ZeraLand, USA

On the Nature of "Nation"

United States Constitution – Article I sec 9

While section 8 was explicitly targeted at Congress, section 9 has no similar language. In short, these constraints are not explicitly limited to Congress and the federal government in general. Further, section 8 is primarily a list of authorities while section 9 is a list of restrictions.

Section 9

(Clause 1)

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

  • Slavery cannot be abolished before 1808.
  • The government can charge no more than $10/slave for importation.

This clause has become a moot point, with only historical value. It is a relic of the negotiations and compromises that took place in writing the Constitution.

(Clause 2)

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

So what is “Habeas Corpus”?

A writ of habeas corpus directs a person, usually a prison warden, to produce the prisoner and justify the prisoner’s detention. If the prisoner argues successfully that the incarceration is in violation of a constitutional right, the court may order the prisoner’s release. Habeas corpus relief also may be used to obtain custody of a child or to gain the release of a detained person who is insane, is a drug addict, or has an infectious disease. Usually, however, it is a response to imprisonment by the criminal justice system.

The Free Dictionary

or, in other words (literally):

A writ of habeas corpus is a judicial mandate to a prison official ordering that an inmate be brought to the court so it can be determined whether or not that person is imprisoned lawfully and whether or not he should be released from custody. A habeas corpus petition is a petition filed with a court by a person who objects to his own or another’s detention or imprisonment. The petition must show that the court ordering the detention or imprisonment made a legal or factual error.

Habeas Corpus

or more simply put:

Habeas corpus is a Latin term meaning “you have the body”. It is a writ (court order) which directs the law enforcement officials who have custody of a prisoner to appear in court with the prisoner in order to determine the legality of the prisoner’s confinement.

Habeas Corpus Law & Legal Definition

A writ of habeas corpus is a summons with the force of a court order, addressed to the custodian (a prison official for example) demanding that a prisoner be taken before the court, and that the custodian present proof of authority, allowing the court to determine if the custodian has lawful authority to detain the person. If the custodian does not have authority to detain the prisoner, then he must be released from custody.

When someone gets arrested and locked up, someone can demand that the incarcerating agent prove that the incarceration is lawful except for two specific conditions:

  1. there is a rebellion in progress and the public safety would be threatened
  2. there is an invasion in progress and the public safety would be threatened

Essentially, it means whenever the government loses or may lose control of “the streets”, when the continuation of the government is threatened.

(Clause 3)

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

A bill of attainder (also known as an act of attainder or writ of attainder) is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them without benefit of a judicial trial.

An ex post facto law is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences (or status) of actions committed or relationships that existed prior to the enactment of the law.

(Clause 4)

No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

This is the part that banned an income tax until the 16th amendment was adopted. Before that, a direct tax would have to be based on population, not income. Very regressive.

(Clause 5)

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

I believe the original intent was that federal revenues would be derived from foreign trade, not domestic trade between states. The concern being that the states would not be treated equally, given the variations in trade goods from each state. Some states were more industrial, some more agricultural, and each had a unique mix of natural resources. Still do. Applying the same Tax or Duty on all states would not guarantee equal treatment. The original free-trade zone.

(Clause 6)

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another; nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No favoritism for states or ports. No interference, between states, of shipping.

(Clause 7)

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

All expenditures must be agreed to by the legislative process. The expenditures must also be made public.

(Clause 8)

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

The Founders rejected both the institutions and titles of aristocracy, and prohibited the same.

<== Article I sec 8
Article I sec 10 ==>


January 12, 2012 Posted by | Article I, Const. Review, Const. Second Reading | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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