Three Especially Good Reads on Federalism & Citizenship 

by Stuart MacPhail – November, 2019

“Is Congress Valid?” is a new paper written by former Utah State Representative Ken Ivory and published by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  The title came from a question by a young student in the American Federalism class at the Utah Valley University.

One student remarked that two-thirds of all adults in this country cannot pass the citizenship test (which another of their classmates had just passed on her way to becoming a United States citizen).

Then another student asked, “Well then, is Congress valid?” She noted that “Congress is made up of representatives chosen by this same people.  If we don’t believe representatives from the states can gather and discuss and propose solutions, is Congress valid?”

Having pointed out that a dictionary definition of a congress (lower case “c”) is “a formal meeting of delegates for discussion and usually action on some question”, and that “the Congress” has for years had a job approval rating in or near single digits, Ivory says, [P]erhaps it’s time for ‘a congress’ of states to convene ‘a formal meeting of delegates for discussion and … action on [the] question’ of restoring the constitutional divisions in the roles and responsibilities of the national government and the states, in order to render our government more efficient, effective and accountable once again to the American people”.  Read his article HERE.


“Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution” is an excellent paper written by Myron Magnet and published in Imprimis, a Hillsdale College publication.  Magnet is editor-at-large of City Journal (New York), where he served as editor from 1994 to 2007.  He earned an MA from Cambridge University and a PhD from Columbia University, where he also taught for several years.

Mr. Magnet goes into detail on why he believes “Clarence Thomas is our era’s most consequential jurist, as radical as he is brave”.

He concludes his paper with Justice Thomas’ view that “Regardless of race, everybody faces adversity and must choose whether to buckle down and surmount it, shaping his own fate, or to blame the outcome on powerful forces that make him ineluctably a victim—forces that only a mighty government can master.  The Framers’ Constitution presupposes citizens of the first kind. Without them, and a culture that nurtures them, no free nation can long endure”.  Read the paper HERE.


“A Republic – If You Can Keep It” is a new book by Justice Neil Gorsuch.  One reviewer said “Every ‘young’ person should read this book since they have been cheated out of understanding the way our government works.  This book explains how our country really runs.  After reading this book they will will be able to embrace the wonderment of America and why so many people have died to keep us ‘A REPUBLIC AND NOT A DEMOCRACY!’”

On page 29 of the book Justice Gorsuch lauds the work of citizen activist Gregory Watson, a man often referenced in this newsletter for his work relative to constitutional amendments.  The book is available from most booksellers including a discounted version from Barnes and Nobel HERE.
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