“Citizenship for Dummies”
Paul Andrew Mitchell, B.A., M.S.
March 4, 2010 A.D.
Internet URL of this file:
We begin by explaining the title of this essay. Please do not be offended by the title. We certainly do not intend to offend anybody with this essay. We do intend to honor the excellent series of technical books sold at www.dummies.com on the Internet, such as “Word for Dummies” and “Windows XP for Dummies”. Someone once wrote that imitation is the highest form of compliment. If we can just come close to the quality of those books, we will have achieved the goal of this essay.
Our office began to investigate the topic of Citizenship in 1990 A.D. Back then, we did not have the Internet to search rapidly with fast search engines like Google and Bing. We had to drive to a distant law library and pour through dusty old law books, looking for clues to the many mysteries that obscure this topic. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves struggling with Court decisions which had been issued in the 19th Century -- that’s the period between 1800 and 1899 A.D. Although that period may seem like ancient history to many readers, it turns out that decisions made by American Government back then are still with us today. And, that’s why those decisions are so relevant now.
Let us begin with a brief discussion of Dred Scott and the fateful decision issued against him by the U.S. Supreme Court in the year 1856 -- just about half-way through the 19th Century.
The Law of the Land: Apartheid
This essay was begun 10 years into the 21st Century. It is safe to say that no Americans are still with us today, after living through the years just before the Civil War which began in 1861 A.D. Even though we probably learned about slavery in a history class required in high school, it is still difficult for many Americans to appreciate a key historical fact: racial discrimination against black Americans was recognized in the organic “organizing” version of the U.S. Constitution. It was “the Law of the Land” at that time.
Dred Scott was a very brave black slave who challenged his inferior status, after his owner took him on trips to States of the Union where slavery was prohibited by State laws. He took his challenge all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he lost. The high Court’s decision is still one of the longest ever issued by the U.S. Supreme Court. And, it is safe to say that it still remains one of the most controversial.
In this article, we believe that decision was and still is correct on two key points: One, slavery and apartheid were formally recognized in the organic Constitution for the United States of America. Two, the Supreme Court of the United States has never had any authority to alter that Constitution. This latter point is often overlooked by critics of the Dred Scott decision. Even Abraham Lincoln joined the chorus of criticism that was directed at the Supreme Court -- for telling the truth. That decision was correct: apartheid was the Law of the Land at that time, and the Supreme Court had no authority to change that Law. Such a change required a Constitutional Amendment.
That was not Abraham Lincoln’s finest hour. There is some doubt whether or not he actually read the entire opinion. If he had, he might have realized that a very simple Amendment to the Constitution would have solved the problem clearly exposed by the high Court’s decision. What was that “problem”? The answer is clear, using 20/20 hindsight: Dred Scott wanted to be a Citizen of Missouri, but his status as a slave prevented him from enjoying the status already available to white people from the moment of their births.
Using hindsight again, our office had no difficulty drafting a proposal to amend the Constitution as follows:
The status of Citizen of one of the United States of America shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, or by any State of the Union, on account of race.
Instead of solving the original problem correctly, the debate for and against slavery got much more heated and much less rational. Many historians argue that the problem wasn’t really settled until a bloody Civil War had claimed the lives of many Americans on both sides of that debate, and many more who tried to remain neutral. Wars always cause numerous innocent civilian casualties too.
The Civil War Ends
Almost immediately after that war ended, two key decisions were made by our State and Federal governments which are still with us today. First of all, slavery was outlawed, finally, by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. That Amendment was officially ratified in December 1865 A.D. Then, in April 1866, the Congress enacted the 1866 Civil Rights Act. These two events deserve a very careful examination, because they were rather pivotal in the history of the American experience to date.
Although President Lincoln earned his place in history by signing the Emancipation Proclamation, that document was issued as a war measure. As the Utah Supreme Court explained in Dyett v. Turner, when the Civil War ended, the effect of that Proclamation also ended: “... so it was necessary to propose and to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment in order to insure the freedom of the slaves.” That Thirteenth Amendment remains the supreme Law of the Land in America. It reads:
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
There is no doubt that this Amendment was a major victory for all people who opposed slavery, particularly all members of the black race who were freed by that Amendment. At that time, such people were generally described as Abolitionists -- for wanting to abolish chattel slavery forever.
During the first few months of 1866, misguided members of Congress took a wrong turn in their search for a permanent solution to slavery. Although former black slaves had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, and then by the Thirteenth Amendment, certain Radical Republicans (as they came to be known) persuaded Congress to adopt a rather strange belief, to wit: although blacks were now “free,” they were not free to be Citizens of Missouri or any other State of the Union, for that matter.
Instead of proposing and then adopting the correct Amendment, as we explained above, the Radical Republicans persuaded Congress to enact the 1866 Civil Rights Act instead. Recall here how the Dred Scott decision had explained to the whole world that a Constitutional Amendment was required for blacks to enjoy the status of Citizens of Missouri, or Citizens of Virginia, or Citizens of any other State of the Union.
Neither Acts of Congress nor any decisions by the Courts or the President could or would be sufficient to authorize such a change in the Law.
Thus, even though the Dred Scott decision was issued only 10 years earlier, Congress appeared to forget or completely ignore the major findings of that historic decision. Specifically, Congress cannot amend the Constitution. As the U.S. Supreme Court later clarified, in Eisner v. Macomber: “Congress cannot by legislation alter the Constitution.” Amendments require proper ratification by three-fourths of the several States.
Why was the 1866 Civil Rights Act so significant? There are several reasons why it was significant. Perhaps the most important is the fact that it created a second, inferior class of “federal citizens” instead of proposing the correct Amendment for ratification by three-fourths of the several States. The correct Amendment would have conferred State Citizenship upon all blacks already freed by the Thirteenth Amendment. And, upon proper and lawful ratification of that correct Amendment, there would have been no need to create a second, inferior class of “federal citizens,” as they came to be known. The term “federal citizenship” is even defined in multiple editions of Black’s Law Dictionary.
Between 1788 and 1866 A.D., the U.S. Constitution had recognized only one class of State Citizens. This is the class of Citizens who are eligible to serve in the Senate, in the House of Representatives, and in the White House. This requirement is found in the Qualifications Clauses for those offices, respectively. There are two other places in the Constitution where State Citizens are also mentioned, namely, in the Diversity Clause, and in the Privileges and Immunities Clause. State Citizens were the only class of Citizens recognized by Law during that long period of time. And, none of these Clauses has ever been amended! This latter fact has been carelessly overlooked by numerous State and Federal lawmakers and judges.
Unfortunately for many generations of Americans, the Framers who drafted the organic Constitution chose ambiguous language to identify that primary class of State Citizens. They used the phrase “Citizen of the United States”. It would have been much better if they had used instead the phrase “Citizen of one of the United States of America”. The Preamble to the Constitution refers to itself as the “Constitution for the United States of America.” And, Bouvier’s Law Dictionary clearly defines “United States of America” to mean the several (now 50) States of the Union. It is synonymous with the popular word “Union”.
The language chosen by the Framers has now become very problematic. Elsewhere in the Constitution they drafted, the term “United States” refers only to the Federal Government now domiciled in the District of Columbia. See the Guarantee Clause, for a good example. It wasn’t until the end of World War II that the Supreme Court officially defined the term “United States” to have three (3) entirely different legal meanings, each different from the others. In Hooven & Allison v. Evatt, the high Court ruled:
The term 'United States' may be used in any one of several senses. It may be merely the name of a sovereign occupying the position analogous to that of other sovereigns in the family of nations. It may designate the territory over which the sovereignty of the United States extends, or it may be the collective name of the states which are united by and under the Constitution.
In light of this latter ruling, is it reasonable to ask: which of these 3 meanings did the Framers intend, when they required the President, Senators and Representatives to be “Citizens of the United States”? To clarify this ambiguity, a former California State Judge, Hon. Pablo De La Guerra provides the all important answer in the pleading he submitted in People v. De La Guerra:
The United States in these provisions, means the States united. To be twenty-five years of age, and for seven years to have been a citizen of one of the States which ratifies the Constitution, is the qualification of a representative. To be a natural born citizen of one of the States which shall ratify the Constitution, or to be a citizen of one of said States at the time of such ratification, and to have attained the age of thirty-five years, and to have been fourteen years a resident within one of the said States, are the Presidential qualifications, according to the true meaning of the Constitution.
Thus, the true meaning of the phrase “Citizen of the United States” in all three Qualifications Clauses is a Citizen of ONE OF the several States which are united by and under the Constitution for the United States of America. Today we abbreviate these as “State Citizens” i.e. Citizens of ONE OF the States united. That qualifier -- “one of” -- also appeared in the Northwest Ordinance, which was enacted by Congress at the same time the organic Constitution was being drafted: in our opinion, this one qualifier’s power to clarify the ongoing debates about Citizenship is enormous. It should not be overlooked.
What Is Federal citizenship?
Many Americans maintain the false belief that “Citizens of the United States” and “citizens of the United States” are one and the same. Obviously the only apparent difference is the spelling. In the former, the “C” is an UPPER-CASE letter. In the latter, the “c” is a lower-case letter. The two phrases are otherwise identical; they even sound identical when we hear them spoken out loud. Courts have even given their approval to the Latin phrase “idem sonans” -- words sounding the same are one and the same for all legal intents and purposes. Unfortunately, the similarity ends here.
Recall, once again, that Congress may not amend the Constitution by means of legislation enacted by that Body. In this context, the 1866 Civil Rights Act -- obviously an Act of Congress -- did not and could not amend any part of the Constitution for the United States of America. In particular, that Act had absolutely no effect whatsoever upon the meaning of “Citizen of the United States” (UPPER-CASE “C”) as that phrase occurs in several places in the organic Constitution. Such a change to the Qualifications Clauses, to the Arising Under Clause, or to the Privileges and Immunities Clause, would require a proper Constitutional Amendment. No mere Act of Congress could ever effect that change in our supreme Law.
The devious lawyers who devised a second class of federal citizens, did so by using a slightly different phrase -- “citizen of the United States” (lower-case “c”) -- to identify and create a second means of classifying blacks who were freed by the Thirteenth Amendment. Short of a proper Constitutional Amendment, Congress had to do something like that, because the Dred Scott decision had already barred Congress from ever enacting any statute which tried to confer State Citizenship upon freed blacks.
Congress could not remove the obstacles identified in that decision solely by means of Federal legislation enacted by that Body.
The Constitution bars Congress from arbitrarily changing the proper meaning of State Citizenship, without the prior approval of three-fourths of the States who comprise the Union. For example, Congress could never create a second class of “state citizens” without a proper Constitutional Amendment. The State Legislatures are required to give their prior approval to any changes in the Constitutional definition and status of their Citizens.
Therefore, the legal domicile or situs of this second class of “federal citizens” had to be the District of Columbia, where Congress is in effect the “State government” for all local, “municipal” purposes. Congress can enact local laws without needing any further approval from any of the 50 State Legislatures. This type of Federal legislation is properly called “municipal law” and also “private international law” in recognized legal encyclopedias like Corpus Juris Secundum and American Jurisprudence.
Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 gives Congress exclusive legislative jurisdiction within all Federal enclaves, and D.C. was the first such Federal enclave. To simplify this important property of Federal laws, the term “United States” in the phrase “citizen of the United States” must, therefore, refer to the District of Columbia and to the Congress when it is legislating in its capacity as the Legislature for that District. Put bluntly, federal citizens are citizens of the Federal government, for better or for worse, for richer and more probably for poorer.
In that phrase, “United States” could not refer to the entire nation, because the Courts have already ruled that citizenship is a term of municipal law, not national law. Likewise, “United States” in that phrase could not refer to the several (now 50) States of the Union either: such a legislative intent directly violates the holding in the Dred Scott decision; and, moreover, any modification(s) to any of the references to State Citizens in the Constitution would require ratification by three-fourths of the several States. This is necessarily true even for seemingly innocuous spelling changes.
After much careful research and analysis, it is now quite clear that being “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” is identical to, and synonymous with, being subject to the local, municipal jurisdiction of the Congress regardless of what place on planet Earth one may inhabit. Congress is in effect the “State” government for all Federal enclaves, because there is no existing State Legislature which can enact laws for D.C.
The Territory Clause confers similar authority upon Congress over its territories and possessions, because they are not States of the Union either. There can be no State Citizenship established in any areas that are simply not States of the Union. And, that is another reason why there is no State Citizenship in D.C.: it’s not a State of the Union, and it cannot be a State of the Union without a Constitutional Amendment authorizing same, as long as Congress enjoys exclusive legislative jurisdiction there.
The Failed Fourteenth amendment
So much has already been written about this failed “amendment,” and so many courts have tried to explain its significance, with confusing and contradictory results, this author will not attempt to add anything original to the ongoing debate. Suffice it to say that the facts recited in Dyett v. Turner make it abundantly clear that the so-called Fourteenth amendment has been a huge fraud upon the American People ever since it was first “declared” into Law.
Even if it had been properly ratified, that proposal to amend the Constitution was merely declaratory of existing law -- that “existing law” being the 1866 Civil Rights Act. Those who continue to argue, incorrectly, that we still have only one class of citizens in America, frequently overlook the obvious references to “citizens of the United States” and “citizens of the States wherein they reside”. The very language of Section 1 admits the existence of two (2) classes of citizens, not one (1) class.
Also, if that proposal had not attempted to elevate 2 classes of citizens to the status of supreme Law, there would have been no need to ratify a second “privileges and immunities” clause, i.e. to protect the “privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States” (read “federal citizens” first created by the 1866 Civil Rights Act). If one is not already familiar with the organic Privileges and Immunities Clause (UPPER-CASE “P” and UPPER-CASE “I”), it’s easy to overlook the second such clause that would have become supreme Law, if the Fourteenth amendment had been properly ratified.
If the correct Constitutional Amendment had been ratified instead, State Citizenship would have automatically become available to blacks recently freed by the Thirteenth Amendment. And, as a direct consequence of that correct Amendment, the organic Privileges and Immunities Clause would have become their Constitutional guarantee as well, without any racial discrimination legally interfering with their enjoyment of the organic Privileges and Immunities already enjoyed by white Citizens ever since the birth of the Republic.
Did Congress Rape All Blacks?
Many readers may object to the strong tone of that question. It is probably true that many contemporary blacks still revere President Lincoln as their “Great Emancipator.” And, many likewise maintain a near idol worship for Dr. Martin Luther King, who did so much to promote “civil rights” for black Americans. Nevertheless, unless this writer missed something important when the Civil Rights Movement was politically active under Dr. King’s leadership, it is now apparent that he also overlooked the all important differences between “civil rights” -- conferred by Acts of Congress -- and fundamental Rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution and not “subject to” the arbitrary legislative discretions of the Congress.
The demonstrable failure of the so-called Fourteenth amendment to be properly ratified now forces all Americans to fall back upon the 1866 Civil Rights Act as the historic remedy permitting freed blacks to claim any type of citizenship. Remember, the Dred Scott decision held, correctly, that abolishing apartheid in our supreme Law required a proper Constitutional Amendment, and no Act of Congress could ever effect that type of change in our supreme Law. Eisner v. Macomber! Therefore, it necessarily follows that the 1866 Civil Rights Act did not effect that type of change in the U.S. Constitution either!
Where does that leave us, presently? The answer is as shocking as it is now unavoidable: Congress raped the blacks when it failed to implement the advice given to it by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1856, and when it acted instead to create a second class of federal citizens intended primarily for black slaves freed by the Thirteenth Amendment.
Making matters much worse, federal citizens are now the only class of Americans who are eligible to vote or serve on any juries, whether State juries or Federal juries, whether grand juries or trial juries, whether civil juries or criminal juries. And, if that twisted situation were not bad enough, federal citizens as such are flatly not eligible to serve in the House, Senate or White House.
Therefore, the following legal conclusions are now unavoidable and ripe for immediate correction: those who are eligible to serve in the House, Senate and White House are not eligible to vote or serve on any juries; and, those who are eligible to vote and serve on juries are not eligible to serve in the House, Senate or White House.
Now, some readers may object strenuously by arguing that federal citizens are also “citizens of the States in which they reside”. Well, in light of the Fourteenth amendment’s demonstrable failure to be properly and lawfully ratified -- by three-fourths of the several States that existed in 1868 -- there is now no constitutional authority for the proposition that federal citizens are also “citizens of the States in which they reside”. So, forget that notion, because there is no constitutional authority for it, period!
We now have a giant legal mess on our hands, and you can thank every Congress since 1868 for that giant legal mess and for its far-reaching legal, political and economic consequences.
Our office continues to assemble a body of legal research which delves into every possible facet of these ongoing problems. The following is a brief list of documents that hopefully will remain on the Internet in perpetuity, God willing:
Berg v. Obama et al. (Sept. 15, 2008 A.D.)
Berg v. Obama et al. (October 14, 2008 A.D.)
to Consul General of Kenya in Los Angeles (October 18, 2009 A.D.)