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18 thoughts on “What were they thinking? pg 3

  1. Librarian said:

    Interesting that the Confederacy is “The United States of America,” while the Constitution is “The United States,” you’d think maybe there was a little more going on than just mixing up pluralities…

    • UsaSatsui said:

      Might want to read that founding document a bit more closely. The end of the Preamble says, “…ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”

  2. jzx0 said:

    Possible aside or footnote: There are people generally known as “Sovereign Citizens,” although they go by many names, who believe that the entirety of US law somehow ended at this point. This tends to land them in all kinds of trouble. Trouble which they usually attempt to defend on their own behalf using pseudo-legalistic tactics loosely based on these historical documents. This always ends poorly for them.

    • Furslid said:

      I find the Sovereign Citizens funny. They think that the government ignores the constitution. They also think that their appeals to the constitution won’t get ignored by the same government. Slight contradiction there.

      • Jeff B said:

        A relative of mine worked for a mental hospital for many years, and once told me about a patient who was doing legal research in the library to try to find the magical law that would force the CIA to take the mind control devices out of his brain. Confronted with this and flustered, he asked, “If they have the power to do that, why would they let a law that made them stop get passed?” Apparently this satisfied the patient enough that he gave up on that angle.

      • Kris Overstreet said:

        I don’t find the sovereign citizen movement funny at all- particularly since they trace their authority to ancestors who were US citizens prior to adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. In other words, there’s a huge chunk of white supremacy and neo-Confederate support in the sovereign citizens.

        • Which is ironic, considering that (from what I’ve read) a substantial number of sov cits are black.

          Or maybe not so ironic, as the racist stuff isn’t really important to the present-day iteration of the conspiracy theory.

  3. Jonas said:

    “[Under the Articles of Confederation] The United States have an indefinite discretion to make requisitions for men and money; but they have no authority to raise either by regulations extending to the individual citizens of America…. In theory their resolutions concerning those objects are laws consitutionally binding on the members of the Union, yet in practice they are mere recommendations which the States observe or disregard at their option.” Hard to have a rule of law when the law has no power.

    Also, how different were those United States from the modern U.N.? Isn’t it the same idea of an empire in an empire?

    • They are often compared to the UN, NATO, or the EU.

  4. Oddstar said:

    Where are you getting the idea that the “only judiciary was for (inherently international) maritime cases”? Article IX made Congress “the last resort on appeal in all disputes and differences now subsisting or that hereafter may arise between two or more States concerning . . . any other causes whatever”; it then described the procedure by which Congress would delegate that authority to a court of judges chosen for that specific case. I found no mention of any separate judiciary to hear maritime cases. So the judicial power of the United States under the Articles, though highly limited in subject matter jurisdiction, was not limited to maritime or other inherently international cases, and was vested in Congress as well.

    • You’re not quite correct. The only courts that could be established were “for the trial of piracies and felonies committed on the high seas” and “for receiving and determining finally appeals in all cases of captures.”

      The appeals you mention are not to any court system, but to Congress. The states themselves would then appoint any commissioners or judges who would hear that one petition, creating an ad-hoc panel. Not a court system. Not a judiciary.

      An independent, national judiciary frankly hadn’t occurred to anyone at the time. Except, again, maybe Benjamin Franklin. Who was a definite one-off.

      • Bruce Coulson said:

        Since the idea of the United States first started with Ben it would be more correct to present Ben Franklin, rather than George Washington, as the true Father of Our Country (in more than one way, actually…:)) Still, Ben wouldn’t mind sharing the credit for an idea that ultimately was a collaborative effort.

  5. ze said:

    I’m trying to find some modern comparison, because it’s kind of weird to think of the US as fifty separate mini countries. Would the government under the Articles of Confederation have been comparable to the EU?

    • Similar to the EU, yes. Still independent states, but they’ve ceded some of their sovereignty to a central institution (or institutions, plural, in the case of the EU).

      They’re not totally the same, though. The EU, for example, gives more powers to its central institutions — and in varying degrees. For some things, the EU institutions have significantly more authority than the Confederation’s Congress did. For other things, they share the authority with the member states. And still other things are up to the member states, but with EU guidance.

      The multiplicity of institutions in the EU is another important distinction. The European Commission is a kind of executive, though it also gets to propose legislation. The legislation is done by two branches, kind of like a House and Senate, only not really. The House equivalent is the Parliament, whose members are elected by the citizens directly. The Senate equivalent is the Council, made up of “ministers” (kind of like our “Secretary of…”) from each of the countries. Each has other functions, as well. They also have their own judiciary, their own diplomatic corps, their own central bank, and a “court of auditors.”

      But these distinctions aside, the setup is indeed similar to the Articles of Confederation.

      • SeanR said:

        Being that I think our own central government is about 100 years too big, I fear for the Europeans.
        I don’t count my self a sovereign citizen member, but I believe competition is a crucial factor in maintaining a balance of power between the customer and the provider, or the governed and the government.
        Or, more familiarly to some. The employee and the employer.
        When there’s only one game in town, the house tends to have a sizable advantage.

  6. nick012000 said:

    It’s not quite related to the current course of the comic, but out of curiosity, have you seen this video by Adult Swim?

    Apparently the dialog comes word-for-word from the court documents in a real murder trial, too.

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