The U.S. Constitution Needs a New Equal Rights Amendment
Amendments have been added to the U.S. Constitution in order to assure equal rights for various groups of persons. These groups have included freed slaves, women voters, and civil rights for all minorities.
However, a new equal rights amendment is badly needed, and this amendment will be the most comprehensive of all: it would be an amendment to force government at all levels to obey the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the administration of laws, mandated Federal programs, and regulations. Right now, the Federal government and its employees enjoy a privileged status, a special group of rights -- including the right to deprive private citizens of the rights given to them by the Constitution.
Here’s an example. The Supreme Court recently ruled in the Horne Case No. 14-275 that if the Department of Agriculture seizes raisins in order to bring price stability to the raisin market it must give just compensation to the raisin growers. The raisin growers cannot be forced to wait until the raisins are sold, up to a year later, and then maybe get an unsatisfactory amount for the seized raisins. This reflects the Fifth Amendment requirement that property cannot be taken for public use without just compensation. But the government through its various agencies violates the takings clause every day.
If someone loses a house to a tax sale, that house is being taken for public use, viz., to pay the back taxes. These taxes are purely for public use. No government would say the property taxes are going to private use. Yet I am not aware of any county in the U.S. that is required, by state law, to provide just compensation to the person whose house was taken. The county should sell the house at a tax sale, deduct the taxes owed, then give the owner compensation equal to the market value -- assessed value -- of the house. If the county assesses the value of the house at $150,000 and it sold for $40,000 at a back taxes sale, then the homeowner is owed $110,000 in just compensation.
Of course, if counties had to obey the Fifth Amendment and give just compensation they could no longer use the threat of a tax sale to extort money from property owners to fund their outrageous pensions. However, this is not a constitutional argument. This takings clause argument is valid.
All bureaucratic seizures and fines must provide due process since they involve the seizure of property, whether this property is something like cattle, money seized by the IRS, or land. And if something tangible is taken, the citizen must be given just compensation. Right now, Federal agencies act as if their regulations are laws, so their rulings must be treated as criminal cases, not bureaucratic rulings.In the recent case in Nevada where a cattle owner was harassed for grazing rights, no trial by jury was ever held.
There is nothing in the Constitution that provides an exception for a Federal regulation to abuse property rights or due process rights. If all these ridiculous agencies, which are not created by the consent of the governed, had to respect the rights of citizens, they would soon be out of business. Which makes the point that if they are unconstitutional they should not exist anyway. In effect, the only way these Federal bureaucrats can get away with violating constitutional rights is to violate constitutional rights. If they are required to treat regulatory rulings as criminal hearings; which they are since they seize money and property, then they must, according to the new amendment, provide full due process, including a jury.
Similarly, Federal government workers and governments at all levels get away with unequal treatment with regard to programs such as social security. There is nothing in the Constitution that says some teacher unions and government workers should be exempt from paying the payroll taxes that go to social security and Medicare. Yet, government workers have royally declared, in violation of the Constitution, that they can set up their own retirement plans, and give unequal treatment to themselves while forcing the great majority of workers to pay social security taxes.
Federal agencies have been clandestinely giving themselves special, unconstitutional privileges for over one hundred years. Federal collective bargaining rights were established in 1962 by an illegal “Executive Order” issued by JFK's, order 10988. The loophole Kennedy exploited here was that nothing in the Constitution says the Federal government must obey all the laws it establishes for everyone else. The Framers just assumed they were gentlemen and would. They were wrong.
This is particularly outrageous and unconstitutional with regard to ObamaCare. The president, who has preached about how great ObamaCare is for everybody, exempts himself and his family from ObamaCare. Congress exempts its members and selected labor unions all over the nation who have made campaign donations. This is clearly unconstitutional. All government workers should have to obey the laws they pass for everyone else.
And this unequal treatment of Americans seems to have been planned. If one carefully reads the Fourteenth Amendment, the amendment clearly says that “states” must provide equal protection under the law. It does not say the Federal government must provide equal protection. This was, obviously, done intentionally. Similarly, the Civil Rights Act is directed only towards the private sector. It allows that workers may sue their employers but not that citizens may sue the Federal government for such things as unequal treatment under ObamaCare, social security, and all other Federal mandates. The IRS has its own court system that arrogantly denies access to due process, fearing that juries will not seize money from their neighbors. Once again, the Federal government acts like the Constitution only applies to the private sector.
This reminds one of George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm. In that novel, a pig named Napoleon rises to power, just like Democrats, by proclaiming that all animals on the farm are equal. Eventually the pig becomes drunk with power and amends the law to “some animals are more equal than others.”
Here’s the core constitutional issue. The EPA would say they can’t allow juries to decide on who pollutes, since then pollution would run amok. But that’s a false argument. Juries would just tell a company to clean up a chemical spill, make a reasonable effort to restore the damage, and that’s the end of it. The EPA would argue that chaos would ensue. But this argument is against the basic principle of the constitution that the people know what’s best, not government. The Constitution is designed to constrain the excesses of government, not sow distrust of juries. The EPA and IRS do not operate under supervision of the governed.
Citizens must demand an amendment stating that Federal enforcement of regulations must follow due process and that government employees must adhere to all the laws and programs they force on citizens. This amendment must be followed by a long list of enforcement procedures and injunctive relief, like those of the Civil Rights Act, that enable citizens to easily sue all agencies of government in Federal Court for unequal treatment.