Already Ratified in 1790…But We Must Do It Again
As this Heartland Institute article explained in November 2015, New Jersey attorney Eugene LaVergne spent years digging into the history of the original proposed First Amendment. The very first article in our Bill of Rights – “Article the First”, which was most important to the Founding Fathers – was actually ratified in May, 1790 but the fact was buried in the Connecticut state archives for two centuries.
The Connecticut House voted for the original First Amendment in October, 1789 and its Senate voted to ratify it in May, 1790, which made Connecticut the 9th state to ratify out of 12 states at the time. That is exactly three-fourths (75%) of the states, the number required to ratify an amendment according to Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
However, due to the transcribing error noted in the linked article above and in our 12-page pamphlet Our First Right, by May 1790 the Connecticut House claimed that it wanted to retract its earlier vote until the language could be corrected. But a ratification vote cannot be retracted.
Moreover, the transcription error was not germane. Everyone knew what was intended: congressional districts could not exceed 30,000 people until the House reached 100 members; then no larger than 40,000 people until the House reached 200 members; thereafter, a district cannot exceed 50,000 people.
That is the clear, obvious intent of the Founding Fathers.
Nothing changed when that same month (May 1790) Rhode Island became a state and its legislature also voted to ratify. Article the First now had 10 votes of 13 states at that time, or 77% of the states. Nor did Vermont’s becoming a state in March 1791 change things when its legislature also voted to ratify; 11 votes of 14 states made 79%. Kentucky joined the republic in June 1792, also voting to ratify, which made 12 votes of the 15 states, or 80% of the states. But none of that matters now, as the federal courts said in their rulings.
While LaVergne’s intentions in his lawsuits may have been noble, the federal circuit and appellate courts rulings against him are correct. LaVergne wanted a federal court to simply decree that there are now 6,400 U.S. House districts! Granted, it was illegal for Congress in 1929 to arbitrarily limit the U.S. House to 435 districts; We The People never granted Congress authority to limit the size of the House.
But even less did we grant federal courts any authority regarding amendments to the U.S. Constitution!
It was so important to the Founding Fathers that they made it first in the Bill of Rights. Our First Right can only be ratified by the legislatures of the states, 35 of which did not even exist as states back in the 1790s. We must have each state legislature ratify George Washington’s wise desire and the Founding Fathers’ 1789 action. As we noted above (and section II(e) of the appellate court concedes the 8th grade civics): State legislatures alone have the constitutional power to finally arrest Congress’ illegal act of 1929.
This was done once before; in 1983-93, a young man named Gregory Watson walked the original ‘Article the Second’ through 29 state legislatures’ ratification votes, making it the 27th Amendment. This cannot be stopped by Congress, since it already passed it and sent it to the states. This is NOT a call for an Article V convention; it’s already passed by Congress and ratified by 11 (arguably 12) states.
America is at a crossroads. A radical younger generation, controlled by rich old progressives and Deep State operators, is buying into communism and fascist control of free speech on social media and American campuses. Meanwhile, tens of millions of citizens living in rural America and in our 31,000 small towns remain totally without representation in the U.S. House and Electoral College.
All we need is 27 more state legislatures to ratify Our First Right, thereby breaking up the huge, powerful congressional districts that are big cities’ death-grip on America’s heartland.