Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Article V - The Walker Lawsuits - Rulings Will Shock You

I find, in doing some research, that the necessary number of States have petitioned the Congress for a Constitutional Convention under Article V of the Constitution and have been ignored. When taken to court, the Supreme Court refused to rule on the case using the "political question doctrine" as their reason. This is the doctrine from Wikipedia:

The doctrine has its roots in the federal judiciary's desire to avoid inserting itself into conflicts between branches of the federal government. It is justified by the notion that there exist some questions best resolved through the political process, voters approving or correcting the challenged action by voting for or against those involved in the decision. Justice Felix Frankfurter was an active and eloquent exponent of maintaining and expanding the political question doctrine. Critics of the doctrine[who?] argue that it has little or no basis in the text of the Constitution and is used by courts to shirk responsibility for deciding difficult questions. Political questions are important in U.S. history.

It is back in Congress's hands and they will just ignore the Constitution. Where is our protection that should be emanating from the Supreme Court?

The Story of Walker - Two Lawsuits

The story of the two lawsuits, Walker v. United States, filed in December, 2000 and Walker v. Members of Congress, filed in September, 2004. Walker v. United States remained a federal district court case. Walker v. Members of Congress was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Walker v. United States was the first lawsuit in history to directly address the question of whether Congress was required to obey the text of the Constitution and call a convention when the states applied which the evidence in the suit clearly showed they had, or whether, despite the language of the Constitution which the Founders termed "peremptory" Congress could ignore, or veto, the direct text of the Constitution and refuse to call such a convention even though the states had applied.

In Walker v. United States, an over-length brief citing over two hundred Supreme Court rulings favoring the position of the plaintiff, Bill Walker of Seattle, Washington, was presented in district court. The court refused to read the document and ultimately, citing Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433 (1939) established that under the court's political question doctrine, Congress was empowered to ignore or veto the direct text of the Constitution.

Following the court decision, an amicus brief was filed with the Supreme Court of the United States in the cases, McConnell v Federal Election Commission (02-1674 et al.). The purpose of the brief was twofold: (1) To serve as a practice exercise for a new Walker case intended to go to the Supreme Court and (2) to find out whether or not the assertions made in Walker v. United States were in fact true. This last point was accomplished simply by reversing the position that had been held in Walker v United States and agreeing with the political question doctrine set forth in the ruling in that lawsuit. Because of the Supreme Court Rules, the amicus was not allowed to be presented to the court because no attorney licensed to practice before the court would agree to be associated with the presentation made in the amicus. All attorneys indicated they could not accept the conclusions as true. The fact the amicus was never presented to the Court did not matter. Because the attorneys had reacted so violently, it was obvious by this reaction that what had been stated, that Congress possessed a veto and the effect of that veto was far-reaching, so much so, as to establish the possibility of a dictatorship in the government, that no attorney could accept it. Thus, if the conclusions of the amicus were false, then the opposite, that which had been asserted in Walker v. United States, must be true. It was time for a new lawsuit.

Based on new grounds of standing, Walker v Members of Congress was filed in 2004. The suit was significant in several ways. First, whereas Walker v. United States had sued Congress as a group, Walker v. Members of Congress sued the members as individuals. This meant that each member, was required under federal law, to individually determine their opposition to the lawsuit and request the United States represent them opposing the lawsuit. All members of Congress opposed the lawsuit by requesting the government represent them. Despite the language of the complaint which removed any member of Congress from the suit if he supported obeying the Constitution, no member of Congress chose to obey the Constitution. Thus, all members of Congress have publicly advocated they oppose obeying the direct text of the Constitution and support they having a veto of its text.

Secondly, it brought to the attention of the courts that such refusal was a violation of several criminal laws among them, 18 U.S.C. 1918, violation of oath of office by federal officials. The penalty for such violation is one year in prison and removal from office.

Finally, Walker v. Members of Congress was significant as it was the first lawsuit in history directly dealing with a convention call of Article V to be presented to the Supreme Court. In October, 2006 the court denied a writ of certiorari and thus refused to consider the case. However, the United States, under Supreme Court Rules, had already conceded as fact and law that it held that Congress could veto the text of the Constitution.

Above info complements of Article 5 website.

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