When did "Congress" become "States"?

Tim May tcmay at got.net
Sat Aug 23 23:21:41 PDT 1997

At 10:04 PM -0700 8/23/97, Mac Norton wrote:
>On Sat, 23 Aug 1997, William H. Geiger III wrote:
>> Well i think that you also have to take into account the political setting
>> of the times. The Framers of the Constitution were representatives of the
>> States all of which had 1st Amendment protections in their State
>> Constitutions. Their concerns were not with the States but with a Federal
>> Government overriding rights already protected by the States.
>Perhaps so, but that says nothing about the federal gov't
>enforcing the First Amendment to the US Constitution against
>the states, irrespective of the provisions of their constitutions
>or other laws.  It is a difficult thing to get from "Congress
>shall make no law" to "No gov't anywhere in this country
>shall make any law," but we've managed to do it, probably to
>our credit on the whole.

I don't find it surprising. Besides the more recent, and of course more
heavily relied upon, "equal protection" language of the 14th, I think
another important factor is this: states admitted to the Union were
expected to adhere to and uphold the U.S. Constitution, and Congress even
scrutinized states for evidence of this compliance.

(And a clue comes from the oaths of office taken by officials in _all_
states, so far as I know: they swear to uphold the U.S. Constitution. Now
how well they do this, and whether they adhere to the original intent, is
open for discussion. Still, food for thought.)

In looking over some search engine returns on this issue, I was drawn to
the various religious freedom decisions, such as Epperson v. Arkansas.
Here's one summary (from http://www.natcenscied.org/courtdec.htm)

"Epperson v. Arkansas: In 1968, the United States Supreme court invalidated
an Arkansas statute that prohibited the teaching of evolution.
The Court held the statute unconstitutional on grounds that the First
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not permit a state to require
that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or
prohibitions of any particular religious sect or doctrine. (Epperson v.
(1968) 393 U.S. 97, 37 U.S. Law Week 4017, 89S. Ct. 266, 21 L. Ed 228) "

How much of this decision was based on the 14th Amendment, and how much on
other grounds?

I think I'll look into look into this, as it's an interesting issue of just
when the "Congress shall make no law" evolved into "states shall make no

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
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