and I will not vote for any bill that gives away the power and the duty of Congress to make the law.
3. Does the president have the power to send troops into battle on foreign soil without a declaration of war?
Generally not. If there has been a direct attack on America like Pearl Harbor, war exists and while it would be good for Congress to declare war, the President can immediately defend without waiting. Otherwise, sending troops into battle without a declaration of war—no matter how well intentioned or how wise a policy—is unconstitutional. And it is the duty of Congress to either declare war or to impeach a president when he abuses the war power.
4. Will you vote for an unbalanced budget or an increase in the national debt?
No on either count, unless there is a declared war requiring short term debt. Passing debt to our children is unconstitutional. The Constitution makes it our duty to secure the blessings of liberty for our posterity. This is not fulfilled by making them slaves to debt.
5. What pending treaties would you support?
I know of no treaty that is currently pending that should be supported. All of the UN’s so-called human rights treaties invade the sovereignty of the United States by violating the most basic rule of our nation. Americans must make the laws for America. Any treaty that should be supported must exclusively deal with how nations treat nations in foreign affairs and have no domestic legal application.
6. Do you think that unborn children have a constitutional right to life?
If we were to correctly understand the original meaning of the 14th Amendment, unborn children are already protected by the Constitution. Because of the horrific decision of Roe v. Wade that right is being violated daily. We should either appoint judges to overturn Roe or, if necessary, amend the Constitution to require every level of government to protect the right to life within its proper jurisdiction. This would mean that the States, not Congress, would enact the specific penalties for abortion — but that the Constitution would require all governments to treat the unborn child as a protected human being.
7. What does the Commerce Clause allow Congress to regulate?
This Clause has been one of the two most abused in the Constitution. Congress gets to regulate trade—that is shipping—between the United States and foreign states—and trade between the states and Indian tribes. Congress cannot regulate the manufacturing or agriculture of France via the Commerce Clause. It can regulate trade with France. Accordingly, Congress cannot regulate manufacturing or agriculture of a state. It can regulate trade between the states. The best and almost only modern example of a proper regulation of interstate commerce is the Federal Aviation Administration. The regulation of air travel is exactly the kind of thing that the Commerce Clause had in mind.
8. What can Congress tax and spend money for in light of the General Welfare Clause?
Congress can tax and spend for any of its specific enumerated powers. For example, it can tax and spend to support the military since it has the clear and exclusive power over our military. Under the General Welfare Clause there were two views of the founders—either view makes it clear that almost 100% of federal spending purportedly under the General Welfare Clause is unconstitutional. Under Madison’s view, Congress can only spend for the enumerated powers. Under Hamilton’s view, Congress can spend only for the enumerated powers plus those things that are beyond the jurisdiction of the states that are necessary for the good of the country. For example, Hamilton would say that the Louisiana Purchase and probably the space program would be beyond the power of the states and Congress could determine that they were good for the country. All of the entitlement spending—medicare, and all other forms of social welfare—are unconstitutional at the federal level. If the states want these programs—it is their call under the laws and constitutions of the states. All of our deficits go away, if we follow this rule.
9. What will be your test of appointing or voting to confirm federal judges?
I want them to have experience, integrity, and to understand and follow the original meaning of the Constitution. At a minimum, I will ask them the eight prior questions you asked me—and if they are not constitutionally literate, they won’t get my vote.
Knowledge of the Constitution is paramount to preserving life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s all up to us, We the People!