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alien, ignorant of our language, and consequently of the Constitution of the State in which he resides and of the United States, should be made a citizen. Suffrage is based on intelligent understanding of our institutions, their limitations and necessities.
Suffrage is not a right, but a privilege. It can be modified, restricted, and even withdrawn in certain cases such as treason, felony, etc. There could be no modification, restriction, or withdrawal were it a right per se. The United States courts may assist, when convenient, the State courts in naturalization, because they are courts of record. It is permissible simply and based on the fact that there are citizens of the United States as United Sovereigns.
Who are citizens of the United States ?
The second Article of the Constitution, relating to Presidential eligibility, quoted in a preceding answer, refers to “a citizen of the United States." In the original instrument such citizenship is not defined, but left to be construed as an extension of State citizenship. The Fourteenth Amendment says: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
' Such was the generally admitted construction, prior to this amendment, as to the constitutional status of white persons.
Abroad and on the high seas the United States protect their citizens; at home the several States protect all citizens. The first is limited; the second is unlimited within their police borders. Congress has power to “establish a uniform rule of naturalization” so as to prevent internecine conflicts. There the power of that body ceases. It follows that “a uniform rule” carries with it the right of a State to make citizens of aliens.
What is a concise definition of a citizen of the United States ?
The answer is: As the United States are but an extension of the governments of the several States, a citizen of the United States is but an extension of the privileges and immunities of a citizen of the several States.
The Supreme Court have never decided with precision what are the privileges and immunities of a citizen of the United States. The constitutional fact is that while three-fourths of the States can abridge, and even withdraw, the aforesaid privileges and immunities by amendment, the United States cannot abridge the privileges and immunities of a citizen of a State. This shows the foregoing definition of a citizen of the United States to be correct, and it is strange that in the Slaughterhouse case there should have been majority and minority opinions as to what constituted such citizenship.
Is there inter-State commerce ? No. The Act of Congress creating an “ InterState Commerce Commission " ought to be regarded as giving currency to unconstitutional language. “ The Congress shall have power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among (amidst) the several States, and with the Indian tribes,” are the words of the Constitution. Mark the distinction. “Inter” means “between,” and is not found in the enumeration of Article I., section 8. “ Among the several States,” because they have a compact which authorizes the regulation of commerce in their midst; and“ with foreign nations” by special treaty; and “with the Indian tribes,” because commerce with them must be by special treaties, the United States holding them as tribal nations.
Great care should be used in preserving the words and distinctions of the Constitution. The Supreme Court of the United States decided (Gibbons vs. Ogden, 9 Wheaton) that the acts of the legislature of New York, granting to Livingston
and Fulton the exclusive navigation of the waters of the State, in vessels propelled by steam, were unconstitutional and void acts, and repugnant to the power given to Congress to regulate commerce, so far as those acts went to prohibit vessels licensed under the laws of Congress, for carrying on the coasting trade, from navigating the waters of New York
Why? Because the waters of the States, so far as commerce is concerned, are free to all the States, and are, in fact and practice, waters that run in the midst of them as forming the United States. Navigable rivers of great commercial importance run among, and not between, States. So do railroads and canals. There is coming to the front another phase of the Inter-State Commerce Act. Since the fulmination of one of the Justices of the Supreme Court, it is claimed that interState commerce law covers the loading and unloading of foreign vessels at our ports, and any trouble with stevedores can be quelled by United States soldiers !
What about a congressional “ elections law” ?
The Constitution declares, in Article I., section 4, that the “times, places, and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the legislature
thereof.". This was intended to insure regular representation in Congress. It is an admission, also, of the sovereignty of the several States. The Constitution continues: “But the Congress may at any time, by law, make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.” This delegated power to “make or alter such regulations” can only be used when a State fails to elect Senators and Representatives, and thus prevents a full representation in Congress.
Defect.— It should have been added that when such State returns to its usage, the power of Congress shall instantly cease. The intent is plain to any thinker, but recent events have shown that partisans sometimes do not care to think constitutionally. The Senators and Representatives mentioned are presumably members of Congress. The clause does not say they are.
Have the United States no supervisory power ?
Assuredly not. They cannot supervise State elections. Each State chooses its own electors, Senators, and Representatives. The United States can erect no polling places within the States. Each House of Congress has only authority to “judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members ” when assembled (Art. I., sec. 5). An “elections law” or