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Obama, oaths and the end of constitutional government

Posted: January 20, 2009
1:00 am Eastern


By Alan Keyes and John Haskins
© 2009 


Now steps onto the stage of world history a man apparently quite conscious that the Supreme Law of the United States prevents him from being president of the United States.

For why else would anyone hire lawyers and expend millions of dollars to avoid producing a $12.50 birth certificate to show eligibility under the Constitution? ‘Midst the rhythmic chants of a delirious, sycophantic media, inaugural splendor will substitute for simple proof that the United States of America will have a constitutionally legitimate president.

If Obama is not eligible, legally, the United States of America will have no president. A usurper will wield such power as few men have ever held, having no constitutional warrant. However beloved of the media or adored by racialist groupies, and irrespective of public support, Obama will be a tyrant, in the original sense of the word (from the Greek tyrannos meaning one who wields power to which he has no lawful claim). As he sends young soldiers to die, even the appearance of his usurpation of presidential powers will insult their sacrifice and thwart the Constitution they give their all to preserve. Even as he utters the oath – hand on Lincoln’s Bible – he will betray it, not upholding, protecting and defending the Constitution, but subverting it.

The elites insist that we should pretend to be convinced by an exhibition of a “certificate of live birth” via the Internet, lacking the very information the Constitution requires. On the strength of this we are to exercise blind faith and risk the consequences of an unconstitutional usurpation of the presidency?

“Put not your faith in men, but bind them down with the chains of the constitution,” Jefferson warned us. Caesar rose to power on the passions of men, and killed a republic. Napoleon did the same. So did Hitler, with strong support from the secularized, university-educated elite. But the elites approve as Obama whistles past the Constitution, just as they did when Mitt Romney flushed away the Constitution he’d sworn to uphold. They regard the Supreme Law of the United States as a dead letter, “living and breathing” of course, which is their code for dead and buried.

Like the sophisticated, educated elites in Weimar, Germany, they long to live under what they presume will be a benevolent dictatorship. This one will be different, they are quite sure: soft, touchy-feely, agreeably in tune with the restless, ever-mutating consensus of the chattering class. Thus was it in human history, until the Declaration birthed our state and federal constitutions, now just archaic platitudes, to shape naïve youths in American History classes as docile subjects of bureaucratic tyranny.

It would not be hard to clarify Obama’s eligibility to be president. The Constitution provided an entire branch of government to adjudicate constitutional questions. But judges have concocted various “rules” over the years that they cite as their license to violate the Constitution and to excuse their failure to uphold it. These they now use to claim that Americans lack standing to ask their courts for a judgment of fact required by our Supreme Law. They dismiss lawsuits that ask only that judges fulfill their oaths and uphold the Constitution. Are solemn oaths now meaningless?

Whether rooted in incompetence, cowardice or calculated cynicism, these dismissals of valid lawsuits are willful subversions of the Constitution, the inevitable result of legal education that substitutes judicial decrees for the authority of real laws and constitutions.

‘Discretion’ to violate one’s oath?

An article in the Michigan Law Review rehearses the legal gibberish being used to obscure a simple issue. It boils down to this: Constitutional law makes the Constitution unenforceable. By what anti-logic can a Constitution make itself unenforceable?

Clearly solemn oaths to uphold the Supreme Law of the United States are now meaningless. “We’ve washed our hands,” the judges are saying. Politicians are on the honor system now, they say.

But among those who claim that “prudential” or discretionary considerations prevail over solemnly sworn non-discretionary oaths, honor is obsolete. What remains is the law of the jungle, tarted up in lawyer-talk. It’s every man for himself. The strong versus the weak.

The article relies on the hidden presuppositions and circular legal reasoning that lawyers and judges use in totalitarian regimes. For example, a claim that citizens have no “standing” to demand that the law be carried out:

The three requirements for Article III standing are well-established. …

The author’s passing reference to Article III in the Constitution is a lawyer’s head-fake. Revealingly, he’s forced to take immediate cover in judges’ thoughts (which modern lawyers pretentiously call “case law”) rather than the Constitution itself:

Under current case law, plaintiffs in the cases challenging the presidential candidates’ eligibility probably lack standing. In fact, it is questionable whether anyone would have standing … in federal court as an initial matter, due to the prudential limitations on standing. … First, as described in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife and other cases … the Court has said. In Allen v. Wright, for example, the Court held …

The vocabulary and hidden dogma would not even make sense to those who wrote or ratified the Constitution: “Current case law.” “Well-established.” “Probably lack standing.” “Questionable.” “Prudential limitations.” “The Court has said.” “The Court held.” It is all about judges’ thoughts, which over the years produce multiple layers of self-contradiction.

Attempts to equate the modern fiction of judge-made “law” with the ancient system of English Common Law are inept or dishonest. Those who established our form of government left no room for the concept of judges’ opinions as law. The Massachusetts Constitution is more brutally explicit than most: “[T]he people … are not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent.” (Part I, Article X.)

The term “case law” did not exist and could not have existed because it was a negation of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and of the United States of America itself. The term had to be invented much later by lawyers to hide their theft of power from the people. Portrayal of judges’ opinions as the law itself reveals that the Constitution has been put out to pasture – even when it is the subject of dispute. But fear not. Judges’ opinions about the Constitution are even better than the real thing.

Ironically, judges’ failure to carry out their oaths and uphold the Constitution fatally undermines the reasoning that supports their authentic role as “guardians of the Constitution.” As Founding Father Alexander Hamilton wrote:

“The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought of course, to be preferred; or, in other words the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.” (The Federalist Papers, No. 78, italics added)

Hamilton made clear binding principles of American law and government then universally understood and both explicit and implicit in our Constitutions:

  • the duty of judges to faithfully defend the original intent of the fundamental law of the United States is never discretionary, but always obligatory;
  • It is a duty to interpret, not to generate law;
  • jurisprudence is original intent jurisprudence or else it is not jurisprudence at all;
  • The Constitution is fundamental, which in plain English means simply that when not honestly interpreted and enforced the foundation of government is removed.

Some shout that “an election” cannot be overturned, Constitution or no constitution. This is irrational and is the road to tyranny.

A simple majority vote for any particular president can never trump the ground rules established by the people as a whole: the duly ratified Constitution which is the Supreme Law of the United States. Therein are found the rules by which a simple plurality of voters may legally impose on an unwilling remainder of the population a president by whom the remainder do not wish to be governed.

The sovereign collective act that ordained the Constitution determines the legitimacy of every subsequent act under its authority, including elections by the people. If the Supreme Law establishing the rules and boundaries of elections and government is abrogated, the legitimacy of the government itself is undermined. If any transient majority can use an ordinary election to bypass the Constitution, there is no Constitution, only the tyranny of the majority. Judges are obliged by their oath of office to declare illegal acts that violate the Constitution.

The legitimacy of government is not merely an abstract concern. Laws are more easily enforced, and with less occasion for violence and conflict, when government has the respect and allegiance of the people. Under despotic government based on fear, cults of personality and sharing of the spoils, power is the personal instrument of the rulers (res private). Under constitutional government, power belongs to the people (res publica), whose will and intention the Constitution declares. Loyalty to the Constitution displaces personal fealty as the focal point of respect for law. When public officials show contempt for the Constitution, they set the stage for an escalation of force as the instrument of the law; and for the eruption of civil conflict.


Throughout the history of the United States, the frequent descent of other nations (France, Italy, Germany, Spain, India, China, Sudan, etc.) into anarchy, violence and dictatorship has reminded conscientious leaders in America that inculcating respect and love for our Constitution is a matter of national survival. Enlightened self-interest made the Judiciary one of the chief promoters and guardians of this essential sentiment. So also public-spirited elements of the American elite were prudent enough to fear the consequences of letting our government slip into the pattern of devalued legitimacy that produces historic cycles of repression, violence and perpetual conflict seen around the world.

Today, technological advances and sweeping expansion of corporate enterprise have encouraged boundless self-satisfaction and arrogance among our elites. Through the virtual reality of the information media and economic manipulation, they shape perception, consciousness and behavior, dispensing, they believe, with the practical need for moral leadership and for education that inculcates character. They scorn character as the basis for self-government, creating in its stead a powerful illusion of their own infallible technical and economic competence. For now they preserve the outward appearance of respect for the people, but as modern techniques of despotism take their effect they will no longer need the mask of constitutional process to obscure the end of the age of government based upon the consent of the governed.

It is no accident that, as his hands reach for the levers of power, Barack Obama feels safe in refusing to show meticulous public compliance with the Constitution’s requirements. After all, among those who swear our solemn oaths, honor has gone out of style. Cavalier disregard for the Constitution and the authority of the sovereign People who ratified it as a whole, suggests the imminence of the power elite’s nonchalant abandonment of the very guarantee of our liberty.

Like the dog who didn’t bark in the Sherlock Holmes story, the silent complicity of America’s elites, including judges, elected officials and others sworn to uphold the Constitution, reveals to those who are not asleep, or blinded by selfish ambition, that the silver blaze of liberty is being extinguished by the very guardians who ought to be keepers of the flame.

     Our President-elect, Barack H. Obama, has resigned his seat in the United States Senate less than two weeks after his election, the earliest any President-elect has done such an action. In the two weeks since his election, Obama has maintained a somewhat low profile, except for a 60 Minutes interview, a trip to the White House to check out the new “digs”, and meetings to set up his Administration. He even took the future First Lady to dinner at their favorite Italian restaurant in Chicago for a three hour quiet dinner. And all of this while the number of lawsuits and challenges to his eligibility to be elected the President continue to mount.

     Dr. Alan Keyes has become a party to a California lawsuit seeking to have the Secretary of State require verification of Obama’s birth records. Philip Berg’s case is pending an answer from the Obama lawyers before the U.S. Supreme Court. There are lawsuits pending against several other Secretary of States with similar issues as expressed in Dr. Keyes’ complaint.

     In the Washington Times Weekly, a full page ad ran in the November 17th edition that hit the streets this weekend:


     The answer to all of this seems so simple: Barack Obama should simply release the verifiable original document that the State of Hawaii recently acknowledged that they had on file. The time, the moment, is now, to put this matter to rest. There are far too many issues facing this Nation to have the air of uncertainty about Obama’s Constitutional eligibility remain as we move forward. Yes, 52% of the electorate voted for Obama, but if he cannot meet the Constitutional requirements, he cannot be permitted to take the Oath of Office– the oath that says he will “uphold the Constitution”.