The III Percent Mission Statement: Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will
within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. ~ Thomas Jefferson
Hall plays fast and loose with the Constitution. She claims“The federal government’s only authority to own land is ten square miles for Washington D.C. and the amount of land necessary to operate forts and ports at the permission of the states. So if the states don’t want the forts and ports anymore, they have the authority to withdraw the permission” (emphases hers).That isn’t at all what art. I sec. 8 says. It reads“Congress shall have the power … to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings.”There’s nothing about this being the “only authority to own land” or states having power “to withdraw the permission.” James Madison in Federalist No. 43 expounds on precisely this clause.¹ His explanation has nothing to do with the limits of federal property ownership. It’s about ensuring the new government is free from state coercion. Read it.Property ownership is properly addressed in art. IV. sec. 3 which says“The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State” (emphasis mine).Hall grossly misreads this clause too. Somehow she focuses exclusively on “territory” without acknowledging the existence of “other property” or the key word “belonging.” But there it is. She is also adamant about the fact “territory is capitalized,” an inane argument given the different grammar of the time whereby nearly all nouns were capitalized.Just as we can cross reference some Constitutional clauses with Federalist Papers, others can be cross referenced against ordinances fashioned at the same time by the same Founders. The Northwest Ordinance, developed with the ideas of Thomas Jefferson, passed prior to the Constitutional Convention but was re-affirmed by the new Congress.We can therefore look at the property clauses within the Northwest Ordinance for an understanding of what the Founders had in mind for Constitutionality. We read there, for example, that “new States shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the soil by the United States in Congress assembled.” Does that sound at all like Hall’s claims?___¹ James Madison, Federalist No. 43 (Jan 1788)² Northwest Ordinance (Jul 1787)
Please post anonymously and include your recognized online handle in the body of the comment.