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Presidents and statesmen lately wrote: “The nation's strength is in her people; the nation's prosperity is in their prosperity; the nation's glory is in the equality of her justice; the nation's perpetuity is in the patriotism of her people.” The same writer, alluding to the assassination of President Carnot of France, called these United States “the American nation."
The following is a centralizing prayer from a well-known rabbi at a banquet: “If Thou didst call thy chosen people thy servant, is not also this great nation thy servant ? If this nation finds its earth task in showing mankind the administration of human government in accordance with thy laws, shall it not attain a crown of lasting glory?”
Why are such utterances misleading ?
Because they violate, unintentionally, of course, both the letter and spirit of the constitutions of the several States and of the United States. Further, such unconstitutional expressions educate the young men of the country in European methods of centralization. They lead up to one man and despotism.
Can the President adjourn Congress ? “ He may,” says Article II., section 3, “on
extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses or either of them, and, in case of disagreement between them with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper.” The evident meaning is that the President can only adjourn Congress when Congress, in special session, cannot adjourn themselves, which is a fit conclusion of " extraordinary occasions." This clause of section 3 relates solely to extra sessions. It is not to be understood as infringing upon the time fixed by law for regular sessions. The Constitution names the second Monday of December, but Congress may appoint a different day.
Can Congress order a general quarantine ?
No. In the enumerated powers of Congress not a word can be found that authorizes the enactment of a general quarantine. The matter of quarantine belongs to the reserved rights of the States. The creation of a “national quarantine" is absurd. We have sugared our tea with this“ national” misnomer so long that it becomes nauseating In the late conflict of the general government with the health officers of the State of New York, the former justly suffered. The State of New York owns the water approaches to the city of New York, and had the right to
declare what foreign vessels from infected ports should not cast anchor in the docks. It is the duty of Congress to keep such approaches unobstructed. Congress have no power over quarantine, save when it relates to the navy-yards and other sea-coast property of the United States.
Is there a constitutional holiday ?
Certainly not. The machinery of the government of the United States moves perpetually. The Constitution, Article II., section 1, clause 4, says: “The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.” After depositing his vote the carpenter may return to his plane, the merchant to his counter. There is no suffrage holiday, nor can courts of justice be closed on the day of " choosing electors."
Each State may make a holiday of any day, but the United States have no constitutional authority to do so for the States. Uniformity in the day of voting for electors is simply to prevent corruption of the count and undue influence by unscrupulous officials. The United States have no peligion. Neither has a State. Our systems of government are secular, and, as such, a departure from European and Asiatic methods.
What is meant by ex post facto law ?
The Supreme Court of the United States held, in Calder vs. Bull, 3 Dallas, that the prohibition to pass an ex post facto law meant every law that made an act done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done, criminal. Also, a law which aggravated a crime, and made it greater than it was when committed, or which altered the legal rules of evidence, and received less or different proof than the law required at the time of the commission of the offence, so as to convict the person arraigned as an offender. An ex post facto law the same court held, in Fletcher vs. Peck, 6 Cranch, was one which rendered an act punishable in a manner in which it was not punishable at the time of its commission. The prohibition applies both to Congress and State legislatures. Such a restriction is essential to the just administration of government and the liberty of the people.
Is there constitutional authority to change the name or orthography of any place recognized by the States ?
The power granted by the States to the United States, in the Constitution, “to establish post offices and post roads,” is latitudinously interpreted. It was never intended to give authority to the Postmaster-General to alter the names or
the orthography of post offices which were and are recognized by the several States.
During President Harrison's term the Postmaster-General altered the significant and historical name of Newport's News to Newport News. It was so called by colonists, on hearing of coming succor from Governor Newport. Appomattox, also a Virginia village, was named Surrender by President Cleveland's Postmaster-General. Public clamor compelled a restoration of the historic
The old historic city of Newburgh on the Hudson was put down in the Federal postoffice records at Washington as “Newburg;” but the citizens clung to the spelling always recognized in New York State documents, “ Newburgh."
Congress has no right to interfere with the names of places in the several States. They only have jurisdiction of names in Territories and nowhere else. It is not only absurd, but a usurpation which ought to be promptly rebuked, for a Potsmaster-General to change the name orthography of any town written in State or county judicial records, or incorporated by the legislature. The power once admitted may lead to serious abuse.
What is the flag theory of the States-Union ?