“No Bill of Attainder… shall be passed…” – Article 1 Section 9
In 1974, Richard Nixon resigned from the Presidency, the only person to ever do so. The primary evidence against him was a set of tapes that he had made in the Oval Office, which purported to contain direct evidence of the Watergate Conspiracy, or at least a lot of buzzing that replaced sections that might have proved the Watergate Conspiracy if they hadn’t been so obviously erased.
After he resigned President Ford pardoned Mr. Nixon on September 8, 1974.
Prior to that day, Presidential papers were not considered “public documents.” They were private papers which belonged to the President. In fact, until Franklin Roosevelt donated his papers to the National Archives through his Presidential Library and Museum in 1939, they had never been available to the public except in the form of books and articles written by researchers who had been granted access.
Until December 19, 1974. On that day, President Ford signed a bill passed by Congress, The Presidential Recordings and Materials Act.” This law, which by definition applied ONLY to the records and Materials of Richard Nixon, made it clear that these were now the property of the United States, to be overseen by the National Archivist, who was charged with determining which records and documents the United States would keep – for potential use in judicial proceedings – and which would be returned as the property of Richard Nixon.
Naturally, the former President sued, claiming that this law was clearly unconstitutional as it violated the ban on Bills of Attainder.
It would take until 1998 to fully resolves Nixon’s role in this. Today, the Federal Courts are preparing to take up two cases that both Defenses are arguing are Bills of Attainder. Will history repeat or will the Courts find that no bills of attainder shall be passed?
In Boston last week, a Liberty Pole was raised.
Once upon a time that was a VERY common occurrence. It had deep symbolism to the Revolutionary Generation. Along with other symbols, it pointed to their ideas for what exactly they were willing to pledge their lives, their treasures, and their sacred honor.
Through the years the symbols have been forgotten even as they remain in our midst and our everyday lives. The words they represented have been slurred until we no longer recognize their true meaning.
The raising of a Liberty pole last week in Boston reminds us that those ideas are not dead. They can be restored…
Eleven times over the course of a couple of years, the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations calls conventions to consider ratification of the Constitution. And eleven times, the State refuses to agree to the Constitution and continue to operate under their state Charter/Constitution of 1633. this allows Rhode Island to continue to manipulate its currency and to protest slavery.
The problem is that she cannot go it alone. And it becomes obvious that the worst fears of the Anti-Federalists are not immediately coming to pass, pressure mounts on the Governor, a staunch Country Party leader named John Collins, to state the obvious – that the Constitution represents the best interests of the people of the State of Rhode Island. his supporters who elected him to the Governorship still don’t agree.
The twelfth convention is called in Newport, as Congress passes a bill to economically isolate Rhode Island. this time, John Collins will sacrifice his political career for the betterment of the nation, not the Country Party.