Bob Bird: Fear-mongering about constitutional convention comes out of Left field

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By BOB BIRD

Alaska’s “model” Constitution is truly a model in some ways, like a preening beauty from the cover of Glamor magazine. It was crafted using a template from the Rockefeller-funded-and-founded University of Chicago.

It has received fawning reviews since before statehood. Sure, there are plenty of modifications, the best being the “common use” clause under Natural Resources. About the only thing that the Left really fears is the part about any new constitutional convention. The public gets to vote on that every 10 years.

It is not unreasonable for conservatives to worry about how a convention is put together and what its outcome might be. In the many queries I have received from citizens and the media, and again here, I have stated that in order for a true grassroots convention to occur, the Legislature must craft a precinct-structured system. If this is not done, it will likely be controlled by the very Leftists who fear the assembly of such a convention. And it ought to be done before the vote is taken, to assuage the concerns of the citizens.

Unlike what the media tells us, the most serious mistakes we are facing in the Alaska Constitution are found not over the Permanent Fund dividend, or even the Judicial Council, but in Art. XII, Sections 8, 12 and 13. Read them. They are chilling, and lie are the root of all our crises in economics and liberty. 

Section 8 is nothing short of an “Anti-Tenth Amendment”, giving the state unlimited power. Section 12 and 13 defeat the very purpose of statehood, denying the state to ever claim title to its own real property, properties retained by the federal government in defiance of Article 1, Section 8, clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution and the ignored Tenth Amendment.

Such conditions were never imposed on the states east of the “middle border”, a term referencing the north-south axis running from North Dakota/Minnesota to Louisiana/Texas.

The other problems, like a rogue judiciary or a judicial council system, would not even exist if we ever had a governor or a legislature that understood proper constitutionalism, and that the judiciary is not a “co-equal branch,” whose opinions must be obeyed, but a weak sister, whose judgments need not be obeyed by an executive, and can be restrained by the Legislature.

Although the Federalist Papers are not part of even the U.S. Constitution, they did assist in getting it passed, and by a wafer-thin margin at the approving convention in the key state of New York.

Virginia, the biggest prize of all at the time, was also reluctant to approve, and reserved for itself, along with New York and Rhode island, a secession clause. You can look it up.

The Federalist Papers are a treatise on federalism and limited government philosophy. It is safe to say that they apply to our own state constitution, and this is reflected in many ways.

In Federalist #78, we read (with the emphasis entirely Alexander Hamilton’s): The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.

Allow me to cite some direct quotes, first from a governor. When told that he need not enforce a state Supreme Court decision, he said twice, and six months apart: “It’s going to take some time for me to wrap my head around this.”

And from a prominent legislator: “Bob, I don’t doubt your word, it’s just not the way I learned it.” My reply was, “Me too. But I un-learned it, just like we all can.”

So, let us shatter the law-school oligarchy’s vice-grip on constitutional interpretation, if not from The Federalist Papers, but from how our own state constitution was crafted.

  1. The legislature is supreme. It can impeach any member of the judiciary or executive branch. Neither of them can do the same. Art. II, Sec. 20.
  2. The legislature has the power of the purse. It can never be surrendered. Art. IX, Sec. 1.
  3. It can override the governor’s vetoes. Art. II, Sec. 16. Both #2 and #3 have just been overthrown and claimed by the judiciary, an obviously impeachable offense.
  4. The legislature controls the courts’ jurisdiction. It can disqualify the courts’ from whatever legislation is passed from their judicial review. Art. IV, Sec. 1.
  5. So-called “case law”, the corpus of judicial decisions that are known only to lawyers, are no laws at all. True laws are defined in Art. 12, Sec. 11, and are applied only to what the legislature enacts, not the judiciary or executive orders.

As has been pointed out regarding the U.S. Constitution: “It is not that the Constitution has been tried and found wanting. Rather, it has been left untried, and found difficult.”

Constitutionalizing the PFD is worthy, but to truly limit federal power, we need to disown parts of Article XII. And to limit judicial overreach, while we might rearrange the way we choose our judges, we merely need to re-word what the constitution already indicates, so that it is clearly understood by the citizens, and can no longer be ignored by the case-law oligarchy.

Bob Bird is chair of the Alaskan Independence Party and the host of a talk show, the Bird’s Eye View on KSRM radio, Kenai.

18 COMMENTS

  1. This is just plain, silly, revisionist propaganda. The AK constitution has served us well for decades. Those who don’t like the way it protects our privileges and defends us from monomaniacal autocrats will want it to go away, or, better yet, be modified to suit their own terms. Do not be deceived.
    If you ask me, this is for the birds.

  2. It’s not “fearmongering” to say that a constitutional convention could move our state dramatically to the left. If the convention has similar composition to our legislature, which is likely, the outcome will not be good… to put it mildly.

  3. Mr. Bird is correct, the Congress has no authority to control the vast areas of land they lay claim to within the borders of sovereign states. It is written. Clearly. In the law. We ended slavery, surely we can right this wrong.

  4. Most Alaskans will need a really good reason to go to a constitutional convention. One of the most forgotten but most pertinent sentences in the Declaration of Independence is “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

    • Read some history, Steve-O. The grievances that brought about the Declaration of Independence were tiny compared to those of today.

      • I suggest you read the list of grievances in the Declaration of Independence. Here, let me make it easy for you:
        .
        The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
        .
        He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
        .
        He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
        .
        He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
        .
        He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
        .
        He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
        .
        He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
        .
        He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
        .
        He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
        .
        He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
        .
        He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
        .
        He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
        .
        He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
        .
        He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
        .
        For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
        .
        For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
        .
        For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
        .
        For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
        .
        For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
        .
        For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
        .
        For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
        .
        For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
        .
        For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
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        He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
        .
        He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
        .
        He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
        .
        He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
        .
        He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
        .
        In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
        .
        .
        .
        Perspective is a powerful tool, I only wish more people understood what it is. If your list indeed makes that list look tiny, let’s see it. No offense to Bob, but his list didn’t make that list look tiny.
        .
        The sentence after the one I originally quoted from the Declaration of Independence says “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
        .
        As I said in my original comment most Alaskans will need a really good reason to go to a constitutional convention, Bob brought a few to the table…so far you’ve brought nothing.

        • Steve-O, if you had bothered to read my comments on this article, you would see that the actions of the legislature practically demand a constitutional convention. They openly oppose the people voting on a single constitutional amendment. Your response sounds a lot like today, and you present a strong argument that Alaska should declare Independence from the United States, which I disagree.

          • Are you talking about your comment where you told me I should read some history, or the one you made later? I certainly see somethings happening today that fit into the items listed in the Declaration of Independence but to say the grievances in the Declaration of Independence were tiny compared to those of today is stretching it quite a ways.
            .
            My argument isn’t that Alaska should declare Independence from the United States, I’m not sure how you got there as that is an entirely different subject than a state constitutional convention.

  5. The fundamental problem, Mr. Bird, is that no more than 10-20% of the Alaska electorate could read and comprehend what you’ve written. I really don’t trust these people to write a constitution for me to live under.

  6. I appreciate the feedback. But in case you haven’t already noticed, we ALREADY ARE controlled by Leftists & RINOs. That’s why they don’t want a convention.

    If a large per centage of the citizenry cannot understand what I have written, that’s because most have not read the constitutions or the Federalist Papers. It doesn’t mean that the facts have been refuted. The first commenter just denounced it as “revisionist propaganda” without any effort to point out where it is wrong. The Alaska constitution has “served us well for decades”? Well, the MSM would certainly agree.

    When the judicial branch has overthrown the state constitution in vetoes, veto overrides, the power of the purse and the definition of privacy in Art. 1, Sec. 22, and not one legislator has moved for impeachment, it demonstrates that Art Chance’s comment is accurate.

    Art, it is human nature to “Stick with the devil that you know”. When the Titanic began to sink, many people disdained the lifeboats and elected to stay. Too risky.

    But you and I live under a warped constitution, forged and bent patiently by the “case-law oligarchy” of the judicial branch, and without the necessary resistance from the executive or legislative branches.

    To gain (or re-gain) our liberties, we must be risk-takers. The vote will tell us if Alaskans understand this, or will prefer to continue our slide into federal and local tyranny. That the oligarchs are scared is a sign of Hope. That thoughtful citizens can’t see the forest for the trees, is not.

  7. What a dilemma! Bob Bird is correct in that there are things that need fixed. Art Chance is correct in that many do not understand how to fix them. The legislature absolutely refuses to allow the people to vote on a single constitutional amendment, such as the PFD. So, we are left with no real options other than the constitutional convention, and try to keep the criminals in the legislature from hijacking it. I vote YES.

  8. Perhaps you forget our last meeting in Healy comparing our history… And you finally had to agree all this garbage belongs on the road leading to Rome… I clearly informed you about the falsified STATE OF ALASKA corporation foundation as laid out prior to ‘statehood=corporatization boundaries estblished’ for their ‘service areas’. It was in the Surrender/Treaty signed on the Sea of Japan on the USS Missouri at the close of the harvest/profit-taking called WW II…. And Admiral ‘bull’ (God?) Halsey signed very precisely at 9:11am. Wake up folks, we are and always been in a war, this is one of attrition, 1000s of paper cuts so you can’t put your finger on the precise thing that takes you out. Research Silent Weapons for Quiet wars summary based off the 1954 declaration of war against all people’s Report from Iron Mountain. Above all realize this world is a furnace to test us, refine us, and sift us like wheat/silver, it’s ran by powers and principalities. Time to get right w God and your neighbor, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
    Strength in his name, Christ Jesus
    Be the light by speaking the truth, no matter the temporary worldly discomfort, your eternal soul is the prize, keep your eyes on it.

  9. Alaskans I don’t believe have been taught the US Constitutional rights that are their own. They can’t identify nor defend their US Constitutional rights. This is true because I believe the state of Alaska Constitution obliterates the US Constitution. All regulations promulgated are in conflict with the US Constitution and it has 50 years that Alaskans have been denied actual US Constitutional rights as is known by our established “ruling class” in abrogation of the US Constitution. No one defends the US Constitution and 50 years is a long time to delay establishing the republic in Alaska.

  10. What is your earliest constitutional right and where did you get it from. Prove it. How has this right been illegally infringed? What can you do about it now? Why don’t you teach your kids this? You don’t know nor do you believe in your own unalienable right(s). What is the established process due to establish this right? You don’t know nor does your impolite, unconstitutional ruling class know.

  11. Regardless of your political persuasion, you should be suspicious that one of the major political parties in our state, the Alaska Democrat Party, officially opposes a Constitutional Convention. Why ? They state it themselves in their platform. Under the current system, the Alaska Bar Association controls the Judiciary through the Alaska Judicial Council. At the time of the original convention, an independent report was given to a committee of Delegates, but not to the whole, warning that the judicial selection process gave way too much power to lawyers. The “Missouri Plan” has suited their needs since Statehood.

    Democrats are afraid of the people having more say in the third branch of Government. Plain and simple. Controlling who gets on the Court lets them continue manufacturing a “right to abortion” in our Constitution. Their platform language says a Constitutional Convention might “define the beginning of life.” Enumerating life might be a good idea in today’s mixed up world but what would likely happen is an amendment, Senator Hughes has already introduced it, that would simply clarify our Constitution is silent on abortion and its funding. Multiple states have passed similar amendments. The Court should not have the final say on when pre-born Alaskans take their first breath.

    The final reason the Democrats state they oppose a “con-con” is because they fear losing control of the Government run schools. Mama-bears showed in Virginia that parents want the indoctrination to stop. Our Constitution needs to clearly give parents options if they don’t want their taxes supporting CRT, the LGBTQIA agenda, anti-American propaganda and other nonsense while test scores plummet despite funding increasing ad infinitum.

    Vote yes for a Constitutional Convention on the November 2022 ballot.

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