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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

MPP doubles GOP medical marijuana offer to $20k

Days before the first presidential caucuses in a medical marijuana state, the Marijuana Policy Project today doubled its offer to presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney to back up their statements opposing medical marijuana with scientific evidence.

If any of the candidates can prove his statements are true, MPP will donate the legal maximum of $10,000 to his campaign ($5,000 for the primaries, $5,000 for the general election), plus an additional $10,000 donation to the candidate's favorite charity.

MPP's original offer of $10,000 for the campaigns was made Dec. 6 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

"In responding to questions from patients who have benefited from medical marijuana, Giuliani, McCain and Romney have all made claims that are patently false," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the arijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C.

"When appeals to science, compassion and common sense didn't work, we offered $10,000 to the campaign that could back up the claim that medical marijuana isn't needed or is too dangerous.

The fact that not one of these candidates has yet to offer any proof indicates they know they're lying. Patients in Nevada and the 11 other medical marijuana states deserve a real 'straight talk express,' not political flimflam."

"I'm living proof that marijuana works when conventional medicines fail," said David McDonough of Henderson, a registered medical arijuana patient who suffers from chronic pain that limits his ability to walk.

"Any candidate who's willing to use the guns and power of the federal government to raid and arrest me for using marijuana legally under state law and with my doctor's approval had better be able to explain why."

Any responses from the campaigns will be evaluated by an independent panel of medical experts.

Full details of the challenge and relevant scientific data are posted at www.MedicalMarijuanaWorks.org

In response to voters' questions at campaign events in New Hampshire and elsewhere, Giuliani, McCain and Romney have claimed that marijuana is either too dangerous for medical use or not needed because adequate substitutes exist -- claims that are contradicted by published scientific data.

In letters sent this week to each of the three candidates, Kampia cited their specific statements and challenged them to supply proof.

In his letter to McCain, Kampia wrote:

"We are struck by the fact that you consider marijuana to be too 'damaging to one's health' for use even under medical supervision, considering that the Arizona Republic has reported that at least half of your family's wealth comes from an Anheuser-Busch beer distributorship".

"The CDC reports that excessive drinking was responsible for 75,000 U.S. deaths in 2001. Marijuana has never been proven to increase death rates or to have caused even one fatal overdose."

Medical marijuana states loom large in upcoming presidential primaries and caucuses.

Maine holds Republican caucuses on Feb. 1 and 2, and four more medical marijuana states hold primaries or caucuses on "Tsunami Tuesday," Feb. 5 -- Alaska, California, Colorado and Montana.

Copies of the letters to the three Republican candidates are available from MPP director of communications Bruce Mirken at 415-668-6403 or 202-215-4205.

With more than 23,000 members and 180,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States.

MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org.

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Court: MSNBC Can Bar Kucinich

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Nevada Supreme Court said Tuesday MSNBC can exclude Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich from a candidate debate.

Lawyers for NBC Universal Inc., had asked the high court to overturn a lower court order that the cable TV news network include the Ohio congressman or pull the plug on broadcasting the debate Tuesday night with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

An hour before the debate, the state Supreme Court's unanimous order said that blocking the debate unless Kucinich got to participate would be "an unconstitutional prior restraint" on the news network's First Amendment rights. The justices also said the lower court exceeded its jurisdiction by ordering Kucinich's participation even though he first requested and was denied relief from the Federal Communications Commission.

"It's a matter of being on stage and answering questions. That's the issue," lawyer Bill McGaha argued for Kucinich during a hearing before four justices in Las Vegas. Three other justices participated by closed-circuit video conference from Carson City.

Donald Campbell, a Las Vegas lawyer representing NBC Universal, accused Kucinich of trying to make a jurisdictional "end run" around the FCC and federal courts by suing in Nevada state court to be added to the debate.

FCC broadcast rules do not apply to cable TV networks, Campbell said, adding that forcing MSNBC to add Kucinich or not broadcast the debate amounted to prior restraint and would be a "clear and unequivocal" violation of First Amendment press freedom.

"Mr. Kucinich's claim ... undermines the wide journalistic freedoms enjoyed by news organizations under the First Amendment," Campbell said in his appeal.

Campbell said MSNBC decided to go with the top three candidates after the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. Kucinich drew less than 2 percent of the Democratic vote in the New Hampshire primary, after attracting little support in the Iowa caucuses.

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Michigan's Ominous Message for Hillary Clinton

The Nation -- DETROIT -- The question in Tuesday's Michigan Democratic primary was not whether Hillary Clinton could beat anybody.

The question was whether Clinton could beat nobody.

As the only leading Democratic contender to keep her name on the ballot after Michigan officials moved their primary ahead of the opening date scheduled by the Democratic National Committee, Clinton was perfectly positioned. She had no serious opposition. She also had the strong support of top Michigan Democrats such as Governor Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Usually, a prominent presidential contender running a primary campaign without serious opposition and with strong in-state support from party leaders can count on winning 90 percent or more of the vote. That's how it went for George Bush when he was running without serious opposition in Republican primaries in 2004, and for Bill Clinton when he was essentially unopposed in the Democratic primaries in 1996.

But Hillary Clinton got nowhere near 90 percent of the vote in Tuesday's Michigan primary.

With most of the ballots counted, the New York senator was winning uninspiring 55 percent of the Democratic primary vote.

A remarkable 40 percent of Michiganders who participated in the primary voted for nobody, marking the "Uncommitted" option on their ballots. Another 4 percent backed Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who brought his anti-war, anti-corporate campaign to Michigan and made some inroads among Muslim voters in the Detroit area and liberals in Washtenaw County -- where he was taking almost 10 percent.

But "Uncommitted" was Clinton's most serious challenger in Michigan.

"Uncommitted" was actually beating Clinton in some counties and holding her below 50 percent in others, including Detroit's Wayne County.

Ominously for the Clinton camp, the former First Lady was losing the African-American vote -- in Wayne County and statewide -- to "Uncommitted." African-American leaders such as Detroit Congressman John Conyers, who backs Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, had urged an "Uncommitted" vote. And the message seemed to connect. Exits polls showed "Uncommitted" winning by a 70-26 margin among African-Americans. (Had Michigan voters been allowed to choose between all the serious contenders for the Democratic nod, CNN's exit poll found, Obama would have won the African-American vote by a 73-22 margin over Clinton.)

"Uncommitted" also beat Clinton among independent voters who participated in the Democratic primary, and among young voters.

The message from Michigan, suggests veteran Detroit Free Press columnist Stephen Henderson, is that if Clinton is the Democratic nominee she'll "have a real challenge building an electoral coalition that can win in November."

"(A) Democrat won't win without carrying a significant slice of the African-American vote or reaching out to independents," explained Henderson.

It is hard to argue with that assessment.

It is harder still to believe that Clinton will get very far claiming Michigan handed her a meaningful victory Tuesday night. When two out of every five voters choose nobody rather than a prominent candidate who is running with little or no opposition, that candidate's got no reason to celebrate.

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Democracy Now Re-Hosts NBC debate to Include Kucinich




Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich was missing from the stage at last night’s Democratic debate hosted by MSNBC in Las Vegas after he lost a last-minute legal fight with the network over his participation. Last week, NBC told Kucinich that he had met the criteria for the debate. Then, less than two days later, the network changed the criteria and declared that Kucinich was no longer qualified. On Monday, a Nevada judge ordered NBC to include Kucinich, but then NBC appealed the ruling and actively fought to keep him off the stage. On Tuesday night, less than an hour before the debate, the Nevada Supreme Court sided with NBC. Democracy Now! decided to break the sound barrier and give Kucinich a chance to take part. In an exclusive broadcast, we re-broadcast excerpts of the debate and give the Ohio Congressman a chance to answer the questions he might have faced if he hadn’t been silenced. [includes rush transcript]

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the Democratic debate held last night in Nevada, where Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards sparred for two hours on MSNBC. Missing from the stage was Ohio Congressmember Dennis Kucinich, who lost a last-minute legal fight with NBC over his inclusion in the debate.

Kucinich had sued the network after it disinvited him from participating. On January 9th, NBC told Kucinich he had met the criteria for the debate. Then, less than two days later, NBC changed the criteria and declared Kucinich no longer qualified. On Monday, a Nevada judge ordered NBC to include Kucinich, but then NBC appealed the ruling and actively fought to keep him off the stage. On Tuesday night, less than an hour before the debate, the Nevada Supreme Court sided with NBC.

In court filings, NBC painted itself as the victim. Attorneys for the network wrote, “Mr. Kucinich’s claim is nothing more than an illegitimate private cause of action designed to impose an equal access requirement that entirely undermines the wide journalistic freedoms enjoyed by news organizations under the First Amendment.” Attorneys for General Electric’s NBC also argued, “A television station does not have to grant unlimited access to a candidate debate. If anyone’s First Amendment rights are being infringed, they are MSNBC’s.”

In his lawsuit, Kucinich argued NBC—yes, owned by General Electric—illegally shut him out of the debate because of his views. The lawsuit states, “The exclusion of Kucinich undermines the purposes of the Federal Communications Act and is a blatant violation of the Act because of the media’s obligation to operate in the public interest… NBC revised its criteria to specifically exclude the diverse and anti-war voice of Kucinich and his grass-roots supporters.” The lawsuit went on to say, "The debate is not a true presidential primary debate without including all credible candidates, but instead is effectively an endorsement of the candidates selected by NBC.”

Well, today, Congressmember Dennis Kucinich will join us. He’ll join us from Washington. We decided to give him a chance to take part in last night’s debate, in our own way. We’ll play excerpts of that debate and give the Ohio congressman and presidential candidate a chance to answer the questions he would have faced last night had he not been barred. This is the debate NBC and General Electric didn’t want you to hear.

Before we go to that debate, though, Dennis Kucinich is pulling up to the studio in Washington. We had planned to have him in studio in Las Vegas, where he was going to be campaigning over the next few days. But instead, last night, at the last minute, he took a redeye back to Washington, D.C., because he had just been alerted—well, Congressman Kucinich, welcome to Democracy Now! Alerted of what? Alerted to what?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: There will be a defense authorization bill on the floor today under a suspension of the rules, which means that it’s considered to be noncontroversial. And my feeling is that it’s probably a confirmation of President Bush’s concerns and ameliorated by a Democratic congress. So I’m going to be there to challenge the bill, to speak on it, and to call for a vote and hopefully keep alive the issue of a contest over our defense spending policies.

AMY GOODMAN: Just to understand what you’re saying, you’re saying that last night, what, around midnight, you got a message that—this is the Democrats, not the Republicans, who are in charge of Congress—

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Right.

AMY GOODMAN: —were going to be taking on the defense authorization bill, voting for it, but not putting it on the record—it wasn’t a vote count, you don’t think?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, it would—you know, when something is put on a suspension calendar, it’s essentially something that’s considered to be noncontroversial. The Democratic leadership has been trying to work out some of the differences that they had with President Bush over the last—since Congress had adjourned for the holidays. And so, this bill, I was told, is the product of the negotiations between the Democrats and the White House. What I hope to do, assuming that it’s what was described to me, is to challenge the bill and some of the issues in defense authorization that were not brought up in the previous debate.

AMY GOODMAN: What would it mean if you call for a vote count?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, it means that people have to, you know, take a stand. And I missed the last vote, because my brother passed away and I had rushed home, but this is a continuation of that debate. There was a small number of Democrats who voted against the bill to begin with. And now we’re looking to—what I’m looking to do is to pick up the debate and to look at some of the areas of the defense authorization bill that perhaps had not been explored through this debate over—or through opening up a debate on what is really something that was—I think people are planning just to move it through without much comment.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re just about to come to the studio, and so we’ll be having you join in the debate you were excluded from last night. But before you do, as you pull up right near the Capitol in Washington, D.C., explain your lawsuit and what happened at the last minute last night as the case made its way through the courts of Las Vegas.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: NBC, GE, maintained—well, they—you know, we were invited and as a result of meeting criteria of being in the top four in a national poll. This was before Bill Richardson dropped out. And when I met the criteria, NBC then announced they had changed the criteria so it would only be the top three that would be invited.

We challenged that as a contract, and attorneys in Nevada won a case before a superior court judge, who said that NBC had an obligation to provide me with a place in the debate, and if they did not, he would stop the debate from happening.

NBC—and when that account was journalized, NBC then immediately contacted the Supreme Court, and a hearing was held. I was told it was an extraordinary hearing of all seven members of the Supreme Court, who—three of whom were in Carson City, Nevada and were teleconferenced in, and they heard a presentation by NBC’s attorneys, who maintained that the debate was essentially a private matter and that no—you know, really little discussion on their part of any public interest came up. They alluded that, alternatively, this was a matter that should have been brought before the FCC, not a contract matter, and then, in the same breath, said that cable networks aren’t [inaudible] to the FCC.

So we’ve—you know, we’re in a conundrum here about what the public’s rights are, because this goes far beyond my humble candidacy. It goes right to the question of democratic governance, whether a broadcast network can choose who the candidates will be based on their narrow concerns, because they’ve contributed—GE, NBC and Raytheon, another one of GE’s property, have all contributed substantially to Democratic candidates who were in the debate. And the fact of the matter is, with GE building nuclear power plants, they have a vested interest in Yucca Mountain in Nevada being kept open; with GE being involved with Raytheon, another defense contractor, they have an interest in war continuing. So NBC ends up being their propaganda arm to be able to advance their economic interests.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Kucinich, in the court filings, NBC painted itself as the victim. It said, “Mr. Kucinich’s claim is nothing more than an illegitimate private cause of action designed to impose an equal access requirement that entirely undermines the wide journalistic freedoms enjoyed by news organizations under the First Amendment.”

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, you know, the double [inaudible] here is apparent. First of all, they’re, you know, broadcast licensees. NBC operates its network under the FCC Act of 1934, supposedly to function in the public interest, convenience and necessity. They do not do that. And some of the law they were citing related more to newspapers, which have a broad First Amendment protection, and newspapers, of course, are not licensed. You know, broadcast licensees have an altogether different responsibility. But they were claiming that they were shielded from that by a congressional action which exempts cable companies from FCC purview. So, you know, this is one of those things that my attorneys are going to take up with the FCC, certainly, but you haven’t heard the last of legal action on our behalf here with respect to NBC.

I think that what they’re trying to do is stack a presidential election using their broadcast media power, and they’re doing it to further the interests of their own parent corporation, General Electric. And this is something that I am not going to stop challenging, because this is really important to issues of democratic governance, what kind of country we’re going to have, because the corporations are really in a position where they’re using the broadcast media to rig presidential elections by determining who’s viable based on who gets coverage; in the advent of an election, who goes on the news shows and who is getting their contributions from their executives. This is a real serious matter. So I’m—

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Kucinich, had you understood you would be included in this debate? What was promised last week?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: I was. You know, of course it was my understanding I was going to be included in the debate. And here’s—but, you know, Amy—

AMY GOODMAN: They said the top four candidates? Is that what they said last week? And then Richardson pulled out?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Yeah, that’s right.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, you then became number four?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: I imagine if Richardson hadn’t pulled out and had been in fourth place, this wouldn’t have been an issue. You know, there’s an underlying question here, as well, and that is that: What right does the media have to establish the criteria as to who should be able to be in a debate in the first place, especially when they have corporate interests that could be affected by various candidates or appreciated by various candidates? So, you know, this is a profound issue of democratic governance, of our presidential—the integrity of our presidential selection process, and goes to the heart of the need for real reforms in the media.

We’re just pulling up right now—

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to go to a break.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: —to the studio.

AMY GOODMAN: Then we’re going to go to break. Congressmember Kucinich will take his seat, well, in a sense, at that debate last night in Las Vegas. When we come back from break, we’re going to play excerpts of the MSNBC debate and hear what Dennis Kucinich has to say, how he answers the questions as well. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, the War and Peace Report, as we break the sound barrier. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the Las Vegas debate on MSNBC, the debate moderator, Brian Williams, the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS: Citigroup and Merrill Lynch have both gone overseas, as some put it, hat in hand, looking for $20 billion in investment to stay afloat from, among other things, the government of Singapore, Korea, Japan, and the Saudi Prince Alwaleed, the man—Rudolph Giuliani turned his money back after 9/11. This is—strikes a lot of Americans as just plain wrong.

    At the end of our report, we said this may end up in Congress. What can be done? And does it strike you as fundamentally wrong, that much foreign ownership of these American flagship brands?

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: Brian, I’m very concerned about this. You know, about a month and a half or so ago, I raised this concern, because these are called sovereign wealth funds. They are huge pools of money, largely because of oil and economic growth in Asia. And these funds are controlled often by governmental entities or individuals who are closely connected to the governments in these countries.

    I think we’ve got to know more about them. They need to be more transparent. We need to have a lot more control over what they do and how they do it. I’d like to see the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund begin to impose these rules, and I want the United States Congress and the Federal Reserve Board to ask these tough questions.

    But let’s look at how we got here. We got here because, as I said on Wall Street on December 5th, a lot of our big financial institutions, you know, made these bets on these subprime mortgages. They helped to create this meltdown that is happening, that is costing millions of people who live in homes that are being foreclosed on or could be in the very near future because the interest rates are going up. And what they did was to take all these subprime mortgages and conventional mortgages, bundle them up and sell them overseas to big investors. So, we’re getting the worst of both worlds.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS: Senator Edwards, I neglected to point out that one of the companies keeping these giant American banks afloat is Kuwait, a nation, an economy arguably afloat itself today, as you know, thanks to the blood, sweat and tears of American soldiers. What would you do as a remedy?

    JOHN EDWARDS: Well, the things that Senator Clinton just spoke about are correct. We need more transparency. We need to know what’s actually happening. But the fundamental problem is what’s happening at the core of the American economy. What’s happening to the economy in America, if you look at it from distance, is we have economic growth in America—we still do—but almost the entirety of that economic growth is with the very wealthiest Americans and the biggest multinational corporations.

    You ask any middle class family in America, and they will tell you they do not feel financially secure. They are worried about their job. They are worried paying for healthcare. They’re worried about how they’re going to send their kids to college. They’re worried about, in so many cases, here in Nevada particularly, worried about their home being foreclosed on.

    I spoke a few minutes ago about thousands of people coming to Nevada every day to try to find the promise of America, to try to find a good job, a good home, to meet the great moral test that all of us have as Americans, which is to make certain that our children have a better life than we have. This is the great challenge that we’re facing in this election.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS: Oh, Senator Obama, a rebuttal.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Well, not a rebuttal. I just want to pick up on a couple things that have been said. Number one, part of the reason that Kuwait and others are able to come in and purchase, or at least bail out, some of our financial institutions is because we don’t have an energy policy. And we are sending close to a billion dollars a day. And this administration has consistently failed to put forward a realistic plan that is going to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, is going to invest in solar and wind and biodiesel. You look at a state like Nevada; one thing I know is folks have got a lot of sun here. And yet, we have not seen any serious effort on the part of this administration to spur on the use of alternative fuels, raise fuel efficiency standards on cars. That would make a substantial difference in our balance of payments, and that would make a substantial difference in terms of their capacity to purchase our assets.

    And the second thing I just want to point out is that the subprime lending mess, part of the reason it happened was because we had an administration that does not believe in any kind of oversight. And we had the mortgage industry spending $185 million on lobbying to prevent provisions such as the ones that I’ve proposed over a year ago that would say, you know, you’ve got to disclose properly what kinds of loans you’re giving to people on mortgages. You’ve got to disclose if you’ve got a teaser rate and suddenly their mortgage payments are going to jack up and they can’t pay for them. And one of the things that I intend to do as president of the United States is restore a sense of accountability and regulatory oversight over the financial markets. We have the best financial markets in the world, but only if they are transparent and accountable and people trust them. And, increasingly, we have not had those structures in place.


AMY GOODMAN: Thank you, Senators Obama, Clinton and Edwards, as I join Brian Williams—I’m Amy Goodman—to include the excluded Congressmember Kucinich in this debate. Congressmember Kucinich, you have ninety seconds to answer this question.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, the issue of whether or not we have foreign investment has been a longstanding issue, and so it’s nothing new. But the question is, what’s happening with Wall Street, where they have a lack of liquidity, because, you know, they’ve made some bad investments, and beyond that, the subprime lending scandal has really been something that was pyramided out of the Fed’s lack of oversight of banks and of the SEC’s lack of oversight on hedge funds.

Now, hedge funds have invested mightily in presidential candidates. Senators Clinton, Obama and Edwards raised substantial amounts of money from those hedge funds that they now claim they’re going to have a means of oversight. We have to look at Senator Edwards’s record itself. He worked for a year for the Fortress hedge fund, earned a half-a-million dollars, did not explain exactly what kind of work he did. He apparently went to about a half-a-dozen meetings, and he said that he did this in order to learn about poverty. Meanwhile, Fortress held in its portfolio subprime loans, as well as Medicare privatization, Humana, which more or less have policies that would seem to be antithetical to Senator Edwards’s publicly stated positions on policy.

I think that it’s going to be very important to have a president who is able to challenge frontally the very interests that have been able to escape regulation through these hedge funds, who will be able to protect private investors who may have been brought into the initial public offering of hedge funds, where the transparency is still quite limited, and who will be able to help rebuild the American economy to the point of where we can have a true housing program, where people can have housing and gain access to credit. This really goes to the heart of the role of the Federal Reserve, and—

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Kucinich, your time is up on this question. In this part of the debate, the candidates ask each other questions. This is former Senator John Edwards.

    JOHN EDWARDS: This is about campaign finances. And let me start it by saying the obvious, which is, all three of us have raised a great deal of money in this campaign. And so, this is not preachy or holier than thou in any possible way.

    What we know is that all three of us want to do something about healthcare in this country. And we also know that, until recently, Senator Clinton had raised more money from drug companies and insurance companies than any candidate, Democrat or Republican, until you passed her, Senator Obama, recently to go to number one. My question is, do you think these people expect something for this money? Why do they give it? Do they think that it’s for good government? Why do they do it?

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Well, let’s be clear, John. I just want to make sure that we understand: I don’t take money from federal lobbyists. I don’t take money from PACs.

    JOHN EDWARDS: As I don’t, either.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA: As you don’t, either.

    What happens is, is that you’ve got—if you’ve got a mid-level executive at a drug company or an insurance company who is inspired by my message of change, and they send me money, then that’s recorded as money from the drug or the insurance industry, even though it’s not organized, coordinated or in any way subject to the problems that you see when lobbyists are giving money.

    But—and I’m proud of the fact that I’ve raised more money from small donors than anybody else and that we’re getting $25, $50, $100 donations, and we’ve done very well doing it that way.

    Now, what I’m also proud of is the fact that in reducing special interest lobbying, I, alone, of the candidates here, have actually taken away the power of lobbyists. Part of the reason that you know who’s bundling money for various candidates is because of a law I passed this year, which says: Lobbyists, if you are taking money from anybody and putting it together and then giving it to a member of Congress, that has to be disclosed.

    Ultimately, what I’d like to see is a system of public financing of campaigns, and I’m a co-sponsor of the proposal that’s in the Senate right now. That’s what we have to fight for. In the meantime, what I’m very proud of is to make sure that we continue to make progress at the federal level to push back the influence that lobbyists have right now, and that’s something that I’m going to continue to work on.

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: I’ve introduced legislation that clearly requires President Bush to come to the United States Congress—it is not enough, as he claims, to go to the Iraqi parliament—but to come to the United States Congress to get anything that he’s trying to do, including permanent bases, numbers of troops, all the other commitments he’s talking about as he’s traveling in that region. And I want to ask Senator Obama if you will co-sponsor my legislation to try to rein in President Bush so that he doesn’t commit this country to his policy in Iraq, which both of us are committed to end.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Well, I think we can work on this, Hillary, because I don’t think—you know, we’ve got unity in the
    Democratic Party, I hope, on this.

    The notion that President Bush could somehow tie the hands of the next president, I think, is contrary to how our democracy is supposed to work and the voices of the American people who spoke out in 2006 and I expect will speak out again in 2008.

    I have opposed this war consistently. I have put forward a plan that will get our troops out by the end of 2009. And we already saw today reports that the Iraqi minister suggests that we’re going to be in there at least until 2018—2018, ten years, a decade-long commitment.

    Currently, we are spending $9 billion to $10 billion a month. And the notion is that we’re going to sustain that at the same time as we’re neglecting what we see happening in Afghanistan right now, where you have a luxury hotel in Kabul that was blown up by militants, and the situation continues to worsen.

    My first job as president of the United States is going to be to call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and say, "You’ve got a new mission, and that is to responsibly, carefully, but deliberately start to phase out our involvement there and to make sure that we are putting the onus on the Iraqi government to come together and do what they need to do to arrive at peace.”

    BRIAN WILLIAMS: If I could just interrupt here, before I give you your question—would the other two of you join in the 2009 pledge that Senator Obama has made concerning the withdrawal of American troops?

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: Oh, yes. I’m on record as saying exactly that as soon as I become president, we will start withdrawing within sixty days. We will move as carefully and responsibly as we can, one to two brigades a month, I believe, and we’ll have nearly all the troops out by the end of the year, I hope.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS: Senator Edwards?

    JOHN EDWARDS: I think I’ve actually, among the three of us, been the most aggressive and said that I will have all combat troops out in the first year that I’m president of the United States. I will end combat missions. And while I’m president, there will be no permanent military bases in Iraq.

    TIM RUSSERT: In September, we were in New Hampshire together, and I asked the three of you if you would pledge to have all troops out of Iraq by the end of your first term. All three of you said, you will not take that pledge. I’m hearing something much different tonight.

    JOHN EDWARDS: There’s nothing different. This is nothing different.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA: No, no, no, no. There’s nothing different, Tim. I want to make sure—no, no. I think this is important, because it was reported as if we were suggesting that we would continue a war until 2013. Your question was, could I guarantee all troops would be out of Iraq? I have been very specific in saying that we will not have permanent bases there. I will end the war, as we understand it, in combat missions, but that we are going to have to protect our embassy. We’re going to have to protect our civilians. We’re engaged in humanitarian activity there. We are going to have to have some presence that allows us to strike if al-Qaeda is creating bases inside of Iraq.

    And so, I cannot guarantee that we’re not going to have a strategic interest that I have to carry out as commander-in-chief to maintain some troop presence there, but it is not going to be engaged in war, and it will not be the sort of permanent bases and permanent military occupation that George Bush seems to be intent on.

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: You know, Tim, it’s not only George Bush. I just want to add here—

    TIM RUSSERT: But you both will have a presence?

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I think that what Barack said is what John and I also meant at that same time, because, obviously, we have to be responsible, we have to protect our embassy, we do need to make sure that, you know, our strategic interests are taken care of.

    But it’s not only George Bush. The Republican candidates running for the presidency are saying things that are very much in line with President Bush. You know, Senator McCain said the other day that we might have troops there for a hundred years, Barack. I mean, they have an entirely different view than we do about what we need to have happening as soon as we get a Democrat elected president.

    JOHN EDWARDS: Can I—

    TIM RUSSERT: Thirty seconds for Senator Edwards.

    JOHN EDWARDS: I just want to say, it is dishonest to suggest that you’re not going to have troops there to protect the embassy. That’s just not the truth. It may be great political theater and political rhetoric, but it’s not the truth.

    There is, however, a difference between us on this issue, and I don’t think it’s subtle. The difference is, I will have all combat troops out in the first year that I’m president, and there will be no further combat missions, and there will be no permanent military bases.


AMY GOODMAN: And now the voice excluded from this debate on this key issue around war, we put that question that Tim Russert put to you, Congressmember Kucinich, as well as the other candidates in New Hampshire, around the withdrawal of troops.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: I’m the only person running for president who not only voted against the war, but voted 100% of the time against funding the war. What you’ve heard here is a bunch of nuancing. They’re all saying the same thing, that they will keep troops in Iraq. The troops will be kept there to protect an embassy. The troops will be kept there for counterinsurgency and for training the Iraqi military.

Well, the fact of the matter is, we must get out of Iraq. We must end the occupation, close the bases, bring the troops home. We don’t have a right to have an embassy there, as we are an occupying army. And any way that the United States government would keep its foot in the door of Iraq is a way that the war will continue, because the occupation is fueling the insurgency.

I’m the only one running who had a plan that was introduced immediately after the invasion that called for not only an end to the occupation, closing of the bases, bringing the troops home, but also a parallel process of an international security and peacekeeping force that would move in as our troops leave. We cannot get such a force until the United States determines it will end the occupation. Once we determine we will do that, we can move and to have a rapprochement with Syria, as well as opening diplomatic relations with Iran for the first time in twenty-nine years.

It’s vitally important that we work to effect a program of reconciliation between the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds; an honest reconstruction program, where we get rid of the crooked contractors and the mercenaries who have compounded the American occupation. In addition to that, we need to have a program of reparations to the Iraqi people. Over a million innocent Iraqis have been killed. We must repair the breach. That breach was a monetary one. It is a moral and social one. We have a lot of work to do there, and we’re going to have to do it not by occupying, but by showing that we can have a leader who’s compassionate enough to recognize a moral and financial responsibility to the Iraqi people.

We also have to make sure that the Iraqi people have full control of their oil. I’m the only one who’s running who understood immediately that the Bush program for reconciliation was in fact a plan to privatize Iraq’s oil in order to gain control over a $30 billion oil wealth.

I think that it is manifestly clear that the only person running for president who will bring our troops home, who will get out of there within three months from taking office, is myself. And all the others have tried to game this issue. They either voted for the war, in the case of Senator Edwards and Senator Clinton, or they voted to fund the war, in the case of Senator Edwards, Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, who, by the way, campaigned in saying, well, he opposed the war from the start, but then when he was elected to the Senate, his voting record is indistinguishable from Senator Clinton’s with respect to funding the war. So you can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth on this thing. You’re either for getting out of Iraq, or you’re not. If you’re for getting out of Iraq, you don’t keep troops there for any purpose whatsoever.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Kucinich, Senator Edwards put his question to both people at the table, to Senator Clinton, as well as Senator Obama, saying, “Senator Clinton had raised more money from drug companies and insurance companies than any candidate, Democrat or Republican, until you passed her, Senator Obama, recently [to go] to number one.” And he said, “My question is, do you think these people expect something for this money? Why do they give it? Do they think that it’s for good government? Why do they do it?” Can you answer that question and say what you would have asked these candidates, had you been sitting at the table, as well?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, I would have asked to John Edwards, you point a finger at somebody else, you’re pointing—are you not pointing three back at yourself? The fact in the matter is, Senator Edwards, who has made a—you know, quite a gambit of being able to accuse the others of taking special interest money, his campaign was financed and given a big boost by members of the Fortress hedge fund in Washington—in New York. He would attack Senator Clinton for having money from Washington lobbyists, and he would be taking money from New York hedge fund operators.

In addition to that, his holdings in Fortress, his personal holdings—he put a huge amount of his personal investment into the Fortress hedge fund. And in one of their portfolios is Humana, which is leading the way to privatizing of Medicare. Now, since, Senator Edwards, you are advocating private accounts, that people essentially be forced to buy mandated private insurance, it seems to me that would benefit Humana and increase the value of their position in Fortress.

I think we need to have an understanding here, that the larger issue is public financing. All these people who are running for president are good people, but we have a system that—it’s a bad system. It requires people to do the kinds of pirouettes and gymnastics to make it appear that they’re pure and chaste while their opponents are not. The truth is that the whole system is rotten and that only public financing, a constitutional amendment which would overturn Buckley v. Valeo, will rescue our politics from private control. Until then, we’re going to continue to see our politics in America be as an auction, where policy is sold to the highest bidder.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressman Kucinich, we have to break. When we come back, the question is on military recruiting. Today, our listeners and viewers are hearing and watching what the debate would have looked and sounded like if Congressmember Kucinich was a part of this debate with the Democratic candidates Clinton, Obama and Edwards. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: As we break the sound barrier, including Congressmember Dennis Kucinich in the presidential—Democratic presidential debate that took place last night in Las Vegas, we now turn to a question asked by Tim Russert, host of NBC’s Meet the Press.

    TIM RUSSERT: The volunteer army, many believe, disproportionate in terms of poor and minority who participate in our armed forces. There’s a federal statute on the books, which says that if a college or university does not provide space for military recruiters or provide a ROTC program for its students, it can lose its federal funding. Will you vigorously enforce that statute?

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: Yes, I will. You know, I think that the young men and women who voluntarily join our all-volunteer military are among the best of our country. I want to do everything I can as president to make sure that they get the resources and the help that they deserve. I want a new twenty-first century GI Bill of Rights, so that our young veterans can get the money to go to college and to buy a home and start a business.

    And I’ve worked very hard on the Senate Armed Services Committee to, you know, try to make up for some of the negligence that we’ve seen from the Bush administration. You know, Tim, the Bush administration sends mixed messages. They want to recruit and retain these young people to serve our country, and then they have the Pentagon trying to take away the signing bonuses when a soldier gets wounded and ends up in the hospital, something that, you know, I’m working with a Republican senator to try to make sure never can happen again.

    So I think we should recognize that national service of all kinds is honorable, and it’s essential to the future of our country. I want to expand civilian national service. But I think that everyone should make available an opportunity for a young man or woman to be in ROTC, to be able to join the military, and I’m going to do everything I can to support the men and women in the military and their families.

    TIM RUSSERT: Of the top ten rated schools, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, they do not have ROTC programs on campus. Should they?

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: Well, there are ways they can work out fulfilling that obligation. But they should certainly not do anything that either undermines or disrespects the young men and women who wish to pursue a military career.

    TIM RUSSERT: Senator Obama, same question. Will you vigorously enforce a statute which says colleges must allow military recruiters on campus and provide ROTC programs?

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Yes. One of the striking things, as you travel around the country, you go into rural communities and you see how disproportionately they are carrying the load in this war in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan. And it is not fair.

    Now, the volunteer army, I think, is a way for us to maintain excellence. And if we [are deploying our military wisely, then a voluntary army is sufficient, although I would call for an increase in our force structure, particularly around the Army and the Marines, because I think that we’ve got to put an end to people going on three, four, five tours of duty, and the strain on families is enormous. I meet them every day.

    But I think that the obligation to serve exists for everybody, and
    that’s why I’ve put forward a] national service program that is tied to my tuition credit for students who want to go to college. You get $4,000 every year to help you go to college. In return, you have to engage in some form of national service. Military service has to be an option. We have to have civilian options, as well, not just the Peace Corps, but one of the things that we need desperately are people who are in our foreign service who are speaking foreign languages, can be more effective in a lot of the work that’s going to be required that may not be hand-to-hand combat but is going to be just as critical in ensuring our long-term safety and security.

    TIM RUSSERT: This statute’s been on the book for some time, Senator. Will you vigorously enforce the statute to cut off federal funding to a school that does not provide military recruiters and a ROTC program?

    JOHN EDWARDS: Yes, I will.


AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Kucinich, would you?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Absolutely not. Our society is being militarized. And part of the problem is NBC, which is a partner defense contractor through the ownership of General Electric of both NBC and Raytheon. So NBC is really promoting war here.

The truth of the matter is that we need to make it possible for our young people, if they desire to go in the military, they can go to a recruiter’s office, instead of telling campuses that if you don’t let recruiters on campus, you’re going to lose your money. That, to me, is antithetical to a democratic society.

We should be finding ways for young people to be able to go to college tuition-free, and I have such a proposal that would enable every person, every young person who wants to go to a two- or four-year public college or university go tuition-free, by the government spending money into circulation.

We need to reorient our society. These kind of questions really are intent on continuing the militarization of our society and of telling young people in a very covert—well, actually in a very overt way, “Well, here are your options for a career in the military,” which is an honorable career, of course, but at the same time, in our society, young people are finding not only are they having trouble being able to afford a college education, but once they get that degree, what are their options after that? I mean, our economy has been a mess.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn now to my colleague, NBC’s Brian Williams.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS: Let’s talk for a moment about Yucca Mountain. As sure as there’s somebody at a roulette table not far from here convinced that they’re one bet away from winning it all back, every person who comes here running for president promises to end the notion of storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. And the people of Nevada have found it’s easier to promise to end it than it is to end it. Anyone willing to pledge here tonight, beginning with you Senator Obama, to kill the notion of Yucca Mountain?

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA: I will end the notion of Yucca Mountain, because it has not been based on the sort of sound science that can assure the people of Nevada that they’re going to be safe. And that, I think, was a mistake.

    Now, you hate to see billions of dollars having already been spent on a mistake, but what I don’t want to do is spend additional billions of dollars and potentially create a situation that is not safe for the people of Nevada. So I’ve already—I’ve been clear from the start that Yucca, I think, was a misconceived project. We are going to have to figure out how are we storing nuclear waste. And what I want to do is to get the best experts around the table and make a determination. What are our options based on the best science available? And I think there’s a solution that can be had that’s good for the country, but also good for the people of Nevada.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS: Thirty seconds.


AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Kucinich, I’ll give you the thirty seconds.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, I mean, think about this. None of these candidates are talking about phasing out the nuclear industry, which is the underlying issue. Senator Edwards voted for Yucca Mountain, and now he’s opposed to it. We have a condition here where we have to have a carbon-free and nuclear-free energy policy. And until that happens, we’re going to keep seeing the nuclear industry trying to find place to put their waste, and Yucca Mountain is something that they’re working on.

Furthermore, here we are again. NBC, owned by General Electric. General Electric, the largest manufacturer—one of the largest manufacturers of nuclear power plants in the world, has a vested interest in seeing places around the country where nuclear waste can be deposited. They are not in any position to accept a policy that would call for a nuclear-free energy policy that phases out nuclear plants. We have dozens of nuclear plants that operating long past the time of licensure, places like Vermont Yankee, where there are serious issues relating to the integrity of the plant itself.

It’s time that America recognizes we have to move towards wind and solar and sustainable source of energy. Certainly, we have to move away from oil, coal and nuclear. And nuclear energy is the one that presents the greatest challenge, because there are hidden costs with storage. Taxpayers will get stuck with the long-term costs. Ratepayers are being stuck with immediately increased electric rates. It’s not cheap. It doesn’t help our industries. And, you know, NBC and General Electric ought to have a conversation with itself about the best approach for energy for our nation.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Kucinich, I want to thank you very much for, well, letting us hear and watch what it would be like to have you included in this debate. I’m only sorry it didn’t happen last night on MSNBC. But I’m glad that we could make it possible today.

As we wrap up, though, I wanted to ask you two quick questions. One is, while we know the role MSNBC and General Electric’s NBC played in preventing you from being a part of the debate—the last minute, filed an appeal and was able to exclude you, despite a lower court’s injunction that the debate could not go on without you—what role did these candidates who were at the table—Edwards, Clinton and Obama—play in excluding you?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, you know, I think there’s a real question about why Senators Clinton and Edwards didn’t say anything about the exclusion. Senator Obama did make a statement.

And furthermore, if, as MSNBC maintained in court, this is a private matter, here you have Democratic presidential candidates participating in a, quote, “private debate” where the public interest could be ransacked, because General Electric is involved in all kinds of interests that are quite diverse from the public interest.

So this then becomes a much larger question—much larger than, you know, my candidacy—about who’s structuring these debates? In whose interests are they being conducted? What about the questions, the way they’re framed? Why are they continuing to promote war? Why are these defense contractors involved, as in General Electric’s case? And GE owns Raytheon, GE owns NBC. Defense contracting goes up as war continues.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m going to interrupt you for one last question. Why are you calling for a recount in New Hampshire?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, because of the disparities in the reports on the day of the election that Obama was going to win by thirteen points, Senator Clinton wins by three. I want to see if there’s—if the count there was legitimate. Either the polls were horribly off, or the election machinery is flawed. And we’ll find out.

AMY GOODMAN: Will the recount happen?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Oh, yeah. It’s underway right now. You know, our campaign put up $25,000 yesterday to get started, and it is in process right now. We’ll be glad to report back to you. This is, again, a matter of whether the American people can have confidence in the results of an election. This isn’t about me, because—

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to have to leave it there.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Right.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Kucinich, thank you for joining us. I know you’re racing off to the Hill to challenge the Defense Authorization Act.

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Las Vegas Review Journal To Endorse Barack Obama

It's only a small blurb on the paper's website, but it's an important one: The Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada's biggest newspaper, will endorse Obama in tomorrow's edition, the paper announced tonight.

"In Wednesday's Review-Journal, the editorial board recommends Democrats in the Saturday caucuses support the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama," the paper says on its website. "The board notes he is the most viable of the remaining candidates for the party."

Obama's campaign, which has already won the backing of the powerful Las Vegas-based Culinary Workers Union, certainly welcomes the boost heading into the Democrats' third major contest Saturday.

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US 2008 presidential race to be most expensive ever

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The outcome of the 2008 White House election remains up in the air, but one thing is certain -- the bid to succeed President George W. Bush will be the most expensive race in history.

The cost of the last presidential campaign in 2004, considered a peak for its time, was 693 million dollars.

Common estimates of this year's total outlay have tended to come in at around one billion dollars, and Fortune magazine recently upped its overall cost projection to three billion dollars.

As a historical comparison, the campaign two decades ago that saw Republican George H.W. Bush succeed Ronald Reagan at the White House cost 59 million dollars.

Historians believe that the nation's 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, spent 100,000 dollars in his bid to take the executive office in 1860.

In the countdown to "Super Tuesday" on February 5, when 22 states including New York and California hold their primary elections, White House hopefuls are furiously bolstering their campaign war chests.

The official tally of campaign finances for 2007 will not be published until January 31 by the Federal Election Commission, but top Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have already released their numbers.

The former first lady and current New York senator's campaign said she raised a total of 115 million dollars in 2007, of which 24 million was raised during the last few months of the year.

Illinois Senator Obama has said his drive raised 103 million dollars in 2007 of which 22.5 million came in during the last part of the year.

Clinton and Obama's campaigns raked in several million dollars more -- over six million for Clinton and eight million dollars for Obama -- following the country's first nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this month.

The campaign for Republican candidate Rudolph Giuliani, who despite an early swell of support has been trailing in the presidential polls, has admitted to funding woes.

Giuliani said Friday his campaign has 12.7 million dollars, of which seven million is available as ready cash, and amid the cash shortage top staffers have agreed to go without their paychecks this month.

The admission by Giuliani's camp exposed the risks of his strategy, which aimed to reserve most of its energy and cash for the influential state of Florida and its January 29 primary, while rivals began spending heavily and gaining momentum in earlier nominating contests.

"It's not how much you raise, but how much you've got when you need it the most," said Dennis Johnson, associate dean of the school of political management at George Washington University.

Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney, a wealthy Mormon businessman, has already dished out 17 million dollars of his own, and early last week he divulged that he had reached in his own pocket for more -- though he did not say how much -- to fund his campaign in the blue-collar state of Michigan.

Of all the political aspirants in this year's White House push, Romney, formerly the governor of Massachusetts, has spent the most cash on his campaign.

According to his own estimates, as of September 30, 2007, he had spent an average of 100,000 dollars per day over the first nine months of the year.

But with Romney trailing in the polls, the breakout success of Republicans Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee and Arizona Senator John McCain has shown that money is not enough to win the election.

Just six months ago, McCain's campaign was widely viewed as dead in the water amid a cash crunch, and Huckabee had raised just two million dollars by the end of September.

But McCain surged to victory in New Hampshire and Huckabee surprised the nation with a come-from-nowhere victory in the Iowa nominating caucuses.

And in a sign that success just breeds more success, Huckabee raised eight million dollars in the last three months of 2007 and two million more in the first weeks of January, just after his Iowa splash.

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Romney Tied to Global Warming Denier Group


Aides and staffers of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are listed among the principals of a new Astroturf group set up last fall to deny the science of global warming.

The new group advertises itself as the American Environmental Coalition - "working to keep America beautiful, strong and prosperous." But the sole focus of its expensive website is to question the science of climate change.

As for its outreach activities, the AEC seems intent only on attacking Romney's presidential competitor John McCain, the Republican candidate with the best record on responding to climate change.

The AEC site was registered by Gary Marx , executive director of the Judicial Confirmation Network and Mitt Romeny's Conservative Coalitions Director. Jay Sekulow, the co-chair of Mitt Romney's Faith and Values Coalition, is also listed among the AEC's members, a who's who of conservative Christians and oily advocates for the fossil fuel industry.

Take, for example, AEC co-chair George Landrith, whose Frontiers for Freedom survives on funding from such environmental stalwarts as ExxonMobil, Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. The list also includes the likes of coal-blackened Pat Michaels and the tobacco and oil advocate-for-hire Steve Milloy.

So, Mitt Romney is campaigning on a platform to drill for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge and subsidize liquified coal (see video) while his aides promote science stories by discredited and compromised "experts" like S. Fred Singer and Sallie Baliunas.

The AEC is not an environmental organization.

It is not a science site.

It's a deliberate and transparent attempt to mislead. Romney should apologize for being involved and distance himself from the tactics.

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Will the Supreme Court Abandon Voters?

The Supreme Court heard arguments related to voter rights and Voter ID laws, last week.

The Law in Indiana is shown to disenfranchise large numbers of voters that are currently without driver’s license. This is particularly significant to poor and minority voters because many don’t have driver’s licenses and I’d be willing to bet that their vehicle ownership is much lower than any other class or white counterparts. This is a big deal for a number of reasons, but the less obvious reason is that America and the judicial system have joined forces to deny rights to disenfranchised people in America that it once defended without hesitation.

Shaking Up The Supreme Court

Many experts and pundits, including myself, were quick to voice opposition to the latest shakeup of the Supreme Court. It wasn’t a matter of qualification, which is typically the reason for such outrage. Instead, the reason for the anger had to do with the polarization of politics, government and now our judicial system. With the additions of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Alito, this shift in the court’s thinking was expected.

The cries of liberal and progressive activists throughout the world have been heard over the months. However, it doesn’t stop at liberal America. Libertarians that were once at the heart of the Republican party have been ostracized and laughed at by the new wave of conservative heroes that have taken over the party and rattled American leadership.

Here’s an excerpt from a NY Times Op-ed article on “Abandoning the Rights of Voters“:

As long as there have been elections, there have been attempts to keep eligible people from voting. States and localities adopted poll taxes, literacy tests, “white primaries,” “malapportionment” — drawing district lines to give a small number of rural voters the same representation as a large number of urban voters — and restrictions on student voting. In recent decades, the Supreme Court has rejected all of them.

Until now.

Manipulating Outcomes: Diluting the Votes

Texas

Only a few years ago, I started to recognize this trend myself. In Texas, redistricting is a hot issue and it is often the GOP that is leading the way in attempting to disenfranchise voters and force the state to permanently swing towards Republicans. It seems an odd strategy to me, considering that Texas is already a strong conservative State and doesn’t look to become liberal any time soon.

California

California is another example of a State that Republican special interest groups are targeting. If you haven’t heard, there is an effort to change the state from the traditional electoral system (Winner-takes-all) to a popular kind of system that would dish out electoral votes based on the proportion of votes each party earns. California presents an interesting case because of the amount of electoral votes it carries. By splitting up the vote and diluting the Democratic stronghold in California, it could help ensure that the Presidency remains in the hands of Republicans forever.

Historically, as the NY Times piece argued, the Supreme Court has been in favor of encouraging strong democratic ideals:

The court understood that the Constitution guaranteed a robust form of democracy and saw its clear value for the nation. During the tumultuous late-1960s, Chief Justice Earl Warren declared that most of the country’s problems could be solved through the political process if everyone “has the opportunity to participate on equal terms with everyone else and can share in electing representatives who will be representative of the entire community and not of some special interest.”

In recent years, however, with a conservative majority in place, the court has become increasingly hostile to voters. During the oral arguments in the Bush v. Gore case in 2000, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor showed disdain for voters who had trouble with Florida’s disastrous punch-card ballots. After insisting that the directions “couldn’t be clearer,” she suggested that the court ignore the ballots of voters who had failed to master the intricacies. That is precisely what it did, by a 5-4 vote.

What is with Republicans and Voting, why is this a “Conservative” problem?

Haven’t Democrats equally tried to disenfranchise Republican voters in the past? If the answer is No, then why not? Is this just a matter of one party deciding that the ends justify the means? How is it that our legal system is getting involved in this mess? Is this a political question that the courts need to stay away from? Will the Supreme Court facilitate the GOP’s desire for dominance at the top of American leadership? More importantly, is this a true conspiracy unfolding before our very eyes or is this another case of liberals overreacting because this time they are on the outside looking in?

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DON'T amend the US Constitution to allow a pseudo-theocracy!

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article. I.

Section 1.

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section. 2.

Clause 1: The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

Clause 2: No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Clause 3: Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. (See Note 2) The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

Clause 4: When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

Clause 5: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section. 3.

Clause 1: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, (See Note 3) for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Clause 2: Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies. (See Note 4)

Clause 3: No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

Clause 4: The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

Clause 5: The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

Clause 6: The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Clause 7: Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Section. 4.

Clause 1: The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

Clause 2: The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, (See Note 5) unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Section. 5.

Clause 1: Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Clause 2: Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Clause 3: Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Clause 4: Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section. 6.

Clause 1: The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. (See Note 6) They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, beprivileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

Clause 2: No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Section. 7.

Clause 1: All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Clause 2: Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Clause 3: Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section. 8.

Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Clause 2: To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

Clause 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Clause 4: To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

Clause 5: To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

Clause 6: To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

Clause 7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

Clause 8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Clause 9: To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

Clause 10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;

Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

Clause 16: 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;

Clause 17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, byCession 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

Clause 18: 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.

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.

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.

Clause 3: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

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. (See Note 7)

Clause 5: No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

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.

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.

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.

Section. 10.

Clause 1: No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

Clause 2: No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

Clause 3: No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Article. II.

Section. 1.

Clause 1: The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows

Clause 2: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Clause 3: The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President. (See Note 8)

Clause 4: The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

Clause 5: No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Clause 6: In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, (See Note 9) the Same shall devolve on the VicePresident, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

Clause 7: The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Clause 8: Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Section. 2.

Clause 1: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

Clause 2: He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

Clause 3: The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section. 3.

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section. 4.

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article. III.

Section. 1.

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section. 2.

Clause 1: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;--between a State and Citizens of another State; (See Note 10)--between Citizens of different States, --between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

Clause 2: In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

Clause 3: The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section. 3.

Clause 1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Clause 2: The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Article. IV.

Section. 1.

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section. 2.

Clause 1: The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

Clause 2: A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

Clause 3: No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due. (See Note 11)

Section. 3.

Clause 1: New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

Clause 2: The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Section. 4.

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

Article. V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Article. VI.

Clause 1: All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Clause 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article. VII.

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

GO WASHINGTON--Presidt. and deputy from Virginia

[Signed also by the deputies of twelve States.]

Delaware

Geo: Read
Gunning Bedford jun
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jaco: Broom

Maryland

James MCHenry
Dan of ST ThoS. Jenifer
DanL Carroll.

Virginia

John Blair--
James Madison Jr.

North Carolina

WM Blount
RichD. Dobbs Spaight.
Hu Williamson

South Carolina

J. Rutledge
Charles 1ACotesworth Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler.

Georgia

William Few
Abr Baldwin

New Hampshire

John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman

Massachusetts

Nathaniel Gorham
Rufus King

Connecticut
WM. SamL. Johnson
Roger Sherman

New York

Alexander Hamilton

New Jersey

Wil: Livingston
David Brearley.
WM. Paterson.
Jona: Dayton

Pennsylvania

B Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
RobT Morris
Geo. Clymer
ThoS. FitzSimons
Jared Ingersoll
James Wilson.
Gouv Morris

Attest William Jackson Secretary

NOTES

Note 1: This text of the Constitution follows the engrossed copy signed by Gen. Washington and the deputies from 12 States. The small superior figures preceding the paragraphs designate Clauses, and were not in the original and have no reference to footnotes.

The Constitution was adopted by a convention of the States on September 17, 1787, and was subsequently ratified by the several States, on the following dates: Delaware, December 7, 1787; Pennsylvania, December 12, 1787; New Jersey, December 18, 1787; Georgia, January 2, 1788; Connecticut, January 9, 1788; Massachusetts, February 6, 1788; Maryland, April 28, 1788; South Carolina, May 23, 1788; New Hampshire, June 21, 1788.

Ratification was completed on June 21, 1788.

The Constitution was subsequently ratified by Virginia, June 25, 1788; New York, July 26, 1788; North Carolina, November 21, 1789; Rhode Island, May 29, 1790; and Vermont, January 10, 1791.

In May 1785, a committee of Congress made a report recommending an alteration in the Articles of Confederation, but no action was taken on it, and it was left to the State Legislatures to proceed in the matter. In January 1786, the Legislature of Virginia passed a resolution providing for the appointment of five commissioners, who, or any three of them, should meet such commissioners as might be appointed in the other States of the Union, at a time and place to be agreed upon, to take into consideration the trade of the United States; to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial regulations may be necessary to their common interest and their permanent harmony; and to report to the several States such an act, relative to this great object, as, when ratified by them, will enable the United States in Congress effectually to provide for the same. The Virginia commissioners, after some correspondence, fixed the first Monday in September as the time, and the city of Annapolis as the place for the meeting, but only four other States were represented, viz: Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; the commissioners appointed by Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Rhode Island failed to attend. Under the circumstances of so partial a representation, the commissioners present agreed upon a report, (drawn by Mr. Hamilton, of New York,) expressing their unanimous conviction that it might essentially tend to advance the interests of the Union if the States by which they were respectively delegated would concur, and use their endeavors to procure the concurrence of the other States, in the appointment of commissioners to meet at Philadelphia on the Second Monday of May following, to take into consideration the situation of the United States; to devise such further provisions as should appear to them necessary to render the Constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union; and to report such an act for that purpose to the United States in Congress assembled as, when agreed to by them and afterwards confirmed by the Legislatures of every State, would effectually provide for the same.

Congress, on the 21st of February, 1787, adopted a resolution in favor of a convention, and the Legislatures of those States which had not already done so (with the exception of Rhode Island) promptly appointed delegates. On the 25th of May, seven States having convened, George Washington, of Virginia, was unanimously elected President, and the consideration of the proposed constitution was commenced. On the 17th of September, 1787, the Constitution as engrossed and agreed upon was signed by all the members present, except Mr. Gerry of Massachusetts, and Messrs. Mason and Randolph, of Virginia. The president of the convention transmitted it to Congress, with a resolution stating how the proposed Federal Government should be put in operation, and an explanatory letter. Congress, on the 28th of September, 1787, directed the Constitution so framed, with the resolutions and letter concerning the same, to "be transmitted to the several Legislatures in order to be submitted to a convention of delegates chosen in each State by the people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the convention."

On the 4th of March, 1789, the day which had been fixed for commencing the operations of Government under the new Constitution, it had been ratified by the conventions chosen in each State to consider it, as follows: Delaware, December 7, 1787; Pennsylvania, December 12, 1787; New Jersey, December 18, 1787; Georgia, January 2, 1788; Connecticut, January 9, 1788; Massachusetts, February 6, 1788; Maryland, April 28, 1788; South Carolina, May 23, 1788; New Hampshire, June 21, 1788; Virginia, June 25, 1788; and New York, July 26, 1788.

The President informed Congress, on the 28th of January, 1790, that North Carolina had ratified the Constitution November 21, 1789; and he informed Congress on the 1st of June, 1790, that Rhode Island had ratified the Constitution May 29, 1790. Vermont, in convention, ratified the Constitution January 10, 1791, and was, by an act of Congress approved February 18, 1791, "received and admitted into this Union as a new and entire member of the United States."

Note 2: The part of this Clause relating to the mode of apportionment of representatives among the several States has been affected by Section 2 of amendment XIV, and as to taxes on incomes without apportionment by amendment XVI.

Note 3: This Clause has been affected by Clause 1 of amendment XVII.

Note 4: This Clause has been affected by Clause 2 of amendment XVIII.

Note 5: This Clause has been affected by amendment XX.

Note 6: This Clause has been affected by amendment XXVII.

Note 7: This Clause has been affected by amendment XVI.

Note 8: This Clause has been superseded by amendment XII.

Note 9: This Clause has been affected by amendment XXV.

Note 10: This Clause has been affected by amendment XI.

Note 11: This Clause has been affected by amendment XIII.

This information has been compiled from the U.S. Code. The U.S. Code is published by the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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