Editor's note: A fully linked version of this file can be found at Internet URL: http://supremelaw.com/authors/trumane/esquires.htm The following version of this file is being maintained for redundancy.
John E. Trumane
all rights reserved
As the story goes, there is a painting somewhere in the vast hallways of the Smithsonian museum which shows British soldiers boarding a sailing ship, muskets in hand. The ship is in an American port, and the soldiers are returning home after the War of 1812.
There is a problem with this picture which may not be immediately apparent to the casual viewer. Our history books tell us that the British lost that war. History should also tell us that the winners in a war usually (but not always) take the guns away from the other side. So, why were these British soldiers boarding their warship, guns in hand?
The answer to that question was provided to me by a common law judge in the California Republic. He had recently presided over a jury trial in which "titles of nobility" were the issue. The jury was presented with evidence and arguments that the "real" 13th Amendment did not ban slavery after the Civil War. That amendment was really the 14th Amendment.
The "real" 13th Amendment was ratified by three-fourths of the Union states before the War of 1812. It placed into the U.S. Constitution a specific ban against titles of nobility, and defined a penalty for those who accepted such titles. That penalty was a loss of citizenship and a loss of eligibility for public office.
My friend, the common law judge, explained to me that the jury had reached a unanimous verdict that the ban on titles of nobility had, indeed, been duly ratified as a lawful amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America. By banning titles of nobility and defining the penalty for using them, the original 13th Amendment was specifically intended to keep bar members out of public offices throughout America.
You may recall that the qualifications for serving in the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives all have one thing in common: the would-be official must be a "Citizen of the United States." Since the 14th (15th?) amendment did not appear until 1868, the term "United States" in these provisions means "States United," and "Citizen of the United States" means "Citizen of one of the States United."
The U.S. Constitution thus contains a specific prohibition against titles of nobility, and a specific penalty for their use, i.e., the loss of citizenship and disability from holding public office. The loss of citizenship means that a Person who was born or naturalized a Citizen would lose that status and thereby become an "alien" with respect to the United States of America. Since the qualifications for serving in federal elective offices all require citizenship, an "alien" is, by definition, disqualified from eligibility for these offices (President, Senator, and Representative).
In my conversation with the common law judge from California, we next considered if it was possible, under the original 13th Amendment, to restore citizenship by renouncing or rescinding a title of nobility. A close examination of the amendment's language did not reveal any such provision. In matters of statutory construction (determining the real meaning of statutes), there is a principle that the specific mention of one thing is the specific exclusion of all things that are not mentioned. In Latin, expressio unius est exclusio alterius. In other words, what was omitted was intended to be omitted.
The original 13th Amendment does not contain any provisions for restoring citizenship by renouncing or rescinding a title of nobility. Evidently, if the framers of that amendment had wanted citizenship to be restored to those who renounced their titles (e.g. Esquire), then the amendment would have contained language to make that possible. The absence of such language can be used to prove, under the principle of expressio unius est exclusio alterius, that it is not possible to restore one's citizenship after accepting a title of nobility.
Now, the original 13th Amendment raises some very interesting questions of law, or Law, as the case may be. If a law school graduate should join the Bar in the state of his domicile, he would join the elite company of "Esquires." In the United States of America, this is the title commonly appended after the name of an attorney (see Black's Law Dictionary, fifth edition). If we are correct in our construction of the original 13th Amendment, then it is correct to say that "Once an Esquire, always an Esquire."
If our up-and-coming Esquire should develop a successful practice, it could (and often does) happen that s/he might consider running for federal office, let's say the House of Representatives. Would s/he be eligible for that office? The Answer is NO, because the title of Esquire makes it impossible for that person ever to be eligible for the offices of President, Senator, or Representative. As a resident alien, that person is definitely NOT eligible for election to those offices, nor is that person eligible for naturalization. So, there is no chance that such a person could ever hold such an office, under the supreme Law of the Land.
Let's take this argument one step further. Assume, for the moment, that John Q. Esquire does get elected to the House of Representatives, by some quirk of circumstances (or intentional cover-up). Would Mr. Esquire be a lawful occupant of that office? Answer: NO. Would Mr. Esquire be capable of exercising the powers and privileges of that office? Answer: NO. Would Mr. Esquire be qualified to vote on the matters which came before that august body? Answer: NO. If Mr. Esquire did attempt to cast a vote on any of the matters which came before the House of Representatives, his vote would be null and void ab initio (from the outset). In other words, his vote would not be a vote at all, would it?
How many Esquires does it take to nullify an act of Congress? One? Two? Fifty-one percent? How many Esquires are presently seated in Congress? Is it greater than fifty-one percent? Is it greater than a quorum? Or does it really take only one Esquire to spoil the whole barrel of apples? Maybe we should reconvene that California common law jury and put this question to them as well, because we now appear to have a really big problem on our hands.
If the Senate and House of Representatives ever consisted of members who were disqualified from serving there by reason of their titles of nobility, then every single act of those bodies was completely null and void from the beginning. As an Illinois State Court once ruled, "it never became a law and was as much a nullity as if it had been the act or declaration of an unauthorized assemblage of individuals." (Ryan v. Lynch, 68 Ill. 160) A House or Senate consisting of Esquires for members is an unauthorized assemblage of individuals, and ALL their legislation is completely null and void.
Now ask yourself this question: Since the War of 1812, the approximate time at which the original 13th Amendment surely became Law, how many sessions of the House or Senate were conducted by Members who had previously accepted titles of nobility? If your answer is one hundred percent, then you are probably right.
The shocking fact is this: Every session of the House and Senate since 1812 has consisted of members who were attorneys with the title of Esquire conveniently appended to the end of their names. This means that every session of the House and Senate since 1812 has attempted to pass legislation which was null and void from its inception. Do you have any favorite laws which come to mind?
How about the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917? There is a magnificent collection of research by Dr. Eugene Schroder which shows how our vaulted Congress amended this Act in 1933 in order to define all Americans as enemies of the United States government. Were these acts of Congress valid, if its members were Esquires at the time of its passage? Answer: NO.
How about the Federal Reserve Act of 1913? This Act of Congress created our vaulted Federal Reserve system, and the debt money system to which we are all shackled for life (it seems). Was this act of Congress valid, if its members were Esquires at the time of its passage? Answer: NO.
How about the 16th amendment proposal? This Act of Congress sent the 16th Amendment out to the states for ratification in 1911. Another magnificent collection of research by Bill Benson and Red Beckman shows how the 48 states completely botched the ratification of that proposal. Now ask yourself the obvious question: Was Congress authorized to issue that proposal in the first instance, if its members were Esquires at the time of its passage? Answer: NO.
How about the 17th Amendment proposal? This Act of Congress sent the 17th Amendment out to the states for ratification at the same time as the 16th Amendment proposal. It purported to convert the election of U.S. Senators to a popular vote. Under the "old" procedure, Senators were elected by the state legislatures (resulting in much lower campaign costs). Was the Congress authorized to issue that proposal in the first instance, if its members were Esquires at the time of its passage? Answer: NO.
If the 17th Amendment was never properly ratified, then we surely have not had a lawfully convened U.S. Senate at least since 1917. This, then, means that all the treaties which were allegedly approved by the U.S. Senate since then are also null and void. What about GATT? NAFTA? the Genocide Treaty? the United Nations? Round and round we go; where it stops, nobody knows? On the contrary, we stop in 1812, the year of our second war with England. We have not had a lawfully convened Congress at least since the year 1812.
Now, what about those British soldiers who were boarding their warship, guns in hand, at the end of that war? Is it possible that they were not really the vanquished, but the victors? Didn't they just finish burning the Library of Congress? Wasn't that where evidence of the original 13th Amendment had been kept, under the watchful eyes of our government record custodians who fled for their lives?
What those soldiers didn't know was that the original 13th Amendment had "leaked" out to other states, whose record custodians did not suffer the loss of their libraries. When their official versions of the U.S. Constitution show a 13th amendment which bans titles of nobility, and those very same versions do NOT show any ban against slavery (which didn't pass until after the Civil War), you begin to suspect that something very strange is going on here.
There has not been a single act of Congress since 1812 which has been properly enacted into law. Not a single one! So, you can throw out your Internal Revenue Code, and along with it all of your 50 United States Codes, and your Federal Reserve Act, and your Trading with the Enemy Act, and your treaties, and your federal regulations, and your resolutions and your Joint Interdepartmental delegations of authority, because they had no authority under the real Constitution for the United States of America. NONE!