Look at any image of our Bill of Rights, like THIS one, and notice the original First Amendment; the most important Right to our Founding Fathers. Did you know it still has not been ratified by the states? In the next article, I’ll explain why ratifying that original First Amendment will be the most powerful act of popular sovereignty since 1776.
Today I’ll explain how our First Right was lost for over two centuries.
The original First Amendment stipulates that no congressional district can have more than 50,000 people. So we can avoid today’s multi-million dollar congressional campaigns and congressmen reigning over as many as 750,000 citizens that they cannot know, much less represent.
But ratifying our First Right will do much more than that. It can let us force Congress to come home, as I will explain in tomorrow’s article.
When Congress violated the Constitution with its Apportionment Act of 1929, congressman Ralph Lozier remarked, “There is absolutely no reason, philosophy, or common sense in arbitrarily fixing the membership of the House at 435…”. Still, our ancestors did nothing about this arrogant act of Congress.
Of the 12 articles in our Bill of Rights, articles 3-12 were ratified by the necessary three-quarters of the States by December, 1791 so they became Amendments 1-10. But what happened to the first two articles in our Bill of Rights?
Original Second Amendment- Now the 27th
The supreme Court ruled in Coleman v. Miller (1939) that any proposed amendment that Congress sends to the States for ratification with no deadline can be ratified by the States at any time. So in 1983, a University of Texas student launched a campaign to get the final 29 State legislatures needed to vote to ratify the original Second Amendment.
That amendment stipulates that if Congress gives itself a pay raise it will not take effect until an election intervenes. After a decade-long mail and telephone campaign with state legislatures, Gregory Watson finally got 29 more state legislatures to hold their vote to ratify the amendment. In May 1992, the U. S. Archivist pronounced the amendment ratified, and it officially became the 27th Amendment. Imagine; one citizen was able to do this, even after two centuries!
We are not proposing a constitutional convention; that is not required. The Article V amendment process has been stalled for 226 years on the original First Amendment; Congress already passed it, so it’s entirely up to the states to just vote to ratify it — and Washington D.C. cannot stop the states from ratifying it.
Lost for Two Centuries, Now it’s the duty of State Legislatures
In fact, the original First Amendment was actually ratified already; but the record of ratification by Connecticut was buried in its state archives and never properly recorded. It is the duty of 27 more State legislatures to give us our Bill of Rights and let the U.S. House be truly America’s House, to break D.C. corruption.
As this Heartland Institute article explained in 2015, an attorney in New Jersey spent years digging into the history of the original First Amendment. He discovered that the Connecticut House voted to ratify the original First Amendment in October, 1789 and its Senate voted for ratification in May, 1790. That technically made Connecticut the 9th state to vote for ratification out of 12 states at the time; exactly three-fourths of the states. That is the number required to ratify an amendment, according to Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
However, due to the one-word transcribing error noted in the article linked above, by May 1790 the CT House claimed that it wanted to retract its earlier vote until the language could be corrected. But the transcription error was not germane; everyone knew what was intended: congressional districts could be no larger than 30,000 people until the House reached 100 members; then no larger than 40,000 people until the House reached 200 members; thereafter, no larger than 50,000 people. That was the obvious design of the Founding Fathers as George Washington and the Philadelphia delegates made clear.
The lost First Amendment cannot be corrected by the courts, as the Third Circus Court of Appeals ruled in 2012. The ruling did not address the merits of LaVergne’s request because the State legislatures alone have the constitutional power to provide relief, per Article V of the U.S. Constitution. In Section II(e) of its ruling, the court finally mentions the seventh-grade civics: with respect to constitutional amendments, the courts lack jurisdiction.
So it’s up to the state legislatures to vote for ratification, and our original First Amendment will finally be ratified, becoming the 28th Amendment. That is the vital first action item that AmericaAgain! groups will pursue in 2016-17, as explained HERE.