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Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Real Constitution: Article VI (Supremacy and Authority of the Constitution)

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.

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.

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.
As obvious as it may seem to make the United States Constitution supreme to the state constitutions, Edmund Randolph didn't think the Articles of Confederation were, "ratified, as it was in many of the states."

Randolph also proposed that all three branches of government be asked to take an oath to support the Constitution as part of the Virginia Plan.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Real Constitution: Article V (Amendment Process)

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.
The Articles of Confederation required any "alteration" to be agreed to by Congress and every single state Legislature. Edmund Randolph proposed as part of the Virginia Plan "that provision ought to be made for the amendment of the Articles of Union whensoever it shall seem necessary, and that the assent of the National Legislature ought not to be required thereto."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Real Constitution: Article IV, Section IV (Pledge of the United States to the Individual States)

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.
A lot of this section has its roots in Edmund Randolph's Virginia Plan; the Articles of Confederation did not explicitly guarantee "a Republican Form of Government" to the states, perhaps because it was really subordinate to the states and not the other way around. Randolph also worried that the confederation "produced no security against foreign invasion" and "could not check... a rebellion in any [state]".