Searching for “Marriage” in the Fourteenth Amendment
By Publius Huldah.
During April 2015, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Obergefell v Hodges and consolidated cases. The questions presented for the Court to decide are: 1
- Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a State to license a marriage of two people of the same sex?
- Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage of two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state? 2
Section 1 of the 14th Amendment says:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.” [emphasis mine] 3
Obviously, §1 says nothing about “marriage” or “homosexuality”. So how can it be said to authorize the supreme Court to FORCE States to accept same sex marriage?
Simple! All they have to do is redefine “liberty” in §1 to get it to mean whatever they need it to mean in order to get the result they want in the cases before them.
And that is precisely what the supreme Court has been doing. In Roe v. Wade (1973), they looked at the word, “liberty”, in §1 and said it means “privacy”, and “privacy” means you can kill your baby. The Court said under Part VIII of their Opinion:
“…This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is … is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy…”
In Lawrence v. Texas (2003), they looked at the word, “liberty”, in §1 and said it means “consulting adults have the right to engage in private acts of homosexual sodomy”:
“We conclude the case should be resolved by determining whether the petitioners were free as adults to engage in the private conduct in the exercise of their liberty under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment…” (1st para under II)
“…The case does involve two adults who, with full and mutual consent from each other, engaged in sexual practices common to a homosexual lifestyle. The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct …” (3rd para up from end) [emphasis mine]
Do you see? The supreme Court uses the word, “liberty”, in §1 of the 14th Amendment to justify practices they approve of and want to force everybody else to accept. 4
And by claiming that these practices constitute “liberty rights” which arise under §1 of the 14th Amendment, they evade the constitutional limits on their judicial power.
I’ll show you.
The Constitution does not permit federal courts to hear any case the Judges want to hear. Instead, a case must fall within one of a few categories before federal courts have jurisdiction to hear it.
Article III, §2, clause 1, lists the cases federal courts have the delegated authority to hear. They may hear only cases:
- Arising under the Constitution, or the Laws of the United States, or Treaties made under the Authority of the United States [“federal question” jurisdiction];
- Affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers & Consuls; cases of admiralty & maritime Jurisdiction; or cases in which the U.S. is a Party [“status of the parties” jurisdiction]; and
- Cases between two or more States; between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States; and certain cases between a State and Citizens of another State or Citizens or Subjects of a foreign State [“diversity” jurisdiction].
Alexander Hamilton writes in Federalist No. 83 (8th para):
“…the judicial authority of the federal judicatures is declared by the Constitution to comprehend certain cases particularly specified. The expression of those cases marks the precise limits beyond which the federal courts cannot extend their jurisdiction…” [emphasis mine]
If a case does not fit within one of these categories, federal courts may not lawfully hear it.
In Federalist No. 80, Hamilton explains the categories of cases over which federal Courts have jurisdiction.
Since the “right” to same sex marriage is claimed to arise under §1 of the 14th Amendment, we will focus on Hamilton’s discussion of cases “arising under this Constitution”; or, as Hamilton puts it, cases:
“…which concern the execution of the provisions expressly contained in the articles of Union…” (2nd para) [emphasis mine]
“Expressly contained”. Hamilton then gives examples of such cases: If a State violates the constitutional provisions which prohibit States from imposing duties on imported articles, or from issuing paper money [Art. I, §10], the federal courts are in the best position to overrule infractions which are “in manifest contravention of the articles of Union. [i.e., Constitution]”
Do you see?
So! Where are provisions addressing marriage and homosexuality “expressly contained” in our Constitution?
The answer any competent 8th grader should be able to give is, “Nowhere!”
So now you see how Justices on the supreme Court evaded the constitutional limits on their judicial Power: They fabricated individual “constitutional rights” so that they could then pretend that the cases “arise under the Constitution”!
But power over abortion, homosexuality, and marriage is nowhere in our Constitution delegated to the national government over the Country at Large. 5
The supreme Court has usurped power over these objects. Their opinions are void for lack of jurisdiction and are proper objects of nullification. 6
It is time for The People and The States to man-up and smack down the supreme Court. Scrape the Court’s barnacles off Our Constitution! State Legislatures must make laws directing all State and local governments and Citizens to ignore such usurpatious opinions of the supreme Court.
1 The briefs of the parties are HERE. The Questions Presented are set forth on pages 2 & 3.
2 If a same-sex marriage is contracted in one State pursuant to the laws of that State, are other States obligated, under the “full faith and credit clause”, to acknowledge the marriage as valid? Article IV, §1 states:
“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.” [boldface mine]
At the time of our Framing, “marriage” does not appear to have been encompassed within “public Act or record”. In Federalist No. 42 (next to last para), Madison comments on the clause in connection with criminal and civil justice. An Act of the First Congress (May 26, 1790) which implemented the clause addresses laws made by State legislatures. An amendment to the 1790 Act (March 27, 1804), addresses “records” which may be kept in any public office of the State. But this cannot have included marriage records because a number of the original 13 States recognized common law marriage. And even for States which required formalities (e.g., Virginia), marriages could be accomplished by publication of banns and subsequent recordation in church and parish records – which were not “public records”. Marriage licenses issued by the States were a later development. The meaning of the clause which prevailed when the Constitution was drafted and ratified remains until changed by formal Amendment to the Constitution. So the full faith and credit clause does NOT require States to recognize marriages contracted under the laws of other States.
3 Professor Raoul Berger shows in Government by Judiciary: The Transformation of the Fourteenth Amendment, that the purpose of §1 of the 14th Amendment was to extend citizenship to freed slaves and protect them from southern Black Codes which denied them basic rights.
Professor Berger shows in Chapter 11 (page 222 of his book) that “due process” is a term with a “precise technical import” going back to the Magna Charta. It means that a person’s life, liberty or property can’t be taken away from him except by the judgment of his peers pursuant to a fair trial! Berger stresses that “due process of law” refers only to trials – to judicial proceedings in courts of justice. It does not involve judicial power to override State Laws!
In short, the due process clause of the 14th Amendment was to protect freed slaves from being lynched, imprisoned, or having their stuff taken away except pursuant to the judgment of their peers after a fair trial! It had nothing to do with “liberating” the American People from moral laws established thousands of years ago.
Section 1 of the 14th Amendment is badly written, uses vague terminology, and violates the “expressly contained” rule. One has to read, as Professor Berger did, the discussions in Congress and the text of the Civil Rights Act of 1864 to know what § 1 is about. But our moral and spiritual decline began in the early 1800s; from there, intellectual collapse quickly follows.
4 They even claim the right to keep on redefining “liberty” to include additional practices they might in the future want to force everyone to accept. They said in Lawrence v. Texas:
“Had those who drew and ratified the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment known the components of liberty in its manifold possibilities, they might have been more specific. They did not presume to have this insight. They knew times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress. As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom. (majority opinion, next to last para) [emphasis mine].
5 Because Congress has “exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever” over the federal enclaves described at Art. I, §8, next to last clause; Congress may make laws addressing these objects for those limited geographical areas. See also Art. IV, §3, cl 2. And pursuant to Art. I, §8, cl. 14, Congress may make laws addressing these objects for active duty military personnel.
6 The short and clear paper HERE proves that nullification of unconstitutional acts of the national government is the remedy advised by our Framers. One cannot honestly dispute this. PH