Category: Constitution Posts

The Great Writ, Bill Of Attainder, and Ex Post Facto Laws

Greetings Everyone!  Today we are going to look at clauses two and three in Article One, Section Nine of our Constitution.  They read;

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”

 And;

“No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.”

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Enclave Clause and The Necessary and Proper Clause

“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, dock-yards, and other needful Buildings…”

“To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

Today we are going to look at Clauses 17 and 18 of Article 1, Section 8. Both of these clauses go hand in hand.

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Constitution Post: Organizing The Militia

“The Congress shall have power to…provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the appointment of officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress…” Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16 of the Constitution.

The militia, as defined in one of our last Constitution posts, was “a body of citizens organized for military service.”  Many of the framers of the Constitution were troubled at the thought of a standing army in times of peace, fearing that a standing army would become too powerful.  The militia on the other hand, comprised of ordinary citizens, was to be our nation’s only defense against foreign and domestic powers.  As Patrick Henry stated in the Virginia ratifying convention, “the militia is our ultimate safety.  We can have no security without it.”  In the founding era, without the militia we would have had no military establishment.

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