The Constitution is the Solution
Temecula Constitution Study with Douglas V. Gibbs
September 16, 2010
Article I, Section 8, Clauses 11 through 18
The Authorities of the United States Federal Government
Article I, Section 8, Clause 11:
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
As the Commander in Chief, the President of the United States has the authority to “wage” war, even if the Congress does not declare war. A declaration of war is a formal declaration that warns those not involved to stay out of the conflict. If those entities become involved, they become open targets.
The ability to wage war, however, is checked by the fact that the House of Representatives are able to refuse to fund any military conflict. This keeps the president from abusing his position as Commander in Chief by giving Congress a way to limit executive wartime authorities.
A Letter of Marque and Reprisal was a government license authorizing a private vessel to attack and capture enemy vessels, and bring them before admiralty courts for condemnation and sale. Cruising for prizes with a Letter of Marque was considered an honorable calling combining patriotism and profit, in contrast to unlicensed piracy which was universally reviled.
Article I, Section 8, Clause 12-16
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Remember that the primary reason for the Constitution was in order to form a more perfect union, and the reason for needing to form the more perfect union was to enable the United States to defend itself with a uniform military. Note that the fear of an army being used by a centralized, tyrannical government, as had been in the case with the British Empire, influenced the writings of this document, and encouraged the founders to limit the existence and funding of an army to two years at a time. A navy, however, was deemed as much more important, particularly because of the need to protect trade routes, and America’s immediate waterways and inlets. Therefore, the authority to provide and maintain a navy was granted in perpetuity.
The armed forces do not fall under the purview of the Constitution. It is up to Congress to provide the governing rules. Because of Clause 14, the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” opposition’s argument that the rule is unconstitutional does not hold any weight. It is up to Congress to set the rules, regardless of the Constitution. The governing text over the armed forces is not the Constitution, but instead the Uniform Code of Military Justice. However, it is the military’s duty to protect and preserve the U.S. Constitution, and in a manner of traditional, Constitutional Principles have an unofficial influence on military politics.
There is the organized militia (National Guard, State Militias), and the unorganized militia (you and I). In fact, the U.S. Code still defines these militias as such.
Title 10 of the United States Code provides for both "organized" and "unorganized" civilian militias. While the organized militia is made up of members of the National Guard and Naval Militia, the unorganized militia is composed entirely of private individuals.
United States Code: Title 10 – Armed Forces
Subtitle A – General Military Law
Chapter 13 – The Militia
Sec. 311. Militia: composition and classes
(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are -
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard
and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of
the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the
Other than age, health, gender, or citizenship, there are no additional provisions for exemption from membership in the unorganized militia.
While it is doubtful that it will ever be called to duty, the United States civilian militia does legally exist.
Article I, Section 8, Clause 17
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
This clause was for the creation of Washington DC.
Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 (also known as the “necessary and proper” clause
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Today’s government officials misuse this clause greatly. Notice the emphasis on carrying into execution the “foregoing powers” (authorities herein granted).
A Special Thanks to:
Faith Armory, 27498 Enterprise Cir W #2, Temecula, CA 92562
951-699-7500, www.faitharmory.com - For providing us with a classroom to meet in.
Political Pistachio.com for Donating Pocket Constitutions.